Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Launched towards the tail end of 2013, the BMW 4 Series represents the first car to breakaway from BMW's traditional naming nomenclature. With all sedans and "practical" cars taking on odd numbers while more "lifestyle" oriented cars are blessed with even numbers. Taking this approach might seem sacrilegious to most enthusiast of the marque, especially when it concerns the 3 Series (which started out in Coupe form in the first place), but it does allow BMW to spread their wings out even more, enabling them the option to create a full range of cars based on a single model or platform. Beyond the PR or marketing hijinks though, beats the heart and soul of what we all know is the new 3 Series Coupe. Aesthetically, BMW's quintessential Coupe has always been a beautifully restrained work of art and it's latest evolution continues that trend. Everything here has been tapered, sharpened and stretched to give the F32 a much more striking silhouette compared to the Sedan it spawned from. I'm speculating here but i'm of the opinion that given a new nameplate, BMW's designers probably had more leeway when penning the lines for the 4. In previous iterations, the Coupes bore much more than a passing resemblance to their Sedan counterparts but with this new car, no doubt the styling similarities are still present, it seems the designers had a little bit more freedom of expression. The 4 Series is shorter, longer, wider and most importantly, sits closer to the ground than it's 3 Series counterpart, with the most noticeable styling difference being the elegant sloping rear roof line which not only gives a sportier outlook, but also more space for the rear passengers and while the new front end might not be to everyone's cup of tea on the Sedan, it fits perfectly here. The 4 Series also gets a boomerang shaped vent just aft of the front wheels, first seen on the 3GT. Our test car came in "Sport" trim, which gave us a more aggressive front bumper and shadow-lined trimmings for the window surrounds and those "side-blades". Inside, those familiar with the new 3 Series would find everything almost pretty much the same here. Not a bad thing really as the ergonomics are spot on and you can't fault the red and black interior combo on our test car. All of which when put together makes for a very good looking car indeed (even more so in this lovely shade of grey), so good looking that every time i parked it, i had to do a triple take as i walked away. Walking away when you have the keys to this car though is something you'll probably do with reluctance because the drive, is just sublime. With the 3 Series easily one of, if not the most dynamically excellent cars in it's class, you might think BMW would just glue the two rear doors together and call it a day. Thankfully they didn't, and the end result is a car that is able to tip the 3 Series in every driving attribute you can think of. With the only six-cylinder TwinPower petrol engine in the entire lineup, you get slightly over 300 horses and a nice juicy 400Nm's of torque to play with and propelling the 4 from 0-100 in a respectably rapid 5.1 seconds. 10 millimeters might not sound like much to most of us, being just a small space of air between our thumb and index finger, but with a 10mm drop, the 4 Series now has the lowest center of gravity of any current BMW. BMW had also set about retuning the suspension and camber settings to suit the car. Putting all those ingredients into a very well built and stiff chassis makes for one of the best driving Coupes on the market. Everything here flows together very well, the power delivery, the way the car pitches into the bends and holds itself through the twisties. The 4 Series Coupe just dances through the back-roads and feels very light footed throughout. The best part? It isn't intimidating at all. The agility and balance of the 4 Series just gives you that little bit more confidence to pop it into Sport+ and leave it there the entire run through the back roads. When the fun roads come to an end, the 4 slots back into cruise mode for a more leisurely ride home. On comfort mode, the ride remains on the slightly firm side, but the suspension does well in soaking up most of the nasty imperfections on our roads. It takes quite a bit of restraint to keep it in comfort though as it just feels so much better in Sport or Sport+. One disappointment (and again on pretty much all new BMWs), is the sound, or rather the lack of. BMW really just needs to fit one of those new trick butterfly-valve exhaust systems to their cars. Overall, there really is a lot to like with the new 4 Series. It looks fantastic, drives like a dream, pips it's sedan sibling in every dynamic way and easily outperforms it's very accomplished predecessor in each and every way. If COE prices were not as the levels they are now, i would not be surprised to see more of these on our roads. The BMW 4 Series range is now available for viewing in Performance Motors Showrooms.
