Premium German carmaker BMW is presenting the second generation of a variant of its globally successful sports sedan developed exclusively for the Chinese market. The long-wheelbase version of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan will celebrate its world premiere at the Auto Shanghai 2019 show. Tailored specifically to the requirements of Chinese customers, it combines the new, elegantly sporty and emotionally rich design of the latest-generation BMW 3 Series Sedan with the most spacious and comfortable interior of any premium mid-size car, plus ground-breaking innovations in intelligent connectivity.
The long-wheelbase version of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan meets the needs of young, progressive customers in the Chinese market. It was developed alongside the new BMW 3 Series Sedan with standard wheelbase at the BMW Group’s Munich home in cooperation with Chinese engineers. With a wheelbase extended by 11 centimetres and exclusive equipment features, the long-wheelbase version of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan offers exceptional driving pleasure and outstanding comfort for rear passengers. It is also the first model available in China to feature the innovative BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, which elevates intuitive operation and driver/vehicle interaction to a new level.
The long-wheelbase version of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan will be produced by BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) at its Tiexi plant in Shenyang, Liaoning Province (north-eastern China). The facility began operations in 2012 as the second production plant in the BMW Group / Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd. joint venture. Among the models built here is the China-only variant of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan with standard wheelbase, which will likewise be unveiled for the first time at Auto Shanghai 2019.
The two body variants of the new sports sedan allow customers in China to plump for either extra dynamism or even greater comfort. Both model variants have all the ingredients to build on the successful history of the BMW 3 Series Sedan, which in China is headlined by an incredibly rapid growth in demand. Much of the credit here goes to the long-wheelbase version, which accounts for almost 80 per cent of 3 Series Sedan sales in China. All in all, around one in three new BMW 3 Series cars will be delivered to customers in China.
With this prognosis in mind and in keeping with the “production follows the market” principle, capacity at BMW Brilliance Automotive’s Tiexi plant has been ramped up once again. This demand-oriented production strategy is also contributing significantly to the burgeoning success of BMW models in other segments of the Chinese car market. Like the BMW 3 Series Sedan, the BMW 5 Series Sedan and BMW X1 are also offered in long-wheelbase versions developed specially for Chinese customers – and produced in Shenyang exclusively for the Chinese market.
New design language and distinctive proportions.
The distinct character of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan in long-wheelbase guise stems from its extra 11 centimetres of wheelbase and the associated increase in seating comfort and legroom in the rear compartment. Its body design blends the new, extremely precise design language and sporting aura of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan with distinctive proportions. The new car improves significantly on its predecessor’s aerodynamics by virtue of finely judged optimisations. Encompassing an exterior length of 4,829 millimetres and a 2,961-millimetre wheelbase, the exterior dimensions of the new long-wheelbase BMW 3 Series Sedan outstrip those of any other car in its class. BMW’s hallmark sporting prowess is embodied here by short overhangs, a long bonnet and a set-back passenger compartment. The four-door model’s stretched silhouette underscores its inherent elegance and hints at the enviable spaciousness of the interior.
The powerful stature and sporty looks of the new long-wheelbase BMW 3 Series Sedan are accentuated by the 18-inch light-alloy wheels fitted as standard. The long-wheelbase version of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan features LED headlights with extended features. The trapezoidal tailpipe embellishers of the twin-pipe exhaust system add an eye-catching design flourish to the rear of the car.
Interior: extra space and exclusive appointments.
The extended wheelbase and stretched flank lines of the new long-wheelbase BMW 3 Series Sedan are all about increasing spaciousness for rear-seat passengers. The rear doors are also 11 centimetres longer than those of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan with standard wheelbase, allowing particularly easy access to the rear seats. Add the special shaping and pampering upholstery of the rear seats to the mix and you have an outstanding level of rear-seat comfort over long journeys. The new long-wheelbase BMW 3 Series Sedan also offers an extra 43 millimetres of legroom in the rear compartment over the new BMW 3 Series Sedan with standard wheelbase, which sets a new benchmark in the class. The newly designed headrest, with their super-comfortable cushions, and the central armrest between the rear seats are likewise designed to provide a cosseting driving experience, while roomy map pockets are integrated into the front seat backrests. The design of the speaker covers has been developed specially for the Chinese market. In another model-specific feature, the ambient lighting also includes an illuminated contour strip on the back of the front seats. The luggage compartment of the new long-wheelbase BMW 3 Series Sedan can swallow 480 litres of gear, including as many as three golfbags.
The comfort-oriented character of the new long-wheelbase BMW 3 Series Sedan is also highlighted by a host of other model-specific equipment features. The panoramic glass roof, for example, ensures an effective supply of fresh air and a light, airy ambience for the interior. The attractive specification also includes a sports leather steering wheel with multifunction buttons and electroplated applications, and three-zone automatic climate control (with separate controls in the rear compartment and active carbon filters to optimise interior air quality). Like the rear-seat passengers, the driver and front passenger settle into comfort seats with Sensatec trim. Pronounced contouring, exclusive stitching and comfort headrest also help to make both the front and rear seats exceptionally pleasant places to be. Defining features of the driver-focused cockpit include instrument cluster/Control Display grouping and the modern design of the centre console, which houses the gearshift selector lever, Driving Experience Control switch, Controller for the iDrive control/operating system and button for the electromechanical parking brake. Two USB ports in the rear compartment and another under the centre console armrest between the front seats allow those on board to plug in digital devices.
