- Post is under moderationTHE FIFTH ELEMENT Schmiedmann’s 532hp F10 S5 / #BMW
With its F10 S5, Schmiedmann has unlocked all the potential hidden within the #BMW-550i-F10 and created a bit of a beast… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Schmiedmann.
F10 S5 Schmiedmann’s 532hp super saloon
The F10 #BMW-550i is unquestionably a modern muscle car. It’s big, it’s got a 4.4-litre, twin-turbo V8 and it’s fast. Not M5 fast but, with 407hp and 443lb ft of torque on tap, it’s certainly not a slow machine by any standard. There’s a but coming, though, and that’s to do with the N63 engine because, much like its smaller, turbocharged straightsix cousin, it’s an engine with plenty more to give if you’re up to the task of giving it a little bit of attention and Schmiedmann is definitely up to that particular task. The Danish BMW specialist is a multi-talented one-stop shop, able to supply replacement OE parts, offer servicing and repairs and it also carries a huge range of aftermarket parts so it was really spoilt for choice when it came to creating its S5 demo car and the Schmiedmann team really went to town on this build.
With that twin-turbo V8 at their disposal it’s no surprise that the engine has received plenty of attention but what is a surprise is just how much work has actually gone into it. You might be thinking that a remap would suffice, as that would give you some impressive gains, but that wouldn’t have done for Schmiedmann, the guys there are petrolheads after all, and when you’re building a company demo car you really want to show off your skills. That’s why this car has been fitted with Schmiedmann by Turbo.dk Signature Stage 2 turbos, upgraded standard turbos designed to cope with and produce a lot more power. They boast 15T CNC-milled 48/68mm compressor wheels, which are substantially bigger than the standard 42/56mm items, bigger turbine shafts, upgraded wastegate bushes, upgraded bearings and the turbo housings have also been modified. To go along with the uprated turbos, the chargecoolers have been equipped with a 75% larger radiator, and there’s also a set of Schmiedmann by Supersprint downpipes and a Schmiedmann by Supersprint exhaust system made from micro sandblasted stainless steel, with purposeful Schmiedmann-designed black, double-layer tailpipes.
All these mods needed the right performance software to accompany them, but that proved to be a lot more difficult than you might imagine. “The software was actually the biggest challenge of the build,” explains Schmiedmann’s Martin Thorup.
“When we had all the hardware ready the only thing we needed in order to get the power out was the ECU tuning – the car has a water-cooled Continental MSD85.0 ECU – but we found out that no tuner we know could get access to this ECU so they could reprogram it to our hardware changes. We tried to contact tuners all over the world but the answer was always the same: “It’s not possible, the ECU is blocked by a code that nobody can crack yet”. There was one famous German tuning company that claimed that they could do it, so we sent them the ECU but they also had to give up.
We then found out that almost all tuners worldwide got the reading and programming tool from a company in Switzerland. After speaking with a Danish tuner that had a good connection with the company in Switzerland, they sent two staff members over to Denmark to try to crack the code in our F10 S5 but they couldn’t and also had to give up.
“Now it seemed our only option was to change the hardware back to standard, and install a tuning box; that would bring about 65hp more than standard, but we wanted to hit at least 500hp. Then we got an idea: we called our business friends at Tuningbox in Belgium, and asked them if we could buy an “open” standard Tuningbox for an F10 550i that we would be able to program individually for the hardware changes we’d made on the car. They agreed and also sold us a programming tool for the Tuningbox; the S5 was then placed on the dyno and adjusted by the Danish tuner in co-operation with Tuningbox in Belgium by remote.” The herculean effort that Schmiedmann went to in order to get the software working with the mods on the car was worth it, as the end result of all that work is an amazing 532hp accompanied by a mammoth 563lb ft of torque, huge gains over stock and just huge numbers that push the Schmiedmann S5 into M5 performance territory. “But there is no doubt that the engine and the hardware have potential for much more the day when the ECU code gets cracked,” says Martin, “and we can program a lot more engine parameters,” at which point the S5 will become even more of a beast…
Power, as they say, is nothing without control, and while the F10 is a decent handling machine out of the box, it’s not exactly a sports car and throwing an additional 125hp at a chassis that was unprepared would leave things in a bit of a mess, so Schmiedmann has ensured that its S5 stops and handles as well as it goes.
