Tag Archives: bmw

BMW M5 Competition Edition Carbon Black

Big Power: BMW M5 Competition Edition

The standard M5 is a phenomenal piece of automotive engineering. A family sedan that’s equally at home on the Autobahn as it is on the Nurburgring or in the car park of a Scandinavian furniture retailer thanks to a wonderful TwinPower turbo 4.4-liter 560hp V8 under the hood that outputs some 680Nm of torque.

So, to make the Competition Edition (which will be strictly limited to 200 examples) really stand out, BMW’s engineers have been very busy. That engine now delivers 600hp (for those counting, that’s 20hp more than a Lamborghini Huracan LP 580-2) and 20Nm more torque. That translates to a 0-100km/h time of 3.9 seconds, and because the car will come with a dual-clutch transmission as standard, achieving those times in the real world should be simple.

To make the most of this extra performance in the bends as well as on the straights, BMW has dropped the Competition Edition’s ride height by 10mm, firmed up the springs, dampers and stabilizers, tweaked the Active M differential and reconfigured the power steering so that drivers will find it even easier to corner at speed.

BMW M5 Competition Edition Interior

And the overhauling isn’t restricted to elements under the skin. The Competition Edition sits on special 20-inch twin-spoke alloy wheels with jet black detailing, comes in either a special Carbon Black or Mineral White paint finish (100 examples of each) and the body sports a number of carbon aerodynamic elements such as the rear diffuser.

Inside, there’s full Merino Black leather trim with contrasting white stitching and even the floor mats have been cut from Alcantara. Each edition sports interior badges denoting its number in the 200-model series and other special touches include a 1200-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system as standard, plus a Head Up display and a number of active safety features including Lane Departure Warning. In fact, the only optional extra appears to be carbon ceramic brakes.

The BMW M5 Competition Edition is available to order now, and pries will start at €129,500. And for those that miss out, don’t worry. A brand new 5 Series and M5 derivative are will be coming next year.

BMW M5 Competition Edition Mineral White

BMW 1 Series Sedan Exclusively Sold in China

Unless you’re currently residing in China, you can forget about laying your hands on BMW’s latest 1 Series sedan. Well, by the German automaker’s estimation, only the Chinese market is ready for, and interested in, this extended wheelbase version of the 1 Series.

First revealed in Beijing, the baby four-door – built in conjuction with China’s BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd – is, quite simply put, the love child of Europe’s five-door 1 Series hatchback and the 2 Series coupe. According to BMW, the new car will fuse the best stylistic elements of both, plus incorporate a longer wheelbase for more spacious seating.

BMW 1 Series-china-

Otherwise, the entry-level Beemer is essentially a toned-down iteration of the Concept Compact Sedan and will be based on the front-wheel drive UKL platform, just like the current X1, 2 Series Gran Tourer and its MINI cousin. This means that the car will likely use BMW’s new modular four-cylinder engines. This 1 Series Sedan will also provide a stylistic platform of what you can expect from the 2 Series Gran Coupe, which BMW has been developing for a while now.

BMW Unveils Concept Center in Tokyo Bay

BMW is taking its “the next 100 years” concept very seriously, so what better place to open its latest state-of-the-art experience complex than Japan, a country well-known for its obsession with technology – more specifically the future of technology.

Located in Tokyo Bay, the 27,000 m² space will allow visitors to view the iconic Mini and luxurious BMW models in showrooms, grab a bite at the cafes, view exclusive features at exhibition spaces and even an opportunity to experience Virtual Reality. However, fans of BMW and Mini will revel in the test-driving facility, built to BMW’s own ‘M’ standards. And because we’re talking about Japanese service, you can reserve your car of choice online and even receive full driving training before taking it for a spin.

“Not only can they see a range of our cars in a spectacular static environment, they can also get behind the wheel and experience both brands’ exceptional dynamic capabilities. This is far more than just a new showroom — it’s somewhere for customers and fans to enjoy BMW and Mini in an exciting and engaging way,” said Dr Ian Robertson, BMW AG Management Board Member for Sales and Marketing BMW.

The facility comes after BMW unveiled a series of concept cars from each of its brands – Mini, BMW and Rolls-Royce – where the German automobile firm imagines the revolution of its vehicles by 2116.

BMW Bikes Smash Record, Harley-Davidson Hits Brakes

The news is full of reports of record sales of luxury and performance cars and this bonanza of record sales extends to the motorcycle world too. BMW Motorrad has set yet another half-year sales record, delivering some 80,000+ motorbikes and scooters to customers between January and June this year.

The new BMW motorcycle sales record, 80,754 two-wheelers, is a 3% jump on last year’s six-month total of 78,418, which itself was a new record. This pattern of record-beating quarters following record-beating quarters is all too familiar of course.

“As of June 2016 we were able to set our fourth six-month record in succession,” said Heiner Faust, BMW Motorrad Head of Sales and Marketing. “Based on this positive development we will now strive to achieve another sales record for the year as a whole.”

European Adventure

The biggest jump in demand has been from European countries, most notably Spain, Italy and France.

As for what people are buying, the company’s GS range Adventure bikes, are the biggest sellers. And with more than 25,500 examples snapped up over the last six months, it means that BMW is still the world’s most popular Adventure bike brand.

“In spite of a much tougher competitive environment, our two top-sellers, the R 1200 GS and GS Adventure, are asserting themselves very impressively on the market.”


