BMW 220d Tourer review

BMW-220-Tourer-112_noseBMW 220d Tourer

I really liked this Beemer. It is not as spacious as some medium MPV’s (or station wagons if you are an old timer) but has more usable space than its ‘bigger’ sister the 3 Series cars.

The Tourer has a good practical boot. If you like an X3 but don’t go off tar and don’t like the X3 price tag you will be very happy. Think of it as an X3 without the bling. Think of it too as a smaller BMW with space, especially in the boot.

BMW 220 Tourer

BMW 220 Tourer

The Tourer has the typical BMW interior, it’s very smart and really well finished. I liked the seats which adjust easily to give a good driving position and have a near perfect seat height to easily get in and out.

The cabin is a little tight as in all smaller BMW’s with just enough room for the driver, and very little space for your feet.

The air conditioner is a full manual unit. No climate control here. It does not quite fit with the rest of the car or the asking price.

This front wheel drive BMW has a very smooth gearbox and good handling albeit very different to traditional cars from Munich.

BMW-220-Tourer-064I like the looks but some did not. Take the BMW badge off and you may not think it is a BMW from the outside. It is less quirky than some of its siblings.

The 2 Series is much more practical and good looking than the very pricey  BMW 1 series, to my mind.

There are three trim levels you can choose from to ‘dolly up’ your car. Sport, Luxury and MSport.

Expect good fuel consumption on all the models and around 6 litres/ 100km for the diesels.

The BMW 2 Series Tourer is in my opinion better value than its 3 Series sisters and has more usable space. It is a bit pricey though when you add in the extras.

The competition includes the Opel Meriva, Mercedes B Series, VW Golf  SV and the Citroën C4 Picasso amongst others.

The model we tested, the 220d, costs R446 500 without the extras.  The range starts at R378 000 with the 1.5 manual. Get the full specsheet and pricelist here.

Standard model 218i 220i 220d 225i
Six-speed Manual R378 000 R401 000 R428 500
Automatic Transmission Steptronic (6-speed for 218i, 8-speed for 220i, 220d and 225i) R396 00 R419 000 R446 500 R447 000
Sport Line
Six-speed Manual R395 300 R418 300 R445 800
Automatic Transmission Steptronic (6-speed for 218i, 8-speed for 220i, 220d and 225i) R413 900 R436 300 R463 800 R464 300
Luxury Line
Six-speed Line R403 900 R426 900 R454 400
Automatic Transmission Steptronic (6-speed for 218i, 8-speed for 220i, 220d and 225i) R421 900 R444 900 R472 400 R472 900

The maintenance plan is 5 years or 100 000km.

BMW 220d Tourer

BMW 220d Tourer

BMW X5 xDrive 40d review

BMW X5 4.0BMW X5 xDrive 40d

Classy, cool, collected… that sums up the X5, BMW’s mid-size SUV.

We tested the 40d, which is actually a 3.0 litre but with not one, but two turbos. We were quite blown away! Actually its total overkill, but what the hell, if  you’ve got it spend it and watch the other guy in your dust.

The X5 is not a Jeep or Land Cruiser wannabe. Its more at home on roads, tar or gravel. It functions like a performance car on tar and rally car on gravel. Amazing road holding and handling.

BMW X5 4.0d

BMW X5 xDrive 40d

Fast. What is fast? This car goes like the wind. Fuel consumption is even something to smile about. Astoundingly good compared to SUV’s of only a few years ago. Expect under 8 litres/100km unless you go racing.

BMW-X5-4d-Ongegund-002I liked the interior and found the seats to be very comfortable and supportive. This is like  a little luxury limo. You are cosseted in safety, comfort and relative quiet. Nothing to complain about. Even the fiddly multimedia control paddle has been improved.

A first for me was the 3D park sensors. A combination of sonars and four cameras create a 3D image of the car and its surroundings. This is the best parking aid I have used. Works like a charm.

The BMW X5 is a vey good SUV. It is not an off-roader. Think of it more as a sport station wagon.

Also look at the Audi Q5, Lexus , Porsche Cayenne, Range Rover Sport, Mercedes ML, Mitsubishi Pajero, VW Tuareg and Jeep Grand Cherokee.

X5-4-Elim-Onrus-262List price for the basic model is R986 000. The car as tested had the following extras: aluminium running boards (R5 400), tow hitch (R9 900), surround view (R9 600), lumber support (R4 500), active cruise control (R17 900), comfort access (R10 800), hud (R14 700), B&O sound system (R32 000), rear seat dvd (29 100). That’s pretty much R120 000 for the extras.

