Tag Archives: bmw

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.

Alpina to Unveil B7 xDrive in Geneva

Motoring enthusiasts are looking forward to Alpina’s latest work of art to join the BMW 7-series team. The announcement has been made that the car will be unveiled come March at the Geneva Motorshow.

It keeps the high-tech features that are usually found in the previous BMW 7-series editions while showing off a twin-turbo charged 4.4-liter V8 engine. A modern and sleek design, this is a high-performance vehicle that does not compromise on its aesthetics. Its interior is high-quality Lavalina leather that is hand-finished, for a polished feel.

Making its debut at the Geneva Motor show in March, the 2017 Alpina B7 xDrive delivers an impressive 600 horsepower and the same high-torque-low-revs ratio that characterizes Alpina in general. The eight-speed automatic transmission brings this power to all four wheels with ease, while the re-worked suspension system keeps it all under control. Going from 0 to 100 km/h in under four seconds, this luxury sedan can seriously put the pedal to the metal, as they say. Do remember though that there is no manual version of this vehicle, if the example of previous B7s is any indication.

On that note though, a first in the history of the B7 is the introduction of Integral Active Steering. The combination of variable ratio electric steering at the front axle and active steering on the rear axle provides the driver with a truly dynamic experience. The Alpina classic wheels that have Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires mounted on it further enhances the B7 xDrive.

The Alpina B7 xDrive will make its debut at the Geneva Motor show in March and will be made available to order from September. 

5 Key Automotive Concepts at CES 2016

CES 2016 may be over but the excitement it delivered will live on, especially now that it has become a car show. Ok that is a bit disingenuous but the world’s most important showcase of new technology has drawn the attention of automakers like never before. This year, we saw cars that come with their own pet drone and that respond to a wave of the hand; vehicles that provide real-time health diagnostics and that can automatically interact with everything from smart ovens, lighting systems and thermostats around the home. Truly, automakers made an indelible impression on this year’s Las Vegas technology extravaganza. Here are five important concepts, only two of which are from established car brands, that will generate buzz long after the Ehang drone has faded from view.

BMW

The BMW iVision Future Interaction Concept Car explores how drivers will keep control over the various in-car functions as vehicles become computers on wheels. The answer is panoramic touchless touch screens, responding to hand gestures instead. “This system is able to recognize 3D movements and relay them to the interface. This next step in gesture control will open up new possibilities,” said BMW’s Klaus Fröhlich. The concept is pictured above.

Bosch at CES 2016

Bosch

Bosch is trying to solve the problem from the opposite side. Its future dashboard system (above) is resplendent in touch screens but ones that manipulate the driver’s finger when touched that it feels like pressing a real knob or button. The sensation is remarkable and this sense of touching a knob makes a control easier to find, meaning there’s no need to take your eyes off the road. “We want to make people’s lives better and easier, and the key to this is connectivity,” said Bosch CEO Dr. Volkmar Denner.

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Rinspeed

Rinspeed’s Ʃtos concept had a drone for collecting supplies, videoing drives and scouting out the road head. It sounds leftfield but Ford also announced plans to integrate car and drone technology at this year’s show as a means of helping United Nations emergency response teams.

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Faraday Future

Faraday Future turned heads with its first car, the FFZERO1 – a single-seat electric racer straight out of the future. “On our platform, electric vehicles will not only deliver on sustainability, but will be seamlessly connected and exhilarating to drive,” said the company’s Nick Sampson. The car has a Bugatti-baiting 1000bhp and similar acceleration and top speed credentials. However it is just a concept. The first production car isn’t due until at least 2018.

Volkswagen

That means it will arrive at the same time as Volkswagen’s Budd-e, a battery-driven reimagining of its iconic Microbus. This is a little off our radar but given the recent issues faced by Volkswagen, positive developments should also be watched carefully. Revealed as a concept but one heading for production, the MPV can travel 500km+ on one charge and previews features, like gesture-operated doors and self-parking that are coming to the VW range shortly. “The original Microbus was the embodiment of peace, hope and happiness, an apartment on wheels. The future belongs to cars that make everyone happy,” said VW head Dr. Herbert Diess.

 

Luxury Carmakers Cheer Brilliant 2015 Finish

Even as prices at the pump hold steady at low rates, the premium segment of the auto industry is popping the champagne after an historic 2015. Over the course of last year, Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Volvo and McLaren have all set or are anticipating new sales records. Aside from sales, Ferrari is celebrating its independence and Hyundai is dropping in on the luxury market with the Genesis badge.

