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Car Reviews

BMW Group Plug-In Car Sales: Down In Q2, But Up In H1 2020

Last quarter, sales went down by almost 5%, but the first half of the year was actually positive.

BMW Group has noted a significant 25.3% year-over-year decrease in vehicle sales in the second quarter of 2020 (23.2% in the case of BMW brand and 38.2% in the case of MINI brand), although plug-in car sales were not affected that much.

The total plug-in car sales (globally) amounted to 31,095, which is 4.9% less than a year ago or 6.4% of the total volume of BMW and MINI cars.

BMW and MINI plug-in car sales worldwide – Q2 2020

The small decrease during the COVID-19-related lockdown is not a bad result, especially since the company soon will start its all-electric car offensive with the BMW iX3, followed by BMW i4 and BMW iNEXT next year.

BMW notes also that the upcoming stronger incentivization of electrified vehicles in Germany will also help to sell more plug-ins.

During the first six months of 2020, BMW sold 61,652 plug-in cars, which is 3.4% more than a year ago, thanks to decent Q1.

Pieter Nota, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Customer, Brands and Sales said:

“We are following the development of global demand very closely and continue to plan for various scenarios so we can respond quickly as regions around the globe recover from the coronavirus pandemic at different speeds. We are seeing a positive development in China, where our second-quarter sales were once again higher than in the previous year,” underlined Nota. “Demand for our electrified vehicles also outperformed the market trend in the first half of the year. Our wide range of plug-in hybrid models and the new fully-electric MINI are in high demand among our customers,”.

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Bikes

Motocrew cuts down BMW Motorrad's K100RS – paultan.org

At its essence, a motorcycle is two wheels, engine and a frame, with suspension which is pretty much what German outfit Motocrew has reduced BMW Motorrad’s K100RS sports-tourer down to. For those who might not know, the K100RS was BMW Motorrad’s first foray outside its traditional boxer-twin layout.

When released in 1984, BMW Motorrad fans were… divided. The purists, much like the Harley-Davidson fans when the VRSC with its Porsche developed DOCH, liquid-cooled Revolution V-twin was released, howled and bayed for blood, saying the “character” of the brand was diminished.

Needless to say, due to the machinations of the stubborn and unyielding, Harley-Davidson was left in a technological vacuum for 25 years. BMW Motorrad, however, didn’t, doing well with it’s inline four cylinder as installed in the S-series motorcycles, while also having in its motorcycle engine range an inline-six, parallel-twin, single-cylinder and retaining its best selling boxer-twin.

Coming back to the K100RS molested by Motocrew, the team felt the K100RS, because of its sport-touring origins, was a little portly in the back, reports designboom.com. To that end, the rear sub-frame was hacked off, replaced with a cafe racer tail, tying the frame line, painted in white, to the bottom of the fuel tank.

A pair of vanes, also in white, fill in the gap at the front end of the tank, a function formerly performed by the K100RS’ front fairing. Adopting the cafe racer design style, the headlight is a single, round, LED unit, in keeping with the overall retro theme.

The longitudinal inline-four, resting on its side and dubbed the “Flying Brick” by aficionados, is not coated a satin black, as are all components below the fuel. The original K100RS airbag was dumped in favour of a diminutive DNA air filter while new exhaust headers lead into a SC Project CR-T exhaust.

If you’re looking for the front turn signals, they’re there and practically invisible. Motocrew relocated the turn signals to the bar ends, where the wing mirrors are located while the rear turn signals are located inside the frame rails.

MotoGadget supplies the minimalist speedometer and bluetooth-enabled mo.unit blue controller allowing for keyless start of the Motocrew K100RS. Tokico brake callipers axial-mounted on upside-down forks completes the K100RS build.

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Bikes

BMW Motorrad shows Active Cruise Control for bikes – paultan.org

While four-wheeled vehicles have had active cruise control for a while now, BMW Motorrad is presenting its application for two-wheelers as well. Developed in conjunction with its technology partner Bosch, the BMW Motorrad Active Cruise Control (ACC) for bikes aims to provide a comfortable and safer riding experience.

