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    Jeroen Booij
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    Added Sparkle #BMW #M-Performance F30 #320d #2015

    We take a look at a 320d fitted with the current range of tasty BMW M Performance accessories.
    The F30 3 Series is good straight out-of-the-box but the addition of some M Performance accessories makes a good car look like a great one Words: Bob Harper Photography: Dave Smith.

    The current generation 3 Series, the #F30 , can be a frustrating beast at times. It’s certainly not unique in that it’s bigger than its predecessor – like just about every manufacturer out there, BMWs keep on adding middle-aged spread it would seem – but despite BMW’s protestations that it’s no heavier, or indeed lighter in some cases, the F30 just doesn’t seem to be quite as sharp as the #E90 generation of machine. And then there’s the engine line-up that’s now exclusively turbocharged – no doubt just as powerful and more efficient – but for the driver who still has a modicum of petrol flowing through his veins that efficiency has perhaps robbed the pleasure of wringing the neck of a normally aspirated machine. These days there’s very little point in chasing down the redline of a petrol non-M engine as by around 5000rpm it’s given its all both in terms of output and aural delights.

    It might be a little odd to start talking about petrol engines when the F30 in front of us today is actually diesel-powered but the remarks about the car feeling a little less sporting than before still hold true. Don’t get me wrong – it’s still a very good car, a better allrounder then the E90 – but there’s a little bit of sparkle missing. I hate to say it, but the F30 can look a little dull too – personally I like the new frontal treatment when compared to the E90 but like many BMWs it seems like the designers may have been reined in a little when it comes to the rear of the car.

    And in a dowdy colour with small wheels it doesn’t really have much of the wow factor that you’d expect to experience when looking at a premium product. However, when I first set eyes on this particular F30 it delivered that wow factor in spades – bar the new F80 M3 this has to be the sexiest F30 we’ve seen. And that’s thanks to a serious slathering of BMW M Performance accessories that totally transforms the way the car looks. Even on a very dark, damp late autumnal day it has more than enough presence to stop you in your tracks. I’m not entirely sure where to look first but it’s the wheels that eventually get my attention as they do look fantastic. They’re 20-inch double-spoke Style 405 M Bicolor – eight-inches wide up front and eight-and-a-half at the rear wrapped in 225/35 and 255/30 Pirelli run-flat rubber front and rear respectively. At £4150 for the wheel and tyre set they’re not cheap, but boy do they look great – totally transforming the car.

    There are plenty of other M Performance goodies to explore on the car and while it hasn’t been treated to the full catalogue there’s more than enough here to keep our interest. At the front there are high-gloss kidney grilles while lower down there’s a new front splitter that adds a significant amount of presence to the standard M Sport front apron. On this machine it’s been left in its natural black plastic look, but it can be painted if you prefer. Moving along the side and we have a set of carbon door mirror covers which look great with the weave showing through nicely, while along the sills there are a set of M Performance extensions which suit the car well. Not entirely sure about the M Performance decals along the sills though, but that’s okay because they’re optional anyway. On a more powerful machine maybe, but on a 320d? I think it might be over egging the pudding somewhat, but that’s just my opinion.

    Moving swiftly on to the rear of the car we’ve a lovely carbon fibre spoiler atop the bootlid – similar to the one we had fitted to ‘our’ #M235i Longtermer and it really does look the part, while sitting in the middle of the lower part of the rear bumper is a BMW M Performance diffuser that really helps to finish the rear of the car. All-in-all it’s a very tidy package and one that I’d be delighted to have gracing my driveway. We’ve mentioned the wheels as being expensive – but no more so than any other quality set of wheels and tyres – but the rest of the M Performance equipment really does seem to be very keenly priced as you can see from the spec panel below.