For McLaren, a supercar company that’s only been in business for five years, 2015 is the second year in succession that it’s broken the previous year’s record. Even though each model it produces is hand assembled, it delivered 1654 cars this year.

Demand is such that the company is introducing a night shift. “This accelerated development has led to yet another record year, with unprecedented levels of demand for all of our cars, especially the new Sports Series, for which we are currently holding more than six months worth of orders,” said CEO, Mike Flewitt.

Jaguar Land Rover has also enjoyed a bumper 2015, selling 487,065 vehicles – a 5% jump on 2014. “Customer response has been extremely positive, resulting in record retails across UK, North America and Europe. The appeal of our Jaguars and Land Rovers has also been recognized through over 95 global awards in 2015, including 15 for the Land Rover Discovery Sport and 19 for the Jaguar XE alone. 2016 promises to be another exciting year,” Andy Goss, Jaguar Land Rover Group Sales Operations Director, said.

Despite being implicated in the Volkswagen dieselgate scandal, Audi exceeded even its own lofty expectations – selling 1.8 million cars globally and for the first time crossed the 200,000-vehicle mark in the US where it can’t build SUVs quick enough to keep up with demand.

“2015 has proved that Audi is solidly on track and that we are able to master a year that presented various challenges very successfully,” Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi AG, said.

Meanwhile Volvo sold more than 500,000 cars for the first time in its history. “I am delighted to report that 2015 was a year of record sales,” said Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive. “Now, with a successful 2015 behind us, Volvo is about to enter the second phase of its global transformation. Once completed, Volvo will have ceased being a minor automotive player and taken its position as a truly global premium car company.”

Cadillac is also reenergized. After years of struggling to compete, it saw a 7.5% growth in global sales. “This creates a strong foundation for our two all-new products launching in the first half of 2016 — the CT6 prestige sedan and the XT5 luxury crossover,” stated Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen.

Mercedes and BMW remain the popular premium automotive brands to beat. Mercedes clocked up sales of 1.872 million vehicles globally, a 13.4% jump on 2014. “We anticipate additional sales impetus in 2016 from the new E-Class, the world’s most intelligent business saloon,” explained board member Ola Källenius.

BMW has yet to reveal full results from 2015 but the firm had already experienced a record 2014, selling more than 2 million vehicles globally; the Munich-based automaker passed the 2 million mark in November last, the first time it has ever done that by that point in the year. “The steady sales growth we’ve shown throughout the year so far reflects the great new products we currently have on the market,” commented Dr Ian Robertson, member of the board of management of BMW AG responsible for sales and marketing BMW.

This report was compiled by in-house writers, in combination with a wire report and image from the AFP.

Buy Damac Property, Get Free Supercar

We rarely cover promotions here because it is just too prosaic but Damac Properties – for the 10th year running – is offering something we cannot pass on reporting. In conjunction with the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), the developer is promising free 2016 models of the BMW 730i, BMW X6 and Lamborghini Huracan for buyers of its properties in Dubai. According to the Khaleej Times, which broke the story, eligible buyers will get their car upon payment of just 20 percent of property price. The promotion holds true for the full spectrum of Damac Properties, including the villas in Akoya, Damac Residenze in Dubai Marina, serviced apartments in the vicinity of the Burj and Versace-styled villas on Palm Jumeirah. Longtime readers will realize that we covered something similar some years ago right here, proving that some promotions are indeed worth revisiting.

BMW Brings In-Cabin Class to CES

German automaker BMW will share its automotive vision of the future at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show and, more importantly for sportscar fans, will be showcasing it inside a production-ready version of its i8 Spyder. This of course is tremendously exciting, as we reported earlier.

The hardtop, environmentally and racetrack friendly i8 is already a very cool and incredibly capable car. Using a combination of battery and gasoline power it performs like a supercar – 0-100km/h in 4.4 seconds – yet sips fuel like a supermini thanks to a 1.5-liter engine, and, as such, demand is outstripping supply despite its hefty €135,000 premium.

The only way to make it better is to build it in convertible form, and after several years of development it looks like BMW is ready to deliver.

