Archive for the ‘BMW’ Category

Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi on how he’s able to race at Daytona

February 1st, 2019
Alex Zanardi

Enlarge / Zanardi in the paddock. He is almost as fast in this chair as he is in the race car—I'm surprised he hasn't been given a penalty for speeding in the pit lane! (credit: Elle Cayabyab Gitlin)

Although we usually cover our own travel arrangements, in this case Rolex flew me to Orlando and provided two nights in a hotel in Daytona Beach.

One of the biggest buzzes at this year's Rolex 24 at Daytona was the presence of one Alex Zanardi, racing in one of the two BMW M8 GTEs. Racing fans will remember Zanardi from his time in single seaters. There was a spell in F1 with the Williams team, but he's primarily known by the racing crowd as a double champion in the open-wheel CART series (in 1997 and 1998). In 2001, after returning to CART, he lost both his legs in a horrific crash at the Lausitzring in Germany in 2001. Other sports fans may well know him for his post-crash success in handcycling; he's won multiple marathons (Venice, 2009, Rome, 2010, New York, 2011) as well as gold medals in the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics.

Oh, and he's kept driving, too. First in the World Touring Car Championship from 2004-2009, with wins in 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2009, then more recently in the Blancpain Sprint Series in 2014, all with BMW. But this year's Rolex 24 saw him added to BMW's roster for the #24 BMW Team RLL M8 GTE, where he was just one of the car's four drivers (the other three of whom were all able-bodied).

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Posted in Alex Zanardi, BMW, cars, Daytona, IMSA, Rolex 24 | Comments (0)

Review: The BMW X4 can’t decide what it wants to be

October 18th, 2018
The 2019 BMW X4 xDrive 30i.

Enlarge / The 2019 BMW X4 xDrive 30i. (credit: BradleyWarren Photography)

BMW's display at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show was bewildering. Among the massive lineup of vehicles, the company had at least four obviously different models that were all connected by a common thread. From biggest to smallest, the BMW had a bunch of fastbacks—the 640i GT, X6, 330i GT, and X4—on display. To be sure, having multiple options across a body style is no different than, say, the Volvo XC40, XC60, and XC90, or Audi's Q3, Q5, and Q7. Automakers churn out different-sized cars for different market segments, and there's nothing odd about that.

But the BMW lineup stuck with me enough to bring it up in conversation later with Ars' automotive editor Jonathan Gitlin. BMW is taking this approach to fill automotive niches not even recognized by most other carmakers, and its recent fastbacks are proof. For all that unites them—those four doors and a sloping rear-hatch body style—there's plenty to differentiate. Size, for one thing: simple math tells us the 640i GT and X6 are obviously bigger than the 330i GT and X4. So we decided to review as many as we could to see if the world really needs all the fastback options.

I started with the 640i xDrive GT last March and came away impressed. The GT truly drove like a grand touring car, offering a quiet and posh ride coupled with excellent performance and handling but with a price tag starting well north of $70,000.

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Posted in BMW, BMW X4, cars, Crossover, Hatchback, SUV | Comments (0)

Fiat Chrysler, BMW, and Intel announce plans to build self-driving tech

August 16th, 2017

Enlarge / Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne speaks at an event in Michigan on August 26, 2016. (credit: Bill Pugliano / Getty Images)

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is joining forces with BMW and Intel to develop self-driving car technology, the company announced on Wednesday. FCA is joining an existing alliance between BMW and Intel that also included Mobileye, the self-driving technology company Intel announced it was acquiring in March.

FCA is the smallest of Detroit’s Big Three automakers, and its approach to the self-driving car revolution has been less ambitious than rivals GM and Ford. GM paid $1 billion for self-driving car startup Cruise last year and is hoping to develop its own self-driving car technology. Ford invested $1 billion in the self-driving car startup Argo AI earlier this year and has also opened a technology subsidiary in Silicon Valley.

By contrast, FCA seems content to rely more on partners to supply the self-driving technology it will need to make its vehicles competitive in the coming decade.

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Posted in autonomous cars, BMW, cars, Fiat Chrysler, Intel, Mobileye, self-driving car | Comments (0)

The best of the 2017 New York International Auto Show

April 14th, 2017

Jonathan Gitlin

NEW YORK—It seems like barely any time has passed since our last major auto show, but the world’s auto makers are back in Manhattan this week for the 2017 New York International Auto Show. You’ll be able to read (and watch) our take on many of the new vehicles on display in the coming days, but what follows are our picks for the best new models you’ll be able to see at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, starting today when the auto show opens to the public.

Outstanding in the Automotive Technology field: Cadillac Supercruise

Since this is a technology site, we’ll kick things off with the best new automotive technology of this year’s NYIAS. That honor belongs to Cadillac, which is joining the semi-autonomous driving fray with its new “level 2” system, called Supercruise. We have driven some pretty good semi-autonomous systems recently: Audi, Volvo, and Tesla all spring immediately to mind. These use a combination of adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assists to keep your car on track on the highway, backing up the human driver to counteract fatigue and provide a little digital helping hand on long drives. Supercruise combines those two driver assists with a few extra neat features that mark the next step on the road to fully self-driving vehicles.