The acoustic glass of the windscreen and optimisations to other body details ensure an extremely effective level of soundproofing for the interior. The ambient lighting includes the Welcome Light Carpet, which generates a striking light graphic where the driver and passengers get into and out of the car. Added to which, the new long-wheelbase BMW 3 Series Sedan comes with illuminated door sill plates for both the front and rear.
A four-cylinder engine from the latest generation of power units developed by the BMW Group in Munich brings sports performance to the BMW 325Li launch model. The new petrol unit generates maximum output of 135 kW/184 hp from its 2.0-litre displacement and peak torque of 300 Nm (221 lb-ft). It is produced at the BMW Brilliance Automotive engine plant in Shenyang and features advanced BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. A twin-scroll turbocharger, High Precision Injection, VALVETRONIC fully variable valve timing and Double-VANOS variable camshaft control deliver instantaneous response, the appetite for revs drivers expect from a BMW, exceptional efficiency and minimised emissions.
The engine teams up with an eight-speed Steptronic transmission to send its power to the road through the rear wheels.
Advanced driver assistance systems pave the way for automated driving.
The selection of driver assistance systems on board is significantly more extensive than on the predecessor model, and their innovative functionality helps pave the way for automated driving in the new long-wheelbase BMW 3 Series Sedan. Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Change Warning, Rear Collision Prevention and Cross Traffic Alert are joined by Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function. Driving Assistant Professional also contains other features – including the Steering and lane control assistant, which takes its lead from road markings and vehicles travelling ahead and keeps the new long-wheelbase BMW 3 Series Sedan safely on track in traffic jams and bottlenecks. At speeds of up to 60 km/h (37 mph) and under certain road conditions, the automated driving mode can be used for an unlimited time as long as the driver maintains concentration on the road. To this end, their line of vision is monitored permanently by a camera integrated into the cockpit. Another element of Driving Assistant Professional is the Emergency Stop Assistant.
The Parking Assistant, which gives the driver a helping hand with manoeuvring and parking, is included in the new long-wheelbase BMW 3 Series Sedan. It takes over steering, braking and acceleration duties when parking in spaces parallel with and perpendicular to the road and when manoeuvring out of parallel spaces. The system also features Active Park Distance Control, the Reversing Assist camera, the Lateral parking aid and the reversing assistant.
Control/operation and connectivity: China premiere for the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant.
The modern, digital functions of the new BMW Operating System 7.0 – geared precisely to the needs of the driver – optimise intuitive operation in the new long-wheelbase BMW 3 Series Sedan. The system comes with BMW Live Cockpit Professional, which encompasses consistently designed, situation-linked and customisable screens for the fully-digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster and 10.25-inch Control Display. Touchscreen functionality for the Control Display, the iDrive Controller, steering wheel buttons, voice control and gesture control (optional) give the driver various operating methods from which to choose.
Another new arrival in the field of control/operation and intelligent connectivity is the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, an intelligent, digital character that responds to the prompt “Hey BMW” and is making its debut in a model offered for the Chinese market. One unique feature over other digital assistants is that drivers can give him a name. The arrival of the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant ensures there is always a genuine BMW professional on board. He is able to explain all sorts of different functions (“How does the High Beam Assistant work?”), provide current status information (“Is the oil level okay?”) and help answer questions (“What warning messages do I have?”). The Intelligent Personal Assistant is, in short, the ideal co-driver and comes in particularly useful during everyday driving by responding to natural voice commands to help the driver with numerous tasks, such as enhancing productivity and on-board entertainment. The range of functions and skills available will be constantly expanded as part of regular updates, which can be carried out seamlessly on a smartphone and in-car by Remote Software Upgrade.
The long-wheelbase version of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan will only be available in China.
The US American Revival Cycles motorcycle customizers presented their latest creation on Thursday evening, 11 April 2019. The unique bike named “The Revival Birdcage” was based on the prototype of a completely new type of BMW boxer engine. The bike was unveiled at the exclusive Revival Party on eve of the annually held Handbuilt Show in Austin/Texas.
“The “Revival Birdcage” turned out great and really showcases our Big Boxer perfectly”, says Timo Resch, Vice President Sales and Marketing BMW Motorrad. “Following the “Departed” from CUSTOM WORKS ZON, this is the second fascinating custom bike built around the prototype of the BMW Motorrad Big Boxer. We will also be showing a BMW Motorrad developed concept bike featuring this engine in the first half-year of 2019. BMW Motorrad will present a series production motorcycle with the Big Boxer for the Cruiser segment in the course of 2020.”
