Tag: Ultimate Driving Machine

2018 BMW 330e iPerformance

2018 BMW 330e iPerformance

The BMW 3-Series is already a legend for obvious reasons including packaging, handling and all around sportiness. With the 2018 BMW 330e, is it a case of too much of a good thing, or is it another option for fanboys of “the Ultimate Driving Machine?”

What’s it all about?

2018 BMW 330e iPerformance

The 2018 BMW 330e iPerformance is the semi-electrified version of the existing BMW 3-series four-door platform. Essentially designed to specifications of what others call a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), it is powered BMW’s well known inline four-cylinder twinpower turbocharged engine producing 180 hp at 5000-6500 rpm, and 215 lb-ft of torque at 1350-4250 rpm. This four-cylinder works in conjunction with BMWs permanent activated synchronous electric motor that adds an additional 87 hp for a cumulative total of 248 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. That sense of urgency spurts out from the four-cylinder/electric power unit to an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shift levers.

Power for the electric motor comes from a lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery mounted below the trunk floor. Plugging the included wall outlet charger offers the same stimulating qualities found while watching paint dry; plug into a level II supercharger, and the task can be completed in a more palatable 2.2-hours.

Our BMW 330e iPerformance sedan, as equipped, was capable of a top speed of 140 mph. This eDrive sedan allowed speeds

2018 BMW 330e iPerformance

up to 75 mph on electricity alone when set in Max eDrive mode. Auto eDrive, which was the more subtle of the drive modes, allowed electrical operation for speeds up to 50 mph. Anything above that caused the package to revert to hybrid operations. There are other user-variable settings that reduce the effectiveness of the air conditioning and other electrical operations inside the vehicle, while extending the attainable electric mileage figures.

The 330e is available in a single trim level. It will likely be cross-shopped against the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and the Lexus ES300h.

The view from within.

The view inside the 330e is typical BMW, as we’ve grown to enjoy through the years. If you liked the 2017 model, you’ll love the 2018 too, and most likely the 2019 as well. This sample included Venetian Beige Sensatec (“pleather”) upholstery. Our tester was ordered with the Convenience Package ($1,750), with keyless entry, a moonroof, lumbar support and Sirius XM satellite radio with a one-year subscription. Also on tap was the BMW Shadow Sport Edition package ($1,350), that added 18-inch bicolor wheels, a sport leather steering wheel, sport seats, anthracite wood trim, park distance control, ambient lighting and LED fog lamps. The only other extras were Apple CarPlay ($300) compatibility and BMW navigation ($1,700).

The BMW 330e includes a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty, and 8-year/80,000-mile High Voltage Battery Warranty.

On board safety was rather basic and included BMW’s front and rear head protection system, seat-mounted front side-impact airbags and knee airbags for driver and front passenger.

Behind the wheel:

Adding in the lithium-ion battery tends to really pork up the standard BMW 3-series platform. As it were with our 330e, this four-door five-passenger Sedan ended up tipping the scales at nearly 4,000 pounds, or as they say at across the pond, 2-tonnes. But all things considered, 0-60 mph in 5.8-seconds is not terrible, just saying.

We found the 2.0-liter/electric power unit to be most effective while in highway driving mode. It’s quite evident, while driving with the huge slab of batteries under the trunk floor, that the 3-series’ handling dynamics have been jostled just a bit, thanks to the higher, and rearward-mounted center of gravity that has been thrown into disarray by the Li-ion cells. Normal driving situations are just that, normal. But we like the added benefit that comes with the four-cylinder gasoline engine when sudden energy is requested from the bridge. A jab of the accelerator causes the engine to step down, with the results being very similar to recent Formula One cars and their kinetic energy recovery system (KERS system). Sure, the sudden burst is only temporary, but it is an exhilarating boost, nonetheless.

And if we were an owner, we would be mighty chuffed over the combined 30 miles per gallon city/highway ratings. Those figures are nothing to sneeze at, taking 3.3 gallons of fuel to drive 100 miles. But the real bragging comes from the electricity plus gasoline fuel economy ratings that yield a 71 mile-per-gallon equivalency. Sure it’s probably EPA conservative, but those are still numbers you can crow about.

2018 BMW 330e iPerformance

Base MSRP:  $45,600          As tested: $52,245.

Includes:  BMW Convenience Package, $1,750; BMW Shadow Sport Edition Package, $1,350; Apple CarPlay, $300; BMW Navigation, $1,700; Destination fee, $995.

Key Specs

Cylinders:                                Inline 4-cylinder

Displacement:                          2.0-liter

Power:                                     185 hp @ 5,000-6,500 rpm

Torque:                                    215 lb-ft @ 1,350-4,250 rpm

Fuel System:                           Gas Direct Injection

Power Unit:                             Electric Synchronous Motor

Power:                                      87

Combined Power:                  248

Combined Torque:                310

Fuel:                                        Premium

Acceleration:                          0-60mph in 5.8 seconds

Drive Type                              RWD

Gearbox:                                 8-Speed Automatic

Tire Size:                                 180 inch Low Rolling Resistance

Unladen Weight:                    3,900-pounds

Length:                                    182.8-inches

Width:                                     71.3-inches

Height:                                     56.3-inches

Wheelbase:                              110.6-inches

Cargo Volume:                        13 cubic feet

Cd:                                             0.29

Combined:                               30 mpg

MPG Gasoline / Electric       71 mpg equivalent

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2017 BMW 5 Series First Drive

2017 BMW 5 Series First Drive

The brand from Bavaria has always been cutting edge, so when it came time to introduce the 2017 BMW 5 Series, what better place than in Palo Alto, the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. As do most manufacturers, BMW, too, has a Research & Development facility right in the heart of the state’s tech corridor, which allows them to stay competitive with most aspects of car development including the automated automobile.

