Event date: 29 November 2020
Thanks very much to Paul Holliday for capturing our annual Show & Shine event at the Park Hyatt, Melbourne on video.
We are very lucky, as a Club to have such a great relationship with both BMW Australia and with their dealer network around Melbourne.
When we run events, our friends at the BMW dealerships that support us, lend us cars to take out and show you, our members, and the public at large, and get an idea of what the new models and range of vehicles has to offer. It allows us to get up close and personal to some of these amazing cars BMW are producing, drive them out in the countryside and really get a taste of all they have to offer.
This last weekend we were very fortunate to have the just released 4 Series Coupe to take to the Club’s annual Show and Shine from Melbourne BMW. I was lucky enough to drive it around town and can say I quite like the proper coupe shape and feel. I love 2 door cars, the body is more rigid and you feel it in the handling and driveability. The adaptive M suspension helps too and changes the ride noticeably with the touch of a button. Whilst it isn’t a small car, it feels quite nimble and not too big on the road. The twin power turbo engine is quiet and smooth, yet plenty of go, hard to believe it is only a 2 litre 4 cylinder. I love the all-round cameras and park assist, very handy when trying to get into underground parking bays, or hotel foyers… I would love to get one out in the countryside for a squirt on some fun roads, but we didn’t have time this time.
Of course, the on-board technology is amazing, it has so many gadgets and gizmos it would take more than a weekend to learn to use and enjoy it all. But I do love all the driver aids that are pretty much standard now, some of them take a little getting used to, like steering assist, but I love the driving experience in all the new models. As a driver you appreciate what a great car BMW build and am very that BMW continue to turn out cars that give us that Sheer Driving Pleasure.
One of the most talked about features is the new grille. Spending the weekend with the car, it grows on you. The 430i we had was Black Sapphire, so the black grille disappeared to a degree and walking around it or looking at it from a distance, it just looks right. I think the press photos you see must be taken from ground level, to accentuate it, as it doesn’t look as bad as everyone thinks when you see it in the flesh and I don’t mind it at all.
All around, I very much like the new 4 Series. If you can, get into a dealer and check one out.
Graeme Bell | Member #1
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne
Spring comes earlier, summer stays longer, and autumn also has its special charm in the South Tyrol region. Italian lifestyle meets Austrian-German culture before a spectacular mountain backdrop. Active holidaymakers will find ideal conditions for cycling and hiking tours between Mediterranean vegetation and spectacular rock formations, especially in the area around the traditional spa town of Merano. And after the fruit and wine harvest, numerous regional folk festivals and culinary specialities turn the trip to South Tyrol into an journey of culinary delights.
Even Empress Elisabeth "Sisi" of Austria took on the rather arduous journey at the time across the Alps to seek relaxation in Merano and enjoy a breath of the South. Today, visitors can reach the Etsch Valley quite quickly and comfortably via the Brenner motorway and an express road called "MeBo", which connects Merano with Bolzano, the capital of South Tyrol. But the fastest route is rarely the most beautiful route to reach your destination. When driving in a car which has been designed for versatile driving fun, such as the MINI Cooper SD Countryman ALL4 (fuel consumption combined: 4.8 – 4.6 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 127 – 121 g/km) the desire to take a more scenic route arises almost automatically.
Delivering a top output of 140 kW/190 hp and a maximum torque of 400 Nm generated by its 2.0-litre 4-cylinder diesel engine with MINI TwinPower Turbo technology, the MINI Cooper SD Countryman ALL4 takes on steep mountain passes in spirited style. Dirty or wet road conditions don’t stand in its way since the electronically controlled ALL4 all-wheel drive system responds to changes in traction conditions within a few milliseconds. It distributes the power precisely between the front and rear wheels and always directs it to where it can be most effectively converted into driving fun. This also applies to sporty cornering on the hairpin bends, where the ALL4 system is backed by Performance Control and Electronic Differential Lock Control (EDLC).
