i3

Features

Felix's i3

Photography by Matt Petrie @crosshair_nightmare

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The i3 is BMW's answer to the affordable, electricity wave.  Designed for city commuting with spatial awareness in its compact size and efficiency, the i3 is great at what it does, but it’s not unanimously loved in terms of its styling.  Since the i3 styling cues veered from the mold of the common BMW or any car for that matter, Felix knew he had to give the i3 a little more attitude when he bought his.

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A couple of years back, Felix's i3 was the first that I had driven.  While I was a bit skeptical, it turned out to be a blast buzzing around town in.  Anyone who has been behind the wheel of one will tell you that the brake re-gen feeling in the accelerator pedal does take quite a bit of getting used to, however, you can minimize your overall braking if driven correctly.  My enjoyment behind the wheel of his, led me to driving it to Bimmerfest to unveil it in the Autocouture Motoring booth.  

Los Angeles to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California is approximately 140 miles round trip.  While this is not a significant distance, now may be a good time to emphasize an important statistic - BMW's claim for the RE version i3 is 150 miles.  Remembering one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes when Kramer tested the range limits of the car down past "E", I accepted the challenge and attempted to go for it on one charge.  

The morning of Bimmerfest I met Felix at his house.  I hopped in the i3 and he in his Signal Green F80.  While the torque of its electric motor impressively could hang with sports cars of that caliber from a dig, I had to resist the temptation of driving like a goon in battery conservation efforts.  These were both equally head turning cars cruising down the street, but while others were watching us, I of course watched the dashboard information.  My range plummeted more rapidly than the distance I was covering and it was quickly evident that this was going to become more challenging than I thought by the end of the day. 

Since it was one of the first i3's to be modified, it drew plenty of attention at the show with positive feedback. With only a few modifications on the market, his choices were limited, but it was executed cleanly.  The Cobra lowering springs sit it down nicely over the tires without sacrificing ride quality.  3D Design front and rear aero as well as gloss black kidney grills emphasize the gloss black areas.  Tint was effectively used to break up the white sides of the car and sharpen the body lines.   

We reached out to HRE to get a set of their Classic 501 three-piece wheels built. The traditional combination of brushed faces and polished lips were countered with an unconventional, colorful twist.  The hardware was finished to match BMW's factory blue accents on the car.  The odd combination of diameter and width left us with zero options for tire upgrades.  No barrel was narrow enough for the i3.  In order to fit the wheels back into the factory tires, HRE had to use two outer lips as the outer lip and inner barrel. 

When the show concluded, the range read 71 miles to a 68-mile trip home.  Luckily, I wasn’t alone heading back.  I had my friend and Ultimate Klasse regular, Alex Gaudio, with his Estoril M Coupe alongside as the support vehicle.  By the time I was on the traffic infested 101, my range was 10 miles and closing quickly.  I was close, but my confidence was thinning.  Pulling into Felix’s neighborhood, there was less than a mile to go - I had made it.  Into the driveway it went, plugged in for a much-needed charge.  Even coordinating trips with charging stations, the convenience of the physical charge time itself is not conducive for the average person, especially when comparing it to gas station fill ups.  Despite its size, the deceivingly spacious interior proves to be a perfect, comfortable commuter for local commuting. 

 

Events

Detroit Auto Show 2016

Photography by Mark Scire II

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) took place in Detroit from January 11 – 24. The host to the world premieres of the new BMW M2 and BMW X4 M40i performance models. Joining the two new cars at the stand were BMW i models and innovative services covering every aspect of electric mobility. BMW ConnectedDrive showcased its latest range of applications and systems, such as Remote Control Parking.