To me it is a lot of money for a car, but then it is a lot of car for the money. Get the 3.0d.

You get a five year / 100 000km maintenance contract and BMW on call support.

 

BMW X3 xDrive 30d 2012 review

BMW  X3 xDrive 30d

This second generation BMW X3 is the epitome of luxury compact SUV motoring in the same niche as the Range Rover Evoque and Audi Q5.

Its lines are pleasing, much more so than the first model. It has a pretty nose and a functional rear. The middle bit is a little bland to me.

X3 comes in many versions. We drove the xDrive 30d. An awesome piece of machinery. BMW xDrive is able to recognise difficult road surfaces through sensors in the DSC chassis control system, and react immediately.

The 30d’s fuel economy is only marginally worse than the 20d’s according to reports and BMW’s own figures. They claim 6litres/100km, but you will not come close to that figure in real life.

Power is claimed to be 190kW at 4 000 and torque an enormous 560Nm from 2 000.

General impressions

I like the dark “ceiling” trim contrasted with the light tan trim of the bottom half of the cabin. It is very pleasing on the eye and calming. Pretty smart too.

My wife loved the seats. Not only are they highly adjustable, but they are just right. Not to hugging, but highly supportive.

One of the biggest criticisms of the first-generation X3 was its overly hard ride, and BMW has given this car a far more compliant set-up.

The X3 comes with run flat tyres. In the boot you will find an electric pump. Extra load hooks, a net and a folding basket.

There is a good size boot which has a practical shape. The floor has two rails and four movable hooks are provided.

Despite the extra height and weight that it carries, it drives like a normal car, consumes fuel at a similar rate and emits a comparable level of CO2.

This is the first car I have driven with a heads up display. It projects speed and cruise control settings on the windscreen in front of you. The system works well.

Interior 

The interior is smart. It has got all the goodies you could reasonably want.

I personally loved the two tone interior. Above the sill it is all black. Below tan. There is a huge panoramic window in the roof, if fitted as it is a R18k optional extra. The front part of which tilts up.

The cabin is very cosseting. ‘The seats are highly adjustable to the point that thigh support is extendible. All in all, almost as comfortable as the seats of the Subaru XV tested last month. You will be able to adjust your seat and steering wheel to a comfortable position no matter your size.

The controls all feel good and solid. The interior feels like a cockpit. It looks as if the car can fly. Even the new version of the i-drive is not too bad. The switchgear and instruments are shared with other BMW models, but the X3’s blend of a tall dashboard built around a central display screen and its relatively upright seating position work together.

The driver and front seat passenger areas are intelligently divided based on functionality.

One gripe I have is the fatness of the steering wheel. It is just too fat or thick for my liking although I generally prefer fatter wheels.

The second generation X3 has much more interior space.

Driving impressions

The X3 has 3 performance settings. Normal, which is pretty sprightly. Sport which tightens up the suspension and increases the revs by about 500rpm and quickens the change points. And then there is Sport + mode. For racing.

I drove 95% of the time in normal mode. Handling and road holding is top drawer. Body roll is well under control. The x-drive system splits torque 40:60 front: rear. It’s no rock hopping 4×4, but  it handles gravel and even good jeep tracks. Ride hight is not a strong point in the off-road department.

All X3s except the base model now come standard with eight-speed automatic boxes and stop/start technology.

Stop at a traffic light and the engine switches off automatically to save fuel. Press the accelerator and it starts again. Works well and after a day you won’t even notice it any more. The X3 is very much a drivers car. Roadholding and handling are impeccable.

Summary

Cost of the X3 30d is R642 400. As tested add R18 800 for the panoramic roof, R14 700 for the head-up display, R7 900 for connectivity pack and R22 000 for the GPS. So the car cost in excess of R700 000. That is more than double the Subaru XV. The thing is, the XV will go where the X3 cannot.

The good news is that you can buy a base model X3 without any enhancements for R469 000, for the xDrive20i standard.

You can easily add R100 000 to the cost of your car with a few accessories, so be careful.

All X3 series cars come with a 5 Year/100 000km Motorplan, non-contributing service and maintenance contract.

New BMW 3 series launched

The new, 6th range of the BMW 3 series has just been launched.

The new 3 Series Sedan has  grown in terms of dimensions. It has a wider track with a long wheelbase and shorter overhangs. It still looks like a 3 series.

Increased interior space: a 93mm increase in length enhances the elegant, sporty silhouette of the 3 Series. The rear passengers also gain from the car’s increased exterior dimensions and are welcomed by extra legroom inside the rear doors as they climb aboard. There is also 15mm  of additional knee room behind the front seats, while headroom is up by 8mm.

