The BMW 1 Series is a hatchback of a similar size to a Ford Focus and Opel Astra, but offering a much greater level of luxury and build quality. Often described as a “premium hatchback” competing with the likes of the Audi A3, Mercedes A-Class and, to a lesser extent, the Volkswagen Golf. It is the smallest and most affordable model in the BMW range. The first generation/version of the BMW 1 Series was seen by many for being impractical space-wise, and the second generation is a lot more spacious, offering a range of truly outstanding diesel and petrol engines, with the vehicle not lacking in and on-board equipment and accessories. The BMW 1 Series offers a superb ride, as one would expect from a BMW and some say it's the best car to drive in the hatchback class. The interior is plush and most comfortable to spend time in. The BMW 1 Series is available as both a three-door and a more practical five-door, while the performance-focused M135i model accelerates from 0-100 kmh in 5.2 seconds. Trim levels on the BMW 1 Series include the ES, SE, Sport, M Sport, Urban and the performance-orientated M135i. The BMW 1 Series is the least expensive model in the BMW range as well as providing the lowest running costs. The most efficient model in the line-up is the 116d EfficientDynamics model, which can do 3.8 litres/100 and 99g/km CO2. But even the performance-focused, top-of-the-range M135i is capable of 7.6 litres/100 kms and emits just 175g/km CO2 – which isn't bad at all for a car with that level of power and speed. The other petrol engines in the range are pretty efficient, too, but we'd recommend you go for one of the diesel engines, which offer a better balance of speed and low running costs. BMW also does a super value-for-money fixed-price servicing package that helps keep costs down as well as some good finance deals via BMW Financial Services.
The BMW Z4 (the successor to the BMW Z3) is one of the most enthralling sports cars available.
Defining Features These include a front-engine/rear-drive layout, an elongated bonnet and rear-ward positioning of driver and passenger. While the first Z4 featured a traditional soft top, the current Z4 model has a sleek retractable hardtop – an all-weather option.
The current Z4 also represents a slight change in philosophy for BMW's roadster. Not only does it sacrifice ultimate handling for greater ride comfort and overall refinement, but it also employs a highly fuel-efficient turbo-charged four-cylinder as its base engine. The result is one of the most well-rounded sports cars money can buy.
Current BMW Z4
The current Z4 is offered with rear-wheel drive in three trim levels: sDrive28i, sDrive35i and sDrive35is. The 28i gets a turbo-charged 2.0-litre inline-4 that produces 177 Kw power with a six-speed manual transmission as standard, with an eight-speed automatic available as an option.The 35i comes with a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 good for 221 Kw power with a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual (DCT).The 35is utilizes DCT and a revised version of the regular 35i's engine, boasting 247 Kw power with a temporary over-boost function that pumps torque upwards..
Equipment Differences The sDrive28i comes standard with 17-inch wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power seats, Bluetooth and adjustable driving settings that change the programming for the steering, throttle and (if specified) automatic transmission.The sDrive35i adds 18-inch wheels, sun-reflective leather upholstery and sport seats.The sDrive 35is is similar but comes standard with an upgraded audio system and the performance-themed M Sport package (optional on other Z4s).Option highlights include heated seats and steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors and a navigation system.
The latest BMW Z4 is an impressive and highly refined sport touring car, with a surprisingly roomy interior and decent trunk space as long as the retractable roof is raised.
Although the turbo-4 makes less power than the old inline-6, it's got more torque, and fuel economy is substantially improved.
The Z4 is generally a smooth easy drive, especially if you go for the optional M Sport package and leave the adjustable drive settings in Sport mode. Most buyers will appreciate the Z4's firm yet compliant ride and accomplished all-around performance and appreciate a 'top-down' journey as a wonderful way to spend a sunny day.
BMW, has a long history as a manufacturer of sports cars. The BMW Z3 draws on its own past to present a compact stylish two-seater with almost universal appeal following its launch in 1995. The BMW Z3 is based on the E36 platform, incorporating the rear suspension of the E30, and was built from the ground up using BMW's proven formula. The Z3 was also one of the first cars to be manufactured in BMW's South Carolina plant.
From 1996 to 2002, the BMW Z3 was fitted with both four and six cylinder engines. In the U.S initially the car offered only with a 101 Kw 1.9-litre four-cylinder engine. The following year a 2.8-litre in-line six-cylinder was made available raising output to 139 Kw which increased the performance considerably. A 2.5-litre four-cylinder was later added as the base specification, raising output to 125 Kw power, almost to rival the 2.8 motor, which was uprated to 142 Kw power in 1999.
Also new for 1999 was the Z3 Coupe, a shooting brake-style two-door hatchback.
A higher-performance version of the Z3, the Z3 M, or M Roadster, was also offered, from 1999 until the end of the Z3's run in 2002. With an upgraded engine displacing 3.2-litres, Z3 M models from 1998-2000 used the same engine used in the E36 M3, which produced 177 Kw power in North American specification.
The 2001-2002 Z3 M upgraded to the E46 M3's 3.2-litre engine, rated at 232 Kw power, significantly improving performance. Both coupe and roadster versions of the BMW Z3 M were produced.
If there was an area where the BMW Z3 range came up short, it was in the interior, particularly at the start of the model's run, but persisting throughout its term. Materials, design, and equipment weren't up to the standards of BMW's other models. Despite its shortfalls in creature comforts and interior design, the BMW Z3 won many fans--and keeps them even today.
