BMW 123d SE 2008 Review

October 9th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

bmw-123d-se-fq

Launched in 1968, the 2002 is one of BMW’s most famous models. A two-door sedan, it pushed BMW’s reputation in the public’s eye as being a sports car accessible to the masses as opposed to the elitist 503 and 3200 CS. It’s this car that inspired the new BMW 1-Series we’re reviewing today – a small, agile coupe with ample urge from under the bonnet, in a front-engined rear-wheel drive configuration.

Whether the 1 series will become as iconic as the 2002 is debatable. The coupe version looks better in the flesh than it does in photos, and makes the five-door 1 Series look like a frumpy bread van. Where the concave ankle line is reminiscent of a sagging beam in the five-door, in the coupe it reminds you of an athlete’s hamstrings, working in tandem with the quadriceps to deliver rapid forwards motion; at least, from most angles. Walk around the 123d coupe and you’ll occasionally catch a flaccid glimpse, but mostly it’s all tone and taughtness, accentuated by the angular crease of its deltoids, and the headlights smeared towards the pumped wheel arches. These are filled by optional M Sport 18-inch alloys sporting 215/40R18 tyres, that semi-conceal sizable brake discs.

The back of the car is half way there to looking the business. The boot lip extends backwards like it can’t quite keep up with the speed of the car, but how great would the rear look with twin exhausts and a rear venturi? Really great is the answer I heard you say.

Squeeze down into the bucket seats (the wings of which are adjustable), and the immediate sense is one of luxurious sports car, albeit with way too much lumbar support and no way of adjusting it (it’s a $650 option that wasn’t included in the plethora of options attached to this car).

Auckland to Napier is an interminable drive. I usually try to do it at 4am to miss as much traffic as possible, but I left at 4pm, confident that the 123d’s über-torque ratings would slingshot me past dawdling weekenders. Using the six-speed sequential steptronic gearbox is barely necessary as 400Nm is available from just 2000rpm. Mix that up with 150kW and 100kph can be yours in 7.1 seconds, with objects in your rear view mirror disappearing rapidly. The 123d does a great job of changing gears itself, anticipating what you need, or you can do it using the gear lever or the steering wheel-mounted push-pull paddles.

I averaged 5.8l/100km on the trip in this automatic model — that includes hills, bursts of overtaking, and the cruise control set at 105kph (undoubtedly I’d have been more economical at 90kph). Cheaper cars will often deviate significantly from the cruise control speed, so I thought I’d put the BMW to the test. I drove for 40km straight, which included bends and hills and it returned an average of 104.8kph — pretty good considering the Peugeot 308 I tried a few weeks ago was 4(!)kph different to my cruise setting after just half a kilometre of fundamentally flat road.

The Napier-Taupo road is perfect for testing a car’s long distance handling capabilities. A car should not leave you tired after a spirited drive around the twisty bits, and not bore you to snooziness on the straight bits. Fortunately, neither of these occurred. The first 30 or so kilometres out of Taupo presents roads with vanishing points, and it’s speed trap country, but once you get into the hills, there are some steep gradients combined with off-camber corners. In the BMW you don’t bother lifting off unless the corner signs read less than 60kph, and for the hills the twin-turbo two-litre diesel engine’s torque is more than a match for gravity.

Day turned to night and revealed a frustrating design faux pas for the otherwise excellent cruise control: you push the stubby wand forwards to increase or set the speed, and that lever is just below the one for the lights. So, my apologies to the two drivers I accidentally high-beamed.

For a coupe, the boot is a handy size, which comes at the expense of rear legroom. The interior, with its optional Boston leather and walnut highlights had its solid feel reinforced by the steering which pushed back a good deal of road information, but without being unduly nervy or unrelaxing.

I could live with a BMW 123d. Just. After the long trip my back had become used to the lumbar setting, even though it wasn’t quite ideal. I enjoyed the power, the engine’s refinement, and the rewarding handling. While the 1 Series will never be as iconic as the 2002, it had definitely captured part of the essence.

