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    / #BMW-M850i-xDrive-Cabrio-G14 / #2019-BMW-M850i-xDrive-Cabrio-G14 / #2019 / #BMW-G14 / #BMW-M850i-xDrive-G14 / #BMW-8-Series / #BMW-8-Series-G14 / #BMW-8-series-Convertible / #BMW-8-series-Convertible-G14

    More luxurious than a 911 Convertible, cheaper than an Aston DB11 Volante, the #BMW 8-series Convertible is a hard car to pigeonhole. Let’s focus on what we know – this is a droptop luxo-lounge for four, with a petrol V8 or six-cylinder diesel, and handling that doesn’t tally with a near two-tonne kerbweight.

    In reality there isn’t room for four adults and, while the diesel offers sufficient punch and low running costs, the 4.4-litre soundtrack of the M850i is just better.

    Handles well, too. Suitably taut, with none of the associated wobbliness from the lack of roof, the 8-series turns in hard and manages midcorner lumps and bumps deftly. Thank standard adaptive dampers and rear-wheel steering for that, and #xDrive all-wheel drive that means you can get back on the power early, too. All in all, perfectly placed between the 911 and DB11, and with a refined character of its own.

    First verdict

    Good refinement with a drive that makes you forget this is a ‘softer’ convertible. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
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    AL HORSMAN #BMW-540i-xDrive / #BMW-G30 / #BMW / #BMW-540i-xDrive-G30

    Most of the cars we feature tend to be a little on the older side so it was a nice surprise when Al’s email appeared in our inbox, telling us about his G30 5 Series. Al’s 540i model is equipped with the seriously potent single-turbo #BMW-B58 straight-six as can be found in the M140i and M240i among other models, which makes 340hp and 332lb ft of torque in stock form, and with the added traction of xDrive that’s enough for a 0-62mph time of just 4.8 seconds, which is seriously impressive stuff. Al says that having the #xDrive on board makes the car feel incredibly planted and he understands it’s the only 540i xDrive in the country, which makes him a member of a rather exclusive club. The only mod he’s fitted so far is a K&N filter, which he says has increased torque noticeably throughout the rev range, but he’s got no more mods planned as it’s one of the most complete cars he’s driven and is more than fast enough already.
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    CHRIS GRAHAM F30 335d xDRIVE #Shadow-Edition

    CAR: #BMW-F30 335d #xDrive
    YEAR: 2018
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 4,863
    MPG THIS MONTH: 49.4

    / #BMW-F30 / #BMW-335d-xDrive-F30 / #BMW-335d-xDrive-Shadow-Edition / #2018-BMW-335d-xDrive-Shadow-Edition / #2018-BMW-335d-xDrive-Shadow-Edition-F30 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-F30 / #BMW / #2018 / #BMW-335d-F30 / #BMW-335d / #2018-BMW-335d /

    This month I’ve mostly been revelling in the results of Mark Farrell’s excellent new car detail, carried out on my 335d a few weeks ago. The way his expert attentions enhanced the clarity and depth of the superb Sunset Orange metallic paint finish, is a wonder to behold! Sadly, there simply wasn’t room to do the results he achieved justice in the article. Ideally, I’d have used the ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs much larger in last month’s Valeting bay feature, but there was just so much technical information to be included that we ran out of page space.

    Mark recommends washing the car every two weeks once it’s been treated with a ceramic coating, to maximise the life of that finish. So, it was with some trepidation that I tackled this recently. It was the first time that I’d had any direct, physical contact with the bodywork, having confined my cleaning activities to snow foam and jet wash up until then.

    I was careful to give the whole car a thorough rinse with the jet wash before starting, then apply a thick layer of snow foam before using a soft cotton wash pad to agitate and lift away any dirt. I also had two buckets (one with a grit guard) for rinsing and re-wetting the wash pad as I worked. Finally, the vehicle was jet-washed again before being patted dry using a large, soft microfibre towel.

    I’ve also been doing a little research into AdBlue, which is something that had more or less passed me by until getting this car. To be honest, I didn’t even realise the #BMW-335d-F30 was fitted with the system until I opened the fuel filler flap for the first time. AdBlue, which is a diesel exhaust fluid – not a fuel additive – is injected into the engine’s exhaust stream in small quantities, and triggers a chemical reaction that converts harmful nitrogen oxide into nitrogen and water.

    The fluid, which is a nontoxic solution made from very pure, synthesised urea (not pigs’ urine, as is popularly believed!) and de-ionised water, is gradually consumed as the engine runs. The level of the remaining fluid can be checked via iDrive, which will display the car’s range given what’s left in the tank, plus the amount of AdBlue needed to top-up the tank. In my case, the range is still showing >4,500 miles, and that there’s a 0.0-litre top-up requirement. The level is something worth keeping an eye on, though, as allowing it to run out will bump the engine into a limited power mode, and prevent it from being re-started when it’s next switched off. There are, of course, obvious dashboard warnings issued as AdBlue levels start to fall too low for comfort so, in practice, there’s no excuse for actually running out of the stuff.