However, just as important as the car will be the technology it will be showcasing when CES opens its doors on January 6 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Called AirTouch, BMW is billing it as the interior and user interface of the future and one that does away with taps, swipes, touches and on-screen taps altogether.

In October during a press gathering with Rolls-Royce design chief, Giles Taylor, the subject of integrating technology into automobiles was raised and particularly the idea of going from buttons and knobs to touchscreen interfaces as the convergence between cars and technology continues at pace.

He said the reason why Rolls-Royce had so far rejected touch screens was that he hated the idea of leaving fingerprints all over the beautiful fascia of one of his cars and that, more importantly, forcing the owner of a Rolls-Royce to have to reach forward and touch something rather than that something coming to him or her went completely against the grain of what a luxury car experience should be.

The story is important because as Rolls-Royce’s owners, it’s BMW that provides the infotainment aspects of each Phantom, Wraith or Ghost, and the two companies are clearly on the same page.

AirTouch promises to bring technology to the cabin with the requisite touch of class expected at the pinnacle of the car-buying market. In BMW’s words, the new technology will enable a display “to be operated like a touchscreen without actually having to make contact with the surface.”

Thanks to a raft of sensors, the driver or passenger can use simple gestures with a flat hand to access everything from the phone to navigation and entertainment settings. The system is intuitive too, so that if for example the phone is selected, the menus for contacts and recent calls automatically appear.

7 Contenders for Top Euro Car 2016

The Internet loves lists and the year-end period is full of them. This one in particular caught our eye, with two of our favorites – the BMW 7 Series and the Jaguar XE – making the cut. Behold the shortlist of nominees for European Car of the year 2016, released ahead of the awards ceremony on February 29 at the 2016 Geneva Motorshow. The AFP is right to note that this year’s pack is one of the most competitive in recent times.

There are many car of the year awards around the world but what makes the European event so noteworthy is that it represents the oldest, most mature, diverse and demanding of all automotive markets (North American car enthusiasts, register your complaints with the AFP).

Well, to be fair, it is an especially strong pack of contenders this year and crucially, there’s a very strong chance that the winner could be crowned car of the year for the very first time. Only two shortlisted manufacturers – Audi and Opel/Vauxhall – are former winners. Believe it or not, BMW has never won the top prize…

Audi A4

The latest generation car builds on the foundations of the last A4. It’s not overly aggressive to look at and it’s competent, rather than exciting to drive. But where it impresses is in comfort and refinement and that all-round sense of well-being that’s needed to stand out alongside the latest BMWs and Mercedes.

BMW 7 Series

Despite being runner up on numerous occasions, BMW has never won the ultimate prize. Even though the 7 Series sets new benchmarks for driving dynamics and tech in the highest echelons of the executive sedan sector, the fact that it is such a premium vehicle may count against it. Nevertheless, it is the first car that can be remotely parked via its key fob and has a very clever transmission that uses GPS to automatically pick the right gear to suit the road ahead. The luster of this series is precisely why it is one of our favorites.

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Jaguar XE

Lightweight (check out that almost-all-aluminum body), economical – so much so that it leads the class – and engaging to drive, this is one of the best Jaguars in years and certainly the most complete sedan. Even the infotainment and active safety features are on a par with the best from Germany and Japan.

Mazda MX-5

Despite changing trends and tastes, Mazda has never been tempted to tamper with the MX-5’s recipe. The latest generation is just as much fun to drive as the original car and is just as easy to live with.

2016 MX-5 Club (PRNewsFoto/Mazda North American Operations)

Opel/Vauxhall Astra

With the Astra, a huge dose of premium German quality has been injected into the mass-market family hatchback sector dominated by the Ford Focus and VW Golf. Sharp lines, good looks, full web connectivity and concierge service all come as standard.

Skoda Superb

If the Skoda emblems were hidden, it would be very easy to convince drivers that they were getting behind the wheel of a BMW or an Audi. The Superb really does live up to its name in terms of comfort, rear passenger space, quality and even exterior styling.

Volvo XC90

Like the 7 Series, the XC90’s price might put it out of the running as affordability is a criterion of the judging panel. However, this is the safest car currently on sale at any price and one of the most comfortable. It is also proof that making an off-roader that’s as elegant as it is robust is not a trait exclusive to Land Rover’s flagship Range Rover.