    I’ve always been a fan of the 320d for its sublime combination of pace and frugality and slipping behind the wheel of this example is like becoming reacquainted with an old friend. You can sit quite low in the car which helps with the sporting intent and while this example doesn’t have any M Performance accessories inside it still looks fresh and inviting. Thumbing the starter button brings the expected diesel thrum and while the old #N47 unit might not be as refined as the new B47 we’ve already sampled in a couple of cars it’s certainly hugely punchy out on the road and feels massively quicker than the 2.0-litre diesel #VW #Passat I’ve arrived to the shoot in. With 7000 miles on the clock, the engine feels well bedded in and this allows you to make full use of the chassis’ grip which it has in abundance thanks to the large, sticky Pirellis, even in these less-than-ideal conditions. What is a surprise is that the 20-inch rims don’t really seem to affect the ride quality to any significant degree – in an E90 I definitely felt that 20-inch rims was probably a step too far and goes to show how BMW has been able to improve ride quality with the F30 generation.

    All-in-all this 320d is a great example of what can be done with an F30 with a few simple modifications. Excluding the cost of the wheels the M Performance parts fitted to this car come to less than £2400 which given the difference in the way the car looks seems like a small price to pay. The wheels and tyres do add a significant cost, but you could always use the standard wheels as a winter set and no doubt you’d recoup quite a large part of the cost were you to sell the M Performance wheels as a used set, or there’s nothing to stop you swapping them on to a new F30 when time comes to change. And as they’re all official BMW products they won’t affect your warranty and could even be added to a finance package on a new car – tempted? We know we would be.

    M Performance F30 320d
    ENGINE: Four-cylinder, turbodiesel
    CAPACITY: 1995cc
    MAX POWER: 184hp @ 4000rpm
    MAX TORQUE: 199lb ft @ 1750-2750rpm
    0-62MPH: 7.5 seconds
    TOP SPEED: 146mph
    ECONOMY: 62.8mpg
    EMISSIONS CO2: 120g/km
    WHEELS: Double-spoke 405 M Bi-colour, Orbit grey/burnished, complete wheel and Pirelli run-flat tyre set.
    Front: 8x20-inch with 225/35 R20Y.
    Rear: 8.5x20-inch with 255/30 R20Y
    Pice: £4150

    Please note all prices include VAT but not painting or fitting where required. Please contact your BMW dealer for more information.
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    #AC-Schnitzer #BMW #M4 #2015

    At the Essen Motor Show AC Schnitzer presented its fully tuned #M4 Coupé which it’s been upgrading since taking delivery of M’s latest delight. Naturally enough there’s a power upgrade – up from 431hp to 510hp while torque’s boosted from 406lb ft to 475lb ft – and this can be teamed up with a sports catalyst and an exhaust that can be specified either with TÜV approval or as an Export version that allows the engine and exhaust to be more vocal.

    With regard to the suspension, Schnitzer is offering two kits for the car; either a spring kit or a fully adjustable ‘Racing’ setup. The spring kit lowers the car by 25-30mm at the front and 10-15mm at the rear while the Racing setup reduces ride height by 30-40mm at the front and 30mm at the rear and is fully adjustable for compression and rebound. Externally the Schnitzer M4 can be identified by carbon front spoiler elements, a carbon rear diffuser, carbon mirror caps, a rear roof spoiler and a carbon rear wing. Inside there will be a choice of options including a pedal set and footrest, a variety of gear knobs for manual cars as well as a choice of handbrake handles, too.

    There will be a choice of Schnitzer alloy wheels ranging in diameter from 19-21 inches with the Type VIII wheel available in Lightweight, Forged or BiColor, the Type V as a lightweight Forged wheel and the Type IV in BiColor black. Contact AC Schnitzer for more details at www. ac-schnitzer. co. uk or www. ac-schnitzer. de.
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    More all-wheel drive. #BMW M cars on the way #2015 . The debut of the BMW X5 #F15 / X6 M #F16 at the LA Auto Show #2014 could herald the arrival of a new era of all-wheel drive M cars as Shane O’ Donoghue explains.

    The writing is on the wall for more four-wheel drive BMW M cars. At last month’s LA Auto Show the 575hp, twin-turbocharged, V8-engined X5 M and X6 M twins made their world debut and a BMW M insider told BMW Car that it’s likely we’ll see more cars from the M division that put their power to all four wheels. First to hit the market could be the X4 M in 2016, and a four-wheel drive version of the next generation BMW M5 is also under consideration. The BMW M4/M3’s twinturbocharged straight-six cylinder petrol engine seems a logical powerplant for the #X4 M, though it’s unlikely BMW M will give the SAV more than the 431hp of the Coupé, Convertible and Saloon. As the #M-DCT dual-clutch gearbox is not currently fitted to any all-wheel drive car it’s expected that the X4 M would use the conventional automatic transmission found in the new X5/X6 M. It’s unlikely that a manual gearbox would be offered, though the X4 M will use BMW’s xDrive four-wheel drive system and could employ a similar torque vectoring technique to the larger X models.