“We admire the work done by Revival, who have developed into one the most noteworthy US customizers in the custom scene over the last years”, says Timo Resch at the Handbuilt Show. Naturally we want to keep growing. One step we will take to do so, certainly in the US market, is to enter the Cruiser segment. BMW Motorrad is consistently pursuing its growth strategy with the clear aim of becoming the number one in the Premium Big Bike Segment.”
The frame of the “Revival Birdcage” is made of titanium and was developed by Revival Cycles itself. “This was our first time to build a frame with titanium, that alone was already a significant challenge”, says Alan Stulberg, head of Revival Cycles. “Regardless, the frame came together very well in the end and we are very pleased with the result as it accomplished the goal of being nearly transparent. We wanted to focus attention on the engine and that is precisely what we achieved with this completely unique frame we designed. You can easily view the engine and the drivetrain from all angles.” In addition, almost every single other part on the bike such as handlebars, footrests, shift lever, seat and unique carbon suspension components were all individually crafted.
Alan Stulberg’s team was inspired by Ernst Hennes’ record-setting machines from the late 1920s and early 1930s. It took around six months to develop the motorcycle. “We had already dreamed about this bike for years and in December 2018 we received the engine and could finally get to work”, says Alan Stulberg. “I have always been a fan of the boxer engine, but the pure physical size and aesthetic appeal of this prototype really inspired us.” The bike was completed in time for the Handbuilt Show in a period of nearly five months.
There had already been a lot of speculation about the large-capacity prototype engine on location. Both the exterior geometry as well as the visible elements such as the push rods running in chrome-plated protection ducts are reminiscent of the BMW Motorrad boxer engines that were built in the 1960s. Just that the cubic capacity is now much larger now and modern air-oil cooling is used.
In December 2018 already the Japanese motorcycle customizer CUSTOM WORKS ZON presented the “Departed” at the Hot Rod Custom Show in Yokohama, Japan. This fascinating custom bike was the first motorcycle built around the prototype of the new BMW big boxer. The spectacular design met with great approval in the custom scene and even won the “Best of Show Motorcycle” award, the highest decoration in the Hot Rod Custom Show in 2018. The “Mooneyes Show”, as it is also referred to in the custom scene, attracts around 15,000 visitors every year and counts among the most important shows on customizers’ calendars.
Our April Members Meeting was held at Traction Tyres in Rowville. A good turn out of members assembled for the evening and after sharing news and upcoming event information, Jo Mawson introduced more new members who were attending their first meeting. It was great to able to welcome these people into the Club and share stories about our common interest in the BMW Marque.
Pizza and soft drinks set us up for the main event of the evening. The owner and manager of Traction Tyres is Andrew McCathie, who has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in business, but also in motorsport. Andrew has competed in various levels of tarmac rallying and other motorsport disciplines. He has a wealth of knowledge gained over many years of involvement with pit crews and with people at the cutting edge of tyre design and management in his role of tyre supplier.
Andrew explained the history and development of cross ply then radial road and competition tyres, and how the currently available tyre types are so very complex, yet so suited for their various purposes (including club level competition). Andrew de-mystified the tyre nomenclature markings that have confused most of us until tonight. His insight and readiness to share his extensive knowledge was greatly appreciated by all. Tyre temperature, pressures and wall flex data were discussed in detail – subjects that have baffled and perplexed most of us in the past.
Of interest me was Andrew’s discussion around the newly released Yokahama ‘hybrid’ road/competition tyre. These tyres offer a compromise for normal road use and occasional tarmac competition use. These are the Yokahama Advan Neova AD08 tyre. When I first became aware of these tyres during a discussion with Graeme Bell, I thought they could be a good option for me. I wasn’t keen to buy and maintain full track tyres for club sprint days, but at the same time I didn’t want to continue using road tyres on the track following a bit of an ‘off’ at Philip Island T12 last year. Graeme informed me of Traction Tyres Rowville involvement with our club as a sprint sponsor, so I contacted them to discuss the Yokahama hybrids.
Andrew and his staff really looked after me in every respect – explaining the product, arranging a fitting/balancing time to suit me (I drove up from the Mornington Peninsula and was on a tight schedule) and making sure I was happy following my purchase. I was very pleased with the price – much less than I initially expected. I had 205/50R 15s fitted to my 1984 E30 323i. I bought five tyres.
I have used the AD08s only once on track, and that was on a very wet day at Haunted Hills. I did notice a huge improvement in grip from my previous tyres. I drove my car to this event early in the morning on a dry freeway and I can say the handling of my E30 was much better than before I changed to the AD08s. We had only two dry runs on the track, and both showed how much better my car handles now. I am looking forward to seeing how we go at Sandown next month.
A great night of new and valuable knowledge for us all. I can say from first hand experience that Andrew and his staff stand by their product and offer excellent advice on any tyre questions you may still have.
Jim Tucker | Member #26BMW Drivers Club Melbourne
Well what a day. Same conditions as my first ever hill climb this time last year - wet track, rain and wind! As was commented by local members of Gippsland Car Club, "Welcome to our Haunted Hills!"