The range is available in three equipment lines in addition to the entry-level version. The Sport Line, Luxury Line and Modern Line allow customers to give their car a personal and eye-catching appearance and adapt it to their individual preferences. The careful coordination of equipment features embraces both exterior design elements and the selection of materials and colours for each model. An M Sport package with special exterior and interior features is in the pipeline for the midyear in 2012.

Auto Start-Stop function comes as standard with all engine-gearbox combinations.

The 328i is a 2.0 TwinPower Turbo. The four-cylinder engine  develops 180 kW and peak torque of 350 Nm from as low down as 1 250 rpm, accelerating the BMW 3 Series from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.9 seconds. Average fuel consumption is just 6,4 litres/100km.

The new 320i will develop maximum power of 135 kW at 5 000 rpm and peak torque of 270 Nm at just 1 250 rpm. Average fuel consumption is 6,1 litres/100km.

The 6 cylinder 335i  TwinPower Turbo with 3.0-litre displacement develops peak output of 225 kW and maximum torque of 400 Nm at just 1 200 rpm.

The 320d1 develops 135 kW and 380 Nm of torque.

An eight-speed automatic, which supports the Auto Start-Stop function, can be specified as an option in conjunction with all the petrol and diesel engines for the new BMW 3 Series.

Standard Model        320i*           320d             328i               335i
6-speed Manual        361 000       390 500      438 500       –
8-speed Automatic Transmission Steptronic

379 000     408 500      456 500 –
8-speed Sports Automatic Transmission Steptronic

386 100       415 600      463 600     543 000
Sport Line 320i*        320d             328i             335i
6-speed Manual         379 100        408 600      455 900 –
8-speed Automatic Transmission Steptronic

397 100           426 600    473 900 –
8-speed Sports Automatic Transmission Steptronic

404 200             433 700   481 000    557 200
Modern Line 320i*  320d                   328i          335i
6-speed Manual        373 900             403 400   449 400     –
8-speed Automatic Transmission Steptronic

391 900               421 400   467 400     –
8-speed Sports Automatic Transmission Steptronic

399 000              428 500    474 500    550 600
Luxury Line 320i*      320d                    328i            335i
6-speed Manual           375 400              404 900    449 400    –
8-speed Automatic Transmission Steptronic

393 400                422 900      467 400    –
8-speed Sports Automatic Transmission Steptronic

400 500                 430 000       474 500   550 600

New BMW 3 series plant hatched

New BMW 3 series

The BMW Group has invested R2.2bn between 2009 and 2012 in building the new BMW 3 Series at BMW Plant Rosslyn, where series production launched yesterday.

“The BMW 3 Series is the most important volume-produced model by the BMW Group as well as the biggest-selling model in the entire premium segment. At the same time, every generation of the 3 Series Sedan has been built in Rosslyn and since 1999 this plant has been responsible for production for important export markets such as the USA, Canada, Japan, Singapore and Australasia to name but a few. In 2009 – when the economic crisis reached its peak – we decided to invest R2.2bn to increase production capacity here in South Africa in order to produce the new BMW 3 Series Sedan. This was the clearest statement we could make at the time,” said Frank-Peter Arndt, Member of the BMW AG Board of Management responsible for production, in Rosslyn on Monday.

Speaking at an event to commemorate the official start of production of the new model, Mr. Arndt, who is also Chair of BMW South Africa, explained that while this investment safeguarded around 2 500 jobs in the middle of the recession it will ultimately lead to significant increases in production, export and employment in the years to come.

“In 1973, Plant Rosslyn became the first BMW production facility to be established outside of Germany,” Mr. Arndt pointed out, “so it is fitting that, almost forty years later, production of this new model signals the beginning of a new era of innovation, passion and commitment for the BMW Group in South Africa.

“Even though the global economic outlook remains uncertain, we remain true to our commitment to this production location. By the end of this year, we plan to introduce a third shift. This will significantly increase the installed production capacity above 90,000 units. It will more than double BMW 3 Series exports from South Africa. And it will create 600 new jobs here at Plant Rosslyn. This is again a strong signal – for our staff, our suppliers and South Africa as an industrial location,” said Arndt.

As series production of the new BMW 3 Series Sedan got under way, the Minister of Economic Development, Mr. Ebrahim Patel also spoke before a large gathering of employees at the BMW plant in Rosslyn.