    According to the owner’s handbook, when the #AdBlue reserve indicator on the dashboard first shows, the tank should be replenished with at least five litres (1.3 gallons), which is likely to cost about £5. The handbook also points out that it’s important to use Adblue that meets the ISO 22241-1 standard.

    Right: Sad though it may be, I’m still getting a great deal of pleasure from the depth and richness of the Sunset Orange metallic paint on my car.

    AdBlue diesel exhaust fluid is now part of my life, for the first time.
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    5 Series scoops more awards

    / #BMW-G30 / #BMW-G31 / #BMW-F90 / #BMW-G38 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW / #BMW-5-Series-G30 / #BMW-5-Series-G31 / #BMW-5-Series-G38 / #BMW-M-Automobiles / #BMW-M5 / #BMW / #BMW-M5-F90 / #2018-BMW-M5 / #2018 / #BMW-M5-F90 / #BMW-5-Series-F90 / #BMW-5-Series-M5 / #BMW-5-Series-M5-F90 / #BMW-M5-xDrive / #xDrive /

    The #BMW-5-Series-Saloon has been recognised once again, winning the ‘ #Best-Executive-Car ’ category, alongside the #BMW-5-Series-Touring , which was named ‘ #Best-Estate-Car ’, at the recent #UK-Car-of-the-Year-Awards . Evaluated and compared by a well-respected panel of UK journalists, these titles add another impressive UK accolade to the BMW 5 Series’ growing collection of international honours.

    The multi-award-winning saloon impressed judges with its refinement, technology and build quality. Commenting on the win, #Alex-Grant , UK COTY judge, said: “The 5 Series impresses not only for its cutting-edge connected, electrified and partially-autonomous technology, but because the car underneath does everything so brilliantly.”

    The 5 Series Touring was commended for its flexibility, practicality and driving dynamics. Nargess Banks, UK COTY judge, said: “BMW has mastered the art of designing and engineering the perfect estate car, replete with intelligent technology.”

    The 5 Series’ success story continues, with both the saloon and the touring models winning more prestigious awards recently.
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    / #BMW-F90 / #BMW-M-Automobiles / #BMW-M5 / #BMW / #BMW-M5-F90 / #2018-BMW-M5 / #2018 / #BMW-M5-F90 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-F90 / #BMW-5-Series-M5 / #BMW-5-Series-M5-F90 / #BMW-M5-xDrive / #xDrive / #BMW-M5-Safety-Car-F90 / #BMW-M5-Safety-Car / #2018-MotoGP / 2018 / #MotoGP

    A new BMW M5 is set to spearhead the Safety Car fleet in the 2018 MotoGP season, ensuring more excellent exposure for BMW’s latest super-saloon.

    “A MotoGP Safety Car faces enormous challenges. It is vital to lead a field of high-performance race bikes safely through all sorts of conditions,” said Frank van Meel, president of #BMW M GmbH. “Innovative motorsport technology is an essential part of this. The new BMW M5 forms the perfect basis for a safety car, as its technical features ensure perfect handling, even at the limits of driving dynamics.”

    These features include the newly-developed M-specific all-wheel-drive M xDrive; a first for the M5. But the heart of the car is its 4.4-litre, V8 engine with #M-TwinPower-Turbo technology, that produces 600hp and a maximum torque figure of 750Nm. These outputs will enable the car to sprint to 62mph in just 3.4 seconds, with drive being channelled through a new, eight-speed M Steptronic gearbox with Drivelogic.

    The transformation of the M5 to a MotoGP Safety Car was completed by the inclusion of special racing features and the necessary safety equipment. The front splitter is a specially-developed prototype, the bonnet latches are taken directly from racing and the bucket seats are from the BMW M4 GTS.

    The flat, LED light bar on the roof is controlled via a specially-developed cockpit panel, and an additional signalling system is provided by the flashing blue LEDs in the front grills, and flashing corona rings around the headlights.

    Further information on BMW M GmbH is available online at:

    New M5 revealed as official Safety Car for #2018-MotoGP race series.
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    The new 2018 BMW M5

    The new BMW M5 (fuel consumption combined: 10.5 l/100 km [26.9 mpg imp]*; CO2 emissions combined: 241 g/km*) takes BMW M GmbH into new territory, with M xDrive all-wheel drive featuring in the high-performance sedan for the first time. This change of tack sees the M5 exploring new dynamic dimensions and offering greater everyday practicality in all driving conditions.

    / #BMW-F90 / #BMW-M-Automobiles / #BMW-M5 / #BMW / #BMW-M5-F90 / #2018-BMW-M5 / #2018 / #BMW-M5-F90 / #BMW-5-Series / #BMW-5-Series-F90 / #BMW-5-Series-M5 / #BMW-5-Series-M5-F90 / #BMW-M5-xDrive / #xDrive

    The new BMW M5 (fuel consumption combined: 10.5 l/100 km [26.9 mpg imp]*; CO2 emissions combined: 241 g/km*) takes #BMW M GmbH into new territory, with M xDrive all-wheel drive featuring in the high-performance sedan for the first time. This change of tack sees the M5 exploring new dynamic dimensions and offering greater everyday practicality in all driving conditions. The new car is committed to building on the tradition of a concept – the luxurious four-door business sedan with a taste for the race track – first glimpsed in 1984 with the original BMW M5.

