- Post is under moderationIt really doesn’t seem possible that it’s already been a month since I was last penning these words and, as far as I can remember, I was having a little bit of a rant on how the Christmas season seems to start in late October these days. Now that we’re hurtling towards the festive season I’m starting to get into the mood, although what with deadlines compressing for the holiday season it doesn’t seem like there are enough hours in the day to get everything done. Thank God for internet shopping is all I can say… at least until you’ve opened everything and realised you clicked the wrong size or colour or you’ve ended up with 12 of something when you only wanted one! #BMW-530d-xDrive / #BMW-530d-xDrive-G30 / #BMW-530d-G30 / #BMW-5-Series-Sedan-M-Performance-Accessories-G30 / #M-Performance-Accessories / #M-Performance / #BMW
As you’ll be able to tell from our cover image, the big news this month is the arrival of the all-new #BMW-5-Series-G30 / #BMW-5-Series which we’ve driven for the first time. Initial reactions are that it’s a superbly engineered executive express that’s considerably upped the ante in both the refinement and comfort stakes, yet it’s still a machine that’s rewarding to drive. The only caveat we have at this stage is that the cars we had to drive weren’t exactly to UK-spec and were, as tends to be the norm on international BMW launches, overloaded with all the optional equipment. BMW seems to have gone all-out with xDrive four-wheel drive on the #BMW-G30 and we were able to test the 530d in this guise, although as the car was in the Luxury trim level (which we won’t get in the UK as no one buys it) it didn’t look quite like a UK market machine. Ditto the #2017 / #BMW-540i-M-Sport-G30 which was in rear-wheel drive guise… and in the UK we’ll only be offered this model as an #xDrive . And while we’re on the subject of the 540i, who in their right mind decided to spec all the launch cars in white with black ‘rimz’? I love the shape of the new Five but this must be the most unflattering colour combination that BMW could have possibly chosen!
Hopefully when the cars start appearing on UK roads early next year we won’t be seeing a host of white ones, but it’ll certainly be illuminating to sample an entry-level #BMW-520d-G30 without #Active-Steering , #Active-Dampers and the #Dynamic-Drive anti-roll setup. In the past we’ve tended to find that the steering and anti-roll systems actually take something away from the driving experience so I’m hopeful that a bog-standard (if any new Five can be so termed these days) will drive even more impressively than the already hugely impressive cars we were able to drive on the launch.
As this is the last issue before Christmas more or less all that’s left for me is to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year – let’s hope that #2017 is a good one!Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationHigh Roller #2016 / #Alpina-XD3 / #BMW-Alpina-XD3 / #Alpina / #Alpina-XD3-F25 / #BMW-X3 / #BMW-X3-F25 / #BMW-X3-Alpina-F25 / #BMW-F25 / #BMW / #BMW-X3-35d-F25 /
The Alpina XD3 has undergone its midlife makeover and it’s still king of the luxury diesel 4x4s. The XD3 has been subtly enhanced with a series of revisions to accompany the X3’s face-lift but is it still a great sporting 4x4? Words: Bob Harper. Photography: Dave Smith.
At the recent anniversary celebrations to commemorate Alpina’s 50th year the company’s founder, Burkard Bovensiepen, admitted that he’d wanted nothing to do with the company’s first sporting SUV, the XD3. Perhaps it didn’t initially fit in with his idea of what a ‘Manufacturer of Exclusive Automobiles’ (the company’s strap line) should be producing, but given that everyone (Porsche, Bentley, Aston Martin) seems to be at it these days it made good business sense to enter the fray with its XD3. And it’s been a decision that’s been wholeheartedly vindicated by the fact that the company simply can’t make enough of them.
When we first tested it in 2013 we were impressed, so we couldn’t pass up the chance to see what improvements have been made with this facelifted machine. The X3 didn’t go through many noticeable changes during its Life Cycle Impulse and, as with the vast majority of BMWs these days, styling changes are relatively minimal. And so you would think it was with the XD3 when you see the #BMW-F25-LCI machine in isolation, but if you compare its looks with the pre-face-lift example, quite a lot has changed. As per the #BMW model on which it’s based the headlights and kidney grilles are more shapely – on the older car the headlight units did look a little like they’d just been plonked on to the car, but the new units are more sculpted and look much better for it.