There are a number of high alpine roads which cross the border from Austria to Italy. At a maximum altitude of around 1,500 metres, the Reschen Pass, which is passable in all seasons, is the lowest Alpine crossing in this region. From Landeck, the road leads across the Inn valley and the Nauders plateau to the Reschensee lake. The church tower of Alt-Graun, which juts out of the water, still reminds us of the villages that sank into the waters of the dammed lake after the construction of a storage power station 70 years ago. Anyone leaving the Brenner motorway near Sterzing can reach Merano via the Jaufen Pass, which is located at almost 2.100 metres above sea level. This connection is comparatively short, but with around 20 narrow bends it offers plenty of opportunity to experience hallmark MINI go-kart feeling. Even higher up is the Timmelsjoch, which connects the Ötztal region in Austria with the Italian Passaier valley. Along the route, at up to 2,500 metres, there are magnificent views of snow-capped peaks and a landscape of alpine meadows, forests and barren rock.
Once in Merano, visitors immediately become aware of the Mediterranean climate. This is due to the city's location in a basin into which mainly warm air from the south flows. And this is also why palm trees and other Mediterranean plants thrive, as do the colourful flowers and plants in the public parks in the city centre. Historical buildings such as the municipal theatre and the Kurhaus (spa house) remind us of Merano's boom as a tourist resort in the late19th and early 20th century. The extensive spa promenade on the banks of the river Passer was also built at that time. The centre of the city, which is closed to car traffic, is characterised by its picturesque arcades (Lauben). Beneath magnificent arches, it is home to old-established shops, cafés and restaurants that attract locals and visitors alike.
You can enjoy plenty of sunshine and mild temperatures until well into the autumn in South Tyrol. Not long afterwards, the action shifts from the valley to the mountains. As soon as the first slopes are covered with snow, numerous ski areas attract winter sports enthusiasts. The youngest attraction for skiing enthusiasts is located about 50 kilometres south-east of Merano. In the Carezza ski area, a new cable car is currently being built featuring a mountain station which is integrated into the rocky landscape almost invisibly. The arrival hall is designed in the style of an atmospherically illuminated cave and is thus reminiscent of the crystal palace from the legend of the dwarf king Laurin, which is widespread in South Tyrol. The Carezza ski area covers around 40 km of slopes and is a popular destination for excursions and holidays, not only in winter. The tourist area stretches from the high altitudes of the Dolomites to Lake Carezza, where Empress "Sisi" spent the early summer days more than 120 years ago.
Event date: 26 November 2020
Great little event on a lovely evening, driving roads that were made for the BMW’s we love. We started at Ceres, where a lovely array of cars arrived for the Twilight Treat. Well organised by Lawrence.
The drive duration was 45 minutes, on some lovely country roads, where we could use and experience the cars the way they were meant to be driven.
The drive was spirited and enjoyable but when we arrived at the Inverleigh Hotel, and took the time to appreciate each other’s cars and the company and conversation was fantastic. This was also matched by the quality service and food delivered by the Inverleigh Hotel.
Looking forward to the next event and more good times ahead.
Len & Cate Unsworth | Member #490
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne
Iceland is a country of contrasts on the north-western edge of Europe. The island state in the North Atlantic is as famous for its hot springs as it is for its huge ice fields. Traditional horse breeding is still as successful here as is the internationally significant aluminium production. Tourism has also recently become increasingly important as an economic sector. The pristine natural beauty located near the Arctic Circle, the fascinating variety of the landscapes and the contrast created by active volcanoes and snow-covered glaciers attract visitors from all over the world.
A weekend trip is definitely not enough time for exploring Iceland’s main attractions. The special charm of the island is only revealed on a round trip. However, Iceland's road network is thin. Many places are only accessible via gravel roads, especially in the interior of the country. Iceland's most important road link, Ring Road 1, is no exception. It has been developed into a multi-lane motorway around the capital city of Reykjavik, while some other sections of the Hringvegur are not even asphalted. The MINI Cooper S Countryman ALL4 (combined fuel consumption: 6.5 - 6.2 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 149 - 142 g/km) is the ideal all-rounder for going on an Icelandic adventure amid glaciers and volcanoes. Its ALL4 all-wheel drive system distributes the power of its 131 kW/178 hp 4-cylinder petrol engine with MINI TwinPower Turbo technology between the front and rear wheels as required on any surface and in any driving situation. 16.5 centimetres of ground clearance ensure sufficient clearance even on rough surfaces. A storage volume of between 450 and 1,390 litres is available under the tailgate of the five-seater so that the luggage required for a longer tour can be easily accommodated.