    A unique design with more aggressive air inlets and colour-coded wheel arches should differentiate the X4 M from the current range topper, the X4 xDrive35i, along with the characteristic quad-exhaust system. Inside, M touches are likely to extend to unique instrumentation, alloy paddle shifters and figurehugging leather-trimmed sports seats.

    Though BMW won’t confirm the X4 M’s existence, the success of high-performance compact SUVs such as Porsche’s new Macan suggests that the X4 M will become a reality. Of less certainty is the use of all-wheel drive in the core M range. Insiders suggest there’s strong resistance to changing the rear-drive setup of the M3/M4, even though the 3 Series and 4 Series are both available with four-wheel drive. However, it seems that the M5’s future could indeed include an all-wheel drive model, to compete better with the Audi RS 6 and 4Matic four-wheel drive versions of the latest AMG-developed #Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The latter car is also available in reardrive guise, but there has been a dramatic bias in sales towards the four-wheel drive model in the M5’s key markets, including North America. If this does happen, BMW is adamant that the M5 will retain its rear-drive feel and only send power to the front wheels when required.
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    High-power plug-in hybrid system revealed Called Power eDrive, a new #2015 plug-in hybrid system promises greatly extended ranges and much higher performance driving, says Dave Humphreys

    BMW has revealed an advanced new plug-in hybrid system, christened ‘Power eDrive’, which will form the basis of a series of future modular hybrid powertrains that are currently being developed. Adding to the further electrification of the drivetrains by BMW, these plug-in hybrids of the future will see electric motors providing two-thirds of the combined output. The combustion engine will account for the remaining third and be cast in a supporting role.

    A prototype example of Power eDrive revealed to #BMW Car consists of a 231hp turbocharged fourcylinder petrol engine, mated with a modified electric motor from the #BMW-i3 producing 203hp (located where the torque converter for the eight-speed transmission would normally be found), driving the front wheels, while a second electric motor (putting out 271hp and also built in-house at BMW) is integrated into the rear axle assembly and drives the rear wheels. A large T-shaped 20kWh lithium-ion battery is located under the rear seats in the space normally occupied by the transmission tunnel.

    It is claimed to enable longer all-electric driving ranges of up to 62 miles. Charging is via plugging in to a wallbox or using the combustion engine when driving. The prototype’s fuel tank was reduced in size to 30 litres yet the driving range is still a claimed 370 miles. However, in larger models with bigger tanks this range could be increased well beyond 500 miles. However, it is the area of dynamic performance where the new system truly shines. It is claimed to produce in excess of 679hp in total, while being capable of a torque loading of more than 1000Nm. In its basic drive mode the rear electric motor sends power to the rear wheels via a multi-speed gearbox. When higher performance is required, the front electric motor enables all-electric four-wheel drive propulsion. When maximum performance is called upon, the combustion engine provides a kick down boost to the front wheels through the eight-speed automatic gearbox, assisting the two electric motors.

    The result is a four-wheel drive system that, through complex torque vectoring, could provide impressive levels of on-road performance despite its extra weight.

    Affectionately known as ‘The Thing’ by engineers working on the project, the 5 Series GT-bodied prototype houses totally unique underpinnings. Franz Drescher-Kaden, BMW’s technical manager in charge of Advanced Engineering of Hybrid Systems said: “Production would require a new modular tool kit which the current model architecture does not support,” suggesting that the hybrid system is not intended for any current model in the BMW line-up. Having two electric motors along with a larger lithium-ion battery pack and an ancillary system that makes the Power #eDrive rather weighty, BMW expects that it will become ‘a natural choice for use in upmarket vehicle segments’. With this in mind it is more likely that the Power eDrive system will find its way into larger future models such as the forthcoming #X7 , as well as the next-generation 7 Series – and it even has the potential to migrate across to feature in some future #Rolls-Royce models.
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