Category: BMW

Part 1: Which Luxury BMW do you choose? BMW 750Li vs 760Li

BMW 750Li Review

BMW 750Li Vs BMW 760Li: Part One

BMW 750Li Review

As much as I’m a Sci-fi fan, I’m scared as to what the future hold for us. I mean really, cars that drive themselves – something straight out of iRobot the movie. See, I’m one person that REALLY enjoys driving. To the shops, down to Cape Town, driving for me offers a great deal, one that cannot be replaced by a mere machine. Enter the most recent of BMWSA’s test cars to grace TheMotorist’s driveway – the BMW 750Li .

From the onset, this car makes no apologies for what it is. It’s a car that you are meant to be driven in, not a car that you drive yourself. From its extra length, growing from 5 098 mm to 5 238 mm, that’s like a rugby field when it comes to vehicle dimensions. What it means in real life is that you have more room for everything, it’s like being in your lounger, at home! Head, shoulders knees and toes to little foot stools, the Germans from Bavaria have thought of everything in this car. What I did enjoy, which fortunately isn’t unique to the Li version, is the rear active bench, with the massage function. Hmm, this robotic future suddenly doesn’t seem bad at all…

BMW 750Li Review

To do a real-life test, Francisco and myself decided to flip for it and as usual, the clan of the firstborns won and I had a chauffeur for the day. We started from my home, where the left rear seat was going to be my home for the day. I immediately set the front passenger’s seat forward, turned the massage function to full body as you can have various massage options and “Jeeves” headed towards Sandton Traffic. The test vehicle we had was adorned with the optional M Sport exhaust and that unmistakable V8 hum made for a decent sound track in the ” I can sip MOËT champagne from here drive like a gentlemen” rear seat. Power is from the familiar 4,4-litre V8, with the twin turbos shoehorned in the V8 to form that hot V. Numbers seem to be from a modern sports car at 330 kW and 600 N.m which means that 0 – 100 km/h is dispatched with in 4.7 seconds but to be honest, that doesn’t really mean much from the rear. Speaking about the rear…

From the spoilt brat chair, BMW designed the car to be as the front, so you are not limited in terms of functions that you have at the rear. What takes your breath away is the small tablet with the optional professional rear entertainment. From here, you can adjust the seats, temperature, set navigation bearings, preset the vehicles air conditioning and even choose which lighting profile you’d like, all from OUTSIDE the vehicle as this is mobile. To put this to the test, “Jeeves” and I stopped at the main shopping center and went about our business. 15 minutes before returning to the vehicle, we had all variables set and upon arriving at the vehicle, that was parked in the sun mind you, the BMW 750Li was as pleasant as an international airport lounge. The one bug bear that I can think of is that the rear screens are not touch sensitive as intuitively, you end up touching the screen thinking it will react like the one that in the next postal code, in front. I’m sure this will be sorted out when it comes to the facelift in a couple of years’ time. 

BMW 750Li Review

In terms of specification level, BMW made sure that we had a hard time giving this car back, as with all the spec, never mind price, you end up wanting to pull another OR Tambo heist so that you don’t have to give the vehicle back. Amongst the other items, the Bang and Olufsen sound system would be an item not to forget in this car as from classical to trap music from Atlanta USA, the sound came out as crisp or as bass-y as you wanted. I decided to sample what the car would be like to drive from the front having driven the swb vehicle before – it didn’t feel that much different. Driving the car does make you take on a different personality though as you go from Champagne sipper to Race car driver as that aforementioned V8 arrogantly looks at you and says,” are you going to let that small rental take that gap?” The technology does help park the extra-long 7er from its 360 cameras to letting the car do 90% of the work, the car could be and everyday car, should you have R2,4 million burning around that investment account.

BMW 750Li Review

So, what is the verdict, would I relinquish the honour of driving this beast every day and leave my life in someone else’s hands? The answer is no. I’m too young and selfish for that. If you are 55 and head a corporation then yes, get a “Jeeves” and the BMW 750Li but if this is what the future has in store and with a robot driving me, then we are in for a treat! For now, give me a normal wheelbase BMW 750i and DO NOT forget that sound system!

