We reviewed the BMW M3 Coupe with a manual transmission and the full load of cabin tech back in April, but we couldn't pass up the opportunity to test out another one, this time the 2008 BMW M3 Convertible with the new double-clutch transmission. Although our convertible M3 lacked the cabin tech options, not even having the programmable M button on the steering wheel, it still proved a remarkable car to drive with all the performance capabilities of the loaded version. And we didn't think it possible to improve on the M3's performance, but the double-clutch transmission … Read more
Except for its price, the 2008 BMW 128i Convertible may be the least BMW-like car from the automaker. Oh, it does have all the cutting-edge tech found in BMW's other models, including a pop-up LCD that is surprisingly immune to glare. But where its turbo-charged brother, the 135i, feels glued to the road, the 128i Convertible's wheels seem to stretch away from the car in the corners. And where the 135i leaps forward with smooth and hard acceleration, the 128i Convertible's power delivery feels uneven.
More automakers are offering iPod integration in their models, sometimes as a standard feature. With this type of integration, you can bring your iPod into the car, leave it in the glovebox or console, and access all of your music through the car's stereo interface, listening to your tunes through a full audio system. You can select your music by artist, album, genre, and playlist just as you would on your iPod. And the number of automakers offering this integration varies widely.
Of course there are BMW and Infiniti, but would you believe Ford and Hyundai, too? Take a … Read more
As in other current M models from BMW, the 2008 BMW M6 is afflicted with a dual personality. It masquerades as a big luxury coupe around town, but when the roads open up, the M6 can transform into a superhero. At a push of the M button on the steering wheel, the suspension tightens and the throttle response becomes more acute. Where a superhero might where a cape, the M6 gets a carbon fiber roof, lowering its center of gravity. But while the big, long coupe shows a lot of brawn in its styling, the high trunk lid makes it … Read more
Following in the footsteps of BMW, Mercedes-Benz announced it will offer HD radio in some of its 2009 models. HD radio is a digital broadcast that offers CD-quality sound for FM stations. BMW has been offering it on its models for the past year, and now Mercedes-Benz will include it as an option on the 2009 E-, M-, R-, GL-, and G-class, all but the E-class being SUVs.
Most radio stations in major cities have an HD broadcast now. There are approximately 40 stations in San Francisco alone. Because the format requires less bandwidth, many stations have multiple HD channels. … Read more
Word is out that BMW's updating its high-performance M line of vehicles for the 2009 model year. Featuring a host of external tweaks, such as new taillight designs and exterior mirrors, the most noteworthy updates are the inclusion of the new iDrive across the M line, a competition package for the M6, a new hard drive-based navigation system, and what BMW calls ConnectedDrive.
On the performance front, the entire M line will see incremental power upgrades and suspension tweaks, but the M6 gets the biggest bump with the addition of an optional competition package. This primarily suspension package consists … Read more
According to BMW's Mini division, Mini dealers in the U.S. are almost completely sold out. Much like the Apple iPod, which the stylish little car was oft compared to when it was unveiled 2001, it appears demand has completely outrun the rate at which Mini can supply them.
Dealers report that at this point, 81 percent of Minis sold are preconfigured and ordered. Mini's Oxford, England, plant will boost production to the U.S., but only by between 2,000 and 3,000 vehicles this year.
It is also reported that Mini plans to expand its dealership … Read more
BMW released details and photos of its new 3-series, purportedly a mid-cycle face-lift. However, we found some impressive changes and new options. BMW will offer a twin-turbo diesel version available in all 50 states. The dashboard electronics get updated with a new iDrive interface, and the navigation system gets a hard drive, with space left over for music storage.