    The new M xDrive developed by BMW M GmbH is the most emotionally engaging all-wheel-drive system yet to grace the high-performance segment. It works with a central transfer case with multi-plate clutch and distributes drive fully variably between the front and rear axle, as required. Another ingredient in the car’s supreme traction in all road and weather conditions is the Active M Differential at the rear axle, which also works fully variably and has a locking effect between 0 and 100 per cent.

    The character of M xDrive can be adjusted as desired. The driver has five different configurations to choose from based on combinations of the DSC modes (DSC on, MDM, DSC off) and M xDrive modes (4WD, 4WD Sport, 2WD). In the basic setting with DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) activated and 4WD, the system permits slight slip through the rear wheels when accelerating out of corners – and therefore plays its part in giving the new BMW M5 its sporting agility. In M Dynamic mode (MDM, 4WD Sport) M xDrive allows easily controlled drifts. The three M xDrive modes with DSC switched off have been conceived to sate the appetites of keen drivers and primarily for use on the track. Here, the driver can choose from three configurations up to and including pure rear-wheel drive (2WD). This mode allows the driver to pick their own drift angle and treats connoisseurs to driving dynamics in their purest form.

    Providing ample power for the new BMW M5 is a 4.4-litre V8 bi-turbo engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology. The M engineers have carried out significant revisions to the outgoing model’s power unit. For example, newly developed turbochargers, ultra-efficient indirect charge air cooling and increased fuel injection pressure together help to raise output and, above all, torque. The engine develops 441 kW/600 hp at 5,600 – 6,700 rpm, while a monumental 750 Nm (553 lb-ft) of torque is placed at the driver’s disposal from as low down as 1,800 rpm and remains there until 5,600 rpm. A map-controlled, fully variable oil pump ensures oil is supplied as and when the new BMW M5 needs it, even on the track. The car’s impressive performance figures speak for themselves: 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 3.4 seconds, 0 to 200 km/h in 11.1 seconds (124 mph). Top speed, meanwhile, is an electronically limited 250 km/h (155 mph), but the optional M Driver’s Package can keep the fun coming to 305 km/h (189 mph).

    The new BMW M5 channels all that power through a specially tuned eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic. In D mode it provides all the comfort and convenience of fully automatic gear changes, but can then also switch to sequential manual shifts. The driver can do this using either the compact selector lever on the centre console or the steering wheel-mounted paddles. Drivelogic allows the driver to adjust the transmission’s characteristics to their personal preferences. For track use, the eight-speed M Steptronic unit serves up lightning-fast shift times, helping to give the new BMW M5 its exceptional agility and dynamic flair.

    The suspension of the new BMW M5 is likewise designed to deliver both maximum traction for everyday use and supreme dynamic performance on the track. Like the engine, transmission and M xDrive system, it has been tuned by experts and racing drivers at venues including the world’s most exacting test facility – the Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit. Sophisticated stiffening elements in the front and rear structures ensure the body structure is extremely rigid and therefore that the car provides instantaneous feedback, in particular when the driver is pushing hard on the road or track.

    The driver can also choose from Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus modes for the Variable Damper Control (VDC) system – which has M-specific tuning – and the M Servotronic steering. And the engine’s characteristics can also be configured to the driver’s tastes via the Efficient, Sport and Sport Plus modes. The two M1 and M2 buttons on the M leather steering wheel can be used to store two set-ups combining the driver’s preference of engine, transmission, suspension and M xDrive modes, the DSC mode and Head-Up-Display settings. The driver can then activate their preferred set-up by pressing the relevant button.

    The new BMW M5 includes revisions to its bodywork over the regular BMW 5 Series to satisfy its challenging dynamic brief. The M engineers have redesigned the broader front side panels and front bumper trim to include larger apertures for the air feeding the cooling systems and brakes. Also new is the rear diffuser. The exhaust system’s quartet of tailpipes are a visual pointer to the power generated by the BMW M5 and also lay on a suitably sporting soundtrack for the job in hand, courtesy of their flap control system. The driver can use a button to adjust the engine sound as desired.

    The bonnet, which also has an M-specific design, is made from aluminium and boasts eye-catching sculpture lines. These extend into the extremely lightweight carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) roof – a standard feature of the new M5. The weight savings contributed by the CFRP roof and other components such as the exhaust system help to ensure the new BMW M5 with M xDrive all-wheel drive is lighter than its predecessor.

