April 24, 2014

The numbers game: BMW plots out its future

x6Like most German car manufacturers, BMW are putting a lot of effort into exploiting those niche markets and its most recent big reveal, the 4-Series, is just one of a line of models that will effectively fill the gaps of the firm’s roster of offerings.

The Munich-based company has also let the M6 GranCoupe out the bag in the last week to rival its compatriots’ similarly focused models that include the Mercedes CLS63 AMG and the upcoming Audi RS7.

There is a bigger plan behind what looks like just building-by-numbers, with the incoming 4-Series not an entirely new model in all respects, but is in fact a “stand-alone design” – say BMW – to replace existing 3-Series models. Effectively, the 4-Series will take the place of the coupe and convertible versions of the 3-Series when it comes out in late 2013 and follows the current styling of the latest BMW cars, whilst also adding an even sportier element to the looks department.

A similar plan is set for the elusive 2-Series which is set to grace us with its full reveal next year. Again, the 2-Series will be a two-door model, but will replace the coupe and open-top versions of the current generation 1-Series and has recently been spotted in heavy disguise whilst participating in winter testing. It is expected that we will see a hot version of the 2-Series (235i), as well as a 1M equivalent after it has established its standard model variants which may take on the moniker of ‘M2’, but regular versions will get sporty design cues as standard and carry on BMW’s aim for an entire model range of sports-based style vehicles.

The race to offer consumers every model they could possibly dream of carries over into BMW’s 4X4 range of SUVs, with the coupe-stylings of the X6 set to be extended to what will be known as the X4 and will be to the X3 what the X6 is to the X5. Don’t be surprised if we see an X2 announced within due course, either.

The above can be considered as significant, but not revolutionary, that word is currently reserved for BMW’s range of i-cars, all of which are some variation of hybrid vehicles and at the LA Motor Show revealed the latest in the line was shown publically of what will eventually be a five-car line-up.

Right now, we’ve only been able to see two of these, in the i3 and i8 models; the former is a small three-door hatchback and will operate on an electric motor running on lithium-ion batteries, allowing for a 100-mile range. The second car shown to the public is the i8 sports-hybrid which runs off both a lithium-ion battery pack, to give an all-electric range of 22 miles when fully charged, and a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine that produces 220bhp (349bhp total when combined with the battery pack).

The i-range isn’t just another range exhibiting possible cars of the future as the i3 is set to go on sale next year at about £30,000, with the i8 coming out in 2014 at an estimated price of £80,000 and BMW opened its first i-Store back in June of this year in London. The i8 Spyder, which was revealed at the LA Motor Show, will follow its coupe compatriot, with the i5 and i1 expected to come about in 2016.

About the author: Sam Bisby writes for UK Fuel Cards, a place to compare fuel cards for your fuel card solution. Find out more at UKFuels.co.uk.


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