Like Mercedes-Benz, BMW keeps adding more and more models to expand their market coverage and improve overall fleet fuel economy and emissions. This ‘segment creep’ by the premium brands is likely to have a serious, long-term impact on the profitability of the volume brands as the wealthier buyers are skimmed off. The higher price buyers will tend to move to the luxury brands leaving the volume manufacturers with the just the mainstream, lower margin units. This could result in significant downward pressure on overall corporate profits for the mainstream manufacturers.
BMW has all the single digit numbers covered now (8 and 9 in concept form), plus the overlay of the ‘i‘series and then of course the X series and a GT or two thrown in for good luck. But it is mostly good. I can do without the GT and the Liftback, but the rest of the range continues to have that high ‘lust factor’.
The production ready i8 is a masterpiece. The entry and egress is somewhat difficult with its wide, high sill and small wedge-shaped area through which one must squeeze ones foot, but BMW has taken maximum advantage of the carbon fiber construction to create a unique and stunning machine.
The 2-series coupes (replacing the 1-series coupes and conforming to the odd number sedan and even number coupe naming scheme) were new and firmly in the BMW mold. More exciting were the M3 and M4 models, featuring aggressive front and rear fascias, big wheels and huge carbon ceramic brake discs that fill the wheels all the way to the rim. Just give me the keys and no one gets hurt!
BMW is introducing at the IAA the first car in the i-car lineup: the BMW i3. Benoit Jacob, head of Design of the i-line, chose not to design a “normal” car like Renault did with the Zoe(although the budget goal was not the same…). It has electric power and it has to show it. One can say it is a little bit complicated in term of lines, but everybody should admit that the i-Car line has its own signature (see the i8…).Once you understand this choice you can discover the car itself. With the use of aluminum and carbon fiber, and despite the weight of the batteries, the car weighs in at a reasonable 1,270kg. The electric motor produces the equivalent of 170hpat the rear wheels and the batteries provide a driving range of 130 to 200km.The interior is roomy and well executed in terms of details and quality. More than anything, a test drive was very convincing. This BMW i3 might be expensive (in comparison to a Renault Zoe, although not in the same category), but at 35,000€ we think it is worth it.