BMW to Build New Proving Ground

Representatives of the BMW Group, the Czech government and the Karlovary Vary region announced construction of a new proving ground today in Prague. The roughly 500-hectare property will be developed in Sokolov in the Karlovary Vary region, close to the German border town of Waldsassen and about two-and-a-half hours’ drive from the BMW Group’s main development site, the Research and Development Centre (FIZ), in Munich.

BMW will invest over 100 million euros ($118 million) on a test track for self-driving and electric cars in the Czech Republic, as it expands its foray into alternative driving technologies.

The new BMW proving ground, which will create several hundred jobs, is slated to go into operation early in the next decade. Total investment will be in the three-digit million-euro range.

Dr. Herbert Grebenc, BMW AG, Human Resources, Senior Vice President Real Estate Management, Corporate Security, stated at the announcement in Prague: “The BMW Group is at the vanguard of technology. As an innovation driver, we aim to offer customers the best, most emotional mobility experience and create digital connections between people, vehicles and services. At the planned proving facility in Sokolov, we will continue to advance ground-breaking topics, such as electrification, digitalization and automated driving – for example, through safety-testing for assistance systems.”

Projects at the 500-hectare (1,200-acre) Sokolov site near the German border, picked out of 82 potential locations, will include the testing of driver-assistance and braking systems, Grebenc said.

Do BMW and Mercedes Have Too Many Models?

Mike Duff, writing for Car and Driver Blog, reports that both BMW and Mercedes will bill culling their herd in the coming years and that those models to go will be mostly traditional coupes.

Dieter Zetsche, head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, stated “The specialty cars, these coupes and convertibles, were always niche cars,” to journalists at the Geneva auto show. “The expansion into China and other emerging markets [has given] huge opportunities for sedans, but they did not take up these specialty cars. Which makes the business case for these vehicles less easy.”

Zetsche made it clear Mercedes planned to continue offering at least a few coupes. Duff writes, “With both coupe and cabriolet versions of the C-class, E-class, and S-class currently being offered alongside the SLK and SL roadsters and the AMG GT coupe and convertible, there’s obvious potential to simplify the range.”

BMW’s Ian Robertson reported that the company had been struggling with their open sports cars, “The segment that is not really progressing is the roadster segment,” he said. “It never really recovered after 2008, and it never picked up in Asia. Therefore we’re working with Toyota on a platform to try to gain some economies of scale.”

What do you think? Is spoiling their customers with choice weakening sales? Or are luxury coupes no longer the in-thing?

BMW Concepts

The Victor crew likes concept cars. They are a teaser of what could be with a lot of futuristic ideas integrated in them.

There is a very interesting concept that BMW has for the future. It’s all in the wheels. These are their visions for the next 100 years. Their idea is that analog meets digital in the concept car. The area around the wheels make the wheels seem to “disappear” into the car. It would be great to see this car in person. As the wheels turn, the body seems to extend in a diamond pattern with another color showing through.

The Vision vehicle has 2 modes: ease and boost. You can use ease when you want to concentrate on other things and boost when you want to devote your full attention to driving. The steering wheel doesn’t look like your typical wheel either. It kind of looks like it has the feel of a cockpit.

2016 BMW M4 GTS

There are only 300 of these stunningly hot cars headed to the USA. The first water injection system on a production car and the M dual-clutch transmission with Drivelogic is an innovative 7-gear dual-clutch transmission are only a couple of the technological innovations BMW is introducing on this machine. There is even a heads up color display so you can keep your eyes ahead which is a pretty good idea particularly if you decide to apply the full 493 bHP to the asphalt! This is a seriously fast road car coming in at a reported (by BMW) top speed of 250 k/hr which translates in my book to slightly over 156 mph and the 0-100 k/hr is 4.1s which is under 4.1 for 0-60 translated into Detroit lingo. See it and read about it here at the webpage BMW dedicated to it. And after talking to Joe Victor the other day there is a rumor floating around that one of the 300 may be on the way to Stark County,


A new use for luxury cars

In Omaha, Nebraska they have found a new use for late model luxury cars. Usually taken to local car shows, local car dealers are now helping sell real estate by bringing their cars to mansions for their open-houses. This adds “curb appeal” to prospective buyers of the houses valued at $1,000,000 or higher. This is taking “staging” a house one step further. Bringing in late model cars, like a Jaguar or BMW gives a sneak-peak at the lastest models and may possibly help local auto sales. They see it as exposure and promotion.

Maybe someone will even buy a car with the house, Jody.

~ Joe Victor

New Diesel Cars for 2014

The Victor crew
found that has a list of new 2014 Diesel cars for better fuel efficiency. Here they are:

Audi – 3.0 liter V-6 turbodiesels:
Audi A6 TDI mid-size sedan – for 29 mpg starts at $57,500
Audi A7 4-door coupe – 29 mpg starts at $66,900
Audi A8 large luxury sedan – 28 mpg starts at $82,500

BMW – 180 hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel
3-series sport sedan – 32 mpg city; 45 mpg highway; slightly lower with xDrive all-wheel drive option; starts at $39,525 without xDrive; another $2000 with
3-series Sports Wagon – up to 43 mpg; only comes with xDrive; starts at $43,875

Chevrolet – 151 hp 2.0-liter turbodiesel four cylinder:
Cruze Diesel – starts at $25,695; 27 pmg city; 46 mpg highway

Jeep – 240 hp 3.0 liter V-6 turbodiesel
Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel – 21 mpg city; 28 mpg highway;

Ram (formerly Dodge Truck) – 240 hp 3.0 liter V-6 turbodiesel
1500 EcoDiesel pickup truck – priced $2,850 higher than Ram 1500 gasoline

Ride on.
~Joe Victor

BMW has just unveiled its i3 electric car.

Hey Jody,
BMW is setting out to rethink the automobile of tomorrow. They say the i3 electric car is emission-free and silent while driving, and is environmentally-conscious. It is made of high-quality sustainable materials, with an aero-dynamic exterior. It is a hatchback that comes in white, silver, gray, dark gray, and solar flare orange. It has a stripe that runs down the roof in black. It’s starting prices is $41,350. It has a 22-kilowatt, 450-pound lithium-ion powertrain. It will go 80-100 miles (170 hp). (It will go 0-60 in 7 seconds.) You can also get a 34-hp 650cc two-cylinder generator (like the Chevy Volt) to extend its range.

The concept car was presented 2 years ago in Germany.

~ Joe Victor