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Posted in alfa romeo, Ars Approved, BMW, cadillac, Cars Technica, Features, Ford, NYIAS, porsche, RAM, volvo | Comments (0)

BMW’s all-new 2017 5 series stirs up a technology tsunami

February 1st, 2017

Jim Resnick

Pleasing widely diverse masters can be a death sentence. For BMW’s newest 2017 5 series sedan, competing interests tug on it in a multitude of different directions. The traditional BMW enthusiast who factors fun first needs all the best of BMW’s driving machine DNA—and needs it close to the skin. Those needy for general luxury prefer isolation rather than inclusion in the driving process. The tech-focused need digital entertainment. So this is a veritable three-ring circus of sport sedan requirements. BMW’s last-generation 5 series garnered mixed feelings, so with the all-new G30 platform 5 series, BMW hopes to reboot impressions, and we’ve driven it.

Launching globally on February 11, the new 5 is actually a bit lighter than the last iteration, BMW quoting a weight loss of as much as 137lb (62kg) from the outgoing model, depending on exact model compared. The new 5 also comes out of the starting gate with several engine configurations. The bottom of the range here in the US is the 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder, issuing 248hp (185kW) and 258lb-ft (350Nm) in the 530i, netting acceleration to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds or 5.8 when equipped with BMW’s “xDrive” all-wheel-drive. A 3.0L, 335hp (265kW) inline six, which also generates 332lb-ft (450Nm) of torque, powers the 540i to 60mph in just 4.9 seconds or 4.7 seconds with xDrive. Later this spring, the M550i with all-wheel drive will debut, powered by a 456hp (347kW) turbocharged V8 packing 480lb-ft (650Nm) of torque, promising even quicker, 3.9-second 0 to 60 blasts, quicker than the outgoing M5.

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Posted in BMW, BMW 5 Series, Cars Technica | Comments (0)

McLaren and BMW team up to build engines again

February 1st, 2017


For plenty of car nerds, the names McLaren and BMW together mean something special in the engine department. BMW built the legendary 6.1L V12 that powered the McLaren F1, an engine that, in its detuned state, won Le Mans more than once. In the years since the F1, McLaren’s cars have been powered by Mercedes-Benz and, more latterly, a family of 3.8L twin-turbo V8s. Now McLaren and BMW are joining forces to work on engines once more.

The plan is to increase the specific output—the amount of power per unit volume—of the engines in McLaren’s forthcoming road cars while trying to meet socially acceptable CO2 limits. The two companies will also work with Ricardo (the British engineering company that helped develop McLaren’s current M838T engine), Grainger and Worrall (which will handle casting), Lentus Composites (composite materials), and the University of Bath.

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Posted in BMW, Cars Technica, McLaren | Comments (0)

BMW concept car interior puts holographic controls at your fingertips

January 7th, 2017

LAS VEGAS—At CES this year, BMW showed off a concept car as part of its “i Inside Future” exhibit, which was built upon the idea that car interiors could be more friendly and inviting. With its rich textures and light wooden accents, the concept car feels more like an artisanal nook than a cold vessel of technology.

But arguably more interesting than its holistically-designed frame is the new HoloActive Touch system, which builds on BMW’s earlier AirTouch dashboard system.

AirTouch debuted at CES 2016 and uses sensors on the dash to pick up hand gestures. It allows you to control parts of the information system without pressing any physical buttons. HoloActive Touch adds a new layer by placing holographic action buttons near the center console. The buttons provide haptic feedback when “pressed” using a hand gesture. BMW told Ars that this concept car was mostly designed with autonomous vehicles in mind and likely wouldn’t be a reality for another 15 years. Nevertheless, it was exciting to play with now. Check out the video below to see a demo of HoloActive and BMW’s concept car.

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Posted in Aircraft carriers, BMW, Cars Technica, concept car, i inside | Comments (0)

Lock suspect in stolen car to bust him? There’s an app for that…

December 6th, 2016

The smileworthy technology story of the week has a car thief suspect remotely locked inside a stolen car. Except we’re calling it busted.

Posted in BMW, busted, Law & order, myth, Seattle | Comments (0)

Vision Next 100: Meet BMW’s vision of the future in the coming years

October 15th, 2016

SANTA MONICA, Calif.—On Tuesday, BMW showed off its four new concept cars under one roof together for the first time. These cars included not only the new BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100, but also a new futuristic Rolls-Royce, Mini Cooper, and BMW. Each shows us that marque’s view of its place in a world where our vehicles are intelligent and drive themselves, which some see as an existential threat to companies, like BMW, that have made their reputations by focusing on driver engagement.

The star of the show, which took place in the Santa Monica Airport’s Barker Hanger, was BMW’s new motorcycle, which combines previous models revealed in Munich, London, and Beijing. The concepts also build on ideas that BMW showed us at CES in January, notably the triangle-based UI for the BMW VISION NEXT 100, as well as the way its seats move and cant together when in self-driving mode.

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Posted in Ars gallery, BMW, Cars Technica, concept, NeXT | Comments (0)

The BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100, the flexible motorcycle of the future

October 11th, 2016

Cyrus Farivar

SANTA MONICA, Calif.—BMW has been celebrating its centenary this year under the tagline, “The Next 100 Years.” As part of that celebration, the company has created a number of concepts that imagine its future vehicles, and, today in Los Angeles, the company took the wraps off the latest, the BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100.

Concept cars and bikes fall into two distinct categories; thinly veiled production machines designed to get consumers ready for a new model and more outlandish, forward-looking affairs that often include technology that’s still just a twinkle in the design team’s eye. The latter is definitely the case for BMW’s Vision Next 100 concepts, but that makes them no less interesting.

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Posted in Ars gallery, BMW, Cars Technica, electric motorcycles | Comments (0)