Ring Road 1 runs along Iceland's coast for 1,350 kilometres, sometimes right on the coast and sometimes a bit further inland. The starting point is the ferry pier in Seyðisfjörður, where the MINI Cooper S Countryman ALL4 sets foot on Icelandic soil for the first time. On the way south, the road follows the coastline, which features many fjords, for about 200 kilometres. Soon Vatnajökull comes into view. With a surface area of more than 8,000 square kilometres, it is the largest glacier in Europe. Vatnajökull is located at the centre of the national park of the same name, which also includes picturesque river landscapes, waterfalls and active volcanoes.
Further along the route, detours into the interior lead over unpaved roads, across gravel deserts and through seemingly unreal landscapes of cooled lava rock. Near the village of Selfoss, it’s worth leaving Ring 1 and heading north for about 60 kilometres to see a spectacular natural spectacle. The two-tier Gullfoss waterfall together with the neighbouring geysers forms the "Golden Ring", which is one of Iceland's greatest sights.
After returning to the Hringvegur, we soon reach the island’s capital. More than 60 percent of the 350,000 Icelanders live here and in the neighbouring region. Reykjavik is a modern metropolis with a lively art and music scene as well as two special landmarks. The Perlan geothermal power plant, together with restaurants and leisure facilities, is located under a large glass dome and uses hot water from deeper layers of the earth to heat not only the city's residential buildings but also the pavements of the main shopping streets. A similarly spectacular example of Iceland's modern architecture is Hallgrímskirkja, built on a hill in the centre of the city. It was designed in the 1930s, but was not completed until around 50 years later. The concrete pillars on the front side, reminiscent of basalt columns, are particularly striking. A viewing platform on the 74.5 metre high church tower allows visitors to look far beyond the city limits into Iceland's natural landscape.
On the northern section of Ring Road 1 the landscape is also characterised by the contrast between the icy glacier surfaces and the hot springs, whose water rises from the volcanic interior of the earth. Iceland lies on the so-called Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The North American and Eurasian plates meet directly under the island. That is the reason why hot thermal water and molten rock rise to the surface and keep changing the island’s landscape.
The MINI Cooper S Countryman ALL4 makes full use of its four-wheel drive on a detour to the Vestfirðir peninsula, which features many rugged fjords. The craggy coastal landscape of this arctic region in the extreme northwest of Iceland is mostly only accessible via unpaved gravel roads. The path to the fishing village of Reykhólar, located in the far west, leads past massive mountain formations of volcanic origin. After the strenuous tour we relax in one of the natural pools, which are widely used in this region and are pleasantly warm in all seasons.
Just like its breathtaking natural beauty, the island’s history as a base for trade and fishing can be seen in almost every village along Ring Road 1. In Sauðárkrókur it’s worth stopping to refuel at the Verzlun H. Júlíusson general shop, which still exudes the charm of the early 20th century. The small town has a fishing port and is also considered to be the main Icelandic horse breeding centre. Nowhere else on the island will you find more horse breeding farms than in the region around Sauðárkrókur.
Iceland's varied nature has more surprises in store even after having travelled more than 1,000 kilometres on Ring Road 1 and having gone on numerous trips across unpaved terrain. Near Reykjahlið, the bluish shimmering geothermal water in Jarðböð Cave really invites you to take a dip. Going for a walk on the steaming sulphur gas fields of the surrounding area is also a great thrill. And Europe's mightiest waterfall also awaits in Iceland’s north. The water masses of the Dettifoss waterfull plunge about 100 metres into a gorge of about the same depth.