 

BMW takes the M240i to the next level with the Performance edition.

BMW M240i Performance edition

BMW M240I Performance Edition

BMW’s introduction of the M240i to replace the already properly good M235i resulted in rather strange squeaks of elation from the BMW fanboys that popularised it. Boasting a brand new B58 motor with rather serious power figures, to the tune of 250kw and 500nm being pumped to the rear wheels.  Mated to a slick 8-speed auto, 0-100 is dispatched in 4.6 seconds and glue the back of your head to the seat as it draws you closer to the horizon until you hit the limiter at 250km/h.

This was combined with the light weight chassis that oozes the proper M car dynamics, much like its more expensive relatives and the straight line clout to keep a list of thoroughbreds humble.  The M240i is an incredible package, with enough driving prowess to make it a worthy of the M badging that litters the cabin and exterior. All of this and a soundtrack that sounds like the smashed dreams of the fallen GTI’s in its wake – It’s damn good.

BMW M240I Performance Edition

In the quest for individualisation, BMW has introduced the Performance edition of the favoured couple. The limited run vehicle will feature an Alpine White paint job with matte black accents, namely the front kidney grill and front spoiler. A set of 19inch Bicolour Orbit Grey wheels with diamond polished sides will replace the 18’s of the standard model. The enhanced aerodynamic front splitter, air guides and rear diffuser are made entirely of carbon fibre and add to the sporty nature. The use of carbon fibre also extends to the door mirrors and the exhaust tail pieces which feature ‘M’ motifs.

BMW M240I Performance Edition

750 Performance editions will leave the Leipzig plant in Germany with availability from July of 2017. Much like the option of Xdrive all-wheel drive, the Performance edition is exclusive to the international market and sadly won’t be reaching our sunny shores, but with the standard models offering a range of M performance bolt on parts as accessories from dealers, the grin on your face will help you forget all about the performance edition and will happily go about setting your pants on fire.

BMW M240I Performance Edition

Khanye Ngwenya

Khanye.ngwenya89@gmail.com

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Is the BMW 8 Series Concept the best looking BMW ever?

BMW 8 Series Concept

BMW 8 Series and M8 Concept

Any BMW collection worth its weight in myrrh has to consist of at least one 8 Series, in whichever shape or form. 840Ci’s are of course the more common one’s while 850CSi’s are just about as rare as a ham sandwich at a Jewish wedding. Regardless of derivative, though, the 8 Series is as timeless as ever and is heralded by many as one of the greatest BMW’s ever built, nearly thirty years on.

Designed using CAD, as well as being the first car to feature CAN bus – now an industry standard – the BMW 8 Series was somewhat of a technical masterpiece. It was also BMW’s first car to make use of a multi-link rear axle and the first road car to offer a V12 mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox. The 8 Series was the cream of the BMW crop and their flagship model, ad obviously we have been waiting with bated breath since its production ceased in 1999 for a successor…

Few things could have prepared the world, then, for the unveiling of the BMW 8 Series Concept, first shown to the public at the Oscars of the car world, the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. Sure we were teased with the silver squiggle in the dark you see below, but that squiggle didn’t allude to the fact that this car is properly beautiful. While this isn’t the finished product, one can expect the production version to look very similar with this now ushering in a new era in BMW’s design language.

No word yet on motors but we do know that it shares its chassis architecture with both the G30 5 Series and G11 7 Series which means it can be fitted with anything from a 2.0-litre 4-pot to a 6.6-litre V12, delicious. We also know that 825, 830, 835, 845 and 850 have all been trademarked by BMW, so kudos to you if you can figure out how those numbers correlate to displacement. Clue: they don’t.

Aimed square at the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe, BMW have done a good job in avoiding what Mercedes-Benz did – make a 2-door S-Class. They could have easily made a 2-door 7 Series but instead, what we have been presented with is an automotive icon, reborn.

Production is set to start soon, so brace yourselves for the most beautiful and expensive BMW, ever.
Now watch this video and feel the goosebumps.

