2023 has been crazy busy for us! We’ve been all over the place, covering tons of cool things worldwide. And of course, we got behind the wheel of the latest BMW Group cars. We hopped between four continents and loads of countries, making our content more diverse than ever. With our team spread out across the globe, and across the United States, we’ve had some pretty unique test drives. In total, we wrote 36 reviews on the website and a lot more on our Youtube channel. As you could guess, each one of us had their preferences.
The BMW highlight of the year for me has to be the M340i xDrive, which I drove spiritedly on some very twisty roads and thoroughly every second of it. They are the same roads where I also drove the F30 M340i xDrive a few years back, so I could really tell the difference, and I enjoyed the new car more. It’s mostly down to the steering, which is superior in the G20, and even though the B58’s bark is toned down compared to the old M340i, it’s still as grin-inducing as ever.
BMW i7 xDrive60
Driving the BMW i7 xDrive60 was also a remarkable experience, although for very different reasons. The i7 isn’t especially sporty, but it excels at being a quiet limo that wafts you while cocooned in cashmere. It’s such a good luxury car that I would say it’s superior to both the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the EQS when it comes to making you feel like a pampered millionaire.
The most modern ALPINA available in the U.S. was a pleasure to drive. Presented to me in the most iconic color combination – green on cognac – first impressions immediately measured up to expectations. Then, I stepped on the accelerator pedal, unleashing all ridiculous and vicious 612 horsepower. I thought it would be supercar fast; I didn’t prepare for APLINA acceleration. So, I race towards 60 mph and beyond, accelerating from a standstill in around 3.3 seconds. But I fail to remove my foot and end up at a much quicker clip, faster and faster than anticipated, and everything swirls and whirls and starts looking like lasers shot out of a Trans-Siberian Orchestra Concert, and I look down and realize I’ve broken almost all of the laws. Oops!
But seriously, the BMW ALPINA B8 Gran Coupe impressed me. Even after driving a few other ALPINA products, the B8 stands out as important. Its acceleration, poise, and styling impressed everyone I ran into. Myself included.
Not normally one for luxury, I was intrigued by what the new, all-electric 7 Series could offer. Boy, was I surprised. What an experience. I took a drive with my significant other, and she was hugely impressed by the level of tech. I was immensely impressed by the refinement and performance of a vehicle I had mostly expected to be a technological tour-de-force and little else.
But man, load it up in the corners, and you’ll be surprised at what the 7 Series EV offers. I love the instant torque and on-demand oversteer that the car provides. Having driven many prior 7 Series, I expected refinement above and beyond cars like the Audi A7 or Mercedes-Benz S-Class. I didn’t expect the versatility that a car – by any other name, a limousine – of this size could provide. Brava e continua BMW, as you’re well on the way to success.
I want to be clear here. The BMW i7 isn’t just good “for an electric car.” It’s great in the context of overall things. Underestimating this EV sedan would be a mistake. Considering the price point – around $100,000 – means you’re faster than most non-BMW offerings in the same price range. Plus, you can charge pretty much anywhere you go. The BMW i7 is almost everything that the i5 M60 is but with more luxurious appointments and a few more inches of rear legroom. I don’t care how it looks. Drive one, then yell at me on social media. I’ll be waiting.
This year I had the privilege of driving quite the range of BMW’s, from the luxurious and comfortable 7 Series to the extremely powerful and bold XM Label. I drove two which had the M60 designation: the all-electric i5, which was a lot of fun on track with its impressive torque out of the corners, and the X5 M60i which was equally impressive with its new S68 twin-turbocharged V8 engine. Plus, I can’t forget the family of compact BMW M cars I drove during my G87 M2 track review.
But if you saw my 2024 BMW M3 CS review on YouTube, it’s no surprise that this is one of my favorite BMW’s of the year. The M x-Drive is a game-changer as it retains the engaging steering feel of a rear-wheel-drive car, but the benefits of all-wheel drive become evident as soon as you unleash the full power of the engine. The acceleration out of corners is simply mind-blowing! This car was just amazing to drive on track and almost made it hard to describe as my mind just kept saying, “WOW!”
Which leads me to my other favorite of the year, a car which everyone I showed said “WOW” – the 2024 BMW 760i. BMW has stepped up the luxury and has finally turned all of the gimmicky gadgets into a cohesive unit. With a single press of a button, My Modes can completely change the interior mood of the vehicle in seconds. Whether that’s the Theater Mode with the impressive 31” display spanning across the whole rear seat and ambient lighting to enhance the viewing experience or Sport mode which tightens up the large vehicle and reminds the driver they are still driving the Ultimate Driving Machine.
Definitely one of the best luxury sedans on the road today.
I held off on sharing my top BMW picks from 2023 until the eleventh hour, all because of one car: the BMW Z4 M40i. My initial list was different, but once I experienced the thrill of driving the six-speed manual Z4, I had a change of heart. Looking ahead to 2024, I’m most pumped about the Z4—it seems like it’s going to be an awesome year with BMW rolling out a duo of M5s (touring and sedan), an M4 CS, and a few facelifts.
Among all BMW offerings, the manual Z4 M40i embodies the essence of the brand better than any other product. It upholds the legacy of the “Ultimate Driving Machine” mantra, providing a delightfully analog and immersive driving experience, complemented by the finest six-speed manual gearbox ever presented by BMW. Beyond its driving characteristics, the Z4 maintains an analog charm in its interior design, preserving the iconic BMW driver-centric layout. It features modest and unobtrusive screens, coupled with a wealth of tactile buttons, contributing to its timeless appeal. My drive was fairly short, so this is why I’m excited to try it once again next Spring.
This car is a game-changer for the brand. I was eagerly anticipating Rolls-Royce’s entry into the electric vehicle realm, and the new Spectre has exceeded my expectations. I’m not one to throw around compliments lightly – I approached the driver’s seat ready to scrutinize every detail. Yet, I emerged genuinely impressed. Rolls-Royce has managed to maintain its signature driving experience, regardless of the shift to electric power. The Spectre’s power delivery is quintessentially Rolls-Royce: smooth, gradual, yet exhilarating. The ride quality is unparalleled, and the craftsmanship has reached new heights. It’s a true masterpiece that paves the way for more electric Rolls-Royce models.