The standard suspension has been replaced with a Bilstein B16 coilover kit, which offers a wide range of height and damping adjustment, resulting in not only much-improved body control but also allowing the Schmiedmann team to deal with the F10’s gappy arches, giving the S5 a serious drop. The brakes, too, have been attended to and the boat has been well and truly pushed out here, with a Schmiedmann six-pot BBK mounted up front with massive Zimmerman 400x36mm floating discs while at the rear a set of Zimmerman sport brake discs have been fitted in the stock size, as they’re still seriously hefty items on the 550i, and the brake calipers have been painted in Phoenix yellow to match the fronts.
When it comes to styling it’s fair to say that the F10 isn’t a bad-looking car but there’s certainly room for improvement if you want to make it stand out, so the warehouse was duly raided in order to give the S5 a far more menacing look and one more befitting of something so powerful. Up front you’ll find an F10 M5 front bumper with the 550’s foglights removed and coded out, and this is matched with a pair of M5 front wings with Schmiedmann S5 vents.
Motorsport II sideskirts have been fitted and further enhanced with the addition of Schmiedmann carbon streamers and there’s also a Motorsport II rear diffuser with cutouts for the beefy quad exhaust tips. You’ll also find a BMW M performance carbon boot spoiler and Schmiedmann has retrofitted the High-gloss Shadowline window trim along with adding black gloss double slat kidney grilles for the finishing touch. The wheels, meanwhile, are 20” Z Performance ZP.06s finished in Phantom Black, with polished spokes set against black painted barrels and lips for a striking effect, and while the 20s are needed to clear the massive front brakes, they’re also the perfect size for the big-bodied Five and really help to fill those cavernous arches.
You might think that, on a modern car such as this, there wouldn’t be much you could or would even want to do to the interior but Schmiedmann has made sure that interior on its S5 stands out from the crowd in just the right way. The most obvious mod is the steering wheel, a suitably exciting-looking Schmiedmann item with heavily-sculpted grips around the rim, beautifully hand-finished in Nappa leather and alcantara. The instrument cluster has been modified and now sports red needles and an S5 logo; there’s a black and grey sport pedal set and even the floor mats have been replaced with plush new ones that are extra thick and boast genuine nubuck leather piping with double red stitching.
Not only is the Schmiedmann S5 a magnificent mobile display of what the company can offer, it is also a serious piece of machinery, one which boasts M5-rivaling power, performance and presence, with looks that dominate the road. Schmiedmann has left no stone unturned in the creation of its S5 and the extremely impressive results speak for themselves.
“The end result is an amazing 532hp accompanied by a mammoth 563lb ft of torque, huge gains over stock”
DATA FILE / #Schmiedmann / #BMW-F10 / #BMW / #Schmiedmann-S5 / #Schmiedmann-S5-F10 / #BMW-Schmiedmann / #BMW-550i-Schmiedmann-F10 / #Z-Performance / #BMW-550i-Schmiedmann-S5-F10 / #BMW-5-Seies / #BMW-5-Series-F10
ENGINE 4.4-litre twin-turbo #V8 #N63B44 / #BMW-N63 / #BMW-N63-Schmiedmann / #BMW-N63 , Schmiedmann by Supersprint downpipes, Schmiedmann by #Turbo.dk #Stage-2-Signature turbos, 75% larger chargecooler radiator, Schmiedmann by Supersprint exhaust system in micro sandblasted stainless steel with #Schmiedmann-designed black double layer quad tailpipes. Eight-speed Sport automatic gearbox / #ZF / #ZF8HP
POWER AND TORQUE 532hp, 563lb ft
CHASSIS 8.5x20” (front) and 10x20” (rear) #Z-Performance-ZP.06 wheels in Phantom Black with 245/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) Bridgestone Potenza tyres, #Bilstein B16 coilovers, #Schmiedmann-BBK with six-piston Phoenix yellow calipers and #Zimmerman 400x36mm floating discs (front), stock calipers painted Phoenix yellow and Zimmerman sport brake discs (rear)
EXTERIOR M5 front bumper, M5 front arches with Schmiedmann S5 vents, Motorsport II side skirts with Schmiedmann carbon sideskirt streamers, Motorsport II rear diffuser, #BMW-M-Performance carbon bootlid spoiler, High-gloss Shadowline trim retrofit, gloss black doubleslat kidney grilles, Schmiedmann emblems