The magnificent landscape and the many ways you can experience nature at its most pristine, make Iceland such an exceptionally alluring destination. And in spite of the sporty temperament of the MINI Cooper S Countryman ALL4, the beauty of the island simply makes you want to "slow down". Only on the way back to Seyðisfjörður's pier, however, travellers should not trundle along but should rather get a move on in order to board the ferry on time. Because the ferry that connects Iceland with the rest of Europe leaves port only once a week.
Event date: 15 November 2020
As the Victorian Covid lockdown continued with no sign of easing, a song from my youth with the lyrics adjusted for our plight kept coming into my mind:
Me: "Am I ever gonna get to race again?"
Premier "No way get f... f .... off!"
Me: "Am I ever gonna get to race again?"
Premier "No way get f... f .... off!"
Eric my beloved E30 318i had had a roll cage installed in preparation for some door to door racing one day. At one stage it looked like that would never happen so why did we bother?! Eventually an entry for a sprint at Winton showed up and I was entered and looking forward to getting on the track again. Returning to race COVID style!
Days before, I went through the checklist - shoes, socks, fireproof underwear, race suit, hans, helmet. Where is my balaclava? It has to be here somewhere? Oh well, it'll turn up. Where's my licence gone - right there where I left it. OK all set.
Early starts are a part of racing life it seems and I don't mind. I couldn't remember the last time the alarm went off at 4am since I haven't travelled for work for so long. Anyway, all packed up, fire up the mighty M10 and we're on our way up the Hume to Winton.
Could I beat my best time there from August? Oooh the anticipation.
Eventually we got out on the track and Graeme Bell kindly let me tag along behind him and Rod Martin for the first session. Bit rusty but it was great to be out there heel toeing again, turning in, opening up and having a blast.
I pulled back in and a few minutes later Graeme poped over to my carport to give some well appreciated advice on how to go faster! My own personal coach! Awesome.
A few more sessions and it was home time. Given the temperature I must be honest to say it was tougher than I remember, and no, didn't get close to my best time there. I blame the hot day and reduced engine performance but it was probably the lockdown exercise program (none) and the diet (lots of easy bad comfort food) that slowed me down.
Thanks to our good friends at AROCA Vic for letting us come and play, and can't wait 'til the next one - Phillip Island!
Darryl O'Neill | Member #52
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne
I am both thrilled and honoured to receive the “Presidents Award” for 2019.
It is a privilege to be a member of the exceptional club.
Every event is an absolute joy, and the people I have had the pleasure of meeting at club events, I now class as my friends. All of which, like me, have an unbridled passion for the Marque.
I am delighted that my name will be added to the perpetual trophy, as a permanent record of me being a member of this fine club, a club by which all other clubs should be measured.
Stephen Garth | Member #40
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne
The development of the new BMW M4 GT3 is in full swing – and BMW M Motorsport can count on the support of a number of proven, strong technology partners. They are contributing components for various areas of the new GT3 flagship. The collaboration with these technology partners is set to run for several years.
“We can all hardly wait to see our teams in action with the BMW M4 GT3 at racetracks around the world from 2022,” said Markus Flasch, CEO of BMW M GmbH. “We want to provide our racing customers with a car with which they can seamlessly follow on from the success they have enjoyed with the BMW M6 GT3. We also want to impress more customers with the BMW M4 GT3 and win them as teams. The new car offers state-of-the-art technology, thanks in no small part to our technology partners. They are among the best in their respective fields, and we are delighted that they are supporting us in the development of the BMW M4 GT3 with their specific expertise and components. This is the perfect basis for a successful new race car.”
Shell and Akrapovič are among the long-term technology partners of BMW M Motorsport, and are also involved in the BMW M4 GT3. As ‘Premium Technology Partner’ of BMW M Motorsport, Shell Lubricants contributes state-of-the-art lubricants and transmission oils, and also provides the fuel for tests. Slovenian company Akrapovič is the leading manufacturer of premium exhaust systems and has its roots in motor racing. Akrapovič has been an established name in international motorsport for almost three decades and, with its innovative exhaust systems, has been instrumental in countless titles and race wins for its motorsport partners.