    The new BMW M5 is fitted as standard with M compound brakes, which are lighter than conventional grey cast iron items and therefore also bring down the car’s weight. With blue-painted six-piston fixed callipers at the front and single-piston floating callipers at the rear, plus perforated, inner-vented brake discs all round, the M compound brakes have the speed-shedding power to befit the car’s dynamic potency. The optional M carbon ceramic brakes, which can be identified by callipers painted in a gold colour and shave another 23 kilograms off the M5’s weight, can withstand even greater punishment.

    The new BMW M5 comes as standard with polished 19-inch light-alloy wheels (front: 9.5 x 19, rear: 10.5 x 19) in Orbit Grey and M-specific tyres (front: 275/40 R 19, rear: 285/40 R 19). 20-inch items can be specified as an option (front: 275/35 R 20 tyres on 9.5 x 20 rims, rear: 285/35 R 20 tyres on 10.5 x 20 rims). Standard specification for the new BMW M5 also features Merino leather and M seats with electric adjustment. The options list includes newly developed M multifunction seats, which stand out with their bucket-seat-style construction and even better lateral support.

    The new BMW M5 can be ordered from September 2017, priced at €117,900, and deliveries will begin in spring 2018. Scheduled for launch on the same sales start date as the standard M5 is the BMW M5 First Edition. This special-edition version – limited to a run of 400 examples worldwide – has BMW Individual Frozen Dark Red Metallic paintwork, is exclusively appointed and costs an extra €19,500 over the standard model.

    Further information on official fuel consumption figures, specific CO2 emission values and the electric power consumption of new passenger cars is included in the following guideline: “Leitfaden über Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO2-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch neuer Personenkraftwagen” (Guideline for fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and electric power consumption of new passenger cars), which can be obtained from all dealerships, from Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH (DAT), Hellmuth-Hirth-Str. 1, 73760 Ostfildern-Scharnhausen and at

    * Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions figures are provisional, based on the EU test cycle and may vary depending on the tyre format specified.


    fuel consumption combined: 10.5 l/100 km [26.9 mpg imp]*; CO2 emissions combined: 241 g/km*
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    Low-slung luxury! #BMW-640i-xDrive-Gran-Turismo-M-Sport-G32 / #2017-BMW-640i-xDrive-Gran-Turismo-M-Sport-G32 / #BMW-640i-xDrive-Gran-Turismo-G32 / #BMW-640i-xDrive-G32 / #BMW-640i-G32 / #BMW-G32 / #BMW-6-Series / #BMW-6-Series-G32 / #BMW-6-Series-Gran-Turismo / #BMW-Gran-Turismo / #2017 / #BMW / #xDrive / #BMW-640i

    If your requirements for a car include comfort and elegance mixed with a generous dash of sporting prowess, then the forthcoming 6 Series Gran Turismo should be of great interest.

    BMW says the new model – due for its premiere at the IAA show in Frankfurt, this November – will set new levels in these respects.

    The car will also offer superior driving dynamics and efficiency and, says the maker, represents a major step forward over its predecessor; hence the new designation.

    Initially, the 6 Series Gran Turismo will be offered with a choice of three engines – 630i, 640i and 630d – and the xDrive, all-wheel-drive system will be available with two of them.

    The large 5 Series GT – a vehicle intended to blend the luxury of a comfortable saloon with coupé looks – was first launched in 2009, and the new model is set to build on the success of its predecessor.

    Being lower and longer than the original model, the new 6 Series Gran Turismo presents a more athletic, sportier stance, without compromising on interior space and refinement.

    Prices will start at £46,810 for the 630i model, rising to £53,970 for the 640i xDrive. The 630d version is available with or without xDrive, and will cost £52,705 or £50,665 respectively.

    The 6 Series Gran Turismo’s interior should leave occupants wanting for nothing.
    BMW hopes that the 6 Series Gran Turismo’s mix of stylish elegance and practicality will appeal to a wide range of drivers.

    The 6 Series Gran Turismo has been designed to present a more athletic and sportier image than the 5 Series GT it replaces.
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    A Highland Fling / 7 SERIES DRIVE / #BMW-7-Series-G12 / #BMW-740Ld-xDrive-M-Sport-G12 / #BMW-740Ld-G12 / #BMW-G12 / #BMW-740Ld-xDrive-G12 / #BMW / #2017

    A trip through Scotland in the latest #BMW-7-Series to visit the historic Machrihanish Airbase.

    David Finlay takes the latest 740Ld #xDrive for a nostalgic drive through Scotland to visit the site of an unlikely 7 Series-based record attempt in the 1980s. Words and photography: David Finlay.

    In a straight line, Machrihanish is 65 miles from the centre of Glasgow, or ‘just round the corner’ as those of us who live in the west of Scotland would say, but if you think this means you can get from one to the other by car in an hour or so you can forget it. The most efficient route involves travelling through Argyll, which has so many lochs that its coastline is longer than that of France. Not one of them has a bridge over it so, unless you’re prepared to wait for ferries the best option is to drive round them all, racking up over 140 miles in the process.