INTERIOR Schmiedmann sport steering wheel hand-finished in Nappa leather and alcantara, Schmiedmann black and grey sport pedal set, Schmiedmann modifi ed gauge cluster with red needles and Schmiedmann S5 logo, extrathick, nubuck-trimmed Schmiedmann S5 floor mats with double red stitching, M Tech door sills
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- Post is under moderationThe Lap of Luxury We’ve finally driven the new 7 Series and we reckon that BMW can, at last, eclipse the S-Class. Great as the #BMW-7-Series has been over the past 38 years, it has never managed to completely surpass Mercedes’ pesky S-Class – until now… Words: Matt Robinson. Photography: BMW. #BMW-G11 / #BMW-G12
If someone asked you to picture the world’s greatest driving road in your mind’s eye, you’d probably immediately think of a mountain pass with lots and lots of bends on it – France’s Col de Turini, Italy’s Stelvio or the unpronounceable Transfagarasan Highway in Romania. But, according to top scientists (or rather, car hire firm Avis), there’s a ratio that defines what constitutes a divine road. It’s determined by the amount of time you spend on straights in relation to curves and for the finest feeling from behind the wheel, you need ten seconds on each straight for every one frittered away in the bends.
This immediately rules out the mountain passes, which are normally just a constant sequence of leftright- left-right ad infinitum. But there’s a route in Europe that gets very close to Avis’ perfect 10:1 ratio – and it’s in Portugal. It’s the 17-mile-long run from Peso de Régua to Pinhão, the N222 road that hugs the southern edge of the mighty Rover Douro through the heart of the Port wine region. Apparently, with a driving ratio of 11:1 and some spectacular scenery, it’s the one road in the world that comes closest to perfection.
And we were on it in a car that’s pretty close to perfection itself. BMW chose to launch its sixth generation of 7 Series in the surroundings of Porto, one of the major cities of the Iberian peninsula, and part of the route involved the N222, admittedly travelling along it in the Pinhão-Peso de Régua eastwest direction. Our charge for this slice of motoring nirvana was the 750Li xDrive – and there can be few vehicles on sale for any money that would have been better for the journey.
The chief target for this latest Seven to take down is a familiar one: it’s the Mercedes S-Class. Long has the Stuttgart car been the leader in this luxury executive field and, despite some excellent Sevens over the years, the Merc has always remained one step ahead. Munich, though, was determined to arrest that trend this time around and so has pulled out all the stops…
For starters, BMW has unloaded the entire tech arsenal it has in its possession into the 7 Series range. All models benefit from what customers would expect and demand in this sector, such as cruise control, leather, climate control, heated front seats, keyless entry and go and so on and so forth. The Seven then gets a few more choice toys, such as air suspension with Dynamic Damper Control (DDC) and gesture recognition in the cabin – pre-defined hand gestures in the area underneath the interior mirror can turn the radio volume up or down, answer calls on the Bluetooth system or even bring up check control messages the car would like its occupants to read.
But then you come to the options list, and the word ‘epic’ doesn’t quite cover it. Sky Lounge Panoramic Sunroofs incorporate LEDs that work in conjunction with the Seven’s ambient cabin lighting to provide the most soothing environment possible. The Executive Lounge package brings in fully electric, massaging and heated/ventilated seats in the back, along with a tablet in the rear armrest centre console with which to take control of the infotainment. The headlights can have laser main beams with a 600- metre illumination range; the car can park in and extricate itself from tight, perpendicular parking spots without a human on board; the Driver Assistance pack lets it thunder along motorways with semiautonomous control to ease away boardroom stress; and there’s also a #Bowers-&-Wilkins Diamond surround sound system of ridiculous power – among much, much more.