Volvo XC90

Third BMW i Model to Debut at CES

After the news of Porsche’s all-electric planned offering, the Internet is abuzz with news of more design-forward green vehicles, this time from BMW. The Munich-based automaker will soon be unveiling a new concept car to pave the way for a convertible version of its i8 electric sports car. The AFP, via Autocar, reports that the concept will be revealed at the CES 2015, which will be held in Las Vegas in the US from January 6 to 9, 2016. It will be directly inspired by the first BMW i8 Spyder concept, which was presented at the Beijing Auto Show in 2012, but never went into production. You can read Autocar‘s original take here.

2016 could therefore see a third model added to the BMW i offering which currently consists of the small electric i3 city car and the i8 hybrid sports model. Launched in 2011, BMW i is a brand that is separate from the German group, offering both premium and visionary cars that are fully or part electric and inspired by sustainable development.

The BMW i3 is a small fully electric coupe with autonomy ranging from 130km (in Comfort mode) to almost 200km (EcoPro+), with zero CO2 emissions due to its 170hp electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery. The BMW i3 can be equipped with an autonomy extender as an option. This takes the form of a 34hp two cylinder gasoline engine, placed next to the electric motor above the back axel. This extends the autonomy range to a maximum of around 300km. The BMW i3 can be charged at a public charging station or using a conventional socket.

The BMW i8 presents itself as a real sports car with a gasoline engine and an electric motor, totaling 362hp (respectively 231hp and 131hp) with a top speed of 250km/h and acceleration from 0 to 100km/h in only 4.4 seconds. In fully electric mode, it has an autonomy of almost 37km and a maximum speed of 120km/h. Its average fuel consumption is 2.7l/100km, i.e. CO2 emissions of around 49g/km.

The rumor of a cabriolet version of the BMW i8 is not new. This “BMW i8s”, or “i8 Spyder”, could be one of the major announcements made by the brand to mark its centenary in 2016. Compared to the BMW i8, this two-seater could have an even more sporty design, with a new suspension and wider tires. It could have a maximum of 500hp according to reports by specialist websites.

CES takes place January 6 to 9, 2016 in Las Vegas.

Frieze Art Fair London 2015

BMW to unveil 7 Series Lounge at Frieze Art Fair

Frieze Art Fair London 2015

BMW has announced that it will present its “BMW 7 Series Lounge” at the 2015 Frieze Art Fair.

The group, which is the partner of the 13th edition of the contemporary art fair, will use the lounge to showcase its new 7 series model and maquettes of BMW Art Cars designed by Andy Warhol (1979) and César Manrique (1990) during the event.

Three exclusive sound installations by artists Alicja Kwade, Xaviera Simmons and Sergei Tcherepnin will also be unveiled by the car manufacturer, and the brand will team up with Soho House to present the debate series “BMW Art Talk”, featuring artist Christian Jankowski and the director of the art program at the Royal Academy, Tim Marlow.

The Frieze Art Fair will run October 14-17, 2015.

BMW X4 M40i

BMW unleashes M Performance X4

BMW X4 M40i

A new 355bhp version of BMW’s smallest crossover coupe is about to hit the road and it’s gunning for the Porsche Macan.

The new model, the X4 M40i, will move right to the top of the X4 range when it goes on sale, promising a heady mix of practicality and power.

Four doors, space for four adult passengers, plenty of luggage space and a commanding driving position combined with a 0-100km/h time of just 4.9 seconds and limited top speed of 250km/h.

Its 3-liter twin-turbocharged straight six engine is a brand new powerplant and as well as offering up 355bhp it is also capable of delivering 8.6l/100km in terms of fuel consumption and combined CO2 emissions of 199g/km.

And even though it isn’t an official out-and-out M car — like the larger X5M and X6M crossovers (or Sports Activity Vehicles, as BMW likes to call them) — it still beats its closest rival, the Porsche Macan Turbo in terms of emissions, economy and, crucially acceleration.

BMW Concept M4 GTS

BMW introduces Concept M4 GTS in Pebble Beach

BMW Concept M4 GTS

The BMW Concept M4 GTS unveiled in Monterey ahead of the official start of this year’s Concours d’Elegance is a track-focused yet road-legal take on the already potent M4 coupe. And while the company might be calling it a concept, make no mistake: this car will be going into production.

And, just as importantly for BMW drivers in general, rather than simply the lap-record setting obsessed, a number of this car’s technological tricks will be filtering down to the company’s wider range.

