2014 goes down as the year where BMW introduced a slew of new models and new segments. There are many new niches that have been filled, some more controversial than others, and all these in an era where BMW has to be aware of costs and ever increasing fuel economy standards.
BMW has also made an important step for its future. They have delivered on their promise of future mobility with their new i series, by launching the new i3 and i8 electric vehicles and hybrid sportscars.
Here’s our top ten BMW stories of 2014:
BMW’s i8 is the sports car of the future. It’s a hybrid electric that can go up to 20 miles pure electric on a single charge. Then, tip the gear lever into Sport mode and the 1.5 liter turbocharged three-cylinder motor fires up putting a total of 357 hp and 420 lb-ft at your command. 0-60 mph comes in a scant 3.8s. The i8 has an exotic powertrain and killer gull-winged exotic looks to match. BMW has a halo car for the brand again which had been sorely missing since the beloved Z8.
The New BMW M3 and M4
BMW had to reinvent the M3 for the modern era. Their answer? Gone is the high screaming naturally-aspirated engines of M brand’s foundation. Also forever gone is a two door M3.
Now welcome to the new era of torque and the M4 coupe. The M3 Sedan required an enlarged rear track compared to its F30 3 series brother. For the first time ever, an M3 sedan has the option of a carbon fiber roof. The M3 and M4 have so much torque instantly available providing a totally different experience than the E92 M3.
BMWs i3 keeps winning Green Awards, and rightly so. It’s the first mass produced Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic car ever. Currently, the i3 is the most efficient electric car on the market with 22kWh battery pack and is rated at 124 MPGe with a range of 80-110 miles. BMW built the i3 as a lightweight electric powertrain city that looks unlike any other car on the road. It can be fitted with an optional Range Extender version with a BMW scooter motor that acts as a generator to charge the battery. It’s powered by a 170 hp / 184 lb-ft torque electric motor that just won a spot on 2015 Ward’s 10 Best Engines.
BMW and Toyota have been mulling a joint sports car platform for quite some time. Lately, it seems their agreement has been expanding to new powertrains including hydrogen fuel cell drive modules for electric cars. BMW had planned on unveiling a Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) drive module at the upcoming 2015 Detroit Auto Show, even going so far as mentioning the concept in a press releaset, but has for reasons unknown to us, they have changed their mind. BMW has tested hydrogen powered 7 Series in the past, but this was to be a new direction for BMW and Toyota. More on this as it becomes available.
The 2 Series Active Tourer
It’s official, hell has frozen over. In 2014, BMW has officially embraced front-wheel drive and it’s name is BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. Add in a high roofed four-door Miniesque-sized hatchback and you can see why the BMW faithful had angina. Alas, the future is here and BMW has to do their part in providing vehicles that meet the ever stricter environmental mandates for fuel economy, while competing for new markets at a lower pricing point.
The BMW X4
BMW’s ever expanding line up added an all-new SUV, er Sports Activity Vehicle. The all-new X4 is based on the X3, yet has a more sporty coupeish appearance and athletic soul, albeit at the expense of some practicality, and a higher MSRP. The X4 is a gorgeous vehicle that is fun to drive and definitely stands out in a crowded SUV market.
The 2015 X6 and X6 M
Pundits may have given BMW grief about producing the original X6 back in 2009, but there is no questioning its success. For 2015, BMW unveils their second generation X6. The new X6 gets a significant bump in horsepower and a more upscale interior to match its new sleek exterior. Competitors have taken note and are starting to produce vehicles to directly compete in this segment.
The 4 Series Gran Coupe
If you need a four-door, 3 Series coupe…Wait. What?? Forget trying to figure out where this car fits. Somehow BMW snuck a sporty four-door hatch into their line up. Surprisingly, it’s less expensive than the 4 Series Coupe it shares its wider track with. If you like the dynamics of the 4 Series with a wider rear track, but need more practicality, you should give this car a serious look.
BMW Names their next CEO: Harald Krüger
At just 49 years old, Harald Krüger, was named BMW’s next CEO. He will take the helm in May 2015. Krüger has been a member of BMW’s Board since 2008. Prior positions held by Krüger were the head of MINI sales, BMW Motorrad and Rolls-Royce brands, as well as BMW’s Human Resources. On April 1, 2013, the engineer had become the company’s Production Director. This past January, our own Hugo Becker pegged Hr. Krüger to succeed Dr. Reithofer.
BMW Announces The X7
BMW’s largest market for SUVs gets a bigger SUV. Back in March, BMW announced that the long rumored X7 would indeed be produced. BMW looks to add a third row seat that is more useable than what is found in the X5.
The X7 will compete against the Audi Q7 and the Mercedes GL Class SUV.