It’s perhaps the new front bumper treatment on the XD3 that does most to bolster the car’s looks. While Alpina can take some of the credit for this, much of it should go to BMW as it’s equipped the M Sport X3 (on which the XD3 is based) with a more shapely and aggressive front bumper assembly and to this Alpina has fitted its traditional lower front lip spoiler which not only looks good but will be aerodynamically efficient too. Alpina, after all, doesn’t do things by halves. Having said that the rear aspect of the XD3 looks to be virtually unchanged with a simple rear valance and an additional piece of trim that wraps around the quad exhausts, two of which have Alpina etched onto their tips while the other pair feature the #Akrapovic script as it makes the exhaust system that was designed in conjunction with Alpina.
Inside there are a few upgrades that accompanied the LCI changes such as switches and whatnot with additional chrome highlighting but the main change in this car from the standard X3 is the lovely Alcantara covering that goes across the centre console around the gear lever and iDrive controller, along part of the dash and onto the doorcards. It’s such a tactile material and really lifts the interior of the car, endowing it with a sporty ambiance and at £580 we reckon it’s an option that’s worth ticking. The standard fit electric front sports seats have the Alpina logo inset into them and this car also has optional Alpina rhombs stitched into the headrests which looks classy and is one of the cheaper items on the options list at £235. It almost goes without saying that there’s an Alpina Lavalina leather-clad steering wheel complete with buttons for the #Switch-Tronic side of the gearbox and that there are also a set of blue-faced classic Alpina dials with their red needles. Overall it feels like a superb place to spend wheel time.
However, it’s what goes on under the skin that’s equally important and while there aren’t that many changes for the LCI XD3 it’s worth recalling what we’re dealing with here. The engine might have the same swept volume as BMW’s 35d unit on which it’s based but a quick gander at the power and torque figures demonstrate just how hard Alpina had worked on finely-honing this engine. With 350hp and 516lb ft of torque its performance is impressive, with 0-62mph being knocked off in just 4.9 seconds. At the same time its combined economy figure is an excellent 42.8mpg with emissions of 174g/km – both pretty stunning figures for a nigh-on two tonne four-wheel drive SUV!
No doubt part of the impressive economy and performance figures are also down to the eight-speed #ZF transmission. In its standard form it’s a great ‘box as we’ve seen throughout the current BMW range but Alpina has thoroughly reworked it for the XD3. It’s a given that it runs on Alpina’s software, but in conjunction with ZF the company has changed and uprated about a third of its internal components.
The proof of the pudding though comes with the eating of the cake so it’s time to slip behind the wheel and see how the XD3 fares. As mentioned I love the cockpit and it engenders a real feel-good factor as you get yourself comfortable and adjust the mirrors to your satisfaction. The diesel ‘six erupts into life with a decent burble – no, it’ll never sound as good as a petrol, but it certainly sounds better than most other machines that sup from the black pump. Trundling out of Nottingham it’s quiet and refined, and provided you don’t tread on the accelerator too sharply it’s remarkably docile. You could be forgiven for asking whether it really has all this horsepower and torque at its disposal.
Once we’re out of town though I can delve a little deeper into the XD3’s performance envelope and as I pass a derestiction sign and am greeted with a deserted stretch of road I squeeze the throttle pedal to the carpet and even though I’ve driven one of these before I’m still slightly caught out be the ferocity of its forward momentum. The horizon is being reeled in rapidly and it would appear that snapper Smithy who’s following behind in my VW Passat has jumped on the brakes as he’s a diminishing speck in the XD3’s rear view mirror. There seems to be no let up in its quest to overtake the horizon – it just keeps piling on speed at a seemingly unrelenting rate. All good things have to come to an end though and in my case this is because up ahead I can see that what was an arrow-straight ribbon of Tarmac is about to turn into a mini section of Nürburgring so it’s hard on the anchors to discover how the XD3 feels when you barrel into the corners.