Speaking of tough situations, competitor Harley-Davidson finds itself in bit of a jam. The purveyors of fine Hogs experienced modest growth in the first quarter of 2016 after a sales slide in 2015 but now have a more pressing issue to deal with. US safety regulators have announced an investigation into sudden brake failure on Harley-Davidson motorcycles, involving some 430,000 bikes stateside.

Sudden Failures

“Riders report sudden brake system failure occurring without warning,” said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has received 43 complaints.

About 430,000 motorcycles are involved in the probe, the NHTSA said.

Riders complained that the front brake hand lever or the rear brake foot pedal suddenly would not work. One complaint alleged that both brakes failed at the same time, resulting in a low-speed crash into a garage door.

The Harley choppers are equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS) aimed at boosting driver’s control during sudden braking. The NHTSA said in a statement that owners are “either unaware of or ignore” Harley-Davidson’s directive to change the brake fluid every two years.

The old fluid becomes contaminated by moisture and allegedly corrodes the ABS actuator valves, resulting in the brakes failure to respond.

“While it may be true that the complainants failed to adhere to Harley-Davidson’s two-year brake fluid service interval requirement, the consequent sudden and complete loss of brake(s), without warning, is a concern,” the agency said.

Contacted by AFP, Harley-Davidson said: “We’re aware of and cooperating with NHTSA in its investigation.”

This story was written in-house, based on reports from the AFP

First Fully Autonomous BMW 5 Years Away

BMW is hitting fast forward and has set itself the target of bringing a fully autonomous car to public roads by 2021. At a press conference on Friday at its Munich HQ, the German carmaker revealed that it is partnering with Intel and Mobileye in order to accelerate technological, sensing and machine-learning development alongside the innovations already achieved.

“At the BMW Group we always strive for technological leadership,” said Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG “Following our investment in high definition live map technology at HERE, the combined expertise of Intel, Mobileye and the BMW Group will deliver the next core building block to bring fully automated driving technology to the street.”

Until now, the industry consensus has been that autonomous cars are still a decade away from becoming a reality — that we will move, step by step from individual semi-autonomous features, such as autonomous emergency braking and lane keeping to vehicles that are akin to a robot chauffeur.

“Highly autonomous cars and everything they connect to will require powerful and reliable electronic brains to make them smart enough to navigate traffic and avoid accidents,” said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich. “This partnership between BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye will help us to quickly deliver on our vision to reinvent the driving experience. We bring a broad set of in-vehicle and cloud computing, connectivity, safety and security, and machine-learning assets to this collaboration enabling a truly end to end solution.”

The driving force behind this partnership and its ambitious goals is not the competition, but rather safety. BMW wants to be able to offer the technologies the partnership develops as a package or a platform that others can integrate into their future models.

And the first step towards that platform will be a new prototype car that can deliver level-3 autonomy (known as eyes-off driving) by 2017. It will then morph into a fleet of autonomous cars by 2021 capable of the next two steps — “mind-off” and then “driver-off” autonomy.

“Mobileye is proud to contribute our expertise in sensing, localization, and driver policy to enable fully autonomous driving in this cooperation,” said Mobileye Co-Founder, Chairman and CTO Professor Amnon Shashua. “Today marks an important milestone for the automotive industry as we enter a world of new mobility. [We are] laying the groundwork for the technology of future mobility that enables fully autonomous driving to become a reality within the next few years.”

Second Skin: BMW x Puma X-Cat Disc Shoes

While sportswear brands and car companies have had collaborations, none have produced something as futuristic and ambitious as the new Puma X-Cat Disc running shoe, made in partnership with BMW.

Utilising the concept of Project GINA – a BMW concept car that is crafted from a lightweight man-made fabric instead of the traditional steel or carbon fiber body – the running shoe will use the same waterproof material and replace laces with the Puma Disc system. As it turns out, this shoe is perfect for the lazier ones; tightening or loosening the shoe will be as simple as turning a disc, which works via the shoe’s elastic tendons that connect to a fastener. The result? A sports shoe that acts as your second skin, which we would imagine would be a godsend for professional athletes.

Second Skin: BMW x Puma X-Cat Disc Shoes_article

“The approach was to look at every aspect of making a shoe and to try and reimagine it. Freeing yourself of what is here now can be an enjoyable and rewarding exercise. Typically, it also speeds up change,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design.

While the Project GINA car is still a concept in a museum, the good news is the Puma X-Cat Disc will actually become a reality. Its release is slated for July 1 at selected outlets globally.

3 Highlights Goodwood Festival of Speed 2016

Full Throttle – The Endless Pursuit of Power: each of the three cars on this list embodies the theme of the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed (FoS). In fact, with a theme like that, the four-day long automobile extravaganza is set to be extraordinary – a sort of Glastonbury of auto awesomeness if you will. As this year’s “headline” act, BMW will be the focus of the festival, and this is apparent starting from the sculpture in the grounds dedicated to its automotive accomplishments. We reported on that here, so check that out for more details on BMW-related activities.

Cars as old as 40 years from the German brand’s archives will be on display at avenue ‘M’, and, for our part, the BMW 507 is the car of the moment, even though it was built in 1957. BMW will take this precious two million-dollar car out for a spin around the track with the festival’s founder, Lord March at the wheel. Seriously, that man gets to have entirely too much fun.