The new BMW M2 Coupe: a high-performance sports car with spine-tingling performance. 
Back in the early 1970s, the BMW 2002 turbo was already causing heads to turn and hearts to flutter. Indeed, the compact high-performance sports car perfectly encapsulated BMW’s resolution to deliver outstanding dynamics, agility and car control. And now, over 40 years on, BMW M GmbH has unveiled the new BMW M2, as if to demonstrate once again that this commitment is alive and well. With its high-performance six-cylinder in-line engine, rear-wheel-drive agility, lightweight aluminium M Sport suspension and extrovert styling, the new BMW M2 Coupe has all the ingredients to deliver the last word in driving pleasure. The newly developed three-litre six-cylinder in-line unit powering the BMW M2 uses state-of-the-art M TwinPower Turbo technology to develop 272 kW/370 hp at 6,500 rpm and, in so doing, lays down a marker in the high-performance compact sports car segment. The same applies to power delivery. Peak torque of 465 Nm (343 lb-ft) can be increased to as much as 500 Nm (369 lb-ft) in short bursts under overboost, all of which enables the new BMW M2 with optional seven-speed M Double Clutch Transmission (M DCT) and Launch Control to accelerate from rest to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.3 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h (155 mph), or 270 km/h (168 mph) if the M Driver’s Package is specified. Yet, with its M DCT transmission, fuel consumption of just 7.9 litres* per 100 km (35.8 mpg imp) and CO2 emissions of only 185 g/km*, the car is also keen to emphasize its outstanding efficiency. And even greater driving pleasure is on the cards when the Dynamic Stability Control system’s M Dynamic Mode (MDM) is activated. MDM allows wheel slip and therefore moderate, controlled drifts on the track.

The new BMW X4 M40i: setting the benchmark in its segment for outstanding driving dynamics.
The successful BMW X4 range has gained a new flagship model with the arrival of the BMW X4 M40i. Offering even sharper dynamics, distinctive looks and exclusive equipment details, BMW moves the game on once again in the Sports Activity Coupe (SAC) segment. A newly developed M Performance TwinPower Turbo six-cylinder in-line petrol engine celebrated its world premiere under the bonnet of the BMW X4 M40i. The three-litre unit produces an output of 265 kW/360 hp between 5,800 and 6,000 rpm and generates peak torque of 465 Nm (343 lb-ft). Armed with this high-performance engine and leading-edge M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology, the BMW X4 M40i sprints from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.9 seconds and reaches an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph).

BMW i: trailblazer for electric driving pleasure and everyday usability.
Following the successful global launch of the purely electrically powered BMW i3 (energy consumption combined: 12.9 kWh; CO2 emissions combined: 0 g/km)* and the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car (fuel consumption combined: 2.1 l/100 km / 134.5 mpg imp; CO2 emissions combined: 49 g/km)* the BMW i brand is now further cementing its status as a trailblazer for sustainable mobility with a growing variety of vehicle and mobility services.

Since its arrival in the car market two years ago, in late 2013, the BMW i brand has established itself as a genuine success story for BMW. With the BMW i3 – the world’s first compact premium electric vehicle with a design specifically geared to electric mobility – and the revolutionary BMW i8 hybrid sports car, BMW i has come up with a pair of models that are generating huge excitement and high demand around the world. As such, BMW has firmly established itself in the electric vehicle market. Indeed, one in every 10 all-electric passenger cars delivered to customers worldwide since the launch of BMW i is an i3. In the US market the figure is one in every eight electric cars sold while in Germany it is as high as one in five (all figures as at October 2015). Furthermore, the BMW i3 is the third- highest-selling electric car worldwide – as well as the only one able to increase its operating radius with an optional Range Extender combustion engine. Another critical element in the strong demand BMW is experiencing for BMW i models is that four out of every five BMW i3 customers in Europe have previously driven vehicles from other manufacturers – so are new to the BMW brand.

BMW i is providing further impetus by transferring technology to additional BMW brand models. All of BMW’s plug-in hybrid models, for instance, employ the BMW eDrive technology developed for BMW i cars in the form of electric motors, power electronics, high-voltage batteries and intelligent energy management. Equally, the experience in using industrially manufactured CFRP garnered during the development of BMW i cars has now helped to reduce the weight of the new BMW 7 Series luxury sedans.

The latest innovations from BMW ConnectedDrive: 
intelligent applications and systems enhance comfort and safety. 
BMW highlighted the latest advances in the field of intelligent connectivity with an even greater variety of driver assistance systems and applications that take comfort and safety to another new level. The latest developments from BMW ConnectedDrive include Remote Control Parking, extended functionality for the Driving Assistant, BMW Night Vision with marker light and Surround View with 3D View.