Despite its high centre of gravity there isn’t a huge amount of roll when you throw it through a series of corners and given the roads are dry and I’m riding on a set of gumball (and optional) 21-inch rims its grip levels are huge. Just about the only thing it could do with is a little more feel to the steering as every now and then I find I’m having to wind a little more lock on than I expected. This could be due to unfamiliarity with the XD3, but just a tad more feedback would allow me to place the car a little more precisely.
Playing with the various settings while doing cornering photography runs tell me that in Sport mode there’s significantly better throttle response but at the same time the chassis has perhaps firmed up a little too much for the road I’m on. Alpina reckons it has made a number of changes to the suspension of the XD3 for the LCI machine, including softening things up in Comfort mode. This seems to be born out with experience behind the wheel as it rides better than a machine running 21-inch rims has a right to but for my taste Sport is too jiggly. On smoother Tarmac it may be fine, but best of luck finding some of that in the UK these days. On the motorway the ride is fine, but what you do encounter is a fair amount of tyre roar… another reason for perhaps sticking with the standard 20-inch alloys rather than these 21s, even if they do look fantastic.
Just about the only other cause for concern is a certain amount of creaking and rumbling that seems to be coming from the door trim panels – I’m sure it can easily be cured, but it’s not quite what you’d expect from a machine in this price category. As all X3s are made in BMW’s Spartanburg plant in America the XD3 is finished by hand at Alpina in Germany where completed X3s are partially disassembled and then rebuilt with the #Alpina specific components, and I can’t help but think that this is why there’s that bit of creaking from the trim. It’s also the reason why the XD3 will remain such a low-volume seller for Alpina as it simply doesn’t have the manpower to make more than it currently manages.
It’s not a deal-breaker though as bar the creaking trim the XD3 is a cracking piece of kit. It’s uncannily rapid and can be remarkably economical given the performance on offer. Personally I’d be more tempted by a D3 Touring, but if you like the raised ride height offered by the XD3 and the security of four-wheel drive then it really should be on your shortlist.
CONTACT:: Alpina GB Tel: 0115 934 1414 Web: www.alpinabmw.co.uk
The Alpina’s cockpit feels like a classy place to spend wheel time, helped by a couple of options such as the Alcantara trim and the rhombs in the headrests.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Alpina XD3 / #ZF8HP
ENGINE: Twin-turbo diesel, 24-valve / #BMW-N57 / #N57 / #N57D30T1 / #N57-Alpina
MAX POWER: 350hp @ 4000rpm
MAX TORQUE: 516lb ft @ 1500-3000rpm
0-62MPH: 4.9 seconds
TOP SPEED: 156mph
PRICE (OTR): £56,450
There’s no let up in its quest to overtake the horizon – it piles on speed at an unrelenting rate.
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- Post is under moderationFast Fleet / #2018-BMW-M5-F90 / #BMW-M5-F90 / #BMW-M5 / #BMW / #2018 / #BMW-F90 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-M5 / #BMW-5-Series-M5-F90 / #BMW-5-Series-F90 /
The refined M5 continues to delight and astound with its abilities – whoever’s at the helm – but those auto wiper settings need sweeping changes…
As text messages go, this was a good one. ‘Are you free to drive my M5 to the Nürburgring 24 Hours race and test drive the new M3 CS while you’re there?’ My stubby fingers couldn’t type an answer fast enough. The majority of the drive there may be a dull one, but the M5 was a very pleasant companion, refined and supple in its Comfort setting, while its easily operated infotainment set-up and Bowers & Wilkins upgraded stereo kept me entertained. But thus far a well-specced 520d would have done the job equally effectively.
Thankfully, the first speed limit sign I encountered upon entering Germany was of the derestricted variety, and I discovered why an M5 is twice the price of the 520d. Its ability to accelerate from 120kph (75mph) to its limiter at an indicated 263kph (163mph) is ridiculous for a machine that weighs nigh on two tons, and never fails to bring a smile to your face. It’s ferociously unrelenting, and with the sports exhaust bellowing its approval each time you change gear it’s a thoroughly intoxicating process. It’s rock steady at speed, too, and feels like it could sit at the limiter all day long.