The production launch of the sixth-generation BMW 3 Series marks the start of a new era at the Rosslyn plant. The investments have flowed, among other areas, into innovative production equipment and state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies.

The start of production of the new BMW 3 Series at BMW Plant Rosslyn, with significant increases in production, export and employment, further entrenches the position of the BMW Group as South Africa’s leading premium vehicle company.

Latest-generation robots are at work in the body shop and paintshop.
For the production of the BMW 3 Series, the old, low-rise body shop had to be completely refurbished to make way for a completely new Body-in-White facility. At the same time, numerous new robots were installed taking the total number of robots from 99 with the previous vehicle to 149 with the new car. In addition, latest-generation laser robots and advanced bonding robots are being used.

This modern, low-temperature process is now being used on the BMW 3 Series for around twice as many operations compared to its predecessor, in part replacing conventional spot welding. The innovative technique significantly improves sealing and corrosion prevention.

The stiffer body of the new BMW 3 Series offers significantly enhanced driving dynamics, comfort and safety, even though it is up to 45 kilograms lighter than its predecessor.

In the paintshop, new robot facilities have also been installed for seam sealing, flange sealing and undersealing. There is also a new foaming machine for firewall sound insulation. This feeds the sound-insulating material into the cavity, where it is foamed. The result is significantly improved sound insulation between the engine compartment and the passenger cell, making for a noticeable enhancement of interior comfort.

High production efficiency thanks to modular product and process architecture.
In the assembly shop, meanwhile, standardised modular product and process architectures ensure high productivity and variability. The production process of the new BMW 3 Series systematically applies the BMW Group strategy of multi-version production on the same main assembly line. In other words, different variants of a model series are simultaneously built on the same production line. With these innovative production processes, new manufacturing facilities and cutting-edge technologies, the Rosslyn plant sets exemplary standards for sustainable and eco-friendly production.

Clean production: manufacturing processes now virtually free of non-recyclable waste.
With the new BMW 3 Series, BMW has succeeded in implementing production processes that dramatically reduce non-recyclable waste and the generation of solid waste, wastewater and emissions, as well as cutting noise and vibration to a minimum.

Through such highly efficient resource management, the Rosslyn plant has already accomplished a great deal by implementing sustainable measures throughout the value chain. In the last five years alone, Plant Rosslyn has reduced resources utilised in production considerably. The production process now uses 25 percent less energy, 50 percent less water and 50 percent less waste, all while producing 25 percent less carbon emissions per car produced.

When combined with the energy reductions made at the BMW Group’s South African head-office in Midrand this amounts to more than R50-million in energy savings since 2006.

However, the company believes it can still do more and has investigated the technical and economic feasibility of supplying Plant Rosslyn solely by means of renewable energy, or in combination with the existing power supply.

Following the outcomes of this investigation, the BMW Group announced late last year that it will partner with the City of Tshwane on a waste-to-energy project. The project is similar to a landfill gas programme which is responsible for providing BMW Plant Spartanburg in South Carolina, USA with around half of its energy requirements.

Methane gas – converted from unusable organic waste at a landfill site in Onderstepoort – will be piped approximately 8km to BMW Plant Rosslyn. Depending on the quantity supplied, the gas will be used to either produce electricity via gas generators or supplement the usage of natural gas in the production process, a resource which contributes approximately 50% to the company’s energy consumption.

Initial indications are that there is enough green waste at the site to cater for approximately 40% of Plant Rosslyn’s gas requirements.

Plant Rosslyn is the heart of the BMW Group in South Africa.
Production at BMW Plant Rosslyn goes all the way back to 1968, when Praetor Monteerders began assembling cars, utilising BMW engines and drive-trains fitted to Hans Glas sheet metal pressed and shipped from Dingolfing in Germany at Plant Rosslyn.

Plant Rosslyn’s production of the BMW 3 Series and the BMW Group’s investment in South Africa has increased substantially with each new generation as well.

This is especially true after the introduction of a fully-fledged export programme in 1999:

  • With the third generation BMW 3 Series (E36), Plant Rosslyn produced around 92,000 units from 1994 to 1998 or around 19,000 cars per year.
  • The fourth generation BMW 3 Series (E46) was built between 1998 and 2005 and Plant Rosslyn was responsible for approximately 269,000 units or around 38,500 cars per year.
  • The fifth generation BMW 3 Series (E90) ended production with around 342,000 units or around 49,000 cars per year, having been built from 2005 to 2012.

In fact, since 1999 the BMW Group has grown its overall production volume in South Africa by more than 220% while its production of cars for export markets has quadrupled.