“I’m delighted that BMW has chosen to mark its centenary with us,” Lord March told the AFP. “I will be honored to drive one of the rarest, and most beautiful, BMWs ever built to open what promises to be a terrific show.” If you’re one of the lucky ones who are attending the prestigious show, look out for the Vision Next 100, a concept car the company thinks it will be producing in 2116.


Other automobile manufacturers will also be celebrating milestones; Volkswagen will celebrate 40 good years of its hatchback, the Golf GTi and Lamborghini will mark 50 years since the Miura model debuted, news we also covered here. Moving on from the classics, we find a strange contemporary beast lurking in plain sight here: the McLaren P1-GTR (above). Normally a track-only hypercar that is based on the prefectly road-legal P1 model, this particular car has been modified by racing team Lanzante so that it is road-legal once again! It appears here to celebrate the late James Hunt’s F1 championship drive in 1976 for McLaren – it was a memorable one and you can relive it by watching the Ron Howard film Rush. A one-off P1-GTR in Hunt’s colors will be taking over the Hillclimb circuit.

Lamborghini's Restored Miura

Lamborghini’s Restored Miura

Not one to be left out, Japanese automaker Mazda will also unveil a new Icon special edition of its Miata MX-5 droptop sportscar, while Renault will put its new Twingo GT turbocharged city car and the Clio RS16 concept hot hatch to the test. Speaking of tests, we cannot wait to see how the Bugatti Chiron (below) will fare in the hill-climb challenge. The car, though still sporting the engine of the Veyron, reportedly brings approximately 1,500 horses that propel it towards the title of world’s fastest production car…eventually. Goodwood will be the public’s first chance to see the car up close as it races every day of the event, as we reported on earlier. If Bugatti ditches the speed-limiter for this, records will tumble…


Oceania Wins BMW Singapore Beach Polo Championship

The inaugural BMW Singapore Beach Polo Championship 2016 drew to an exhilarating close that saw team Oceania take home the winning title with a 31⁄2 win.

BMW Singapore Beach Polo Championship 2016

Led by Australian Captain Ric McCarthy, the Oceania team fought hard to score two goals under a minute of the game in the first chukka. McCarthy scored an impressive winning goal in the last few minutes of the final chukka. “I’d like to thank the Singapore Polo Club for the work they’ve done and for supplying their ponies to us. To be able to fly out from Australia and be out here on this pitch and have such a great time, it’s amazing and to win the tournament, it was special,” said McCarthy.

BMW Singapore Beach Polo Championship 2016

Team Asia didn’t make it an easy feat for team Oceania. Representing the Singapore Polo Club, captain Satinder Garcha and his team played a battle of wits throughout the match – so much so the ball had to be replaced in the second chukka after going out of shape. Team Oceania managed to block several of their attempts at a goal, earning themselves the prestigious title, with team Asia taking the position of runner-up. Team America and Europe battled for the third and fourth placing earlier in the day, the former winning 41⁄2 under the leadership of Captain Francisco Guinazu.

BMW Singapore Beach Polo Championship 2016

The best partnership was evident in Ali Reda and his horse Ashhab as he took the Most Valuable Player award while Ashhab was awarded the Best Playing Pony title.

Besides an intense day of beach polo matches the audience also got to enjoy a quartet performance, Miss World Resort fashion show, and even participate in Singapore Polo Club’s Outreach Programme before the night culminated to an end with the after-party. Close to 700 guests and spectators, including His Highness Tunku Idris Iskandar Ismail Abdul Rahman Ibni Sultan Ibrahim, The Temenggong of Johor and Ambassadors from the many embassies in Singapore were in attendance.

BMW Singapore Beach Polo Championship 2016

“BMW has a long history with the sport of Polo and it was our pleasure to partner with the Singapore Polo Club to host the first-ever Singapore BMW Beach Polo Championship,” said Axel Pannes, Managing Director, BMW Group Asia. “The two-day event drew a truly international crowd and provided them a unique opportunity to witness one of the oldest sports in action. We look forward to collaborating with the Singapore Polo Club on future activities.”

Rickard Hogberg, President of the Singapore Polo Club also shared that this was the first time the team organized an event out of the grounds of the Club “For the first time, beach polo is being played on the sands of Singapore and I hope this will be a memorable experience not just for our players but also our guests and the public. This is an event which took about 2 months of planning and execution and this expeditious execution would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors, partners, guests and staff.”

Concours d’Elegance Dedicated To Pininfarina

Between June 2 and June 5, a special Concours d’Elegance will come to the town of Alassio, Italy celebrating the models and designs of the legendary car studio Pininfarina. This show, in conjunction with the late Senator Sergio Pininfarina’s 90th birthday, is a tribute to the globally recognized brand that he built up from a small automotive design studio. This event will also see some of the rarest and most exotic cars that the brand has offered on show together.

Pininfarina Sergio Concept

Pininfarina Sergio Concept

Two of the unique cars on show include the 1963 Lancia Flaminia Coupé Speciale and the 1947 Bristol 400 (just three survive) – plus a whole host of models stretching from names such as Maserati, Ford, Cadillac, Nash, Fiat, Rolls-Royce, Alfa Romeo, Peugeot, Volvo and even Hyundai, all of whom have turned to the firm at one point for inspiration. These production cars join hands with some of Pininfarina’s greatest concepts, all on show together. This includes the Ferrari Sergio (built in Sergio Pininfarina’s honor), the BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe of 2013 and the H2 Speed hydrogen fuel cell sports car that debuted at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. In short, it is a display of the best out there.