But wait, there’s more! Is the prospect of a big BMW Coupé not enough for you? Are you rearing to get your wallowy, fat aunt into those running shoes that she probably be wearing at all? Well then the upcoming BMW M8 is just what you need! This is exciting stuff as there has never been a production M8. Initially, BMW intended on putting the E31 M8 into production as a Ferrari competitor. Unfortunately, this was a project which never made its way into showrooms. They made one and it sported 410 kW from its modified S70 V12, a version of the M70 V12 that had been bored out from 5.0-litres to 5.6-litres.


Fast forward a decade and a bit and the M8 is back and nearly ready for production!

Likely to have more than 450 kW from the very same S63 4.4-litre unit found in the new M5, it’s set to be the fastest ever BMW road car. It doesn’t sound half bad either, with BMW clearly listening to fans who have bemoaned the current M Range’s raspy exhaust notes. Uprated brakes and suspension are obvious additions, as well as slicker aero all-round the car. Are you excited, because goodness gracious are we!

Is the BMW 440i Coupe a poor man’s M4?

BMW 440i Coupe South Africa

Poor mans M4? Our thoughts on the new BMW 440i Coupe

I read somewhere that the BMW 440i Coupe was referred to as the poor man’s M4. This unfortunately highlights the gap in knowledge that this person has regarding the differences between these two variants from BMW.

Look at this example, you have two sons from the same parents who are quite close in age. As they get older, one is built like a rugby player and loves sports, while the other one is leaner takes up piano lessons. The one brother has a taste for Sade, Norah Jones and UB40, while the other is a David Guetta and fan and attends a festival known as “Ultra”. As much as they come from the same family, have the same DNA and a similar disposition, they differ immensely in terms of personality, interests and even appearance.

BMW 440i Coupe South Africa

That is exactly what happened in Bavaria between these two six-cylinder siblings. The 440i is the all round nice guy, who is a gentleman and still opens the door for his lady.  The M4 on other hand is the rebel. This is the one that will string along a couple of girls and be out until 05:00 but still make it for gym at 06:30. Thereafter, this will be followed by his business presentation in front of the board at 09:00.

That’s who these two cars are aimed at, different people who have wildly different tastes. Having sampled the previous 435i (for two years actually) most things seem quite the same. It was when I got into the BMW 440i Coupe, hit that Start button and fired the new in-line six, that I felt something had changed. A deeper, more throatier noise came from the dual exhausts and it immediately gets the blood flowing smoothly. From take off, as well as driving in traffic, the change is quite apparent, all thanks to the new engine. The new 440i sports what the Bavarian’s call the B58 in-line 6 cylinder. Yes this is similar to the previous engine but features lighter materials and increased power, an extra 15 kW and 50 N.m to be exact. The result is a “smooth as butter” 240kW and 450Nm power-plant. This doesn’t sound like much of an improvement but trust me, it is.

BMW 440i Coupe South Africa

From just beyond tick over the torque makes itself known and you can ride the wave and drive the vehicle briskly, without having the tachometer even brush the naughty side of 4 500 rpm. This is unlike the M4, which tends to spike in torque, causing fun yet unexpected oversteer. The 440i is sharp when you need it to be and in my opinion pips the M4 on everyday drivability. It is able to put its power down more comfortably and with more confidence than its more muscular brother.

Styling revisions have been made in line with the engine change as well. This can be seen in tweaked front and rear bumpers, more pronounced front and rear LED lights and an array of new colours from BMW’s new colour palette. Inside, the revisions continue with the new iDrive system, similar to the one found in the G30 5 Series. Further to this, the dash has the option of the new Multi-function display which seems to raise cabin standards to spaceship chic. A must if you ask me.

