What’s on at BMW?

2017 saw a host of new or updated product for the brand.

At an event in outer Melbourne, motoring media were given a glimpse of some of the new products the BMW Group of companies (BMW, Mini and BMW Motorrad) will release locally in 2018. There was also a chance to reacquaint with existing members of the family and reflect on the year that was.

2017 saw a host of new or updated product for the brand. Amongst them, the new seventh-generation 5-series including Touring (wagon) variants, a new X3, 6-series Gran Turismo, updates to M3 and M4 Competition, and updates to 1, 2 and 4-series.

Once again, BMW Australia CEO, Marc Werner, took the opportunity to deliver his report card on the Australian Government’s lack of effort to stimulate uptake of low emission alternative automotive technologies. Essentially, it reads -Fail; Short-sighted; Must do better in future. He suggested relief from stamp duty or removal of GST on new electric and LEV purchases could help generate sales momentum.

With the company’s increasing moves toward electrification, it was appropriate that the new i3s (pictured) was on show. This new and sportier model features a raft of changes over the standard i3, which has also had a mid-life update.

The i3s wears new, more aggressively styled front and rear bumpers, along with a number of other cosmetic changes. It also features full LED headlights. Sports suspension is standard on the newcomer, while ride height drops 10mm and there’s 40mm extra track width, and standard 20” alloy wheels.

The sporty theme continues with the i3s equipped with a Sports mode for sharper throttle and steering responses. The drive system has been modified and outputs increase to 135kW and 270Nm. The company claims a 0-100km/h time of 6.9 seconds compared to 7.3 for the standard model.

Inside, there’s a new 10.25” display screen with iDrive6 functionality and BMW Professional navigation. BMW claim a real-world driving range of 200km for pure electric i3 and 330 km for models with the petrol range-extender engine. Charging ports have been updated to the current Type 2 European standard system to cater for expansion of the DC charging network.

Prices for i3s start at $69,900.

From early March, the all-new X2 sports activity vehicle will be on sale. It borrows technology and its basic platform from X1, though it will be clad with all new panels and have a redesigned grille. With the official launch imminent, details on the new model were limited though. Check back in a few weeks for our X2 launch story.

Other 2018 releases include the M3 CS sedan, the X3 M40i (the first-ever M Performance X3 model), and the eagerly awaited sixth-generation M5 (more on that below).

Expected later in 2018 is the reintroduction of luxury flagship, the 8-series, and there’ll be an open-top i8 Roadster.

Enthusiasts with deep pockets will be pleased to know they won’t have to wait long for the new M5 which launches in March. Described by BMW as ‘big, brash and brutal’, expect a price close enough to $200k. But what a machine it promises to be. Power comes from a 4.4-litre Twin Turbo V8 that cranks out 441kW and 750Nm, and hunts down 100kmh from a standing start in 3.4 seconds. It will be fitted with an eight-speed Steptronic ‘box and have M xDrive 2WD, AWD and AWD Sport modes.

20” M light alloy wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres are standard, as are huge M Performance brakes, and there’s lashings of carbon fibre, both as standard and optional gear. BMW claim the new M5 has already re-written the Guinness Records book, claiming a new world record for continuous drifting (controlled conditions obviously).

Over at Mini, 2018 will see mid-life updates to the Mini hatch and convertible. And under consideration for local release, is a Mini Countryman plug-in hybrid model. A decision is expected by the third quarter of the year. The Countryman eDrive PHEV would feature a three-cylinder petrol engine, a six-speed auto, and 65kW electric motor at the rear, and three drive modes.

At BMW Motorrad, the company’s motorcycle division and oldest existing business unit, there’s new models set for 2018 release too. The new F750GS range with MLPs starting at $13,190 launches in June, as does the F850GS. With four variants in the F850GS model range, prices will kick off at $17,590 rising to $22,290 for the top specification GS Rallye X. Also coming is a 400cc mid-size scooter, the C400X. Initially, there will be two models, with a GT variant arriving later in the year.