“In the year that my father would have turned 90 years, I thought the most beautiful homage could be a gathering of the cars he has loved most in the city that, together with Torino, has always occupied a special place in his heart, Alassio,” said Paolo Pininfarina. With a jury of Pininfarina family members and international automotive experts – four prize winners will be selected out of the cars competing. These awards include best in show and the Robert M. Lee award for the show’s most elegant car.

Pininfarina H2 Speed

Pininfarina H2 Speed

And while the entrance to the event will be exclusive, the cars competing will be taking to the streets in two separate processions around Alassio through June 3 and 4, allowing all to witness the spectacle on show. The city of Alassio itself has a special “Città di Alassio Award” for the best convertible on display, which it will vote on itself.

BMW M3 Celebrates 30 Years

When the original BMW M3 hit the scene, it completely rocked the notion of what could be done with sport sedans, and set in motion a performance arms race between BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Jaguar that continues to this day. Now, 30 years later, a special edition M3 is out to showcase the best the Bavarian automaker has to offer. The BMW M3 30 Years will be limited to 500 examples globally and goes on sale this summer, following hot on heels with another special edition M car – the M4 GTS.

One of the notable changes involves the performance itself. The engine has been tuned up to deliver an extra 19hp, shaving 0.1 seconds off its 0-100km/h time. Making use of this extra power, too, is the reworked Adaptive M Suspension, now with all new dampers, springs, and differential.


Interior changes aim to increase sportiness and comfort (objectives that are often at odds with each other), with special sport seats. The dashboard is finished in carbon fiber, and the seatbelts have been embroidered with the BMW ‘M’ stripes and seats and arm rests are wrapped in a two-color full leather Merino trim. The exterior features recognizably different forged alloy 20-inch wheels, black chrome tailpipe and front grille trim, and exclusive Macao Blue metallic paint.

For our money, despite some wonderful AMG-tuned Mercedes models and some ludicrously potent RS Audis, the BMW M3 and its M4 coupe are still setting the benchmark. They’re just that hard to beat, although we concede that this might be more perception than reality.

Mini Seven Blends Tech and Luxe

Sometimes smaller is better, as the old Volkswagen Beetle advertising campaign “Think Small” back in the 1950s proved. But while that campaign was based more around being economical, the Mini Seven, a new part of the Mini line-up, is set to match smallness with contemporary technology and luxury. The name in question references the Austin Seven model that Mini started production on back in 1959, way before the brand’s acquisition by BMW (probably unthinkable at that time).

Available in diesel and gas versions, the Seven can develop 170hp for the former, and 192hp for the latter. That puts the top speed at 141 or 146 mph respectively, with a 0-100km/h timing of 7.2 or 6.7 respectively. Average fuel consumption goes at 4l or 5.3l, while CO2 emissions go at 106 or 123g/km. Supercar this is not but it sure is cool. The Seven will be available in three- and five-door models with pricing yet to be announced.

Pushing up the features for the Seven, there will be LED headlights and fog lamps, and two-zone automatic air conditioning. There will also be the Mini Visual Boost radio, the Mini navigation system and the Mini Connected in-car infotainment system, ensuring up-to-date digital facilities. To help with driver-navigation, the Mini will come with a special Heads-Up display, driving assistant with cruise control, road sign detection, a collision and pedestrian warning system etc… All these technological functions are melded together and can be controlled via an optional 8.8-inch color screen.

Small, contemporary, and sturdy, the Mini Seven is connoisseurs who want a reminder of the past that is totally wrapped up in the present.

Images courtesy of BMW

BMW Singapore Beach Polo Championship 2016

German automobile giant BMW brings the “sport of kings” to the sunny shores of Tanjong Beach, Sentosa this year. We are talking about polo of course, beach polo.

As the first signature equestrian event in Singapore, the inaugural BMW Singapore Beach Polo Championship 2016 promises to be a phenomenal one. The globally renowned event – held from 4th to 5th June 2016 – is jointly organized by the Singapore Polo Club and BMW Asia, in partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board.

Image courtesy of Cable Beach Polo.

Image courtesy of Cable Beach Polo.

“Polo has been played in Singapore for many years, with 2016 marking the 130th anniversary of the Singapore Polo Club. We hope Singaporeans will take this rare opportunity to experience the excitement and energy of this great sport.”

Beach Polo-Sandpolo 2011 - Day 2 - 111

The equestrian event will see four teams compete for top honors over the two days. While guests take in this high-octane spectacle, they are indulged with quality catering and free flow of premium beverages, followed by a VIP after-party helmed by internationally-renowned DJs.

Beach Polo

Public spectators can also catch a glimpse of the equine athlete’s gladiatorial action as the event is open for free to the general public.

For VIP tickets, please contact [email protected] Tickets are priced as follows:

4th June , Saturday: S$250 per pax

5th June, Sunday: S$350  per pax

Weekend pass (4th & 5th June, Saturday & Sunday): S$500 per pax Singapore Polo

More information is available here.

Singapore Beach Polo L'Officiel 220mm x 285mm

Future Alternatives: What’s Next For Chinese Cars?