BMW 440i Coupe South Africa

The drive as mentioned is just superb. Power is delivered through the familiar BMW channels. An Eight speed Sport Auto from ZF which links to the rear axle, leaving the front end with the simple job of steering. This setup seems like it’s going to be a rare thing in the future, with sports cars and sports sedans giving you more power than sense. Communication from the front axle is good, but I would have liked a more communicative steering. Understandably, the setup is orientated more to comfort as the majority of drivers won’t care for the feeling us journalists want. In fairness, the BMW does a good job of letting you know how much grip the front end has in brisk driving scenarios. BMW’s have always been tail-happy and the 440i is no exception. Turn in into some of your favourite corners and you can feel the rear come alive and the traction control light flicker. The driving modes, Eco, Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus change the characteristics of the car, specifically Sport Plus mode. In this mode, the threshold for the DSC has been moved slightly so you can explore the limits of mechanical grip without hurting yourself. 

BMW 440i Coupe South Africa

Overall, the BMW 440i coupe is a package that is very hard to beat. It’s quick with 0-100km/h done in just  5,2 seconds. It’s balanced and will give you all you need for everyday use in a package that is easy to work with. The car allows you to build your confidence and enjoy it, even if you’re a novice. That is where you start seeing the difference again in personality. The 440i is the car you want to drive to nine tenths everyday, something that you cannot do in the M4 which requires a skill set that the average driver does not possess. If you used the same driving principles from the 440i in the M4, it would end in a spectacularly bad fashion, one that would get a couple hundred thousand views on Youtube. Is it then the poor man’s M4? Not at all! It’s the sensible man’s everyday sports coupe.

 

New BMW M5 will feature xDrive!

New BMW M5

End of an era? New BMW M5 xDrive

Anybody who knows me will know what I think of the BMW M5 – it’s flipping marvellous! With each generation, BMW has managed to wow the world with one marvel or another, be it the fastest saloon in the world, a V10 for the whole family to enjoy or independent throttle butterflies for each cylinder. If none of this enough, one just has to look at the past 5 M5’s, each of which has had a completely different appeal but with the same core ingredients – four doors, lots of power, delicious balance and rear-wheel drive.

New BMW M5

So you can imagine the absolute chaos amongst the M5 die-hards when BMW announced that the F90 generation would feature all-wheel drive. Cue the pitchforks. But not all is lost…

Dubbed M xDrive, it works in conjunction with the DSC system to allow for 5 different setups when combining either DSC on, MDM and DSC off with 4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD. Yes, you can have 2WD only #relief.

Connected to whichever assortment of wheels you choose is the latest version of the now familiar S63B44 twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8, now churning out over 450 kW and 700 N.m. All this power to all four wheels should result in 0-100km/h in the region of 3.5 seconds and brutal in-gear acceleration. Controversially, and there’s always controversy with an M-car, the F90 will only come with a ZF 8-Speed automatic. Yes, that’s right, a torque converter. Automatic gearboxes are so slick these days that the added production and maintenance costs of a dual-clutch system are no longer necessary in order get the required performance. M-DCT systems are known for overheating after a few full-bore launches but there’s no need to worry now thanks to the inherent strength of a torque converter setup.

What will it look like? A 5 Series with a big chin and four exhaust tips. What will it cost? Many many of your Rands. Will it be worth it? You bet your aunt Felicia.

 

BMW 2 Series Facelift in South Africa

BMW 2 Series Facelift South Africa

South African Car News: BMW 2 Series Facelift

The task of face lifting a vehicle is a tricky one, you see, give the patient a completely new face and you just damn all owners of the current model by throwing their resale value out the proverbial window, but tweak a light and add a paintjob and a rimjob here and there and you’re basically just wasting everyone’s time. So, how has BMW done, then, with the facelifted 2 Series and M2?

Not an ugly car at all, the 2 Series still has quite a bit of longevity in its frisky yet elegant lines, however, in true BMW fashion, while only minor, the updates make quite the difference when all added together. This isn’t to say that the 2 Series was designed with faults or bits that might age more than others, but the LCI (Life-cycle Impulse) which is just BMW speak for facelift, gives the manufacturer a chance to improve aspects of the vehicle which they feel consumers may or may not have asked for. So, without turning this into an essay, the following are changes which one can expect on the 90210ed BMW 2 Series and M2 models.