Click through to the next page to read the full specifications of the BMW 123d SE.

Price: from $65,000 (including the 6-speed sequential automatic); price as tested with optional Boston leather interior, multifunction steering wheel, 18-inch wheels, locking wheel bolts, M Sports package, electric sunroof, auto-dimming rear view mirror, sun protection glazing, electric seats, storage compartment package, wood trim, rain sensing wipers, cruise control, lights package (e.g. a courtesy light under the door handle when you unset the alarm, radio upgrade and (deep breath) USB interface, $83,165.01

What we like

  • It’s got the looks¦from most angles
  • Handy sized boot
  • Twin-turbo diesel engine has excellent power and is frugal, too
  • Steering feel is like a sports car

What we don’t like

  • Can look frumpy from some angles
  • Front seat needs lumbar adjustment
  • Rear seat legroom is tight
  • Enormous price difference between the base model and the optioned one we were supplied

Technical Data

Type type / cylinders / valves per cyl. In line / 4 / 4
Effective Displacement (cm3) 1995
Power output (kW) 150
at (rpm) 4400
Max. torque (Nm) 400
at (rpm) 2000
C 02 emission -EU EU4
Exhaust emissions classification (manual) 161 (157)

Dimensions

Length (mm) 4360
Width (mm) 1748
Height (mm) 1423
Luggage capacities (m3) 370
Fuel capacity (litres) 51

Performance

Drag coefficient (Cd) 0.31
0-100 km/ h sec (manual) 7.1 (7.0)
Maximum speed in km/h (Manual) 236 (238)

Fuel consumption

EU, in town Litres/100km 1 (Manual) 7.9 (7.4)
EU, out of town 1 Litres/100km,(Manual) 5.1 (5.0)
Fuel consumption / Range (ltr /100km / km) – Automatic transmission 6.1/835

Technical Features

4-cylinder diesel engine, common rail system with direct injection
Diesel Particulate Filter
Variable twin-turbo
Electronic vehicle immobilisation (EWS III)

Safety Features

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Cornering Braking Control (CBC)
Dynamic Brake Control (DBC), and Brake Force Display
Automatic Stability Control & Traction (ASC+T)
Dynamic Stability Control (DSCIII) with ASC+T function integrated
Dynamic Traction Control (DTC)
Driver & front passenger airbags w seat occupant detection sensor
Side airbags for driver and front passenger integrated into backrests (thorax)
Head airbag front and rear, curtain head protection system
Side impact protection
Front belt tensioners
02PA Locking wheel bolts
0302 Alarm System
Runflat tires including runflat indicator

Exterior Features

0321 Colour coded bumpers
Twin electric door mirrors
0346 Chrome line exterior
03AP Windscreen with grey shade band
0420 Sun protection glazing
0507 Park distance control (PDC) rear
0520 Fog lights
Windscreen in laminated safety glass, green tinted

Interior Features

0411 E lectric rear windows
0431 Interior mirror with anti-dazzle function
Height adjustment passenger seat
0481 Sport seats driver & passenger
0470 Child Seat ISOFIX with passenger seat de-activation
0473 Front armrest
0493 Storage compartment package: nets on rear of driver’s and front passenger’s backrests, 12 V socket in the luggage compartment, two lashing eyes, 2 tensioning straps on the luggage-compartment floor.
2 Cupholders in centre console
0534 Automatic air conditioning with Climate Control
0550 On-board Computer

In-Car Entertainment

0663 Radio Professional with single CD player
0694 CD Changer Preparation

Customer Assurance

BMW Service Inclusive – 3 years scheduled service and maintenance programme
2 years BMW Factory Warranty (with un-limited kilometre limitation)
3 years Vehicle Paint Warranty (with un-limited kilometre limitation)
12 years BMW Anti-corrosion Warranty (with un-limited kilometre limitation)
3 years Roadside Assistance Cover (with un-limited kilometre limitation)

Words and photos Darren Cottingham


BMW unveils new X1 concept

October 2nd, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

BMW X1 fq

BMW have just unveiled its new X1 concept which may be destined to become its premium compact CUV. The Munich-based car maker has released official info and images of the vehicle but no word yet on the many options that will come under the bonnet.