BMW Concept M4 GTS

The coolest of these tricks is a water injection system. Spraying water vapor into the engine ahead of the fuel cools everything down.

Colder air is denser, meaning that the subsequent combustion of the fuel is more potent and powerful and that means that turbo boost pressure can also be dialed up even more.

In layman’s terms it means that the engine has extra power or extra fuel efficiency but without having to increase or reduce that engine’s size or capacity. It’s an ingenious idea.

BMW Concept M4 GTS

As is swapping the traditional rear headlamps for OLED units, which are brighter and quicker to react than LEDs, and one light unit can be programmed to produce the several different colors needed to tell those behind whether you’re stopping, turning left or backing up.

BMW Concept M4 GTS

The car boasts manually adjustable carbon fiber front splitter and rear wing so that it can be set up ‘just right’ for different track events (or driving on the road) and sits on special lightweight alloy wheels. In a further bid to improve handling, the hood is plastic-reinforced carbon fiber; as well as cutting weight and increasing rigidity, the use of the composite lowers the car’s center of gravity, crucial for driving close to the limits.

BMW Concept M4 GTS

One thing that the company hasn’t revealed is the car’s vital performance statistics. The ‘standard’ flagship BMW M4 Coupe can go from 0-100kph in 4.3 seconds and on to an electronically limited top speed of 155mph (250kph). So the GTS will have to be something special indeed if it’s to better those numbers when it goes into production.

2015 BMW 7 Series teaser

BMW to unveil first 7 Series in seven years

2015 BMW 7 Series teaser

Viewers of a June 10 public livestream will see the German manufacturer unveil its new flagship vehicle, the .

The model’s last major revision was in 2008, and this new luxury vehicle is the result of a complete overhaul from the ground up.

New levels of technology and comfort are expected, with the 2016 7 Series also acting as foundation for a new Rolls Royce and a first ever 7 Series super-sized SUV, the X7.

Official site live.bmwgroup.com will host the presentation which is to run 18:50 – 19:20 Central European Time, with introductory speeches from Group CEO Harald Krüger, Research & Development head Klaus Fröhlich, and Design Director Adrian van Hooydonk.

BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage teaser image

BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage Concept Coming Soon

BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage teaser image

BMW has announced that its big concept car reveal for this year’s event will be a modern-day interpretation of its formidable 3.0 CSL coupe of the 1970s — the car which really established the company’s racing credentials.

Every year, the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, an event that is equal parts incredible scenery and fabulously rare and exotic classic car show, thanks to its location on the banks of Lake Como, Italy, honors a particular aspect, decade, model or marque in automotive history.

And 2015 will be no exception because when the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este opens its doors to the public on May 22, it will do so to celebrate the jet-setting style of the 1970s.

Therefore, it should come as little surprise that the BMW 3.0CSL will be one of the potential stars of this year’s event.

With its exaggerated chin spoiler, huge rear wing and massive, flared rear air intakes, it not only dominated touring car and endurance racing, the BMW 3.0 CSL was also the first car built by the company that children wanted to pin to their bedroom walls alongside posters of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches.

Alexander Calder BMW Art Car

The 3.0CSL was also the very first ‘Art Car’. In 1975, US artist Alexander Calder decided to use one as a canvas and by the end of the decade, Andy Warhol, Frank Stella and Roy Lichtenstein had also followed suit.

This year’s event will see those initial Art Cars reunited for the first time alongside the most recent effort, from Jeff Koons. All of which will provide the perfect backdrop for this year’s show concept.

Called the BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage and thus far merely teased with cropped images, it promises to be a modern-day reimagining of the iconic coupe, complete with the spoilers and air intakes.

But as well as capturing the original car’s looks, BMW’s design team claim that the new concept also reflects the original’s philosophy.

 BMW 3.0 CSL

The 3.0 CSL Hommage will be seriously lightweight and stripped back, thanks to carbon fiber and every feature inside and out will be there to serve a clear purpose rather than to serve an aesthetic need.

Very few show cars that BMW brings to the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este ever go close to becoming a production reality.

However, the company is strongly tipped to be resurrecting the CSL nameplate as a sub brand to distinguish its most extreme, stripped-back race-focused road cars of the future.

BMW 3 Series

Facelifted BMW 3-Series debuts

BMW 3 Series

German carmaker BMW’s most popular model gets a subtle exterior nip and a tuck but a serious internal update for 2015.