With the Beijing Auto Show ongoing this week, some of the important questions being talked about involve solving some huge problems attached to the idea of transport – such as the issue of pollution, or how to fix China’s road congestion. Electric cars and driverless cars may be the next big thing in the Chinese automobile scene but quite a lot of work is needed to get these measures off on the right track.

Electric Measures

Everyone has a general picture of Chinese smog and air pollution as a big problem but fixing it has always been quite rough. China’s government, though, is turning to electric cars as the key to solving the health crisis. Only one percent of the cars owned by the huge populace are actually electric cars, but that accounts for much. The country already took the number one spot for electric models last year with some 247,000 “zero emission” cars sold — quadruple the number in 2014 — according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. To incentivize drivers, the government is giving up to 55,000 yuan subsidies ($8,500) for each car, and electric cars are even exempt from traffic restrictions in China’s congested major cities.

Yet, while electric cars are more popular worldwide, particularly high-end brands like Tesla, the hefty price tags and restricted driving range means it’s still a niche market. Their evolution has been mainly state-subsidised, as in Norway, which has the world’s highest penetration at 17 percent of new sales in 2015. Still, the sizable market in China tantalizes many manufacturers.

Jean-Francois Belorgey, an expert with consultancy EY, predicted that by 2020, up to 750,000 electric cars will be sold in China every year. “China is perhaps the one place in the world where the automobile industry can achieve the economy of scale needed to bring down costs,” he said. In the meantime, the government is aiming for the loftier goal of at least five million rechargeable cars on the roads by 2020.

Both domestic manufacturers and foreign manufacturers are already planning their models and releases. One of these, on the domestic front, is market leader BYD, which also makes the Denza brand in a joint venture with Daimler. France’s Renault plans to release its Fluence ZE in China in 2017, and PSA group will be showing a unique C-Elysee electric sedan at the Beijing show that is due next year. Chinese companies have also provided funding for Western firms’ development projects, including Britain’s Aston Martin and the US’s Faraday Future, which sees itself as a possible competitor to Tesla.

Still, this isn’t the end of the problem. Ben Scott, an expert of electric cars with IHS, noted that it was merely “moving the CO2 from the exhaust pipe to a power plant somewhere” and, although it addresses the issue of “the concentration of particles”, it helps way less for the greenhouse effect. As long as power is still generated in carbon-intensive ways, the problem will still stick.

Drive Less

While many people would argue that the joy of the car comes from the control of the ride, the larger and more pragmatic Chinese populace are less particular about that. According to a survey by Roland Berger consultants in 2015, which found 96 percent of Chinese would consider an autonomous vehicle for almost all everyday driving, compared with 58 percent of Americans and Germans. We’ve heard, seen and perhaps experienced the horror stories of the accidents, often captured on Youtube and propagated on social media, and that probably accounts for the appeal – better safety through autonomous technology.

Still, the road has many flaws, especially because of large questions looming about the technology itself. “If you have someone jumping out in front of an autonomous car, does the car have to choose between killing that person, or swerving and crashing and killing the passenger?” asked Robin Zhu, senior analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein. Quite a paradox worthy of Isaac Asimov himself, if you ask me. Yet, Chinese businesses are ready to jump into the fray, taking the same path as companies like Google, BMW, Volvo, and Toyota.

Last week, ahead of the Beijing Auto Show opening on Monday, two self-driving Changan cars made a mountainous 2,000 kilometre (1,200 mile) journey from Chongqing in the southwest to the capital in the country’s first long-distance autonomous vehicle test. Another Chinese Internet giant, LeECO, is also venturing into autonomous technologies, unveiling Wednesday in Beijing an electric car that can park itself and be summoned to its owner’s location via smartphone. And late last year Baidu tested China’s first locally designed driverless vehicle, a modified BMW, with a 30 kilometre ride through the streets of Beijing.

The ready market is also bringing in interested parties from the outside, with top companies aiming to refine their driverless technologies. Swedish manufacturer Volvo, owned by China’s Geely since 2010, this month announced plans to test drive up to 100 of its vehicles on Chinese roads this year. Changan, a partner of Ford, is set to roll out commercial autonomous vehicles for motorways from 2018, while mass production of driverless city cars is projected to begin in 2025. The ultimate prize, notes the analysts, will be when mass transport firms such as taxi-hailing giant Uber, or its Chinese rival Didi, can deploy huge fleets of robot taxis.

On the logistical side of things, analysts are less optimistic. Production costs were still too high to make a robot taxi fleet viable, BCG’s Mosquet said. “There are still many questions to be resolved” before fully autonomous vehicles can be put into public use, said Jeremy Carlson, a senior analyst for HIS, pointing to an inadequate infrastructure and “chaotic traffic situations” on roads shared with cyclists and pedestrians.

In the push towards the future, though, it may be hard to stop moving. The only way to face the various hard-hitting issues within the country is an open mind, and a will for innovation.

BMW Individual 7 Series: Hand-finished Edition

Buckle up because BMW is about you take you on a very extravagant ride. To celebrate its centenary year, the German luxury automaker is building 100 individually numbered and hand-finished 7 series sedans.