Primarily designed for the touring rider, ACC automatically regulates the speed set by the rider and the distance to the vehicle in front. When the vehicle in front slows down, ACC slows the motorcycle down accordingly and keeps a set separation distance as determined by the rider.

Setting ACC is done using using a button, which allows for setting of both motorcycle speed and separation distance. Information is displayed on the instrument panel with two selectable control characteristics – Comfortable or Dynamic – with distance control switched off in Dynamic mode.



When cornering, speed will be limited by the ACC, taking data from the inertial measurement unit and rider’s desired lean angle. When lean angle is increased, intervention by the ACC is reduced and braking and acceleration dynamics are limited in order to maintain a stable cornering line.

This avoids upsetting the bike’s balance through abrupt braking or acceleration by the ACC and BMW Motorrad clearly states ACC is only meant to be a riding aid with the rider needing to intervene when necessary. It should be noted ACC only responds to moving vehicles and stationary vehicles – like at the end of a traffic jam or at traffic lights – are disregarded by the system.

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Racing

BMW signs van der Mark for 2021 WSBK season

The BMW World Superbike team has announced it has signed current Yamaha rider Michael van der Mark for the 2021 season.

It was announced earlier this week that van der Mark would be leaving the works Yamaha team at the end of this season, the Dutch rider having been with the Crescent-run squad since 2017.

The three-time WSBK race winner’s expected to move to BMW was confirmed on Thursday morning, which will come at the expense of either Tom Sykes or Eugene Laverty.

Team boss Shaun Muir said: “We are delighted to welcome Michael to the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK team. He brings a wealth of experience and is one of the youngest, most talented riders on the WorldSBK grid.

“Securing Michael’s services emphasis the focus and determination we have to compete for top honours, and we will give Michael every chance to reach that goal.” 

BMW Motorrad’s motorsport director Marc Bongers added: “We are very pleased about the commitment of Michael, who has developed very strongly in the World Superbike Championship in recent years.

“We are convinced that Michael is an enrichment for our project, and together, in combination with the strong package we can offer him, we can reach the next higher level in terms of results.”

Van der Mark becomes the fifth rider to secure a deal for the 2021 WSBK season, joining Kawasaki pair Jonathan Rea and Alex Lowes, Ducati’s Scott Redding and van der Mark’s current Yamaha teammate Toprak Razgatioglu.

Razgatioglu won the opening race of the year at Phillip Island for Yamaha in March and lies third in the current standings, two places ahead of van der Mark.

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Car Reviews

G80 BMW M3, G82 M4 first details – 480 PS with manual, 510 PS Competition with auto, AWD later on – paultan.org

The long-awaited G80 BMW M3 and G82 M4 will be unveiled in mid-September, and Munich has begun opening the floodgates of information regarding its new high-performance sedan and coupé. The company promises a significant increase in performance thanks to improvements to the chassis, brakes and engine.

Much of what’s new is under the bonnet. The S58 engine has been lifted from the X3 and X4 M, and while the twin-turbo straight-six still displaces 3.0 litres, it’s a brand new unit that, in standard form, produces an extra 49 PS at 480 PS. Purists will be delighted to know that a six-speed manual gearbox and rear-wheel drive will come as standard, although Autocar reports that an eight-speed automatic will also be available.

For those looking for a bit more pep, BMW is offering a Competition model at launch, bumping outputs to 510 PS and 650 Nm of torque. This one, however, is fitted exclusively with the slushbox, with an M xDrive all-wheel-drive system set to be offered as an option later on. The latter will likely be derived from the M5 and M8, replete with a rear-drive mode for maximum skids.

Underpinning the car will be an M-specific chassis setup with upgraded suspension, springs, dampers and braking. As for the visual enhancements, the M3 and M4 will share a common front end, and that means the sedan will adopt the coupé’s massive (and hugely contentious) double kidney grille, along with the trapezoidal headlights that are split from the grille.

Other expected changes include larger front air intakes, more muscular fender bulges to hide the wider 19-inch alloy wheels, M-specific wing mirrors and a rear diffuser with the obligatory (and real) quad tailpipes. Inside, the cars will feature the M8’s Setup button that controls the individual settings of the engine, gearbox, drivetrain and suspension, while Competition models will get racy carbon fibre bucket seats.