Monday, March 3, 2014
Singular Entity has released a lovely video showing their visit to STUDIE Yokohama.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Towards the second half of last year, BMW gave the current generation 5-Series what is known in automotive circles as a "facelift". Whilst most manufacturers would take this opportunity to give their cars minor plastic surgery, BMW had chosen a more restrained approach on the F10. A slight nip and tuck if you will. Like the 5-Series Gran Turismo we drove early, the external changes are so mild even some keen-eyed observers would stumble to point out more than a handful of revisions. A new front bumper incorporating redesigned front air intakes, new adaptive LED headlights and fog-lights, a new rear bumper with an extra "crease" in the rear apron and revised taillights pretty much sums up the external updates on BMW's executive mover. There are of course slight variations depending on your trim specifications and how generous you are with the M-Performance (or BMW Individual) options list. The result of all these little changes though, is a reduction in its drag coefficient (Cd value) of 0.25 (0.29 previously). Oh yes, you can now open the boot with a wave of your foot below the rear apron. (But that's not exactly a visual revision.) It does look like the people who spec-ed up our "Luxury Line" test car had some exquisite taste as our car also comes with BMW Individual options, 19-inch Individual wheels and a selection of Individual bits to make up the interior. These all make our 535i slightly more special but i'm guessing it all comes with a "slight" premium. The pearlescent paint does look stunning, throwing off golds, greys and browns depending on the angle you're looking at. Inside, the revisions are more apparent as you'll now have a TFT-screen dashboard and touch sensitive controls on your iDrive. Both of which, we saw earlier on our drive with the 5 Gran Turismo. On the road, we all know the story. Top of it's class. BMW mentions they've fine-tuned the chassis dynamics but unless you are driving an earlier and later car back to back, for normal drivers like us, it will be quite hard to tell the difference. There is no lack of grunt from the Twin-Powered 3-litre turbo which in this car, does prefer to cruise instead of bruise. Mid-range overtaking maneuvers are easily dispatched with a squeeze of the throttle and the car's exceptional road holding will keep it planted through long sweeping bends and the occasional switchback. Pushing too hard will scrub the front wide but easing off the throttle brings it back without much drama. The electric steering might feel slightly numb at times but for most drivers, the added convenience when driving around town and parking will probably be appreciated much more. All in, BMW might have taken a much more restrained hand than what most of us are accustomed to when we think of "facelifts", but what this does show, is how good the initial offering already was. The new facelifted BMW 5-Series range is now available for viewing at Performance Motors’ showroom.
Sunday, February 9, 2014
A small group of us old and modern classic car enthusiast just had a meet over the weekend and interestingly enough, the turnout was probably the biggest we've ever had! With many cars on our local shores not having the chance to even celebrate their 10th birthday, it's usually a treat when such meets happen. Especially with a nice eclectic mix of cars lined up and good people to swap stories with. Here's some of the cars that showed up. BMW Z4M, an instant classic the moment it was born. You just can't beat a clean MX5. Roadstar's clean rear. Saab 900s are cool. Why? They just are. A more modern day interpretation of the Saab philosophy. Good to hear they are coming back. S204s are quite rare on our local roads but two of these STI specials made it to the breakfast meet. From one boxer to another. The biggest surprise and the highlight of the morning for me was this 914-6. Prior to this sighting i had only seen one other 914 many many years ago. One of the rarest cars on our local roads for sure. Check out the spartan (but very clean) interior. From one old German to another, sitting ahead of the 914 was a Mercedes W123. I remember seeing many of these when i was growing up. Not many left anymore as i hardly see them now. Mercedes' from a slightly younger vintage. A W201 and W126, both clean and unmolested by time. A Porsche 914, Subaru WRX and a Mercedes W126. What did i say about an interesting mix of cars. :) Adding to the variety was the youngest but certainly the most powerful car of the meet, a Fezza 599. Audi RS4 Avant joining the AWD brigade. The 'Bahn-storming wagon As always, i showed up in the Garage36 jalopy! Here's hoping there will be another meet in the near future! Buy my sticker here »