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VIDEO: Hot hatch mixed masters

Autocar A45 AMG v Golf GTI v M135i

Steve Sutcliffe from Autocar has had the enviable task of comparing a trio of very different hot hatches. There’s the 265kW four-cylinder all-wheel drive Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG, the 250kW inline six-cylinder rear-wheel drive BMW M135i and the 169kW front-wheel drive Volkswagen Golf GTI.

They are three very different hot hatches. Indeed aside from country of origin and the fact all three are turbocharged they don’t really have a lot in common. Pricing, especially, is very different. And yet, if you had the chance to drive all three on the same roads on the same day you’d grab the opportunity with both hands.

So put aside the practical differences for a moment and enjoy the ride. Then, at the end, you can try and rationalise the outcome.

[Thanks to John for the tip]


BMW 4 Series Coupe revealed

F32 BMW 4 Series Coupe

BMW has now released a full suite of information and images for its all-new F32 4 Series Coupe. Based on the F30 3 Series saloon the Coupe has a slightly restyled front to help emphasise the width of the car.

In profile and three-quarter view the 4 Series has a long bonnet and almost liftback-like appearance to the rear. This didn’t seem as apparent to us on the Concept 4 Series Coupe revealed late last year. Overall we think the production 4 Series looks pretty good, although the front edge of the bonnet does have a droopiness to it that we’d like to see in person before forming a finite opinion.

At launch you can have the 4er in three specifications. Starting with the four-cylinder turbo 420d, you’ll have 135kW/350Nm on tap. If you’d prefer petrol power you can have either the 180kW/350Nm four-cylinder turbo 428i or the range-topping 435i powered by BMW’s much loved turbocharged 3.0 litre straight six producing 225kW/400Nm.

There’s another 70 photos waiting for you after the break, including a handful of pics showing the M Sport kit. That will give us a small taste of what to expect for the highly anticipated M4. In addition to the pics we’ve also given you access to the full 36 page press kit.


BMW 3 Series GT – Australian pricing announced

BMW 3 Series GT

BMW Australia has announced pricing for the 3 Series GT. It’s still a while away from finding its way into local showrooms, but the biggest 3 Series money can buy will kick off proceedings with three engine options:

  • BMW 320i Gran Turismo – $69,500
  • BMW 320d Gran Turismo – $71,800
  • BMW 328i Gran Turismo – $76,500

(Manufacturer’s list pricing)


OFFICIAL: The new BMW 1 Series hatch

BMW 1 Series hatch (F20)

Here are the official words and images for BMW’s new world order 1 Series. For now, we’re still in rear-wheel drive mode, but don’t forget there is a front-wheel drive 1er is on the way, too.

The slightly bloated F20 1 Series is 85mm longer and 17mm wider than the E87 model it replaces. Overall height remains the same. Other measurements of note to change include the wheelbase, 30mm longer, and, significantly, the front track is now 51mm wider and the rear track has had 72mm added. All that means there’s now an extra 21mm legroom for rear seat passengers and the rear cargo area now offers 360 litres of space, up from 330 litres.

Five four-cylinder engines are offered in this initial release and, for the first time in the compact class, an 8-speed auto is available. The 135kW 120d is the quickest model announced to date and can reach 100km/h in 7.2 seconds. You can thank a generous 380Nm of torque for that.

There are two other diesel engines provided, as well. The 118d has 105kW/320Nm and reaches 100km/h in 8.9 seconds. The entry-level 116d offers 85kW/260Nm and requires 10.3 seconds to reach the speed limit. All feature common rail injection, TwinPower Turbo technology and use around 4.5 litres of diesel per 100km.

Completing the engine range is a 125kW/250Nm 118i (7.4s 0-100) and a 100kW/220Nm 116i (8.5s 0-100). Like the diesels, the petrol engines rely on forced induction and boast fuel consumption in the high 5s per 100km.

So far it looks like the new 1 Series isn’t winning many fans for its looks. We’re still convinced feelings will soften once we start seeing the 1er on the road, but tend to agree it’s certainly not the prettiest car BMW has ever made.

After the break there’s a concise press release and a massive image gallery of 85 pics to help you get used to the new look.

UPDATE: The press material released by BMW Australia only lists info on the 118i, 116i and 118d; surely giving a hint to their model plans for the F20. They’ve also offered a far more detailed press release, which has now been added below.

UPDATE 6 June: BMW Australia is expected to launch the new 1 Series some time after October this year.


BMW 328 Hommage

BMW 328 Hommage

This striking creation is called the BMW 328 Hommage, a concept vehicle made to honour the 75th anniversary of the original BMW 328. It was revealed at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este last weekend. We think it looks fantastic.

Pleasingly, it has been built following the lightweight principles of its forebear and power comes via a 3.0 litre inline six cylinder. Classic BMW in all senses.

There’s an initial press release after the break along with a few pics. We’ll be back later to add more images for you to admire.

UPDATE 4 June: 34 new pics added below.


BMW 1M CSL rumour ignites

BMW 1M Coupe

At the recent UK launch of the BMW 1M Coupé the seed for a new and possibly very exciting rumour was sewn. We’re told James Morrison, BMW UK product manager, is the man responsible after he said, “There is scope for a CSL version.”

Adding context to that comment is the fact 300 of the 450 1M Coupe models alloctaed to the UK market were sold prior to its official release. Demand that BMW wasn’t expecting, and on a worldwide scale too, could have them thinking there is some more 1M cash to milk.

Morrison explains, “This car [1M Coupé] has certainly generated a buzz. When we planned for this car we were cautious, but now there’s some hype surrounding the 1M so there’s clearly going to be some people looking at what we can do next.