The new sedan and estate car has been tweaked to look lower, wider and more dynamic — thanks to new bumpers and headlights.

The chassis and suspension system have also received some serious attention so that the car remains fun to drive, even in the face of increasing competition from the like of Jaguar.

The most noticeable change for 2015 however, will be found under the owner’s right foot.

That’s because each of the three- four- and six-cylinder gas and four-cylinder diesel engines offered for the new car are new powerplants, with new levels of performance or efficiency, depending on whether economy or excitement is at the top of your list.

one-yuan banknotes

Woman pays for BMW with one-yuan notes

one-yuan banknotes

A woman stunned staff at a car showroom by making a part payment for a new BMW 730Li using 100,000 yuan ($16,400) in one-yuan banknotes.

It took 20 employees in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, China six hours to count the money – without any rest – SCMP reports.

The unnamed buyer, who owns a food retail business, paid the rest of the cost of her one-million-yuan car with her bank card.

She said people often paid her at work using small denomination notes.

As she was often busy she had decided to keep the banknotes until she was able to spend them all at once when buying a car!

bmw i8 concept spyder photo

BMW i8 wins UK Car of the Year

BMW i8 series sportscar

The BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sportscar has been named as the UK Car of the Year for 2015.

The UK Car of the Year Awards are judged every year by 27 motor journalists. There are 12 different categories. The BMW i8 won the overall title and also performance car of the year.

For BMW, it was the second successive year of victories for their hybrids; last year the i3 took the top award at the UK Car of the Year Awards.

Judges praised the i8’s fusion of looks, performance, and ecological nature.

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The Citroën C4, Best Small Hatch, was the next in line, with Best City Car category winner, the Renault Twingo, in third.

The European Car of the Year Awards are to be announced on March 2 at the Geneva Motor Show, where both the C4 and Twingo are among seven finalists, and BMW’s 2-Series Active Tourer is also in the running.

The World Car of the Year Awards follow on April 2.

mercedes benz bmw logo

Luxury car brand sales hit record levels in 2014

mercedes benz bmw logo

German automakers BMW and Mercedes said Friday they attained record sales in 2014, their fourth in a row, driven by rising demand in all regions.

 said in a statement it delivered more than two million vehicles to customers in 2014, “the company’s fourth record year in a row.”

It said it sold a total 2.118 million BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce vehicles, 7.9% more than the year before.

“I am delighted that we achieved our target of selling more than two million vehicles in 2014, a new record for the BMW group. We have seen good growth throughout the year, well spread across all major sales regions,” said the group’s sales and marketing chief Ian Robertson.

“We are now looking forward to building on these successes in 2015.”

Separately, , which is owned by Daimler, also posted the “best-ever sales in the company’s history.”

Sales of Mercedes-Benz rose by 12.9% to 1.65 million, its fourth straight year of record demand.

“Mercedes-Benz is on a course of success. The best sales in our company’s history show that our product offensive is bearing fruit,” said chief executive Dieter Zetsche.

He attributed the group’s success “in particular to our compact cars, the new C-Class and the S-Class.”

But the group managed to increase grow unit sales in all core markets, Zetsche said. “In 2015, we will continue our product offensive in the SUV (sports utility vehicle) segment,” the CEO added.

BMW Remote Valet Parking

BMW wants your smartwatch to park your car

BMW Remote Valet Parking

A fully-automated Remote Valet Parking Assistant will be one of the major highlights of the German carmaker’s appearance at the CES 2015.

BMW will be bringing a specially adapted version of its i3 electric car to the show that can safely negotiate a multi-storey parking lot, and identify and park in an available space with no human input at all.

All the owner has to do is get out and activate the system via his or her smartwatch and leave the car to its own devices.

Even smarter still, the car can work out exactly when its owner is returning and meet him or her at the entrance.

BMW i3 electric car interior

Self-parking cars are not new. In fact one of the stars of the 2013 International CES was an Audi A7 that could park and un-park itself when the driver activated a smartphone app. What makes BMW’s system that little bit special is how the car navigates the parking lot.

GPS systems are unreliable indoors, as anyone who’s tried setting the satnav while in a multi-storey parking lot can attest to.

So the BMW system uses a system of four lasers in conjunction with a detailed digital map of the space.