  •  New headlight and taillight clusters incorporating redesigned LED signatures and varying trim options ie: blacked out surrounds etc. and LED lighting as standard
  • Redesigned, wider kidney grill
  • Larger lower air-intakes on the front bumper
  •  Three new colours, namely: Mediterranean Blue and Seaside Blue, as well as a Beverley Hills appropriate Sunset Orange. Buyers can now choose from 12 colours – what a time to be alive!
  • 16, 17 and 18-inch wheels are now available across the ​range with Jet Black and Bicolour Jet Black wheels now available, bringing the number of rim options to 17.
  • A redesigned and more pronounced instrument cluster which is more driver-focussed (as opposed to passenger focussed?)

  • Upgraded and more premium interior finishes which just further enhance the premium feel within the cabin of the 2 Series and M2, including upgraded materials and chrome bits.
  • The latest version of iDrive can also be found on derivatives specced with the Navigation Professional system, this going hand in hand with the new 8.8-inch touchscreen display.
  • WiFi connectivity for up to 10 devices and a wireless phone charger

The engine line-up is set to remain the same as the current line-up with petrol and diesel engines ranging from 135 kW and 270 N.m in the 220i to 250 kW and 500 N.m in the M240i. The M2, too, remains unchanged, churning out 272 kW and 465 N.m (500 N.m on overboost) from its TwinPower 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six motor.
So then, have BMW succeeded in maintaining resale values while giving the range a worthwhile refresh? Well, the facelifted 2 Series launches overseas in July 2017 so expect local availability towards the second half of 2017 – then we’llbe able to answer that question!

Released: BMW M550d & M550i X Drive – The Models Which South Africa Won’t Get.

BMW M550i South Africa

South African Car News: BMW M550d & M550i Xdrive

BMW M550i X Drive South Africa
It’s True. BMW have just released both the M550d and M550i – very exciting indeed, or not… As of yet, we have no news on exactly if or when these stinkingly powerful 5 Series variants will be heading to our beautiful country.

BMW M550d

First to be released by BMW was the M550d xDrive, which if you didn’t know has the most powerful 6-cylinder diesel engine ever in the automotive industry. It’s 3-litre displacement is aided by four turbochargers. This is a fairly complicated setup with two low pressure turbochargers helping with low down response and two higher pressure units for power. It is worth noting that both low pressure turbos and one high pressure unit will always be running, with the second high pressure charger kicking in above 2 500 rpm. This makes sure that the M550d xDrive will hit 100 km/h in around 4.5 seconds. Mighty fast for a diesel, but with 294 kW and 760 N.m on tap, what else could one expect?

BMW M550i X Drive South Africa

Handling all this power will be BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system which does not spoil all the fun as BMW say that the front axle only comes into play when needed, meaning this puppy may still be able to get a little sideways. That’s if you can break traction on the 275/35 R19 rear wheel tyres needed to control all that juice.

BMW M550D South Africa

The BMW M550d xDrive will also have some unique visual elements, such as the Exterior mirror housings, radiator grille frame, bumper design elements and side air breathers all in Cerium Grey. A purchaser of this vehicle can expect M Sport Suspension, integral active steering, M aerodynamics package, M Performance exhaust system and M sport brakes finished in blue as standard.

If this isn’t exciting enough, there is also the option of the now ranging topping 5 Series variant -the M550i xDrive.

M550i xDrive

You won’t find 6-cylinders here but instead a 4.4 litre turbocharged V8 Motor producing a blustering 340 kW and 650 N.m. In conjunction with the 8 speed sports auto transmission and rear bias xDrive, the M550i will hit 100 km/h in just 4 seconds. My question is, then, how fast is new BMW M5 going to be?!

BMW M550i South Africa

This model features the same design and styling characteristics as the M550d with the M aero package and Cerium Grey details.

BMW M550i X Drive Interior South Africa

Both models will be available with the connected drive features and technologies available in other 5 Series variants such as the remote parking feature. You can read more on the current 5 Series range from our launch article here.

BMW M550D South Africa

Will these models be coming to South Africa?