The BMW Individual 7 Series THE NEXT 100 YEARS – to give the car its full and somewhat unwieldy name – will be available in two- or four-wheel drive and three engine choices: 4.4-liter TwinPower Turbo V8, plug-in hybrid, or the wild 6.6-liter TwinPower Turbo V12 with its 610 horses. Actually, the car is offered on a choice of three platforms, which you will have already guessed if you know your Bimmers. These are, in order, the  BMW 740Le iPerformance, 750Li, (both with or without xDrive), and of course the M760Li xDrive. Ok, to be honest, we really don’t like The Next 100 Years name and will join the chorus of voices across the Internet in asking BMW to consider changing it. Aside from being SEO-unfriendly, it is more importantly clunky, confusing and uninspiring. Our house style for example means we have to drop the upper case spelling.

To put it another way, for this very special occasion, BMW went the extra mile and looked to Hamburg-based luxury goods brand Montblanc for a meaningful collaboration. If BMW wants to give the world a hand-finished automobile with such lavish details that require (brand name) outside partners then it should put a little more care into the name. After all, a centennial comes around but once every hundred years.

Anyway, Montblanc is bringing its renowned flair for creating writing instruments to the table with a centennial fountain pen for each prospective Next 100 Years owner, using the same design features, materials and paint finishes that will adorn the customized car.

bmw_individual 7 series_the next 100 years_montblanc pen

Now this car has all the bells and whistles you would expect from BMW – every equipment specification comes standard here – but the feeling behind the whole effort is decidedly old school. Old World even. The car’s interior is blanketed in contrasting black and “Smoke White” fine-grain Merino leather and it of course features remote-controlled parking and other clever innovations.

bmw_individual 7 series_the next 100 years_interior

The car’s exterior is where the Old World quirkiness comes into play because that lovely blue finish you see here is the only one available. It is a special coat for the anniversary and as such is a standard feature. In short, if you are looking for this in salmon pink well, good luck… The forged lightweight 20-inch alloy wheels with a V-spoke design and handcrafted badges are also standard.

The cherry on this very decadent-yet-restrained sundae comes in the form of a plaque denoting the model’s number, between one and 100, on the center console’s cup holder cover so everyone, inside and out, is well aware your vehicle is a limited edition production.

Cruise M: BMW Limited Edition Bicycle

The phenomenal M2 sportscar by BMW has ramped up a huge amount of anticipation, priming car lovers for its imminent arrival. In conjunction with that, a bicycle sporting the same sleek metallic finish of the car will be released as a limited edition at 1,500 examples globally, each costing €1,400. The Cruise M is the miniature version, a toy if you will, to turn to if you would rather not shell out for a big boy’s performance toy like the M2 itself ($53,000 premium price tag – before options, before taxes). Also, the M2 deserves drivers who will both push it and enjoy doing so, which, if you are a 7 series person is probably not you…

Mind you, the Cruise M is a beautiful machine in its own right. While BMW is known mostly for automobiles, they’ve also been in the bicycle business for 60 years already. This expertise shows in the construction of the Cruise M, which is made out of carbon fiber and aluminum for strength without adding weight. The bike also sits on lightweight 28-inch wheels and has a 30 gear system. The frame has been shaped so that the crossbar follows the contour of a motorbike’s fuel tank and each section of the aluminum frame has been welded to make the finished result look like it was moulded out of a single sheet of metal. Every single one built will arrive with a plaque detailing its limited edition status and which of the 1500 examples it is.

Alongside this limited edition, BMW also announced their full Spring 2016 bicycle collection. They’ve added a small frame (160cm) option across their existing range of Cruise and Cruise e-bike models, as well as giving the Cruise e-bike a more potent electric assistance motor that now has a pedal-assisted top speed of 25km/h.

This year marks the company’s 100th anniversary in building cars. This is a nice addition to a brand that is still at the top of its game. Also, bikes are good for you and good for the environment.

Images courtesy of BMW

8 Motorbikes for Cross Country Touring

Spring is in the air, in the northern hemisphere at least, and the open road beckons. Rather than being cooped up in a car, we suggest getting a two-wheeler and making an adventure of the season. Can’t make up your mind on the perfect companion for the motorcycle road trip? Here’s our pick of eight two-wheelers for the little adventure.

Harley-Davidson Low Rider S

Harley-Davidson Low Rider S

We start with the Harley Davidson Low Rider S. The newest addition to the S Series by Harley Davidson is a more subdued mean machine with the bad-boy looks. Fitted with the the Screamin’ Eagle Twin Cam 110 engine —the most powerful by Harley Davidson — a two-cylinder V-twin engine, this is a pretty powerful machine. With 159 N.M of torque at 3,500 rpm and a heavy duty clutch, this classy custom cruiser is the way to go.

The Harley-Davidson Low Rider S starts from €19,290 via www.harley-davidson.com


Honda CB500F 2016

Next up, is the Honda CB500F 2016. With an adjustable front fork and brake lever, this motorcycle is suitable for those unfamiliar with bikes. Compliant with Europe’s A2 licensing category, this motorcycle is fitted with a decent sized fuel tank and LED lights as well as a masculine design. The only drawback of the machine, which you can’t tell from this image, is that it won’t be as comfortable to ride with a passenger.

The Honda CB500F comes at €5,599 via http://powersports.honda.com

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

KTM 1290 Super Duke GT

The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT oozes sportiness in its lightweight design fitted with a remarkable 173bhp engine and decent mechanics. Its 23-liter tank proves handy in Sport mode – one of its three ride modes. Along with high-end electronics, the KTM also stands out for an innovative semi-active suspension system. Press reports indicate that the passenger option is comfortable and reasonable, making it a proper touring bike.