One word of wisdom to first timers here - grab a garage. For $50 in these weather conditions, you’ll be thankful you did. Especially for those who arrive on road tyres and then switch to track tyres. For my part, swapping out with a well-worn set of A050s is no fun out in the carpark.
So with my well-worn A050s fitted onto my E30 and scrutineering completed, driver briefing is called. I can still recall one marshall’s closing comment, “If you’re on R-spec tyres you might struggle getting any heat into them, you might do better on your road tyres”. Hmmm.. Mine have not let go so far, okay, let’s give it a go anyway!
The day started with a Clockwise Figure Eight. Completing all six runs albeit extremely slow on my first (wet track… will my cold worn A050s, let go?), I improved by 17 seconds. Pretty happy with that!
The next session was a Clockwise Loop (starting to feel a little better now - but yes, it’s still raining), I improved by 5.5 seconds.
The final session was a Clockwise Double Loop (you guessed it, still raining), I improved by 3.5 seconds.
Now this is where it did get interesting, coming into the final run of the day, believe it or not, a chance for a dry run. "Okay" I thought, this is going to be my best of the day. I can put a little more into this one. Well I did, did it pay off? No! I lost grip at the bottom of the track, losing the rear of my E30 into the rough. No drama, straighten up, back on track, grumble and growl at the bad run time - will have to excuse myself about that one!
Once back in the garage and commencing the swap from track back to road, I discovered it was not the track on my final run that let me down… it was in fact my rear A050s - they were completely bald. I did think this would be the final round for them anyway. Plan already in place to get over to Traction Tyres.
Despite the conditions it was a good day. The realisation of the challenge you have set yourself in some pretty poor conditions, yet come out with no more than a few lawn clippings under your guards, leaves you with a real sense of achievement.
If you have not tried a Hill Climb then give it a go. It’s nothing like a typical track day, yet it is an experience well worth trying.
Simon Meens | Member #45BMW Drivers Club Melbourne
MONTH IN REVIEW
We had a very busy month in March - not only did we have an event almost every weekend but we were also working behind the scenes to finalise our first club magazine. We were overwhelmed with responses for names for our magazine but unfortunately there can only be one winner. Our winning name was suggested by multiple people and in the end it came down to the most creative response as to why the name should be chosen. Come along to our first birthday celebration to be one of the first to find out the name of our new magazine and to see it first!
Event-wise we kicked off our month with our Drive to Apollo Bay (Ft. E30s). We had some beautiful (and hot) weather for our drive along the Great Ocean Road, with those who could, making great use of their convertibles. Read more about our drive here.
Next on the calendar was our March Members Meeting at Shannons featuring a presentation on car manufacturing and assembly. It was a fantastic, informative night. Read more about it here.
On 9 and 10 March we were then off to the Island for Phillip Island Festival of Speed. This is always a fantastic event, certainly one not to miss if you love all things classics. We had some international visitors, Adam and Sally attend with us, read Adam's recap of the weekend here.
Always one of the most popular displays, is at the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix. We are only allowed to have a maximum of 20 cars and were oversubscribed! We had a fantastic display, with the cars ranging from Lawrence’s 700 right through to Walter’s new M5 Competition. We had a lot of interest and even gained a few new members. Even CAMS did a very nice write up on us on their website, which was great to read. The Australian F1 Grand Prix is one of the best F1 events to go to anywhere, there is so much to see both on track and around the precinct. Read about Igor and Steve's weekend here.
We finished the month down at Haunted Hills for Round 2 of the Traction Tyres/Yokohama Drivers Championship, where we had a great turnout considering the weather. It was a drizzly, wet, it doesn't seem to matter when we go down there it rains! Regardless, everyone had a great day and lots of laps were had on four different layouts of the track. Keep an eye out, later in the year we have been invited to enter an inter-club championship at Haunted Hills, so when entries come out, I will let you know and we will put a DCM Team together to enter if we have the interest.
Our First Birthday Celebration!
12 months.. where did it go?
We are excited to be able to celebrate our first birthday with you in just a couple of weeks! Join us at The Vincent, Albert Park on 13 April 2019 to celebrate all that was in our first year.
We will also be presenting awards for the 2018 Drivers' Championship, the Cup Day Show & Shine, Member of the Year, the President's Award and Special Recognition Award.
We will also be launching our brand new magazine which has now been finalised and sent to print. If you entered the naming competition, make sure you attend to find out if you're the winner!
If you attend only one event this year, make sure it's this one! Details and registration here.
MEMBERSHIP UPDATE: 360 MEMBERS
Welcome to all our new members, we look forward to seeing you at an upcoming event!
Don't forget to catch up with this month's update from our President, Graeme Bell here.
THE MONTH AHEAD
A slightly quieter month ahead for us in April:
26 May Go Karting at Auskarts Racing
For all our members who love a bit of an adrenaline fix, this event is the one for you!
BMW CLUBS AUSTRALIA NATIONALS
Every 2 years the BMW Clubs from all over Australia come together at the BMW Clubs Australia Nationals. It is a chance for Club Members from all the clubs to meet and share their love of their BMW’s with other people from all over the country. The BMWCA Nationals is held in a different location each time, with the last one in 2017 held in Brisbane.