Autocar also reports that the M4 lineup will be expanded this generation. In addition to the usual Coupé and Convertible variants, the car will also be offered as a four-door Gran Coupé for the first time, mirroring the M8’s range of body styles.

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Bikes

2020 BMW Motorrad S1000XR in Malaysia, RM121,500 – paultan.org

Something of an unsung hero in BMW Motorrad’s range of motorcycles is the 2020 BMW Motorrad S1000XR sports-tourer, now in Malaysia and priced at RM121,500, on-the-road excluding insurance. Going on a small diet, the 2020 S1000XR weighs 10 kg then its predecessor and with power optimised for the mid-range and ridability.

Weight savings were gained with a 19% lighter swingarm, a lighter Euro 5 compliant exhaust system and a 5kg weight reduction in the engine. This is coupled with BMW Motorrad’s “Flex Frame”, where the S1000XR’s engine takes on more load bearing from the frame, becoming part of the bike’s riding dynamics.

The S1000XR’s inline-four engine is derived from the S1000RR super bike and produces 165 hp at 11,000 rpm and 114 Nm of torque at 9,250 rpm. Fourth, fifth and sixth gear ratios have been made taller to take advantage of the S1000XR’s meatier mid-range and reduce noise and vibration at higher speeds.



New for the S1000XR is engine drag torque control (MSR) which works in conjunction with a smoother and self-reinforcing anti-hopping clutch. MSR on the S1000XR is electronically controlled and reduces rear wheel slip during hard acceleration or downshifting.

Suspension is done with BMW Motorrad’s Dynamic ESA (Electronic Suspension Adjustment) that comes with an electronically controlled upside front-fork and rear monoshock. Riders wanting adjustable damping modes and automatic load adjustment have to purchase Dynamic ESA Pro, available as a factory-fitted option.

A full suite of riding aids comes with the S1000XR, including Hill Start Control Pro, four ride modes and Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) which also provides wheelie control. Optional extras include cruise control, adaptive turning lights and HP Shift Assistant Pro quickshifter.

The 2020 BMW Motorrad S1000XR comes in two colour options – Ice Grey and Racing Red/White Aluminium as well as an extensive accessories catalogue. The S1000XR will be available in Malaysian BMW Motorrad dealers from July.

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Car Reviews

G82 BMW M4 teased on track ahead of September debut – 3L turbo straight-six; up to 510 PS; 6MT, 8AT – paultan.org

After giving us a taste of the upcoming G80 BMW M3 last week, the German carmaker has now dropped another video featuring the G82 BMW M4 lapping the Sachsenring in Germany. While it is certainly entertaining to watch the sports sedan charge around a race track, there is some valuable information to go along with it too.

Firstly, BMW has officially confirmed something that many knew to be true for some time now: the M4 will pack a 3.0 litre turbocharged straight-six engine, which is likely the S58 unit used for the X3 M, X4 M and the M3. The mill comes in two states of tune – 480 PS (473 hp) and 510 PS (503 hp), with up to 650 Nm of torque.

Manual enthusiasts will be pleased to know that the straight-six will be paired to a six-speed manual transmission, with drive going to the rear wheels. An optional eight-speed M Steptronic automatic gearbox will also be offered along with all-wheel drive, although the latter isn’t mentioned in the video. However, with the M3 said to get all-wheel drive – the first time the model gets such a system – it isn’t too far-fetched to assume the M4 will receive the option as well.

Other pieces of information revolve around tyre sizes, with the M4 set to get a staggered setup that sees 275/35ZR19 front and 285/30ZR20 rear rubbers. This isn’t something new, as other carmakers like Porsche also run a mixed-tyre arrangement, with the latest 992 911 Turbo S being a prime example. For those who care about environmental figures, preliminary data for the M4 shows a combined fuel consumption of as low as 10.5 l/100 km, while CO2 emissions is as low as 239 g/km.

Styling-wise, the shadowy vehicle seen towards the end of the video matches up to what we previously saw in a spyshot posted earlier this month. This means a sizeable vertical kidney grille at the front that is joined by large lower intakes and BMW Laserlight headlamps. As for the interior, it is largely similar to the regular G22 4 Series, with a revised centre console to accommodate the manual gear lever and M-specific dials residing within the BMW Live Cockpit system.