So the 7 Series easily goes toe-to-toe with the S-Class in terms of technology, but it actually pulls ahead when it comes to weight. Taking learnings gleaned from the i3 and i8 electric vehicles and feeding them back into the main range, carbon fibre reinforced plastic is used in the construction of the Seven’s body-in-white, leading to the tag ‘Carbon Core’. Along with other savings, it means up to 130kg is trimmed from the kerb weight of some models. The 730d regular wheelbase ‘G11’ variant, for instance, clocks in at just 1755kg – impressive stuff for a five-metre long luxury car.
However, significant ballast can be added back in through two means: opt for the ‘G12’ long-wheelbase versions and the extra 140mm grafted into the car’s centre section adds 45kg; xDrive all-wheel drive brings a further 70kg. Perhaps it’s worth expanding on the UK launch range here. There are four versions of the 3.0-litre turbodiesel-powered car (the 730d, 730Ld, 730d xDrive and 730Ld xDrive), two each of the petrols (the straight-six, 3.0-litre, 326hp 740i and 740Li, and the 4.4-litre, twin-turbo V8 750i xDrive and 750Li xDrive) and three versions of a plug-in hybrid 7 Series. Badged 740e, a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is teamed with an electric motor; this is the same drivetrain we sampled recently in the X5. It can be specified as a rear-wheel drive G11 and either rear-wheel drive or xDrive examples of the G12.
Day one of our test drives and the route that culminated in a brisk amble along the banks of the Douro in pristine Portuguese sunshine was conducted in the range-topping 750Li xDrive. Likely to be a six-figure car basic, this is the one which will find the most buyers in the US, China and the Middle East, because it is pure opulence on wheels. BMW loaded the demo cars with almost every toy in the book and the standard of the cabin was simply exquisite. There’s not a single inch of black plastic to be seen anywhere within, and everything looks and feels of the highest quality. All 140 of those extra millimetres of the Li are for the benefit of rear-seat passengers and the net result is a cabin that is vast. Not that you’ll notice it from behind the wheel. The xDrive system makes the 5238mm-long 750Li feel nimble – you start to throw the big limo around as if it were a 3 Series. And it doesn’t mind this sort of treatment, because the air suspension with DDC maintains a rigid grip on the Seven’s body at all times.
Lean is minimal and there’s a generally strong dynamic showing should you feel like driving the 7 Series hard, although the steering is a little light on ultimate feedback. Still, for picking off the slowmoving sightseers dawdling along the N222, the 750Li’s performance is more than adequate. That’s because, with just one glance at the stats, you can see how monstrously fast a car this is. The 4.5-second 0-62mph time tells only part of the story – it’s the way the BMW just keeps on accelerating so strongly beyond that which stuns. Because, while the needle on the dial spins round rapidly and the world through the windscreen starts to blur, the rest of the experience is utterly effortless. There’s a muted growl from the biturbo V8 that filters into the cabin, but otherwise, the 7 Series insulates you completely from the physical aspects of building up to silly pace.
This brings us neatly on to the 730d, as we want to talk about the ride and general level of refinement possessed by the sixth-gen 7 Series. Driven on day two, without the world’s greatest driving road (according to Avis) to fall back on, and shorn of both the long-wheelbase of the 750i and xDrive traction, it could have felt like the poor relation of the launch range; BMW had even deigned to remove some of the more luxurious optional extras that were showcased on the Li from the 3.0-litre diesel car.
Yet it’s the 730d that makes us wonder if this might just be the best three-box saloon on the planet right now, irrespective of price. Like the 750Li, it too is an agile machine and there’s a suggestion that without drive going to the front axle, the steering is better to deal with. There are also no complaints about rear legroom, because there’s still plenty of space in the back of the short wheelbase car. Crucially, the levels of comfort are unparalleled.
There’s no trade-off in compliance here as a result of the Seven’s dynamic competence, as the ride is flawless at all times, the air suspension smoothing away every road surface imperfection long before it can get to the cabin. The diesel unit is even more hushed and discreet than the 4.4-litre V8 petrol; all Sevens are linked to the most fluid, fast-reacting and seamless eight-speed automatic we’ve yet encountered. So when you’re simply cruising along in this 730d, it’s velvet smooth and quieter than your average cathedral inside – and a lot more comfortable, too. The 7 Series’ day-to-day demeanour is the car’s strongest suit and it’s so phenomenally good that there’s no doubt the Seven is the new leader of its class. The Mercedes just cannot match it.