NEWS | BLOG
BMW CLASSIC NEWSLETTER
The official BMW Clubs around the world are supported by BMW through its BMW Clubs and Community Management section of BMW Classic. Click here to subscribe to their newsletter.
President | Graeme Bell 0407 186 296
Vice President | Jo Mawson 0412 661 900
Secretary | Lawrence Glynn 0414 563 290
Treasurer | Shaaron Glynn
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne Inc.
Proudly supported by:
Every year March seems to be one of our busiest months and 2019 was no different!
We started the month with a run down the Great Ocean Road to Apollo Bay featuring E30s. We took one of my original E30s out for a run and had a great time, enjoying the trip down and back and really nice lunch at the Apollo Bay Hotel.
The March Members Meeting was a very interesting show and discussion about the BMW factory and production processes in general from our Secretary Lawrence, who spent 20 years as a Production Engineer and was a great turnout for an interesting night.
The display season is still in full swing, whilst the weather is still fine, and March sees two of our most popular display events. The first one is at the Phillip Island Classic, the largest historic race meeting in the Southern Hemisphere. It is a fantastic event where major sponsors Shannons invite Clubs to put on a display and offer pace car laps on Sunday as well. Both Saturday and Sunday we had a lot of cars join us, with all the banners and flags up you couldn’t miss us up on the hill. Even some of the drivers commenting that it was great to have the club there and so visible, supporting all the BMW’s on the track.
Always one of the most popular displays, is at the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix. We are only allowed to have a maximum of 20 cars and it is always over subscribed! We had a fantastic display, with the cars ranging from Lawrence’s 700 (the car that saved BMW) right through to Walter’s new M5 Competition. We had a lot of interest and even gained a few new members. I must say thank you to Lawrence for being there each day to meet and chat to people that wandered by. Even CAMS did a very nice write up on us on their website, which was great to read. The Australian F1 Grand Prix is one of the best F1 events to go to anywhere, there is so much to see both on track and around the precinct, we are very fortunate to be able to show our cars off to people from all over the world, that come down to enjoy the GP.
We finished the month down at Haunted Hills, where we had a great turnout considering the weather. It was a drizzly, wet and at times windy day down in Gippsland for Round 2 of the Traction Tyres/Yokohama Drivers Championship. Seems it doesn’t matter when we go down there it rains! Regardless, everyone had a great day and lots of laps were had on four different layouts of the track. Keep an eye out, later in the year we have been invited to enter an inter-club championship at Haunted Hills, so when entries come out, I will let you know and we will put a DCM Team together to enter if we have the interest.
It is amazing to think, only a year ago we were jumping through hoops, crossing ts and dotting is on everything we needed to do to form a new Club. It was a huge job, getting approvals from BMW in Germany, from Clubs Australia and all the other Clubs here, but well worth it. When we look back on the last 12 months, what we have done as a Club, the events we have run (over 50 of them!), people we have met, it makes me very proud to see we did the right thing in forming a new Club. We are now at 360 members and on the verge of being the third largest BMW Club in Australia, an amazing achievement in only one year!
Thank you all for supporting us and coming on board and helping to make this the best BMW Club. I am very much looking forward to our Birthday Dinner in a couple of weeks. I hope lots of you will be there to help us celebrate!
Then it’s on to our second year and more of all the things you love. Check the calendar for all the upcoming events, including the BMW Clubs Australia Nationals over Easter.
Looking forward to seeing you at an event soon.
Graeme Bell | President
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne Inc.
P.O. Box 81, TYABB, VICTORIA. 3913
Incorporated in Victoria #A0102695GBMW Drivers Club Melbourne Inc is a member of:BMW Clubs Australia and the BMW Clubs International CouncilCAMS Affiliated Motorsport Club
The two BMW M6 GT3s finished in fifth and eighth positions in the “California 8 Hours”, the second of five races in the Intercontinental GT Challenge. Augusto Farfus (BRA), Martin Tomczyk (GER) and Chaz Mostert (AUS) from the BMW Team Schnitzer crossed the finishing line in Laguna Seca (USA) in fifth place after 326 laps. They had recorded the same result at the season-opener in Bathurst (AUS). The Walkenhorst Motorsport drivers Nick Catsburg (NED), Mikkel Jensen (DEN) and Christian Krognes (NOR) secured eighth place in Laguna Seca.
The two BMW M6 GT3s started the 8-hour race from sixth and seventh positions, in sunny but cool conditions. Jensen performed strongly in the opening stint in the #34 car, moving into third place directly from the start and then handing the BMW M6 GT3 over to Catsburg in fourth position. Tomczyk got held up in the tightly-packed midfield, which cost him some time.
The #42 BMW M6 GT3 continued to improve as the race progressed, staying just ahead of the #34 car at the halfway point. A drive-through penalty for Tomczyk after his collision with an Audi saw the two cars swap places for a while, but the BMW Team Schnitzer prevailed to finish in fifth place. Walkenhorst Motorsport also received a drive-through penalty for being under the minimum pit-stop time, which set the team back by several places. Victory was claimed by Ferrari with the #27 car.