Sadly, probably not. This could be for many reasons and in terms of the M550i that reason would be pricing. The M550d on the other hand might not even make it to the UK and will just be a european model. If it’s not going to the UK, it’s definitely not coming to South Africa and they will probably keep it as a left hand drive model only. These models are available from June, so there still may be some time for them to change their mind, but we doubt that’ll happen.

BMW M550i X Drive South Africa
We should however be receiving the new BMW M5 which purportedly also features a rear biased xDrive system – no news on that either, though.

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Is This The Hottest BMW M4 Yet? The BMW M4 CS

The Hottest BMW M4 Has Arrived in South Africa: The BMW M4 CS

Since the beginning of the compact sports coupe, the BMW M3, now called the M4 in its Coupe variant, has been the yardstick and the go to car for all that is good in that segment. Over the years, it’s faced competition from Mercedes, Audi, Jaguar and now recently, Alfa Romeo but it’s still widely regarded as the king in this segment.

The gap, though, between the BMW and its peers has shrunk in recent times and upon seeing this, the Bavarians have launched a special, limited and rare as an honest politician version, and it’s headed to South Africa. This new or updated M version, dons the name M4 CS. Not CSL, CS. This car is meant to slot in between the M4 Competition Package and the GTS, of which there are only 25 units in South Africa. So for all intents and purposes, this will be the hottest M4 that you can now buy in South Africa. That’s discounting the rare GTS DTM Champion Edition which is due in SA imminently. Can BMW make up their minds already?!

Power comes from the same 3.0 litre twin-turbo straight six, delivering no less that 339 kW and 600 N.m of torque. This translates to a 3.9 seconds 0-100 km/h and a top speed of 280km/h. Visual changes will be easy to spot for the BMW die-hard fans. From the revised rear spoiler and rear diffuser at the rear to the classic mix of leather and alcantara in the cabin with M colours adorning to seat belts, seats and steering wheel, you’ll know that this M4 is special. The biggest change is found at the rear where the OLED lights from the GTS form part of the CS standard equipment. The CS gets special light weight alloys that are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Cup 2 semi slick tyres which no doubt, will help set a blazing time around “the green hell” of 07:38”, a full 14 seconds faster than a standard M4, and we all know that in the world of track driving, 14 seconds is a lifetime.

So in our opinion, BMW has made sure that it has enough variations of the M4 to ward of attacks from different manufacturers for the Sports Coupe title which it so deservedly owns, and from what we are reading, it seems as though they have bought themselves more time. Question is though, how long can they keep this up?

 

 

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Does the 5 Series live up to its title – the business athlete?

The Business Athlete. That’s a strong title which can be translated in many ways, for me, it’s a title that evokes a sense of presence, stance and performance. When this title represents a car, one would naturally have high expectations – a business athlete vehicle would have to do many things, very well.

Last year BMW outdid themselves with the 7 Series with looks, technology, performance and comfort few can match. As a result of this, there were high expectations for the 7th generation 5 Series.

The beautiful coastal town of George would be our playground for the two days of the launch. During this time I got plenty of time behind the wheel to sample two variants, the 540i and 530d.

Upon arriving at the Oubaai golf resort and after checking out some of the sample classic 5 Series models that were on display, we headed over to the beautiful lined up 5 Series fleet. A range of variants and colors, with all but one fitted the M-Sport exterior package. I was never a massive fan of the 5th and 6th generation 5 Series but BMW have really stepped it up with the 7th generation.

Strong, beautiful lines feature down the doors and down the bonnet giving it an aggressive, sporty look. It has a good stance – it sits strong, wide and has a presence. It definitely shares many design features with the 7 Series, but in a more compact, sporty package. The rear of this vehicle follows suit with the rest of the car with its wide rear end and large shoulders. All variants of the 5 Series will also feature dual exhaust pipes, one on either side of the vehicle. I felt this added to the sporty presence and symmetry. This has to be the most beautiful 5 Series in a long time, which only leaves me waiting to see how good a 7th Gen M5 will look.

A friend of mine said to me that the 5 series is no longer a bigger 3 series, but a smaller 7 series. This is so true, and the interior backs up that statement. Large bolstered seats are a lovely place to sit and provide good support. The M-Sport steering wheel fills the hands nicely and you are surrounded by leather, wood and metal.