BMW 5 Series

Seventh-generation.
The BMW 5 Series is a four-door, five-passenger mid-level executive-class sports sedan. Built in Dingolfing, Germany, it will be offered in North America with two engines including a 2.0-liter TwinPower turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine (530i) that produces 248-horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Your second choice is a 3.0-liter TwinPower turbocharged inline six-cylinder (540i), which now produces an additional 35 horsepower. Netting 335 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque, both powerplants sidle up to an eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive ($2,300) is an option, and just the ticket for the brand to go head-to-head with Audi’s A6 Quattro, the Lexus GS350 AWD and Mercedes-Benz E Series 4Matic. There is little doubt that an M550 and M5 Performance model will soon be on tap as well. It’s just a matter of time.

Just the same, that doesn’t mean the 530i isn’t very spritely. It manages a 0-60 launch in 6.0-seconds while the 540i completes the same sprint in 4.9-seconds. Equipped with the M Sport package, the top speed for both vehicles jumps from 130- to 155-mph.

Tiny steps, big results.
You won’t really feel changes in the length, width and height of the new 5 Series unless you are sitting in the rear seat which now has an additional 1.2-inches of legroom. The use of high-strength steel and other structural innovations that helped the new sedan shed about 137-pounds. The weight reduction and improved fuel efficiency should allow the 530i to achieve mileage of 24 city / 34 highway, while the 540i should check in at 20 city / 30 highway. We say should because our tester was so heavily zooted that it probably regained all the weight it lost.

The High Line.
The interior of the 2017 BMW 5 Series maintains many of the features that made it a standout in years past. Borrowing from the company’s 7 Series flagship, the new 5 includes the iDrive 6.0 controller with track padding via finger traces. The system also includes BMW’s Gesture controls,

BMW 5 Series Gesture control.

which are activated by pointing in the proximity of the 10.25-inch HD display screen. First seen in last year’s 7 Series, a driver can rearrange function tiles, and map sizes through a pinching of two fingers, while a swirl of a pointer finger raises and lowers audio system volume.

For a partial performance boost, our 530i and 540i testers were both equipped with the M Sport Package ($2,600) that feature M Aero kits with larger air intakes, rocker panels, rear diffuser and exhaust system bits. The car rides slightly lower than normal thanks to the M Sport suspension and 19-inch sport wheels. The 20-way Luxury Seating Package offered heating, ventilation, and a massaging function that could easily lull you to sleep- if you were in the passenger seat.

From an in-car entertainment standpoint, the new 5 series is adequately equipped with a standard 205-watt audio system. Still, buyers will likely choose the mid-level ($825) Harman Kardon system or step up to the plate for the 1,400-watt Bowers & Wilkins premium audio system, for a rather icy $4,200, which can be augmented by a rear seat, dual screen entertainment system for another $2,200.

Technology talk.
There is enough new technology on board the new BMW 5 Series to make it feel right at home in the middle of Las Vegas’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Drive Dynamics Control allows drivers to choose settings ranging from ECO PRO, Comfort, Sport and optional Adaptive modes. In adaptive mode, steering, transmission and damper controls are set and infinitely adjustable according to road surfaces and locations that are determined by the active BMW Navigation Professional system which sends realtime road conditions to the unit. The same navigation system can also read topography to sense a grade climb, and will then downshift according to optimal engine and fuel efficiency settings.

BMW 5 Series

One of the slickest features of the new BMW 5 Series comes from the Remote Control Parking system that is exclusive to the 540i model. Slightly smaller than a smartphone, the remote control key fob allows a driver to exit the vehicle, say for example, in the case of a narrow parking slip, and then “drive the vehicle” via a finger trace, into its parking spot. It really does work.

Wheel time.
Driving the 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder found a capable engine that will likely be the brand’s best selling mill. The 530i’s 248 horses delivered with minimal lag, and the 258 lb-ft of torque appeared at a somnambulistic 1,420 rpm. A steadily progressing box of gears provided smooth shifts from the Steptronic eight-speed, almost to the point that changes were imperceptible. The optional Integral Active Steering was so well sorted, we didn’t know the car was even equipped with it, until we noticed it on the window sticker.

The higher performance 540i managed to appeal to our emotions in a more visceral sense. With a positive push into the seats the moment we stepped on the accelerator, to the audible pop from the six-cylinder’s exhaust gate, the car offered a satisfying jolt to the senses, at every turn. The new 5 Series will have you opting for the long way home, nearly every time.

To gain access to this information, Mark Elias Media Services attended an event sponsored by the vehicle’s manufacturer.

2017 BMW 5-Series Sedan
Base MSRP: BMW 530i $51,200. As tested: $74,150 (includes $995 Destination).
Base MSRP: BMW 540i $56,450. As tested: $81,910 (includes $995 Destination).

Key Specs
Cylinders: 4 (530i), 6 (540i)
Displacement: 2.0-liter (530i)3.0-liter (540i)
Power: 248 hp @ 5200 rpm (530i)
335 hp @ 5500 rpm (540i)
Torque: 258 lb-ft @1,450 rpm
332 lb-ft @1,380 rpm
Fuel System: Direct Injection
Fuel: Premium
Acceleration: 0-60mph in 5.8 (530i) and 4.7 (540i) seconds
Drive Type RWD
Gearbox: 8-speed automatic
Tire Size: 245 /45 R18
Unladen Weight: 3,815-pounds
Length: 194.6-inches
Width: 73.5-inches
Height: 58.2-inches
Wheelbase: 117.1-inches
Cargo Volume: 18.7-cubic feet
Cd: 0.26
City: 24 (530i) 20 (540i)
Highway: 34 (530i) 30 (540i)
Combined: 27 (530i) 24 (540i)

 

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