The front end of the vehicle resembles the swollen nose consistant with most of the model range, squared off wheel surrounds and pinched surfacing finishes the look. BMW’s X line of CUVs and SUVs is really packing out with the X5 the X3 being joined by the X6, and soon the production version of the X1 will kick in.  The Concept X1 and current X3 will be very similar in size, and purpose. So why create another X-model? Well, only the good folk at BMW know that. More will be revealed soon.

BMW hydrogen-powered party ends after 6,400km across the U.S

August 27th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

bmw-hydrogen-7-fq

The BMW Hydrogen 7 – the first hydrogen-powered luxury sedan – has arrived in Los Angeles to finish a more than 6,400km cross-country journey featuring hydrogen-powered cars by the world’s leading automakers in the 2008 Hydrogen Road Tour. The purpose of the tour was to show that leading automakers and energy producers are doing their part to move away from fossil fuels to hydrogen, and showcase the cooperation among forward-thinking lawmakers, NGOs and the industry.

Logging an unprecedented “strictly hydrogen” cruising range of over 320 km, the BMW Hydrogen 7 mono-fuel completed the two-week, 31 city US tour with outstanding reliability, leaving only a trail of potable water vapour in its tracks. The 320km cruising range is equivalent to better than 9.4L/100km. In the BMW Hydrogen 7 bi-fuel vehicle, the cruising range topped 200km. By optimizing the combustion process in the mono-fuel Hydrogen 7, BMW achieved an increase in range of over 60% over the bi-fuel Hydrogen 7.

BMW provided a fleet of four hydrogen-powered cars — two BMW Hydrogen 7 mono-fuel vehicles that use only liquid hydrogen and two BMW Hydrogen 7 bi-fuel vehicles that can switch from hydrogen to gasoline. The four BMW vehicles along with the core BMW CleanEnergy team were on the road for the entire two-week tour.

The Hydrogen Road Tour is a partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Energy, the California Fuel Cell Partnership and the National Hydrogen Association. In addition to BMW, participants included Daimler, GM, Honda, Hyundai-Kia, Nissan, Toyota, and VW. Providing clean, domestically produced hydrogen fuel for this tour were Linde, BMW’s hydrogen fuel partner for the Tour, and Air Products.

“The miles covered on this tour are a highly valuable contribution to the nearly two million miles already logged by our global fleet of 100 BMW Hydrogen 7s. This tour has shown thousands of people that hydrogen is truly the best alternative transportation fuel, and hydrogen vehicles are approaching commercial availability. An internal combustion engine, powered by hydrogen should play an important role in the future of sustainable mobility,” said Tom Baloga, BMW Vice President of Engineering, US.

What was most noteworthy about the Hydrogen Road Tour was the partnership between the world’s leading automakers, key federal departments, influential non-governmental organizations and hydrogen fuel providers to bring the reality of practical, clean energy to our nation’s legislators and the public. The tour visited key members of Congress in their home states to allow them the opportunity to see and drive these vehicles.

BMW Hydrogen 7 was the only vehicle on the tour that stores liquid hydrogen to power an internal combustion engine. Hydrogen is one of the cleanest energy sources available. Essentially the only tailpipe emission is water vapour.

The tour fleet included the mono-fuel version of the BMW Hydrogen 7, equipped with a V12 internal combustion engine (ICE), which has been engineered to run exclusively on hydrogen. It was created to showcase the zero CO2 and low emissions potential and feasibility of a dedicated hydrogen internal combustion engine (ICE).

The Hydrogen 7’s V12 mono-fuel ICE produces no CO2 and near-zero emissions, while not sacrificing performance. In fact, the tailpipe emissions are so infinitesimal they pushed the limits of current emission testing technology.