Have we got any negatives to tell you about, beyond the overly-light steering? Well, the actual fuel economy we saw on both cars was 22.6mpg for the 750Li xDrive and 33.2mpg on the 730d – both some way short of the official figures, but, alarmingly on the diesel, nearly half what Munich quotes as achievable. We have to couch this figure in the terms of the test drive, which involved crawling around the streets of Porto and driving along a twisting, semi-mountainous route in a forest, two things most Sevens will probably avoid. And on the motorways leading towards Portugal’s second city, the 730d did at least show an instant economy figure that was hovering around 55mpg – so we think owners should reckon on a real-world 40-50mpg average. Not what’s advertised, sure, but also not bad for 1.75 tonnes of prime executive.
There’s one final area that will divide opinion and that’s the styling. In the convoluted history of BMW design, Adrian van Hooydonk – BMW’s current director in this area – was credited with the work on the E65 7 Series; the one that most people call the ‘Bangle Butt’ BMW. And yet, while the early 21st century ‘Flame Surfaced’ cars penned under American Chris Bangle’s auspices received critical panning for being too much of a departure from what had gone before, now van Hooydonk is accused of playing it too safe in the wake of Bangle’s 2009 departure from the company.
We can see what some people mean. The new Seven is very clearly an evolution of the F01/F02 predecessors, rather than a completely clean-slate piece of work. And some of it is questionable. Wider light clusters now link to the trademark BMW frontend theme, the kidney grilles – which are the largest we’ve ever seen from Munich. The mid-cycle impulse that BMW enacts on each and every car it makes usually involves tweaks to the lamp designs and an enlargement of the kidney grilles, so we have no idea how the company will manage on the latter score when the 7 Series needs its face-lift in 2018.
The sides of the car are also quite plain, deliberately so according to van Hooydonk, but that can lead to a slab-like appearance, certainly on the long-wheelbase cars with their colossal rear doors. However, we do like the rear styling and the two strakes on the bonnet of the 7 Series, which almost act as sight guides for where to put the BMW’s nose when you’re behind the wheel. The traditionally staid executive colour palette is offered for the 7 Series, so expect to see most cars in grey, silver or black, with the few daring buyers perhaps opting for dark blue. Okay, lurid yellow would be a daft idea on a car so big but perhaps there are other colours, not as yet offered, which will suit the Seven’s lines a little better.
Nevertheless, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and, personally, we find the look of the current car to be pleasing. So, when coupled with the unequalled levels of comfort and refinement on offer, a potential level of technology to rival a space station, magnificent drivetrains and a chassis that responds well to keener drivers, there’s little to fault on the remarkable new 7 Series. Lucky us, eh? Driving the best executive car along the best road in the world! Well, we’re not sure about the second half of that statement, but we are absolutely certain on the first. The 7 Series has eclipsed the Mercedes S-Class – mission, finally, accomplished for #BMW .
TECH DATA #2016 #BMW-730d-G11
ENGINE: 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six diesel / #B57D30M0 / #B57
MAX TORQUE: 458lb ft
0-62MPH: 6.1 seconds
TOP SPEED: 155mph (limited)
CO² EMISSIONS: 119g/kg
TECH DATA #BMW-750Li-xDrive-G12
ENGINE: 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol / #N63B44 / #N63
TORQUE: 480lb ft
0-62MPH: 4.5 seconds
TOP SPEED: 155mph (limited)
CO² EMISSIONS: 192g/km
PRICE: TBC – in excess of current model’s £74,730
It’s so phenomenally good that there’s no doubt the Seven is the new leader of its class.
Sky Lounge Panoramic Sunroofs incorporate LEDs that work in conjunction with the Seven’s ambient cabin lighting.
Even in short-wheelbase form the 7 Series has ample space in the back.
The Li version of the Seven can be spec’d with a huge number of toys such as the ‘Executive Lounge’ package; removable tablet allows you to control a large number of functions.
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