As well as straight forward navigation, the lasers can identify oncoming traffic, pedestrians, when a space is occupied and when a car is badly parked and needs to be avoided.

The other benefit is that parking lots won’t have to invest in complex infrastructure or sensors that communicate with cars for mapping purposes.

The BMW system is equally effective on the open road, providing 360° collision avoidance and alerting the driver as to potential obstacles and even taking control in emergencies, turning the wheel and applying the brakes.

BMW 2 Series Convertible

BMW reveals the 2 Series Convertible

BMW 2 Series Convertible

The replacement for the popular BMW 1 Series Convertible has been revealed and it’s called the 2 Series Convertible.

This is the third car in the all-new  line up, joining the 2 Series Coupe and 2 Series Active Tourer models.

The 2 Series’ predecessor sold more than 130,000 units worldwide, so BMW has high hopes for its drop-top replacement.

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It’s bigger in pretty much every way than the car it replaces so that rear-seat passengers get an extra 43mm of leg room and the trunk now offers 353 liters of space when the roof’s up.

When dropped and folded into the trunk, load space drops to 280 liters, but for a car that’s only 4432mm from nose to tail that’s not bad.

To improve space inside without impacting on performance, BMW has opted for a lighter fabric rather than a heavy metal retractable roof.

And rather than try to disguise the fact the car has a ‘soft’ top, BMW is accentuating it by offering owners a choice of fabric finishes to complement or contrast the exterior paint job.

BMW 2 Series Convertible interior

Although using a fabric soft top can mean that the cabin is noisier and colder when the roof’s up, because this one has four layers, BMW says that cabin noise in the rear has been cut by 7 decibels.

Meanwhile, the system knows when the roof is down and can automatically compensate for big changes in temperature and the speed at which the car is travelling.

Other intelligent touches include a special leather finish that incorporates something called SunReflective technology, which means that when the roof’s down and the sun’s shining into the cabin, the leather seats shouldn’t heat up as much.

In terms of engines, at launch there will be a choice of three petrol powerplants, the most exciting of which — a twin turbo in-line 3-liter six-cylinder — will be found in the M235i.

It is capable of going from 0-100km/h (62mph) in 5 seconds when power is sent to the rear wheels via an automatic transmission.

There will also be one diesel available in the 220d that offers less in way of performance but incredible gains in fuel economy of 4.4 – 4.1 liters per 100 kilometers (64.2-68.9mpg) when specified with automatic transmission.

The 2-Series Convertible will go on sale in Europe in October and will be on public display at the Paris Motor Show.

BMW i8 Concours Elegance Edition

BMW i8 Concours d’Elegance Edition Revealed

BMW i8 Concours Elegance Edition

BMW has announced plans to offer an i8 Concours d’Elegance Edition at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

The BMW i8 is extremely lightweight and uses a plug-in hybrid powertrain consisting of a 128bph electric motor powering the front wheels and a three-cylinder turbocharged 1.5-liter, 228bhp petrol engine spinning the rear wheels.

The result is a car that can go from a standstill to 100km/h in 4.2 seconds and on to an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h yet delivers a fuel economy of 2.1l/100km and carbon dioxide emissions of just 49g/km.

That makes the car faster off the line, lighter and more efficient than a current Porsche 911 Carrera S despite being bigger and only having half as many cylinders under the hood.

SEE ALSO: LOUIS VUITTON CREATE CUSTOM BAGS FOR BMW I8

Unsurprisingly, demand for the standard edition is already very high ahead of the car’s official launch in the US this autumn, therefore the Concours d’Elegance Edition could be a great way of jumping the queue!

The BMW i8 Concours d’Elegance Edition will come with a unique Frozen Grey metallic exterior paint finish and an interior trimmed in Dalbergia Brown leather upholstery that has been tanned using dye derived from plant extracts.

It will also be the first BMW i8 to land on US shores with laser headlights as standard and its own professional charging station.

SEE ALSO: BMW TO REPLACE LED LIGHTS WITH LASER HEADLIGHTS

It even gets a special ‘display’ key that has an integrated touchscreen and that can show information such as remaining battery power, range and the closest charging station, at a glance.

The auction will be conducted by Gooding & Company on Saturday, August 16 with all proceeds going to the Pebble Beach Company Foundation and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

The i8 is expected to fetch between $150,000 and $200,000 and the auction will be broadcast as a live stream via Gooding’s website.