    It’s worth the trouble. Within half an hour of leaving the city you’re driving up the west bank of Loch Lomond where, even on a dull day, the scenery is such as to render non-locals slack-jawed. At Tarbet, where the A82 becomes the A83, you veer away towards the Rest And Be Thankful, bypassing a narrow track which was once a venue for a round of the British Hillclimb Championship, later a rally stage, and still used even now by rally drivers wanting to brush up on their Tarmac technique in the occasional Test On The Rest events. More prosaically, it also serves as a relief road when the A83 is blocked by increasingly frequent landslides.

    Feel free at this point to stop in the car park, gaze back down the glen and grab some refreshments at the burger van, but don’t get too excited about stories that the latter is operated by Dario Franchitti’s uncle. It used to be but it was taken over a few years ago by a chap called John Mather, who is splendid company and has an admirable policy about how much bacon there should be in a bacon roll.

    You’ll spend a long time after this swooping through bends on the banks of Loch Fyne until you reach Tarbert. (Yes, I know – lots of places in Scotland have names like this). The road then goes briefly cross-country across the top of the Kintyre peninsula before reaching the Atlantic coast. The scenery here is arguably the best yet, depending on your personal preference, and certainly the broadest.

    To your right are the distant islands of Jura and Islay (pronounced eye-lah) and the much closer Gigha (pronounced gee-ah). As sea views go, this one is quite splendid, but it stands in contrast to the fact that you’re now in rich farming country. It rains a lot round here, so the grass is very lush, contributing to the area’s deservedly high reputation for dairy produce.

    If you like, you can dart off to the left every so often and explore charming little lanes, though you’ll have to be prepared to reverse for long distances back to the nearest passing place so you can make room for farm traffic. You may prefer to keep the flow going as the A83 swoops southwards through tiny villages with varying levels of pronunciation difficulty such as Tayinloan, Glenbarr, Muasdale and Bellochantuy.

    This is probably the better option if, as I am, you’re driving a #BMW-740Ld-xDrive-M-Sport Nearly as wide as some of the smaller lanes, it’s much more suitable for the main road itself, progressing elegantly through the hundreds of sweeping curves and not feeling out of place on any of the much rarer tight ones even though it’s more than 17 feet long.

    My favourite of the three driving modes is Eco Pro. It gives you various fuel-saving possibilities (contributing to fuel economy of well over 40mpg on this run) and forces you into the Comfort setting for engine and gearbox response, which is my favourite anyway because I think Sport is a little too excitable. Within Eco Pro, however, you can select Sport for the steering and damping, and that’s what I do. For me, this setting suits Kintyre better.

    The ‘capital’ of Kintyre is Campbeltown, the fourth largest town in Argyll with a population of 4852 (according to the most recent census taken in 2011). A century ago, it had one of the highest per capita incomes in the whole of the UK, thanks to the success of its farming, fishing, shipbuilding and whisky industries, and while it no longer thrives to anything like this extent you can still see signs of the glory days, particularly in the design of some of the more spectacular houses.

    The former mining village of Machrihanish, a short drive to the west over mostly straight roads, isn’t short of architectural splendour either, particularly on the outskirts across the road from the internationally famous golf course. On his first visit here in the late 1870s, Scottish golfer Old Tom Morris exclaimed, ‘The Almighty had golf in his eye when he made this place,’ and since he had already won the Open Championship four times before he arrived I think we can safely take his word for it. The first hole is regarded in some circles as being one of the most difficult anywhere in the world because a careless tee shot can send your ball flying into the Atlantic, never to be seen again. I don’t know much about golf, but I’m pretty sure this is not a cause for celebration.

    This is by no means the only claim to fame Machrihanish can boast of. In 1906 a local transmitting station was at one end of the first successful two-way transatlantic radio broadcast, exchanging Morse code signals with an identical one in Massachusetts, though the mast collapsed later that year before the service became commercially useful.

    Then there’s the airfield. Formerly known as RAF Machrihanish, it was used for military purposes on and off from the First World War onwards and was still under Ministry of Defence responsibility until 2012, when it was sold to the Machrihanish Airbase Community Company (MACC).

    Part of the 10,003ft main runway is still used for small planes taking passengers to and from Glasgow, but the rest of the site now has many other purposes including a business park, a conference centre and it’s home to a very popular single-venue Tarmac rally.

    Furthermore, in recent years there have been sturdy efforts to have it named as the UK’s first spaceport. If this happens, Machrihanish airfield will suddenly become far better known than it has ever been before. Even now, it’s more famous than you probably realise. You may be aware of a successful 1985 Hollywood film called White Nights, which had a formidable cast including Gregory Hines, Helen Mirren, Isabella Rossellini, future Bond Girl Maryam d’Abo and ballet dancer turned actor Mikhail Baryshnikov. (Further unnecessary detail: Lionel Ritchie’s song Say You, Say Me was written specifically for it, and went on to become a US number one hit.) Early in the film, Baryshnikov’s character is unfortunate enough to be in a Boeing 747 when it crash lands in Siberia. It would be quite common, and indeed understandable, for this scene to be faked, but it wasn’t, except for the fact that the studio saved money by buying an older Boeing and converting it to look like a 747. According to Malcolm McMillan, MACC’s Business Development Manager, the crash itself was genuine, and performed at Machrihanish by an Irish stunt pilot who cheerfully stepped unharmed out of the wreckage to collect his no doubt considerable fee. Malcolm tells me about this during a pleasant chat after I arrive unannounced at his office and tell him the real reason I’ve brought the 740Ld here. This, you see, is more than just an enjoyable run to a gorgeous part of the world in a lovely car. It’s also, in a sense, a pilgrimage.