“M is the pinnacle of engineering so if there’s a CSL proposition or something really different that we could consider then we would. If there’s something special and unique we can do with it then absolutely we would.”

We’re doubtful a 1M CSL could happen so late in the 1 Series model cycle, but we remain hopeful. Then there’s the cost to consider; would you pay M3 money for a slightly lighter and quicker 1M?

[Source: Car Dealer Magazine]

UPDATE: A reminder that a 1M CSL was hinted at last December. How does 332kW (445hp) sound?!


BMW UK opens eBay store

BMW UK eBay store

BMW UK has taken the interesting step of forming an official partnership with eBay. The move will allow owners to purchase original parts direct from BMW without needing to visit a dealer. At this stage, BMW Australia has no plans  to follow suit.

Official manufacturer eBay stores sound like a good idea to us, what do you think?


BMW 1M Coupé really makes its mark

BMW 1 Series M Coupe

A couple of weeks ago we showed how the BMW 1 Series M Coupé was beginning to make its mark with owners. Since then the press reviews have started rolling in and it’s all good news for the baby M.

First, 1addicts brings news that German rag Sport Auto has run the 1M through one of its famous track tests at Hockenheim. The result? A best lap time of 1:14.1. That’s one tenth slower than a manual equipped Porsche Cayman S. Impressive, hey? Well, consider this; it’s one tenth faster than an E92 M3 with DCT.

Autocar said: “The longer you spend at the wheel of the M Coupé, the more you come to appreciate its overall ability. Its focus is perhaps a little broader than we’ve come to expect from BMW M… It’s not a junior M3, as many suggested it would be. No, it has its own distinct character and, in real-world terms, is a good deal faster than its more expensive sibling.”

Car said: “The 1-series M is a proper M car, no doubt… It’s definitely not a hotted-up 135i, and now we’re looking forward to the future of M.”

Inside Line said: “Let’s not extend the suspense any longer. The 2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe is a fantastically compelling machine. It is fast… It has a truly brawny engine that sounds great at wide-open throttle, handles with all the precision expected of a car wearing the evocative M badge, and is super practical given its performance brief.”

Yeah, you’d like one too?

[Pic: Sport Auto]


BMW M Festival in June to debut two models

BMW Concept M5

In an interview on the BMW M-Power website Dominique Gargiulo, head of marketing for M automobiles at BMW GmbH, brings word the upcoming M Festival, to be held during the Nürburgring 24 hour race weekend in late June, will provide a chance for them to show off a couple of new cars.

Gargiulo states, “we will be taking the opportunity to exclusively present two brand-new M automobiles for the very first time – for the enjoyment of our most faithful customers and fans.”

The reveal is scheduled for the Friday evening prior to the race start. Educated speculation leads us to believe the two cars will be a lightweight CSL-inspired M3 EVO saloon and a production-ready M5, which has only been shown in “concept” form to date.

The Nürburgring 24 hour race is already a great landmark on the motoring calendar, and now it looks like there’s even more to look forward to.

[Source: M-Power]


M5 watch: Exclusive customer previews

If you thought the release of official images of the new F10-based Concept M5 was going to be the end of the official teasing from BMW, you were wrong. Okay, we know what the car looks like and Autocar has given us a taste of the performance we can expect, but we still haven’t seen full details from Munich. We’ll have to wait until the Frankfurt Motor Show in September for that.

So, then, that leaves us with a couple of customer preview videos that don’t really offer too much. Dr Kay Segler, gives us a bit when he speaks to camera, so watch out for him. He’s the guy  in the retro inspired M leather jacket.


BMW 1M Coupé begins to make its mark

BMW 1M Coupe

The highly anticipated BMW 1 Series M Coupé is starting to find its way into the garages of some very chuffed new owners. Australian buyers have to wait until June for their own 1M experience, but those on the waiting list will be encouraged by a couple of stories that have come our way via Bimmerpost.

First 1M story off the rank, so to speak, centres around one very lucky Canadian buyer who took the European Delivery option for his 1M. This is something not generally open to buyers down under and we recommend you put aside some time to read the excited tale of 1addicts poster WLKSFTLY. Well, wouldn’t you want to collect your 1M by having a chat with the M GmbH engineers who helped create the car and then cap it off with a few laps at the Nürburgring if you could?

The Alpine White 1M you see above belongs to a Swedish buyer and he has also been on a tour of sorts, knocking out laps at the Ring, as well as Spa and now Dutch circuit Zandvoort. While in the Netherlands Driving Fun had a crack and wrote a review of the car. Of course, they wrote their thought in Dutch, so we only have a crudely translated para to share with you:

“On the circuit. With over 240km/h approaching the next corner. Short and hard braking, submit, and in passing through the apex challenge your right foot off the engine again. On the adjacent straight feel the adrenaline flowing through your body—a pleasant tingle.”

Dr Segler’s goose pimples we presume? Follow the links below for more.

[Source: Driving Fun via Bimmerpost]


Next BMW M5 spied showing off 7-speed DCT


A while back there was a minor scare that the F10-based BMW M5 would be made with an auto transmission only. Recent info suggests that won’t be the case and a 7-speed dual clutch transmission will be used instead. A theory supported by these latest spy shots. That won’t appease slaves to self-shifters completely, but it is a mildly better alternative.

We’re still expecting to see the new M5 debut in Shanghai in April, before hitting European showrooms around the time of the Frankfurt show.

There’s a few more spy shots after the break, or you can follow the source link below for more.

[Source: 5Post]