A few interior features stood out to me; the multi-zone air conditioning panel is a full touch responsive digital display and the attention to detail on this system impressed me – sometimes the smaller things make the biggest difference. The iDrive system has been updated and features 6 main horizontal blocks on the home screen, providing access to options such as media, navigation and Connected Drive. I enjoyed the fact that each block or option updates in realtime and when clicked or touched, opens the feature up on the full screen.

Gesture control is also available- I had never used this before so after a few minutes of wafting my hands around at varying speeds, I finally figured it out and once I did, it responded and worked well. To sum it up, it is a very nice place to spend many hours behind the wheel.

After exploring the vehicles, taking photos and playing with features, I was itching to get behind the wheel and find out if the 5 series really was a business athlete. The first variant I drove was the 540i, which features a 3.0 straight six twin turbo engine producing 250 kW and 450 N.m of torque. This is the most powerful engine available in the 5 series in South Africa, until the M5 of course.

Power is delivered wonderfully through the 8-speed Sports auto – it’s smooth and linear. It is very well insulated from exterior noise and speed can creep up on you very quickly, but from the outside, the 540i produces a low-key but powerful exhaust note, stretching the 540i legs into the higher RPM and shifting with the Sports Auto does provide a satisfying blip which can be heard from the interior. It serves as just a little reminder that you are driving the performance based business athlete.

The double wishbone suspension on the front provides a sharp front end and cornering at speed will not make you feel uneasy at all. The 5 Series is very well balanced. On the long sweeping bends along our route in George, one can be confident to feed more power mid corner and even though the 7th generation took it in its stride, the rear end did start to twitch slightly, but never at one point did it feel uncontrollable,

The 5 Series is by no means a small vehicle and providing a helping hand to driving performance is the adaptive handling system. Under 60 km/h the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the front, to a maximum of 3 degrees. Further to this, the new 5 Series weighs less thanks to the use of lighter but stronger materials. The extra agility was noticeable in tight bends, when expecting the vehicle to understeer slightly, it responded with more front end grip.

The 5 Series now feels like a good mix between the 7 Series and the 3 Series, bringing comfort, luxury and space elements from the former, and the dynamic attributes from the latter.

Would I buy a 540i? No. The main reason for this goes by the name of 530d. In my opinion from what I experienced over the two days in George, this is the variant to pick from the new 5 Series range.

You don’t get the same level of performance as the 540i, but you do get 620 N.m of torque, which is a lot. This torque also kicks in at the lower end of the rpm range which gives lovely near instant acceleration. As expected, power does fade in the higher rpm where the 540i excels but the performance is still fantastic, and being a diesel it comes with a host other benefits. One of these is the fact that it sips fuel and will give you a 4.5 l/100km rating.

It is slightly heavier and this can be felt when driving hard, but in terms of driving dynamics, there is little difference from the 540i. Apart from the 530d and 540i variants that I drove, another petrol and diesel engine are available in the from of a 530i and 520d.

There are a host of cool features on the 7th generation 5 Series, it features the ever improving Connected Drive and semi autonomous driving. The car will even pick up your scheduled meetings in your smartphone calendar, and using the built in RTTI and business navigation system, which is now a standard feature, it will drop you a message to let you know that because of traffic conditions, you will need to leave earlier. If you have a smartphone that supports wireless charging, the 5 Series will do that for you as well if you simply leave your phone in the front console.

The head up display is now also 70 percent bigger and has a better resolution, allowing the driver to have more information in front of them, if they want.

Taking the number one spot, though, has to be the smart key. With a digital display to allow for starting, opening windows and checking vehicle information, its pretty cool. What’s cooler though is the fact that you can remotely drive your car in or out of a parking space when standing outside.

In conclusion, the 5 Series lives up to its title, the business athlete. It’s a car that you can spend many many hours behind the wheel of and be a very happy, comfortable motorist. Yes, it shares many features from the 7 Series, but the 7 Series is a car you want to be driven in, the 5 Series is a car you want to drive, its enjoyable to drive and provides a host of features to make your life easier and more comfortable.