    I first visited Machrihanish in December 1988 to report on, of all things, an attempt on the UK rooftop ski speed record. The car used was a #BMW-745i-E23 , a turbocharged version of the recently discontinued 732i. The 745i of this era wasn’t sold in the UK because the turbo required engine bay space already taken up by the steering column on right-hand drive models, but a Glasgow-based company called AVA Turbos imported one and prepared it for circuit racing in the hands of the very experienced Iain Gardner. AVA was co-owned by Alan Clark, whose brother Norman was a successful downhill speed skier. It seemed perfectly reasonable for the 745i to be given a roof rack and a set of skis and taken to Machrinhanish, where Norman would climb aboard and hang on while Alan drove it flat-out down the main runway.

    Norman seemed quite placid about the whole thing, but there were risks. In particular, it was vitally important for him to maintain the tuck position. If he didn’t, one arm would fly backwards in the wind, followed almost immediately by the other arm and then the rest of him. The first Alan thing knew about it would be the sound of his brother’s crash helmet shattering the rear window. Rather him than me…

    On its first and only run the BMW went hurtling through the speed trap at 141.5mph, comfortably beating the existing record. The Clarks were happy, but knew they could go quicker. The speed trap had been set up very conservatively; it could be moved many yards further down the runway and still leave room for Alan to brake the car gently to a standstill.

    The car’s sponsor, who owned a building company in Glasgow, was more cautious. The team, he said, had achieved its goal. Rather than put Norman in any more danger, he suggested packing up right then and treating everyone present to lunch in Campbeltown.

    No one had any objection to this, not least because by this time our bodies were starting to protest at being subjected to midwinter Kintyre weather. We weren’t quite finished, though. Since it was impractical to have another car running alongside the 745i during the record run, it had not been possible to take decent pictures, so we had to mock them up.

    Alan and Norman went down the runway twice more at a modest 60mph, accompanied by me driving my parents’ Peugeot 309 with a couple of photographers hanging out of the passenger side windows. For Norman, this was no fun at all. He was in much less danger, but holding the tuck position for more than twice as long while experiencing a wind chill factor of ‘get me out of here’ was extremely uncomfortable. The 141.5mph run, he told us later, was the easy bit.

    Malcolm McMillan kindly allows me to take the 740Ld on to the main runway for a nostalgic photo shoot. The eastern section is now blocked off for commercial flights but I park on a section where the 745i had started to build up speed on its way to making history and gaze down towards where there was once, for a couple of hours, a carefully set up speed trap. This is the view the Clark brothers had on that perishingly cold day nearly 28 years ago. I envy them both to some extent, but I envy Alan far more than I do Norman.

    Satisfied with the experience, and grateful to Malcolm for his help, I fire up the 740Ld again and head back to a more densely populated area of Scotland. The drive home is every bit as delightful as the drive here was.

    It seemed perfectly reasonable for the 745i to be given a roof rack and a set of skis and taken to Machrinhanish where Norman would climb aboard and hang on.

    The road then goes cross-country across the top of the Kintyre peninsula before reaching the Atlantic coast. The scenery here is arguably the best yet.
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    New Five driven / G30 5 SERIES FIRST DRIVE

    Behind the wheel of the stunning 530d xDrive and #BMW-540i-M-Sport / #BMW-5-Series-G30 / #BMW-540i-M-Sport-G30

    BMW’s G30 5 Series has the weight of expectation on its sharp shoulders, but it shrugs it – and pretty much everything else – off with disdain. Words: Bob Harper. Photography: BMW

    The Business Behind the wheel of BMW’s awesome new #BMW-5-Series in 540i and #BMW-530d-xDrive guises.

    Now, I’m no fashion expert, but to my eyes, pairing a sharply tailored suit with a set of proper running shoes shouldn’t work, but that’s how BMW wants us to think of its new 5 Series, in its words, the ‘Business Athlete’. That’s effectively how BMW’s marketing bods have interpreted the message its engineers conveyed to us when we drove the pre-production G30 in Wales back in the October issue. The intention was to keep the F10’s comfort level but ramp up the driving dynamics to ensure the new 5 Series is the sportiest to drive option in the executive saloon class. Our first impressions then suggested the brief had been met and now, a few months later, we’re in Lisbon for the first test of the showroom-ready car just before it arrives in UK dealerships in February #2017 .