The KTM 1290 Super Duke GT starts at around €18,200 via www.ktm.com

Aprilia CAPONORD 1200 Rally

Aprilia CAPONORD 1200 Rally

Aprilia’s new Aprilia Caponord 1200 Rally marks a more versatile model than any of its predecessors coming from the Italian bike master. Not only does it have a lively engine but that engine’s handling and the bike’s overall comfort has been boosted too. The compact and practical saddlebag cases are supplied as standard, though a rear mudguard and centerstand aren’t included in the standard package.

The Aprilia Caponord 1200 Rally comes priced from €16,499 via www.apriliausa.com


BMW R 1200 GS Triple Black

BMW R 1200 GS Triple Black

The famous R1200 GS is back with the BMW R1200 GS Triple Black – a special edition model with a black finish and cross spoke wheels. Being dark, sleek and mean with a four-stroke twin-cylinder engine, makes this an adventure motorcycle with a great handle on all kinds of roads and tracks.

The BMW R1200 GS Triple Black has an asking price of €16,575.

Honda NC750X 2016

Honda NC750X 2016

The Honda NC750X 2016 gets a facelift with a rugged style, making it a great open road model for the wayward adventurer. It also has a refined 750cc twin-cylinder engine, LED lights, an optimized front fork, and optional Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT). For the rider it also features a comfortable seat, wide handlebars and plenty of storage space.

The Honda NC750X 2016 places at $8,530 to $9,436 for the DCT model (€7,499 to €8,299) via www.honda.co.uk

Triumph Tiger Explorer Xca

Triumph Tiger Explorer Xca

A Triumph Tiger Explorer Xca is the all-terrain adaptable bike for any distance, with its modern assertive design and high end electronics. Electronic features include semi-active suspension and five different rider modes with different ABS, traction control and throttle maps. With an easy handle and pleasant drive, this is the offroad transcontinental explorer that is perfect spec-wise, while not being particularly overpriced for a bike of this kind.

The Triumph Tiger Explorer Xca goes at €19,700 via www.triumphmotorcycles.com


Ducati Hypermotard 939

Ducati Hypermotard 939

The Ducati Hypermotard 939 2016 is for the power of the ride. With a 937cc twin-cylinder engine with 113hp, the Hypermotard 939 comes with three-level ABS, eight levels of Ducati Traction Control and three rider modes. Although, the SP version has higher-spec features and improved handling for a more comfortable ride – thanks to the effective suspension system.

The Ducati Hypermotard 939 2016 goes at approx. €11,990 for the Standard model (www.ducatiusa.com) or €15,490 for the SP (www.ducatiusa.com).

This story was written in-house, based on a list created by the AFP

Goodwood Festival of Speed Honors BMW

We already knew that 2016 would be BMW’s year to shine and it seems appropriate that this is the first time ever that the German automaker will be given pride of place as the central display at the legendary Goodwood Festival of Speed. The full schedule regarding what to expect from the 24th annual edition is being kept a secret until April 12 but the organizers confirmed April 8 that the marque of honor is BMW.

Of the decision to choose the company, which celebrates its centenary this year, the Earl of March, the festival’s founder and the owner of Goodwood house, said: “BMW has created many landmark cars, and has an exceptional motorsport heritage in Formula 1, Formula 2, at Le Mans, and in a variety of touring car series around the world.”

It means that visitors will get to see some of the rarest and most exotic cars in BMW’s history, including a 60-year-old BMW 507 and a 1965 1800 TiSA being put through their paces on Goodwood’s hill-climb course. Fans of things that go very quickly on two wheels will be happy to learn that BMW’s motorcycle division will also be out in force on the circuit with a 1966 BMW R50 S Kaczor, a 1976 BMW R90 S 76 and a 1929 WR 750 Kompressor expected to compete.

Brabham-BMW BT52

Brabham-BMW BT52

Each year, the towering Gerry Judah-created sculpture that stands outside Goodwood House is adorned with actual legendary cars from the marque of honor. And, for 2016 the festival has chosen the BMW 328 Millie Miglia Roadster, the Brabham-BMW BT52 (designed by Gordon Murray, shown above), and the BMW V12 LMR (pictured top) that won Le Mans in 1999. “The sculpture will feature three cars which epitomize BMW’s competitive instincts and pursuit of technology,” said The Earl of March.

Other BMW-themed exhibits will include ‘M’ Avenue, a walk through the 40-year history of the M badge starting with the original M1 plus special concept models not just from BMW but its other brands – Rolls-Royce and Mini – that are being built to mark the company’s first 100 years in business.

“I am delighted that we will be celebrating our landmarks and achievements at Goodwood this year,” said Graeme Grieve, BMW Group UK’s Chief Executive Officer.

The 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed takes place in West Sussex, UK June 23-26. This year’s theme will be “Full Throttle – The Endless Pursuit of Power.”