In the GT4 class, Daren Jorgensen, Brett Strom and Jonathan Miller (all USA) secured second place in the BMW M4 GT4 from RHC Jorgensen/Strom by Strom Motorsport.
There will now be a longer break until the third race of the Intercontinental GT Challenge season. The 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL) is scheduled to take place on 27th/28th July.
Augusto Farfus (#42 BMW M6 GT3, BMW Team Schnitzer, 5th place):
“I think that fifth place was the very best that we could achieve. We did not have the best car for this circuit, but we got the best out of our package. This means that we are still in the running in the championship. Of course, we would like to get wins and podiums, but fundamentally it is about staying within striking distance of the leaders. We managed that today.”
Martin Tomczyk (#42 BMW M6 GT3, BMW Team Schnitzer, 5th place):
“I am very sorry about the collision with Markus Winkelhock. I was really close to him in the Corkscrew turn, then I lost some downthrust on the front axle and hit him in the rear end. This caused him to spin around. Things like that shouldn't happen, but they unfortunately do occur in motorsport. This incident was my fault and I have no complaints about the drive-through penalty. In general, it is very difficult to overtake on this circuit. Unfortunately, I lost a lot of ground early on. Our speed was very good later on, but the gap to the podium positions was already just too large in such a tight field.”
Chaz Mostert (#42 BMW M6 GT3, BMW Team Schnitzer, 5th place):
“That was my first time driving in Laguna Seca. Many thanks to BMW M Motorsport and the BMW Team Schnitzer for this fantastic opportunity. I think that fifth place is not such a bad result, all in all. I am already looking forward to the next chance to drive for BMW. I feel right at home in the BMW Team Schnitzer.”
Nick Catsburg (#34 BMW M6 GT3, Walkenhorst Motorsport, 8th place):
“I am not displeased with that. If you take the extremely slippery track and the heavy tyre wear into account, then eighth place is OK. Circuits that demand a lot from the tyres do not suit the BMW M6 GT3, so we knew that this would not be easy.”
Mikkel Jensen (#34 BMW M6 GT3, Walkenhorst Motorsport, 8th place):
“The circuit here in Laguna Seca is legendary. It is every racing driver’s dream to drive here one day and this dream has now come true for me. Unfortunately, the track is very slippery and we were not able to get the maximum level of grip. This does not suit our BMW M6 GT3, as it performs at its best when it can take plenty of grip and speed through the turns. That was not the case here.”
Christian Krognes (#34 BMW M6 GT3, Walkenhorst Motorsport, 8th place):
“We had the speed to compete with the leaders. However, the key thing was to take care of the tyres on a circuit that was very slippery. We tried to keep them alive for as long as possible.”
It doesn’t seem 5 minutes since I went on the launch drive for the then new F30 (6th generation) 3 Series and yet here I am, freshly returned from driving the 7th generation G20.
The 3 Series is still BMW’s bread and butter, a car it has to get right. So, have they?
Looking back at my notes from the F30 drive I see I was somewhat disappointed. I was not alone. The car seemed a bit disconnected and lacking the driver dynamic we so associate with BMWs until pushed. The M Sport version was better but still not quite there on feel.
In fairness, BMW have oscillated between dynamic, feelsome 3 Series cars best aimed at the enthusiast and somewhat more placid iterations which will suit the volume buying general public. It is a hard act to balance the competing needs, and what I see as a delight to drive others may find too nervous or edgy, and vice versa.
But I am glad to report that the mojo is back.
Hopping out of my daily drive (a 5th generation E90 320d) into the G20 330i MSport was like changing from of my favourite shirts to another. Instantly comfortable and at home, even though the dashboard has gone all digital and looks almost alien. Except, the fuel, speed, revs and temp left to right layout is still there (not present in the E90 sadly) dating back to the 1936 328. I’m not sure yet whether I like it, but I don’t dislike it.
I recently drove a 440i F33 (essentially 6th gen 3 series with a different name) convertible and whilst that was familiar enough, it drove like the rest of the F3x range, only perhaps more so being a convertible, remote and wafty.
The G20, however, felt much more like my E90 and E46 318i before it. There is a nice weight to the steering and a direct response from the car with instant feedback on what was going on at ground level. I felt I could place the car accurately and securely.
The ride was a revelation after complaints that the E90 and F30 were too jiggerly and harsh over broken surfaces. It was altogether smoother than either of those models but not soft or jouncy over bigger bumps. In Comfort mode the body control did seem a little lacking over just one section of unmade road with some sections partially washed away, but in Sport mode it was fine without being too rough. Corrugations along the dirt road section of the route were not only smooth but quiet. Impressive.
But don’t think this was a corner carving drive with tyres screeching, it was rather more sedate than that. So what it is like as one approaches the limit I can’t say. But the point is it felt like fun at safe and moderate speeds, and that is probably more important.