    We spent day one in the only diesel present, the 530d #xDrive , and without wishing to spoil the surprise, this really is all the car you could ever need or want (okay, maybe with the 2018 Touring body…). Nobody ever described the previous generation 530d as lacking in punch, yet BMW felt the need to turn the wick up a tad, so now there’s 265hp and 457lb ft on tap (gains of 7hp and 44lb ft respectively), and that torque figure comes on strong at just 2000rpm so there’s a real kick in the kidneys when you floor the throttle, regardless of the gear you’re in or the speed you’re already doing.

    Doing that from a standstill in the rear-drive 530d used to be met with a little shimmy from the rear and a blinking traction control light, regardless of conditions, but BMW is going large with xDrive all-wheel drive for the G30, offering it on virtually all models, and though you can still have a rear-drive 530d, we’d suggest it’s at its best with xDrive.

    Admittedly, those that are watching their emissions ratings won’t be enamoured by the higher figure (the 530d emits just 124g/km, but that rises to 138g/km with xDrive), but it makes for a more rewarding and capable car. Faster too. In spite of a 55kg weight penalty, the xDrive model gets off the line cleaner to record a 0-62mph time of 5.4 seconds – the reardrive car is 0.3 seconds slower. And those times were set in perfect conditions, so imagine how much of an advantage the xDrive version would have in the wet for the average driver.

    We didn’t need to imagine, as the skies opened at the launch later in the day, turning the Portuguese mountain roads into, well, Portuguese mountain streams. The 5 Series was relatively unfazed, quickly shuffling power between axles to keep us on the road.

    Earlier, on bone dry Tarmac, going back and forth through the same tight sequence of corners for photography, the 530d really showed its mettle. In these conditions it initially felt much like any rear-drive BMW, with strong front-end grip, decent steering weighting and great balance. Pushing a little harder and earlier on the throttle the minutest amount of slip could be detected at the rear before the electronics summoned the front axle’s help. Even then, the result was a smooth, fast exit from the corner, precisely on line and warranting a loosening of the lock, just as you would have done in a rear-drive car. Though much tidier. A little later on, through a well-sighted high-speed downhill section with a quick direction change, the 530d was sublimely balanced and surefooted.

    There was no unnerving obvious weight transfer across the car, just confidence-inspiring stability. And yet it was also a lot of fun. It must be pointed out at this stage that all test vehicles at the launch featured Integral Active Steering, which is BMW’s way of saying ‘rear-wheel steering’. At low speeds, this steers the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front wheels to aid agility while cornering and manoeuvrability while parking, while turning the rear wheels in the same direction as the front ones at high speeds to aid stability. For the first time in a 5 Series, this system can be paired with xDrive four-wheel drive and it certainly helps make the car shrink around you on a twisty road. The standard electromechanical power steering features a variable steering ratio, too.

    Our test cars were also equipped with Adaptive Drive, combining Dynamic Damper Control with Dynamic Drive active roll stabilisation. This uses electric swivel motors to change the anti-roll bar stiffness, quickly reacting to cornering forces and massively reducing body lean, while allowing a more comfortable setup in the straights. The base characteristics of the dampers are tied into the Driving Experience Control switch, but the good news here is that, even in Sport mode, we had no complaint about ride comfort. And we traversed plenty of poor road surfaces. What was more impressive over bumps and badly maintained patches of concrete was the refinement. We reckon this is where BMW has made its biggest improvements. Low tyre roar and road noise worked with remarkably good wind and engine noise suppression to help this 5 Series do a good impression of its big brother, the 7 Series.

    And clearly BMW’s designers have aligned the new Five with the Seven in design terms, inside and out. The new Five’s cabin is sublime in its fit and finish in particular, with highlights including the gorgeous climate control switchgear. The interior is only a little more spacious than before, however. A less bulkylooking dashboard helps it feel roomier and that’s thanks to the new widescreen infotainment display adopted from the 7 Series. It’s actually more sophisticated in the Five and you can operate it using voice, touch, the rotary iDrive controller, or even gesture. We couldn’t really see the point of the latter given that most functions it allows can be done just as easily from the (new and shapely) steering wheel, but no doubt it will develop as a technology and this is just the first step. Of more use from the start is a much larger and crisper head-up display system. On the outside, we reckon that the 5 Series is the better proportioned car. Put it next to the old one and it dates it horribly, making it look bulbous and flabby in contrast to the G30’s newfound litheness. The overall dimensions are increased only marginally, but details like the coming together of bonnet, lights and kidney grilles up front, the Air Breathers at the side and the longer, slimmer rear lamps all help the new 5 Series look leaner and more purposeful. Saying that, the dark grey hue of the test cars, allied with relatively high-profile tyres and the modest Luxury Line specification, doesn’t make the design pop. If you want a subtle 5 Series, then this is the way to order it.

    But most British buyers prefer the sportier appearance of the M Sport models and it does wonders for the shape of the car. We spent day two in a 540i M Sport in white with black wheels and it looks much more purposeful. Though the 540i will be sold exclusively in xDrive guise in the UK, we only got to test the rear-drive version in Portugal. The turbocharged 3.0-litre petrol engine is the same as the gem that debuted on the new 340i, using a single twin-scroll turbocharger to produce 340hp and 332lb ft of torque, the latter all the way from 1380 to 5200rpm.