Once off the autobahn the roads around the Ring offered plenty of opportunities to enjoy the performance, with the all-wheel drive offering a surfeit of grip in all situations. Even on streaming wet roads the M5 just stuck to the tarmac and got on with the job.
The journey home was in pretty filthy weather and I was reminded how poor BMW’s programming for its automatic wipers is these days. In my E46 3-series and E39 5-series it was spot-on, but more recently the wipers are often hyperactive in light drizzle and impossibly lethargic in monsoon conditions – surely it can’t be that difficult to get right? Swapping the LED headlight aim for driving on the right was a doddle, though, using the iDrive controller.
Overall, the M5 returned 28.5mpg for the trip: pretty decent for a machine with almost 600bhp, and 1855kg to lug about. It’s a special car, and one that seems to get better the further you drive it. You’re a lucky man Mr Gallagher. Do let me know when another road trip is in the offing… Bob Harper (@m5bob)
Date acquired March 2018
Total mileage 7701
Mileage this month 2622
Costs this month £0
mpg this month 24.3
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- Post is under moderationThe all-new #BMW-X5-G05 - Product Highlights ( #2018 ).
Fourth generation of the #BMW X family patriarch. New #BMW-X5 opens the next chapter in the success story of the Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) segment’s founder, of which more than 2.2 million units have been sold so far. New edition of the BMW X5 captures the imagination with clarity of design, comfortable, sporty and authoritative driving attributes and innovative equipment features. Production at BMW Plant Spartanburg (USA). Market launch in November 2018.
Significantly larger than its predecessor: Length increased by 36 millimetres to 4,922 mm, width by 66 mm to 2,004 mm and height by 19 mm to 1,745 mm. Wheelbase extended by 42 mm to 2,975 millimetres.
Exterior employs a robust and clear design language that is new to BMW X models. Powerfully sculpted surfaces, precise lines. Large BMW kidney grille with a one-piece surround, eye-catching character line and dynamic roofline, rear lights have a three-dimensional form.
Interior exudes a classy and modern aura thanks to sophisticated materials, harmonious design and an innovative control concept.
Neatly judged individualisation with BMW xLine and M Sport lines, plus model-specific features from BMW Individual.
BMW Laserlight with Adaptive LED Headlights available as an option. Light sources have a striking design; lenses spread in a distinctive X shape; signature blue colour of #BMW-Laserlight .
First BMW model to be available with 22-inch light-alloy wheels (optional). M light-alloy wheels in twin-spoke design and BMW Individual light-alloy wheels available from launch in this size.
Market launch of the new BMW X5 with four engine variants: Newly developed #V8 petrol engine with 340 kW/462 hp in the #BMW-X5-xDrive50i-G05 (not available in Europe), six-cylinder in-line petrol engine with 250 kW/340 hp in the #BMW-X5-G05 xDrive40i (fuel consumption combined: 8.8 – 8.5 l/100 km [32.1 – 33.2 mpg imp]; CO 2 emissions combined: 200 – 193 g/km)* and two six-cylinder in-line diesel engines with 294 kW/400 hp in the #BMW-X5-M50d-G05 (fuel consumption combined: 7.2 – 6.8 l/100 km [39.2 – 41.5 mpg imp]; CO 2 emissions combined: 190 – 179 g/km)* and 195 kW/265 hp in the #BMW-X5-xDrive30d-G05 (fuel consumption combined: 6.8 – 6.0 l/100 km [41.5 – 47.1 mpg imp]; CO 2 emissions combined: 179 – 158 g/km)*. All power units feature cutting-edge exhaust gas treatment technology, including a gasoline particulate filter or SCR catalyst, and meet the #EU6d-TEMP standard. Eight-speed Steptronic transmission fitted as standard.
BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive with new, more efficient control system and rear-wheel bias as standard. Differential lock at rear axle provides noticeably enhanced agility, traction and directional stability when accelerating out of corners and in other dynamic driving situations.