Endless Advance Co. Ltd. is ‘Official Partner’ in the field of brake technology. The Japanese company, its European subsidiary Endless Brake Technology Europe AB, and BMW Motorsport have already worked together for several years. Endless plays its part in the BMW M4 GT3 project with the development of sophisticated racing brakes and also provides technical support.
Another innovation in the BMW M4 GT3 is the new hydrostatic modular clutch actuator from Schaeffler. This technology, which heralds the next generation of clutch automation, has recently been introduced in production vehicles and has impressed from the word go. The Schaeffler clutch actuator is now finding its way to the racetrack in the BMW M4 GT3 and, with its innovative technology, will allow far more dynamic starts.
When it comes to the chassis, BMW M Motorsport is also extending its collaboration with two proven technology partners to include the BMW M4 GT3. Special springs from H&R and racing dampers from chassis manufacturer KW automotive will ensure that the new race car holds the road perfectly in any conditions.
Supreme power, an imposing thirst for forward progress and extravagant styling allow the new BMW X5 M Competition (fuel consumption combined: 13.0 – 12.8 l/100 km
The BMW Group breaks new ground in the field of logistics as it founds IDEALworks GmbH – a fully-owned subsidiary headquartered in Munich. The aim is to become a leading supplier of autonomous robotics solutions in the logistics sector. The name "IDEAL" stands for Industry Driven Engineering for Autonomous Logistics.
“In founding IDEALworks, we are creating a new business segment for our logistics solutions. In recent years, our logistics innovation team has been working in depth on the digitalization and automatization of production logistics and has developed some unique solutions. The Smart Transport Robot, STR, in particular has met with great response and has seen demand from both within and outside of the BMW Group. Founding IDEALworks GmbH is now the logical next step for the BMW Group as a driver of innovation,” explained Milan Nedeljković, the member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Production, to mark its foundation."
“We are entering completely new terrain with IDEALworks GmbH. Up until now, our development has focused on automotive production and its logistics,” said Jimmy Nassif, CTO IDEALworks GmbH. He continued: “Our perspective is changing now. We are becoming a provider of logistics robotics beyond the automotive industry. We are preparing some innovations for the coming months."
Since 2015, the innovations team from BMW Group Logistics has been working on future-focused industry 4.0 solutions in the fields of virtual reality, augmented reality, in- and outdoor logistics robots, paperless logistics and smart devices. Many of these solutions are already in series production at BMW Group production locations. In 2019, BMW Group Logistics received the prestigious Deutscher Logistik Preis [German Logistics Award]. The Smart Transport Robot and its management software were also recognized as part of this award.
IDEALworks GmbH launches its first product with the Smart Transport Robot
The Smart Transport Robot, STR, was developed in 2015 in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute. The flat, autonomous and mobile robots can transport goods weighing up to one ton to their destination. They independently calculate the best route and move freely around the space using the SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) navigation method. The SLAM algorithm does not require permanent navigation transmitters to be installed in buildings and can therefore be set up quickly in a new environment without requiring any structural adjustments. An integrated battery module from the BMW i3 is able to supply the STR with power for at least an entire shift. The next generation of the STR will be rolled out at the end of 2020. Currently, more than 130 STRs are already in series production at several different BMW Group production sites.
Successful pilot projects in the non-automotive sector
"With the Smart Transport Robot, we have launched a highly competitive product. From October onwards, we have been carrying out pilot projects at companies from a wide range of industries. These trials show just how robust and versatile the STR is," explained Markus Bauer, COO IDEALworks GmbH. "The success of the pilot project and the resulting demand for the STR were decisive in founding IDEALworks GmbH. We want to develop IDEALworks into a top player among the providers of industrial logistics robots in the long term," Bauer continued.
The new company IDEALworks GmbH is located in Munich.
In its initial phase, the team consists of around 30 experts from a wide range of fields and nationalities.
Event date: 14 November 2020
Thanks very much to Rani Joensen from RivRevv Media for capturing our Welcome Back Melbourne Cars & Coffee event on video.
© 2020 BMW Drivers Club Melbourne Inc. All Rights Reserved.