The Z3 was succeeded by the BMW Z4, a somewhat larger and more expensive vehicle but also a more luxurious and well-rounded sports car. For some, however, the allure of the Z3--particularly the Z3 M Coupe--remains impossible to resist.
The 2014 BMW X6 ranks 16 out of 18 Luxury Midsize SUVs. This ranking is based on summaries of international published reviews and test drives of the BMW X6, as well as reliability and safety data. The majority of test drivers are of the opinion that although the 2014 BMW X6 has the weight and height of an SUV, the interior is small, resulting in disappointment in terms of performance and practicality. Reviewers agree that the base X6 xDrive35i (with a turbo-charged six-cylinder engine) is refined and delivers strong acceleration.The X6 xDrive50i models with more powerful twin-turbocharged V8 engine provides extra power.Critics say that the 8 speed automatic transmission (which is standard) shifts quickly and smoothly.The base 2014 X6 xDrive35i model gets an estimated 16.6 litres per 100 kms city driving, which is on par for a six-cylinder luxury midsize SUV with all-wheel drive. 6. Test drivers write that the 2014 BMW X6 offers controlled handling and powerful brakes, though some note that steering effort is a little heavier than they would like
7. Auto writers think that the BMW X6 has an eye-catching interior that's built with top-notch materials. They say the 2014 X6 is very nice up front thanks to spacious seats, though many write that the back seats are a bit cramped.
8. Cargo space is typical for the class with all seats in use, but many SUVs offer more overall cargo space with the rear seats folded
9. Some reviewers note that the X6's iDrive infotainment system is a bit complicated, but others write that the system becomes fairly intuitive after some study.
10. The 2014 BMW X6 comes standard with features like a moon-roof, front and rear parking sensors, Bluetooth and a 10-speaker sound system. Available features include a head-up display, a rear-seat entertainment system and adaptive cruise control.
Comments from other car websites: "Cars don't get much more outlandish than the BMW X6, which combines the heft and elevated ride height of a crossover with the rakish roofline of a coupe. The styling takes a toll on passenger and cargo space, although the X6 does offer the handling, luxury and performance for which BMW is known." -- Left Lane News"The X6's SUV classification should be taken with a grain of salt, however, as it's not terribly well suited for off-roading and its raked rear end negates what could be a useful cargo bay. But, if you're an urban dweller who prefers performance to practicality, BMW's 2014 X6 has much to offer." -- Kelley Blue Book"The X6 is the slowest-selling BMW after the Z4. It's ponderous and inefficient like a giant SUV, but has the interior space of a medium-sized hatchback." -- AutoWeek (2013)"Marketed as a cross between an SUV and a coupe, the 2013 BMW X6 unfortunately represents a rather poor blend of both." -- Edmunds (2013)
The BMW X5 ranks 4 out of 18 Luxury Midsize SUVs – ranking based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the BMW X5 internationally and locally. #4 in Luxury Midsize SUVs #2 in Luxury SUVs with 3 Rows #4 in Luxury Crossover SUVs Reviewers all agree that the re-designed 2014 BMW X5 offers elegant interior styling, as well as nimble handling with powerful engine choices that few luxury SUVs can match.The X5 sDrive35i comes standard with a turbo-charged six-cylinder engine that test drivers say delivers plenty of power.A turbo-charged V8 is available in X5 xDrive50i models, and motor journalists have commented that this model offers incredible acceleration.
Many test drivers expressed that their favourite model is the turbo-diesel X5 xDrive35d, which offers ample power and gets great fuel economy for the class.The base 2014 BMW X5 gets an EPA-estimated 14.9/10.5 litres/100 kms for city/highway driving which is good for the class, while the turbo-diesel model gets an excellent 12.3/9.1 litres/100 kms for city/highway driving respectively.Test drivers agree that the X5 has very sharp handling for a luxury midsize SUV, and they praise its accurate steering system and strong brakes.Motor journalists report that the X5's interior has top-quality materials, a sophisticated design and front- and second-row seats that are comfortable and spacious.The optional third row is only roomy enough for children, though that is not unusual for a three-row midsize SUV.The 2014 BMW X5 also earns praise for its high-tech features, which include a large, attractive display for infotainment functions and an iDrive controller that they think is easy to use.The 2014 BMW X5's standard features include a panoramic moon-roof, navigation, BMW's iDrive infotainment system, leatherette upholstery and power-adjustable heated front seats. Optional features include leather upholstery, a 360-degree Surround View parking camera system, lane departure warning and a night vision system with pedestrian detection.
Some comments from international car websites: "Thanks to subtle improvements all around, the redesigned 2014 BMW X5 is a top choice for a luxury crossover SUV, especially if performance is a priority." -- Edmunds
"If you want a midsize luxury SUV that aspires to be a sports car and offers seating for up to seven, the BMW X5 is a tempting choice." -- Kelley Blue Book
"The big question remaining is this: Is it worth it? Price aside, it's still the leader of its class and it's never been better. Is that enough for you?" -- Autoblog
"BMW has refined a solid performer that is the (crossover) apple of many customers' eyes. With an engaging personality, a refined diesel drivetrain and host of aero, power and lightweight tricks on board, it is clearly evident that this remains the Ultimate Driving Machine of crossovers." -- Left Lane News