First BMW X model with optional Off-Road package. Two-axle air suspension, underguard at the front and rear, plus specific displays in the instrument cluster and Control Display. Choice of four driving modes available at the touch of a button. Ride height and the responses of #BMW-xDrive , DSC, the transmission and the accelerator are adjusted to give an optimum set-up for driving on sand, rock, gravel or snow.
Dynamic Damper Control with electronically controlled dampers as standard. New chassis systems available for the first time in a BMW X model: two-axle air suspension offering ride height adjustment of up to 80 millimetres. Integral Active Steering, Adaptive M suspension Professional with active roll stabilisation.
Debut appearance of the BMW Live Cockpit Professional display and control concept (fitted as standard). Further development of the iDrive operating system to include a fully digital instrument cluster and 12.3-inch Control Display. Clear graphics and flat menu structure designed for touch control ensure quick access to settings and functions. Situation-linked and customisable displays supply the driver with the right information at the right time.
Increased ease of use through multimodal use of the touchscreen display, Controller, voice control and BMW gesture control.
New generation of the BMW Head-Up Display with a larger projection surface (now 7 × 3.5 inch), optimised 3D graphics and additional display content.
Optional third row of seats (expected to be available from 12/2018) offers two additional seats; comfortable entry and exit thanks to electrically forward-tilting second-row seats.
Two-piece split tailgate, hands-free opening and closing of both sections with optional Comfort Access. Automatic boot cover can be lowered electrically into load compartment floor (expected to be available from 12/2018). Boot capacity can be increased from 650 litres to a maximum 1,860 litres.
Standard leather trim in new variant Vernasca and optional BMW Individual Merino leather trim both available in a choice of four colours.
New options provide the interior with exceptional creature comforts: Multifunction seats with massage function, four-zone automatic climate control, heated armrests, cooled/heated cupholders in the centre console, Panorama glass roof Sky Lounge with a 23 per cent larger glass surface, Ambient Air package for interior fragrancing, Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System (expected to be available from 12/2018), Rear-seat entertainment Professional system with 10.2-inch touchscreen display (expected to be available from 12/2018).
First appearance of new glass applications (optional) for the newly designed transmission selector lever, the Controller, the start/stop button in the centre console and the audio system control knob.
Telephony with wireless charging for compatible mobile phones. #BMW-Display-Key shows vehicle status information and allows user to control vehicle functions.
Updated ambient lighting (optional) with Welcome Light Carpet for the entry area to the car and Dynamic Interior Light with pulsating illumination in the instrument panel (when receiving incoming phone calls) and in the door panel and opener (when the door is opened with the engine running).
Innovative suite of driver assistance systems takes another step towards automated driving: Driving Assistant Professional includes further developed Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, Steering and lane control assistant, Lane Change Warning and Lane Departure Warning, side collision protection, evasion aid, Crossing traffic warning, Priority warning and Wrong-way warning.
Emergency Stop Assistant available for the first time; brakes the vehicle automatically if required, and steers it to the side of the road.
Parking Assistant with automated longitudinal and lateral guidance. New Reversing Assistant takes over steering to manoeuvre the vehicle along a path recently negotiated forward – over a distance of up to 50 metres. Parking Assistant Plus also includes Surround View, Top View, Panorama View and Remote 3D View.
Complete range of services from BMW ConnectedDrive. Full connectivity between the vehicle and the customer’s digital devices via the BMW Connected personal mobility assistant. BMW Digital Key allows users to access the vehicle and start the engine using their smartphone. Hazard warning provided by connectivity with other BMW vehicles. Software upgrades “over the air”. Integration of Microsoft Office 365 and Skype for Business.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
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- Post is under moderationSharper new BMW set to give big-selling compact exec a fresh-look this autumn, and it hides new platform and raft of tech.
Saloon to get plug-in hybrid power before EV joins the range / #BMW-i4
New platform and motors; evolutionary look inside and out
Switch to #BMW-CLAR platform will allow for more space in cabin, as well as the boot. Our exclusive images preview the BMW-3-Series ’ updated front end.
/ #BMW-3-Series / #2019-BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-i4 / #BMW / #2019 / #BMW-3-Series-Mk7
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