Although, it did not feel as quick as it clearly is. The stats show it gives my E46 M3 a run for its money in a straight line, but it did not feel that quick even though the speedo begged to differ. We opened the (optional) sun roof for more aural feedback but there wasn’t any really. I would have loved a loud button, even if it was only louder inside. There’s a beautiful engine note in there trying to get out I’m sure. But I may not want the loud button pressed all the time – on the freeway for example when a bit of peace and quiet on a long trip is preferred.
So, it drives well, and looks good in my book. There are a few touches which make me scratch my head – the crease where a “air blade” vent should be just behind the front wheel but isn’t. The extra trim to repeat the Hofmeister kink immediately behind the rear door. Not sure I would want to clean the fake air intake grilles around the front, but they look nice when someone else cleans them. The “shark nose” effect of the grille works for me. Overall, a progression from E90 through F30 and concluding at G20 looking a bit tauter at each step.
The boot is huge, although the side mesh pockets may be annoying as the mesh can not be taken down as far as I can see. There does not appear to be a way to pop the floor mat up and hide things underneath, such as umbrellas, shopping bags etc, a pity.
Of more concern, there is no spare wheel yet the tyres are not run flat in every case.
The rear seat has plenty of leg room, as it should with the inevitable stretch of wheelbase. Even with the sunroof the headroom in the back was just enough for my overly long body thanks to the roof being sculptured behind the sun roof cassette. The rear passengers can now control their own air con etc settings, neat.
Talking of the sun roof, it has a concertina cover along the sides reducing wind noise.
But back to the driving seat where the buttons around the iDrive controller seem to keep growing, adding the electric park brake and hill hold controls plus the Start/Stop button off the dash, but this time it seems thought out and intentional. The cover in front of the gear selector looks better too, moving out of the way at a touch to reveal two generous cup holders (there are bottle holders in the door pockets), a 12 volt power socket (used to be a cigarette lighter socket) and a USB socket with a non slip platform which doubles a wireless phone charger if your phone does this.
The trio of buttons for the safety systems now have a proper place and the pull down lidded cubby to the right of the steering column returns.
The direction indicator stalk is of the mechanical kind, as per the F30 and the E46 and before rather than the soft touch used on the E90 which I greatly prefer. Likewise the windscreen wiper stalk which has to be moved to position 1 for Auto, thus preventing a manual flick wipe in auto mode, rather than the E90 push button for Auto I prefer.
But there is loads of neat tech, including active cruise control with lane keeping which will regulate speed, distance to car in front and steer between lane markings. Great in traffic but a bit over the top on the freeway.
Being a day time drive I can not report on the lights, but I am sure they are at least as good as the amazing lights fitted to the F33 440i.
But the “lane departure warning” signal has been moved from the inner edge of the door mirror housing of the F3x to the far end of the mirror glass, which I’m not so keen on.
Although the only offerings at launch are 330i and 320d there will be other engine options to follow, including a plug in hybrid – the fuel filler flap has provision already.
Overall, a big sigh of relief that this is a return to the 3 Series we love and a cracking car.
Lawrence Glynn | Member #3BMW Drivers Club Melbourne
N.B: Cover photo via BMW Press Club.
Camouflaged pre-series vehicles of the third-generation BMW 1 Series are currently still undergoing extensive test drives at the BMW proving ground in Miramas, Southern France. The facility’s diverse handling tracks offer the optimal conditions for refining agility and dynamics of the new BMW 1 Series. This was preceded by five years of intensive development work and the change to the modern BMW front-wheel drive architecture.
A genuine BMW with an individual character.
The new BMW 1 Series will set new standards in the premium compact class in terms of driving dynamics, whilst also offering significantly more space inside. With a cutting edge suspension set-up, innovative technologies and the integration of all driving dynamics-related components and control systems, the BMW 1 Series achieves greater agility both with the new front-wheel drive and BMW xDrive intelligent four-wheel drive. “Our customers will directly feel the fast and precise responsiveness that provides for an optimised driving experience. The BMW 1 Series will be a genuine BMW with an individual character,” says Peter Langen, head of Driving Dynamics at the BMW Group.
Transfer of technology from the BMW i3.
On the new BMW 1 Series, BMW has utilized all of the experience gained over recent years with BMW Group front-wheel drive models. A crucial element for the car’s exceptionally high agility is ARB technology (actuator contiguous wheel slip limitation) known from the BMW i3s, which is now celebrating its debut in a vehicle with a combustion engine. This transfer of technology from the BMW i brand to the core brand BMW improves traction decisively, while facilitating significantly more sensitive and faster control.
ARB technology, which is standard on the BMW 1 Series, features a slip control system positioned directly in the engine control unit instead of in the control unit for the DSC function (Dynamic Stability Control). Without long signal paths, information is passed on three times faster, with the regulation speed perceived by the driver actually being up to ten times faster. In close coordination with the DSC function, actuator contiguous wheel slip limitation significantly reduces the power understeer usually experienced with front-wheel drive vehicles, but without control intervention to stabilise lateral dynamics. BMW Performance Control (yaw moment distribution) also comes as standard and additionally increases agility of the BMW 1 Series through dynamic brake intervention. Moreover, torsional stiffness of the body structure is enhanced by the targeted use of additional struts such as a standard rear-end “boomerang strut”. “Through this extensive integration of all driving dynamics-related aspects as well as the new, innovative traction control feature, we are creating a completely novel driving experience,” says Holger Stauch, BMW 1 Series project manager.