    In spite of the higher power output and a significant 100kg weight advantage over the xDriveequipped 530d, this 540i didn’t turn out to be the sporty option we expected. Sure, it’s quick by any measure, and wonderfully slop-free in its responses to braking, turning and accelerating, but you get the feeling that this particular model was developed first and foremost for comfort and refinement. The straight-six is creamy smooth, but you won’t buy it for its aural pleasures, as it’s just too quiet, even in Sport+ mode at high revs. On top of that, it’s all too easy to spin up one of the rear wheels when pulling out of a tight junction, which isn’t very satisfying – though, of course, xDrive should eradicate that. As we’ve come to expect from BMW’s excellent automatic gearboxes, the standard eight-speed Steptronic transmission makes it all too easy to extract the most from the engine and it’s perfectly judged as ever, whether you’re pootling around in Eco Pro mode or you’ve slotted the lever across into its Sport gate or you take over control of the shifts with the (new and rather more tactile) paddles behind the steering wheel. Nonetheless, the 540i should be bought if you want an effortlessly fast 5 Series that majors on refinement and quietness and you don’t want a diesel. Keener drivers will have to wait for more.

    And while #BMW tantalisingly dangled the M550i xDrive in front of our faces, with vital stats to make the outgoing M5 look a little limp-wristed, it’s not due to go on sale in the UK. There will be a new M5, of course, probably arriving here in #2018 , and all the signs are that it will feature xDrive four-wheel drive. But before that, there’s still much to discover about the G30 5 Series, starting with the 520d model and soon after that the ultra-efficient #BMW-520d-EfficientDynamics-G30 with emissions as low as 102g/km. We’re also rather keen to test one of those in finished format on the standard ‘comfort’ suspension, or the lowered M Sport suspension as most British buyers specify the car.

    Everything we’ve seen so far suggests that it won’t let business men and women of the world down. Even those that don’t wear running shoes to work.

    Even in Sport mode we had no complaint about ride comfort.

    TECHNICAL DATA #BMW-G30 / #BMW-530d / #BMW-530d-G30 / #BMW-530d-xDrive-G30
    ENGINE: Six-cylinder, 24-valve / BMW B57D30 / BMW-B57 / B57
    CAPACITY: 2993cc
    MAX POWER: 265hp @ 4000rpm
    MAX TORQUE: 457lb ft @ 2000-2500rpm
    0-62MPH: 5.7 seconds (5.4)
    TOP SPEED: 155mph (155)
    ECONOMY: 60.1mpg (53.2)
    EMISSIONS: 124g/km (138)
    PRICE (SE): £43,835 (£45,965)
    PRICE (M SPORT): £47,135 (£49,265)
    Figures in brackets refer to xDrive model

    The new Five’s cabin is sublime in its fit and finish, with highlights including the gorgeous climate control switchgear

    TECHNICAL DATA #BMW-G30 / #BMW-540i-xDrive / #BMW-540i-xDrive-G30 / #BMW-540i-G30 /
    ENGINE: Six-cylinder, 24-valve / #B58B30 / #BMW-B58 / #B58
    CAPACITY: 2998cc
    MAX POWER: 340hp @ 5500-6500rpm
    MAX TORQUE: 332lb ft @ 1380-5200rpm
    0-62MPH: 4.8 seconds
    TOP SPEED: 155mph
    ECONOMY: 60.1mpg
    EMISSIONS: 124g/km
    PRICE (SE): £46,645
    PRICE (M SPORT): £49,945

    There’s a real kick in the kidneys when you floor the throttle, regardless of the gear you’re in or the speed you’re already doing.
    • Five gremlins? I noticed that in your review of the new 530d xDrive and the 540i that there must be something wrong with the economy figures you give:Five gremlins? I noticed that in your review of the new 530d xDrive and the 540i that there must be something wrong with the economy figures you give: 530d xDrive: 60.1 mpg; 540i: 60.1 mpg?
      The emissions also seem incorrect as the M240i in the same issue has an economy figure of 36.2mpg.
        More ...
    • Oh dear Aspi-Rant, what can we say? Well spotted and many apologies for the gremlins that crept into the spec panels for the new 5 Series test. The 53Oh dear Aspi-Rant, what can we say? Well spotted and many apologies for the gremlins that crept into the spec panels for the new 5 Series test. The 530d xDrive figures are correct but, as you’ve rightly pointed out, we’re afraid that those for the rear-wheel drive 540i were a trifle optimistic. The 540i’s vital stats should in fact be 40.9-43.5mpg (6.5-6.9 litres/100km) and emissions of between 149 and 159g/km – depending on which wheels and tyres the car comes with.

      Again, many apologies for getting this wrong in the January issue, and many thanks to everyone who was kind enough to write in.
        More ...
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    Bob BMW
    It 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!
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