Independent authorities, including the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), have confirmed these results. ANL conducted emission tests on BMW Hydrogen 7 mono-fuel vehicles in early March 2008 and found that not only were the emissions infinitesimally small but when running, the vehicle actually cleaned the air.

Recent studies have also confirmed the water emitted by the Hydrogen 7 is potable, i.e., safe to drink.

BMW hydrogen-powered 7-series goes on a road trip

August 14th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

bmw-hydrogen-7-fq

The BMW Hydrogen 7 — the first hydrogen-powered luxury sedan — is hitting the road in an unprecedented cross-country journey in the U.S.

The car, which emits water safe enough to drink, will join other hydrogen-powered cars from the world’s leading automakers in the 2008 Hydrogen Road Tour.

From August 11 — 23, the hydrogen powered convoy will travel from the US cities of Portland, Maine to Santa Monica, California with one goal: to call on congressional leaders to support the creation of a nationwide hydrogen fuelling station infrastructure.
The Hydrogen Road Tour is a partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Energy, the California Fuel Cell Partnership and the National Hydrogen Association. In addition to BMW, participants include Daimler, GM, Honda, Hyundai-Kia, Nissan, Toyota, and VW. Also part of this broad coalition are hydrogen fuel providers Linde, BMW’s hydrogen fuel partner for the Tour, and Air Products.

What is most unusual about the Hydrogen Road Tour is the partnership between the world’s leading automakers, key federal departments, influential non-governmental organisations and hydrogen fuel providers to bring the reality of practical, clean energy to our nation’s legislators and the public. The tour will visit key members of Congress in their home states to allow them the opportunity to see and drive these cars.

BMW Hydrogen 7 is the only car on the tour that stores liquid hydrogen to power an internal combustion engine. Hydrogen is one of the cleanest energy sources available producing zero emissions. Essentially the only tailpipe emission is water vapour.

The tour fleet will include the mono-fuel version of the BMW Hydrogen 7, equipped with a V12 internal combustion engine which has been engineered to run exclusively on hydrogen. It was created to showcase the zero CO2 and low emissions potential and feasibility of a dedicated hydrogen internal combustion engine.

The Hydrogen 7’s V12 mono-fuel produces no CO2 and near-zero emissions, while not sacrificing performance. In fact, the tailpipe emissions are so infinitesimal they pushed the limits of current emission testing technology.

Independent authorities, including the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), have confirmed these results. ANL conducted emission tests on BMW Hydrogen 7 mono-fuel vehicles in early March 2008 and found that not only were the emissions infinitesimally small but when running, the vehicle actually cleaned the air.
Recent studies have also confirmed the water emitted by the Hydrogen 7 is, in fact, safe to drink.

Exhaust from the mono-fuel Hydrogen 7 tested by FGL Environmental was found to be well within the limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for safe drinking water standards. The Maximum Contaminant Limit, abbreviated MCL, is the maximum limit set by the EPA for chemicals found in drinking water. Results showed the MCL from mono-fuel H7 emissions to be in compliance with the health safety standards.

For more than a year, the BMW fleet of bi-fuel Hydrogen 7s has been an important milestone on the road to a hydrogen future, with more than 150 people driving nearly 2 million miles so far. The Pioneer Program, as it is called, has provided the flexibility of being able to gather real-world driving experience driving on hydrogen with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you won’t run out of fuel. In addition to the BMW hydrogen pioneers, hundreds of people from academia, students, media, as well as the general public, have had the opportunity to experience the BMW Hydrogen 7.

Sporting options available for M6 and 6-series BMWs

August 12th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

bmw-m6-sport-s

The BMW 6 Series Coupe and Convertible are now offered with a new sports package aimed at enhancing driving dynamics and adding a more sporting appearance.

Available on all non-M derivatives, the Edition Sport package comprises a new contoured bonnet for an aggressive look, bespoke 19-inch light alloy wheels and M anti-roll stabilisation system for improved handling. The suspension enhancement will benefit Edition Sport model customers with the insertion of stiffer anti-roll bars for a 10 per cent firmer front axle and a 30 per cent firmer rear axle rear. This results in improved handling and a more composed ride during enthusiastic driving.

