BMW is set to enter its anniversary year of 2016 on a powerful note. With the centenary of its founding just around the corner, the company is using the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), taking place in Detroit from 11 – 24 January, to host the world premieres of the new BMW M2 and BMW X4 M40i performance models. Joining the two new cars at the stand will be the trailblazing BMW i models and innovative services covering every aspect of electric mobility. BMW ConnectedDrive, meanwhile, is showcasing its latest range of applications and systems, such as Remote Control Parking.
The BMW Group’s successful involvement in North America dates back more than 40 years. Bayerische Motorenwerke has been represented in the USA by its subsidiary BMW of North America since 1975, and the company went on to build its own production facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina in 1992. Model variants designed specifically for the US market and BMW’s commitment to motor racing series stateside, such as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (in which the newly developed BMW M6 GTLM will compete in 2016), underline the significance of the BMW Group’s second-largest sales market, which also serves as an important ideas factory for new developments. The USA has thus become a second home for the BMW Group, and more than 70,000 people are now employed in the country by BMW and its partner companies.
This is a success story with no end in sight. Investment worth one billion US dollars is currently being channelled into BMW Group Plant Spartanburg in South Carolina to increase capacity, which will see the facility playing an even more important role within the BMW Group production network in the future. Plant Spartanburg builds BMW X models for customers around the world and has enabled BMW to become the largest car exporter in the USA by value. Alongside the expansion of its production facilities, the company has also focused its attention on setting up two driving safety centres. One is the Performance Center at Plant Spartanburg, the other can be found in California, in southern Palm Springs. Here, BMW drivers, future customers and BMW fans can experience the performance capability of the Ultimate Driving Machine as part of driver training courses.
The new BMW M2 Coupe: a high-performance sports car with spine-tingling performance.
Back in the early 1970s, the BMW 2002 turbo was already causing heads to turn and hearts to flutter. Indeed, the compact high-performance sports car perfectly encapsulated BMW’s resolution to deliver outstanding dynamics, agility and car control. And now, over 40 years on, BMW M GmbH is unveiling the new BMW M2, as if to demonstrate once again that this commitment is alive and well. With its high-performance six-cylinder in-line engine, rear-wheel-drive agility, lightweight aluminium M Sport suspension and extrovert styling, the new BMW M2 Coupe has all the ingredients to deliver the last word in driving pleasure. The newly developed three-litre six-cylinder in-line unit powering the BMW M2 uses state-of-the-art M TwinPower Turbo technology to develop 272 kW/370 hp at 6,500 rpm and, in so doing, lays down a marker in the high-performance compact sports car segment. The same applies to power delivery. Peak torque of 465 Nm (343 lb-ft) can be increased to as much as 500 Nm (369 lb-ft) in short bursts under overboost, all of which enables the new BMW M2 with optional seven-speed M Double Clutch Transmission (M DCT) and Launch Control to accelerate from rest to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.3 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h (155 mph), or 270 km/h (168 mph) if the M Driver’s Package is specified. Yet, with its M DCT transmission, fuel consumption of just 7.9 litres* per 100 km (35.8 mpg imp) and CO2 emissions of only 185 g/km*, the car is also keen to emphasise its outstanding efficiency. And even greater driving pleasure is on the cards when the Dynamic Stability Control system’s M Dynamic Mode (MDM) is activated. MDM allows wheel slip and therefore moderate, controlled drifts on the track.
Since its arrival in the car market two years ago, in late 2013, the BMW i brand has established itself as a genuine success story for BMW. With the BMW i3 – the world’s first compact premium electric vehicle with a design specifically geared to electric mobility – and the revolutionary BMW i8 hybrid sports car, BMW i has come up with a pair of models that are generating huge excitement and high demand around the world. As such, BMW has firmly established itself in the electric vehicle market. Indeed, one in every 10 all-electric passenger cars delivered to customers worldwide since the launch of BMW i is an i3. In the US market the figure is one in every eight electric cars sold while in Germany it is as high as one in five (all figures as at October 2015). Furthermore, the BMW i3 is the third- highest-selling electric car worldwide – as well as the only one able to increase its operating radius with an optional Range Extender combustion engine. Another critical element in the strong demand BMW is experiencing for BMW i models is that four out of every five BMW i3 customers in Europe have previously driven vehicles from other manufacturers – so are new to the BMW brand.
BMW i is providing further impetus by transferring technology to additional BMW brand models. All of BMW’s plug-in hybrid models, for instance, employ the BMW eDrive technology developed for BMW i cars in the form of electric motors, power electronics, high-voltage batteries and intelligent energy management. Equally, the experience in using industrially manufactured CFRP garnered during the development of BMW i cars has now helped to reduce the weight of the new BMW 7 Series luxury sedans.