 

Pricing

530i :  R838,700

540i : R985,300

52od : R770,500

530d :  R952, 500

 

We Drive the BMW M4 GTS

We all have moments in life when we have a  “pinch me” experience. For car lovers, it may be driving a specific car. This was the case for me recently when I was invited to the unveiling of the new BMW M4 GTS, which happened at the inaugural SA Festival of Motoring hosted by the Kyalami Racetrack. Seeing this jacked up M4 in the flesh was one thing, with its large front splitter, orange and silver wheels and large rear wing. The matte finish and gold trimming on it clearly differentiate this car between its “lesser” siblings. The aggressive styling and rear LED taillights are a real sight to behold. Although much more outlandish in design than other previous special M cars, the GTS is really something to look at. Getting the opportunity to drive it was another thing, though, something the “big people” at BMW confirmed we were going to do. Knowing you’ll have the opportunity to sample 1 of 23 cars coming to South Africa is a special yet daunting feeling. Even the car that was made available for us was already spoken for by a potential buyer.

What makes it a GTS

If you’re not a BMW fan boy like most car lovers, you may be interested in what separates an M4 GTS from a standard M4. First and foremost, there have been extreme weight saving techniques used to shed mass on the car. The car features carbon fibre seats,  a lightweight centre console and lighter doors with specialised loops instead of conventional door handles. The bonnet of the GTS has also been redesigned in carbon fibre as well as the front splitter. The result is a car track ready car that weighs 1510kg’s.

The M4 is also a two seater only as the rear seats have been removed and replaced by a role cage. Powering the GTS is a beefed up version of the 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged engine found in the standard M4. A figure of368kW and 600Nm is what the car produces through the standard M DCT gearbox. This power boost is mainly thanks to the water injection system which allows for cooler air combustion in the intake. Heat is a big factor for high-performance engines such as these, so a cooler air coming in increases performance, something the water injection system allows.

Aerodynamics also play a major role in these vehicles so the large front splitter as well as the “table top” rear wing increase down force and airflow. That means that at high speed, the M4 GTS is now more planted than ever, providing you with a more focused car on the track. Depending on your preferences, the suspension can be adjusted through the three-way M-Coilover system, giving you a customisable setup.

Sitting in this car alone is an experience because you’re in a fixed position. The racing bucket seats only moves backwards and forwards, much like the seats on the iconic M3 CSL which launched over a decade ago. Speaking of the M3 CSL, this was a car many enthusiasts had as wall poster. I’ve always wanted to drive one but haven’t been afforded the opportunity yet. Hopefully, my time spent in the M4 GTS will tide me over until then.

Getting behind the wheel:

Starting up a car you’re potentially only going to drive once in your lifetime is a memorable moment. Placing my hands on the Alcantara steering wheel, hearing the sound of the engine and accelerating for the first time made me immediately draw the conclusion that this was no ordinary M4 with no power. A 0-100 time of 3.8 seconds is what makes you realise that is car is a serious piece of kit. It’s raw, excitable, and slightly intimidating all at the same time. The steering system is direct and very accurate and the breaking system is immensely strong. Because of the weight saving measures, there is less sound deadening, which has created a race car feel to the car. The hisses of turbochargers, squealing of carbon ceramic brakes and pops of the exhaust create an ecstasy behind the wheel. BMW required us to be accompanied by their trusted “stig” who heads up the BMW driving academy, but he was in no way inhibiting during the experience.

After my session in the car, I longed for more time to really exploit its capabilities. It’s the kind of car you would want to build a relationship with. One can only imagine what the possibilities could be once a driver has learned what the limits of the M4 GTS are. That being said, I can confidently say that the time spent developing this car has not gone in vain. From the outside in this version has been redesigned for its purpose to find apex after apex. It’s striking to look at and visceral to drive. It’s the ultimate BMW M4. A price tag of R2.2 million is hefty but so is the privilege of owning a future classic. This will be the M3 CSL of the next generation. Only this time I can say I’ve driven it.