1955 BMW 507

1955 BMW 507

4 Cars to Watch at Techno-Classica 2016

Techno-Classica makes its mark again this year as the largest classic car show in the world. Until April 10, 1,200 exhibitors will have 2,500 cars spread out across 20 halls at the Messe Essen in Essen, Germany. Of course, such a volume of exhibits going on makes it hard to know exactly what to focus on. These are some of the cars to look out for in the event:

The restored Porsche 911 S/T

The restored Porsche 911 S/T

Among some of the cars Porsche has lined up are the 944, 928, and also the 914. Yet, the main star still happens to be a restored 911 S/T that took two years to return to its former glory. This was the 911 that won its Le Mans class in 1972.

A 1966 Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider

A 1966 Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider

For BMW’s centenary, the company will be marking out milestone models throughout their history, including a 502 “Barockengell,” the 1600 that repositioned the company on the automotive map in the 1960s, and the very first M car, the original M1. Alfa Romeo, too, will be celebrating an anniversary, with its 50th happening this year. They’ll be honoring their Duetto – the two-seat drop top immortalized on screen in the movie The Graduate. Other milestones to be celebrated includes the 50th anniversary of Ford’s 1-2-3 Le Mans finish, and the 100th anniversary of Ferruccio Lamborghini.

This 1978 BMW M1 is to be auctioned at the 2016 Techno Classica.

This 1978 BMW M1 is to be auctioned at the 2016 Techno Classica.

Land Rover will be launching its “Reborn” restoration and sales initiative. Tim Hannig, Director, Jaguar Land Rover Classic, said: “[It] represents a fantastic opportunity for customers to own a valuable and collectable automotive icon. Reborn showcases Land Rover Classic’s expertise in restoring and maintaining our loyal customers’ prized Land Rovers.”

Techno Classica will mark the world debut for Land Rover Series I 'Reborn.'

Techno Classica will mark the world debut for Land Rover Series I ‘Reborn.’

Alongside the shows, the show auction is also a notable event held by COYS on Saturday April 9. This year’s lots have a combined potential value of €15 million and potential highlights include a pristine 1978 BMW M1 (estimated at €550,000- €650,000), a 1968 Ferrari 330 GT/C (€600,000 – €700,000) and a 1929 Lancia Lambada.

With all that running on, the Techno-Classica show is the perfect spot for classic car fans who prefer nostalgia to high-end gadgetry. They’ll have much to gaze and wonder at.

BMW Unveils ‘Smart’ Mobility App

BMW Connected is the new app released by the company that aims to be a driver’s ‘personal mobility companion’. It was unveiled at Microsoft Build and will be initially available for North American BMW drivers with an iPhone as a free download. The app was developed on the Azure cloud platform and provides users with a host of remote vehicle-related functions.

These functions include being able to check on a car’s location and fuel levels or to turn on the air conditioning, unlock the doors and, in the case of hybrid models, the state of battery charge. Also included is the ability to reserve a parking space, find a fuel station or charging point or an authorized mechanic. Yet, in order to differentiate itself from similar features available in other luxury cars, the app is a ‘smart’ app that is capable of ‘learning’ and picking up driver’s preferences or habits, and adjust to such mobility needs accordingly. One of the app’s smartest features is the ability to support or host the best functions of a user’s favorite third-party navigation or driving app so that everything is in one digital place — either on a smartphone or smartwatch and then seamlessly transferred to the car’s infotainment screen when it’s time to go.

It can also offer predictive navigation based on a user’s calendar, frequently traveled routes and live traffic flow data. It will alert the user when it’s time to leave, based on congestion. It will also calculate the ‘last mile’ portion of a journey — i.e., the route on foot once the car is parked. It will even give friends and family updates regarding estimated time of arrival.

The ‘smartness’ of the app was one of the reasons why it was presented at Microsoft’s developer conference rather than an auto show. With this, BMW may be able to break through the competition and place itself far ahead on the curve technologically, but it also spells a great advancement for the possible future of automobile tech in general.

BMW Marks Centennial Milestone

In light of its 100th birthday, the German car manufacturer unveiled its Vision Next 100, a concept car that combines a sleek coupé design with an autonomous driving mode as well as a shape-shifting interior. The futuristic car will be on display in Beijing from May 5 to 15, and sports seats that can be shifted to allow passengers to face each other, a steering wheel and center console that can retract and headrests that can be shifted sideways. From Beijing, the car will embark on a world tour including destinations such as the Paris Motor Show.

Vision Concept cars will also be unveiled by the Mini and Rolls-Royce brands, owned by BMW, on June 16 in London as well as the BMW Motorrad concept car in October 11 in Los Angeles. Once the world tour comes to an end, the cars will he housed in the BMW Welt plant in Munich, Germany that is home to the BMW museum. The museum, is currently holding a temporary exhibition entitled “100 Masterpieces. BMW Group — 100 years of innovative strength and entrepreneurial courage.”

Apart from BMW’s iconic vehicles such as the BMW 328, BMW 507 and the BMW Turbo on display, the exhibition will look back at the brand’s progress over the years and the many technical milestones in its history. Later in the year, the “BMW – The Next 100 Years” festival will be coming to the Munich Olympic Park (Olympiapark) and the BMW museum, September 9-11, for a weekend of entertainment and experiences in the company of celebrities, brand ambassadors, musicians and DJs.

The anniversary is also being celebrated with a collection of 13 centenary publications tracing the history of the group and its various brands (BMW, MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMW Motorrad) and outlining future challenges. In autumn 2016, the publications will be grouped together and released as a comprehensive limited-edition work.