The most powerful BMW Group 4-cylinder engine for the new top-of-the-range model.
A newly developed 4-cylinder engine stands out prominently within the drive portfolio of the new BMW 1 Series. The BMW M135i xDrive (combined fuel consumption: 7,1-6,8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 162-155 g/km)* features the most powerful 4-cylinder engine from the BMW Group with a 2-litre capacity and BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. The power unit delivers 225 kW (306 hp), ensuring extremely dynamic handling properties through individual technical solutions such as a reinforced crank drive, new pistons and cod rods, a larger exhaust turbocharger as well as optimised fuel injection valves.
More interior space.
The BMW 1 Series has taken a major leap forward in terms of interior spaciousness. Thanks to the new front-wheel drive architecture with transverse engines and a low centre tunnel, noticeably more space is now available than in the predecessor model, especially on the back seats. For example, legroom for rear-seat passengers has increased by 33 millimetres and headroom at the back by 19 millimetres. Access to the rear compartment is now easier and luggage compartment capacity has increased by 20 litres to 380 litres. Thus, the new BMW 1 Series combines outstanding handling characteristics with significantly improved spaciousness.
The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe sets new accents in individuality, aesthetics and emotion in the premium compact segment. It combines an emotive design with sportiness and the latest innovations in operation and connectivity technology. Therefore, the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe offers the ideal prerequisites to attract new target groups to hallmark BMW driving pleasure. BMW already offers a unique range of compact models for various different requirements and target groups that is unmatched within the competitive environment. The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe will once again create fresh impulses in this class. It builds on the latest BMW front-wheel drive architecture and shares a multitude of technological developments with the new BMW 1 Series, which will also be presented during the course of 2019.
The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe has been conceived as a global offering that constitutes an attractive enrichment, especially for markets in which car buyers show a strong affinity for notchbacks. As an exclusive alternative to the classic saloon, the four-door coupe addresses all target groups that prefer a sophisticated design and a self-assured look in the compact segment as well.
BMW i is preparing to launch the next generation of solely electrically powered models. Three of the brand’s electric models are currently going through a key phase of their series development process at the BMW Group’s winter test centre in Arjeplog, Sweden. Together with the BMW iX3 already due to go on sale next year, the BMW i4 and the BMW iNEXT, being brought to market in 2021, are also completing an intensive test programme. Within the framework of comprehensive vehicle testing, their drive and suspension components are being put to the test under extreme weather and road conditions. The testing area situated at the edge of the Arctic Circle provides the ideal requirements for this purpose. On the icy surfaces of frozen lakes, on snow and in the bitter cold, the electric motors, the high-voltage batteries and the power electronics of BMW eDrive technology as well as the suspension control systems are demonstrating their high level of performance and reliability.
The latest chapter of the BMW Group electrification strategy will be heralded by a Sports Activity Vehicle. Starting next year, the BMW iX3 will already feature the fifth generation of BMW eDrive technology for the first time. An exceptionally powerful electric motor and a high-voltage storage unit featuring state-of-the-art battery cell technology facilitate purely electric driving pleasure in a new dimension. With a range of over 400 kilometres* and the possibility to use DC charging stations with a capacity of 150 kW to charge its battery, the first all-electric SAV is ideally suitable for day-to-day use and long-distance travel. The BMW iX3 will be the first model produced for the entire global market by the BMW Brilliance Automotive Joint Venture at the Chinese production location in Shenyang.
The BMW i4 delivers locally emission-free driving pleasure combined with outstanding sportiness. The four-door coupe positioned in the premium midrange segment combines a dynamic design with inspiring performance and a high level of ride comfort. Fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology featured by the BMW i4 facilitates a range of over 600 kilometres*. Moreover, the electric motor’s spontaneous power development can be utilised above all to achieve a dynamic driving experience. The BMW i4 sprints from a standstill to 100 km/h in a mere 4 seconds and reaches a top speed of over 200 km/h. The BMW i4 will be produced at the BMW Munich plant starting 2021.
With the proportions and dimensions of a luxury Sports Activity Vehicle, a fifth-generation electric drive unit and systems for highly automated driving, the BMW iNEXT embodies the future of driving pleasure in a particularly comprehensive way. As the BMW Group’s future modular construction system, it combines the latest innovations in the areas of design, automated driving, connectivity, electrification and services (D+ACES) defined by the NUMBER ONE > NEXT corporate strategy. BMW eDrive ensures a range exceeding 600 kilometres*. Furthermore, the car is equipped with the latest connectivity features and designed for Level 3 automated driving. The BMW Group’s new technology flagship will be produced at the BMW Dingolfing plant as from 2021.
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