A Brushed Aluminium interior, Extended lighting and the opportunity to specify one of seven colours, of which Imola Red and Carbon Black are new to the 6 Series range, completes the offering. Building on this specification, BMW 650i Edition Sport Coupes and Convertibles also come with a Sports exhaust for enhanced engine breathing and aural pleasure.

The BMW M6 Coupe is to be offered with a competition package aimed at offering enhanced driving dynamics. The new package features a revised suspension configuration comprising a 12mm lower front end and 10mm lower rear, retuned Dynamic Stability Control and ABS settings, and a modified Variable M differential for greater cornering capability.

Visually, a competition package-equipped M6 Coupe has a new bonnet with precision lines for an increased sporting look and M double-spoke light alloy wheels with wider rims that are shod with new Pirelli P Zero Corsa System tyres.

BMW in New Zealand has yet to advise us as to whether we will be seeing any upgrades to the 6-series here.

Model

Output
Hp

Torque
Nm

Zero to 100km/h Seconds

Top speed
mph

Combined L/100km

Emissions g/km

BMW 630i Edition Sport Coupe

272

320

6.2

155*

7.9

188

BMW 630i Edition Sport Convertible

272

320

6.7

155*

8.3

198

BMW 635d Edition Sport Coupe

286

580

6.3

155*

6.9

183

BMW 635d Edition Sport Convertible

286

580

6.6

155*

7.2

190

BMW 650i Edition Sport Coupe

367

490

5.1

155*

11.7

279

BMW 650i Edition Sport Convertible

367

490

5.5

155*

12.6

299

*Electronically-limited

BMW revises the M3 looks: Power to stay the same

August 5th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

bmw-m3-2009-fq

In the model year 2009 the BMW 3 Series Saloon, the four-door BMW M3 will feature divided rear lights with the brand-typical L-shaped contour. The two LED light clusters for the taillights and the indicator lights, which also feature LED technology, have a distinctive and high-quality appearance. The new rear end design is rounded off by modifications to the bumper and rear lid. The list of interior refinements includes a newly conceived fresh air grille located in the centre of the cockpit, a newly designed storage area under the armrest on the centre console and a pearlescent chrome light switch cluster.

The new start/stop button, also in pearlescent chrome, and the rotary controls for the air conditioning sporting the same design are not only featured in the BMW M3, but also in the Coupe and the Convertible. Likewise, from the autumn, all variants of the BMW M3 will be equipped with crash-active headrests that reduce the risk of cervical injury in the event of a rear end collision. The choice of exterior colours available for the BMW M3 will also be widened as from the autumn. The colour space grey metallic is now also available for the BMW M3 Saloon. Le Mans blue metallic is new in the range of colours offered for all body variants.

AC Schnitzer rocks the BMW X6

July 30th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

ac-schintzer-bmw-x6-fq

AC Schnitzer has been a BMW fiddler for a long time now with subtle mods on most models over the years.

This AC modified X6 is something else though with huge 22-inch wheels and a flared body-kit coupled with a lower ride height thanks to a set of Nurburgring spec AC springs.

With the X6 it is a matter of taste, but if this goes as good as it looks, we will be very happy.

MINI SUV could be on the shared BMW-Fiat platform

July 22nd, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

mini-suv-crossman

News of the MINI SUV said to labeled ‘Crossman’ and to debut at the forthcoming Paris Motorshow could utilise the partnered platform from BMW and Fiat has come to light.

The platform is touted to be under consideration for the new Fiat Punto Grande, the Alfa Romeo MiTo and the MINI Crossman. It has been substantiated that the platform codenamed C-Evo will be used for the new Alfa 147 and could house either FWD and AWD set-ups.

While the look of the MINI Crossman has caused considerable debate, it looks unlikely that BMW won’t produce it. The big MINI is due out in 2015.

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