The new M4 will officially make its debut in September together with the M3, as confirmed by Markus Flasch, CEO of BMW M in the past. With some time to go until then, this video of the M4 being driven flat out (with plenty of heel-and-toe action) is all you get to enjoy for now. Excited?

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Car Reviews

New BMW M3 Competition prototype review

We get to grips with a prototype version of the new 503bhp BMW M3 Competition in prototype form, while also trying out the new BMW M4 Competition

Verdict  

The BMW M3 remains a driver’s car of excellent quality. BMW has sensitively and thoughtfully applied new technology to the M3 throughout its generations, without ever going overboard. These new cars continue that trend, while also blending comfort with their explosive performance. 

Familiar and immediately grin inducing – that’s exactly how the first few corners in the new BMW M3 feel, and while that’s precisely what we’ve come to expect over five generations of Munich’s performance saloon icon, M Division’s engineers have once again been able to add just a little bit more to the recipe. This is despite the prototype we’re driving – alongside a similarly near-finished M4 – being only 90 per cent complete, according to BMW M Development Manager Dirk Häcker.

Under the bonnet, a familiar tale is played out in the form of 3.0-litre, turbocharged straight-six power. But this engine is new. It’s the S58 used in the latest X3 M and X4 M SUVs, but its proper home is right here in the M3, where it plays out its typical, high-revving BMW M characteristics to the fullest. In the normal M3 it develops 473bhp, while the new M3 Competition – likely the only model we’ll get in Britain – steps things up to 503bhp.

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A six-speed manual gearbox is found on the standard cars, while Competition variants are equipped with an eight-speed automatic, not reliant on dual-clutch technology but instead using torque converter tech. That’s unconventional in modern performance cars.

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Häcker cannot reveal complete details about the chassis work just yet, but teases some of the changes. Compared with the regular 3 Series, the M3 gains a stiffer front axle, new electronically controlled dampers, and a reworked locking rear differential.

On base M3 and M4 models, the wheels are 18-inches at the front and 19-inches at the rear, growing to 19 and 20-inches respectively on Competition models and shod on Michelin Pilot Sport 4S rubber. Naturally, carbon ceramic brakes are optional. Both our M4 and M3 Competition prototypes are rear wheel drive. The oft rumoured four-wheel drive version? "An M xDrive is coming, but only later," says Häcker.

Our time with the cars is short, but enough to get under the skin of both. The M4 is up first, and the first thing you notice, compared with the last M4 and 4 Series, is the seating position – it’s much lower than before, and feels more purposeful. We set everything to Sport Plus, but the first thing that springs out isn’t oversteer, but turn-in. It feels like the front axle is shod with slicks, and the nose of the car is far more aggressive and keen to fire into the apex than before.

The engine is a known quantity from our experience of it in the X3 and X4 M, and here the linearity of response and climb to its 7,200rpm is all the more enticing, with a proper six-speed manual gearbox only adding to the sensation. Gentle oversteer is easily controllable, and while BMW has not confirmed a weight for the M4, it certainly feels lighter than before. 

The M3 will probably be around 100kg heavier than the M4, but here – in Competition spec, mind you – the sensations it delivers are extremely similar, with no trace of additional weight detectable on turn in. The gearbox is the most interesting aspect though. While the slick shifting six-speed manual delivers maximum engagement, the eight-speed torque converter automatic is not a flop, with wonderfully rapid fire upshifts with seemingly no loss of drive between gears. 

Despite the demands of regulators, and the petrol particulate filters equipped within the new exhaust system, the M3 hasn’t totally lost its voice. Trademark six-cylinder bark is there, but looking at the size of the tailpipes, we’d expect a bit more volume and crackle. Perhaps that will come when BMW completes the final 10 per cent of the newcomer’s development programme. 

Model:  BMW M3 Competition
Price: £76,000 (est)
Engine: 3.0-litre 6cyl turbo petrol
Power/torque: 503bhp/600Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive 
0-62mph: 3.9 seconds
Top speed: 174mph
Economy: 28mpg (est)
CO2: 250g/km (eat)
On sale: Late 2020

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