These days, it seems like there’s an app for the iPhone and iPad that will let you accomplish just about anything. Need to find the best twisty road near your current location? Just launch BMW’s Ultimate Driveapp. Want to check prices on premium gas two exits up the road? You can do that withRoad Ahead.
If you wanted to get information on Maserati’s product range, configure one of your very own, find the closest dealer or stay up-to-the-minute on Maserati breaking news, however, you were on your own until now.
Fear not, trident-marque lovers, as Maseratihas just launched a new app for iPhone and iPad. Called “Maserati Passion” (or “Maserati Passion US” for those of us on this side of the Atlantic), the new app lets you do all this and more. Want to hear the growl of a Maserati V-8, or get technical specifications? The app can help you with that, too.
Configure a Maserati of your own, and the app allows you to save an image as your background photo. Download the iPad version, and yo can also shop the Maserati Store for any trident-logo swag you may be missing from your personal collection.
We’ll give Maserati an A for both effort and execution on this app, but we’ll admit that only the brand’s true adherents will be able to make regular use of it. Still, we love the format and wish other automakers (Porsche, Audi and BMW, are you listening?) would release similar apps covering their own wares.
It’s a free download, so if you’re in the mood for something Italian, the visuals and audio files alone make the app worth adding to your device.
It somehow feels like it was only yesterday that Nuance unveiled its Dragon Drive! creation to the world, hoping to in the process make drivers’ lives easier by delivering a fresh eyes / hands-free messaging system inside connected cars. Unfortunately, back then the savvy company didn’t announce any partnerships with auto manufacturers — still, we had a feeling it wouldn’t be too long before one of them would want to come along for the voice dictation ride. The good news is, that’s about to change pretty soon. Per the outfit itself, BMW’s decided to bring the Dragon Drive! tech to its 2012 7 Series later this month, with the 3 Series Touring and the eco-friendly 3 Series ActiveHybrid expected to get it “later this year.” Notably, Dragon Drive! will offer multi-language support, including English, Spanish, Italian, French and German. There’s no word yet on just how much the fee for the service will be, but we do know those who land themselves one of these new Beemers will get a two-month trial to take Dragon Drive! for a quick spin.
There’s not a lot of specifics to be had on this one just yet, but BMW and Toyota have inked a new deal that will see them collaborate on far more than the batteries they’ve already agreed to work on together. According to the automakers, the new arrangement will see them focus on four key areas: a fuel cell system, powertrain electrification, lightweight technologies and, last but not least, joint development of the “architecture and components for a future sports vehicle.” Unfortunately, neither party is offering much indication about the types of vehicles we might see as a result. BMW’s Norbert Reithofer said only that the goal of the partnership is to “further strengthen our competitive position in sustainable future technologies,” while Toyota’s Akio Toyoda notes that “BMW and Toyota both want to make ever-better cars,” and that he’s “excited to think of the cars that will result from this relationship.”
We’ve all seen those slow motion videos where a bullet explodes through an apple in slow motion, with debris flying everywhere. Well this BMW ad takes that to another level as it replaces the bullet with an M5 and the targets with giant props. The slow-mo is still there though, just watch and make sure to view it in HD.
The video appears to be a tribute to the work of Harold Eugene “Doc” Edgerton a pioneer of the use of the stroboscope in photography and the originator of those ‘bullet’ images you’ve seen involving apples and balloons.
Car and Driver Tested continues with an episode comparing the night vision systems from the Big Three German luxury makers. While the testing involves a remote-controlled turkey and a deer crossbred with a construction cone, the most interesting thing the guys from C/D do is to cover the windshields of the cars to try and drive through an autocross course relying on technology alone. Hence the conversation through the sunroofs you see pictured above.
And the results? While we wouldn’t call it an epic fail, it is an entertaining one. Night vision is one of the bells and whistles that’s probably not destined to trickle down from the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz CL-Class anytime soon, but like most luxury features it’s an impressive display of engineering.
Scroll down to watch the full episode.
There is something very right about a rear-wheel-drive sports sedan with over 500 horsepower and a manual transmission, and yet few vehicles check those boxes quite like the BMW M5. Unfortunately, most M5 buyers prefer to leave their left foot out of the gear-shifting equation, which is leading BMW to lose the manual tranny option altogether in favor of a dual-clutch-only approach.
Inside Line reports that the next M5, and the M6 for that matter, will not feature a manual transmission option. BMW M-brand Engineering chief Albert Biermann reportedly told IL that manual-equipped M5 models are topping out at 15 percent of total sales, making the MT a money-loser for the brand. Biermann claims that the volume of manual transmission buyers makes it all but impossible to make another three-pedal M5, adding “nobody wants it in Europe or anywhere else, so this will be the last time we do it.”
This is most definitely not good news for stick shift-loving enthusiasts, but at the same time we can hardly argue against Biermann’s point. There’s no sense in offering a no-charge manual option if the vast majority of buyers don’t want it. Fortunately, the M3 doesn’t suffer from the same problem, so the M5’s baby brother will continue to offer a row-your-own option.
Art gallery LUMAS recently teamed up with BMW for a one-off project showing the fascinating history of some of BMWs most impressive and exciting cars. The series, shot by Erik Chmil, shows a total of ten models, each of which they consider “a landmark in the history of contemporary automobile design.” Each automobile is shot from the front and the side so that one can see and appreciate its distinct shape, beauty and character.
I like how LUMAS described this series: “Each model is a reflection of its time…Though each model can stand alone, distinctive from the rest, they are all a part of the same family.”
The 2013 BMW 7 Series gets incremental improvements everywhere. Outside the changes are minimal: fewer vertical slats inside the kidney grille and a larger chrome surround, two horizontal chrome accents bars splitting the lower intake, restyled side mirrors with turn-signal indicators, and new shades of red on the taillights. Inside are resculpted front seats, more soundproofing, redesigned ambient lighting, an updatediDrive controller and “floating” screens for the Rear Seat Entertainment package, and an optional Bang & Olufsen sound system. Along with those changes, the look of the navigation system has been updated with new menu organization, displays, a “pie menu” and 3D elements. The Attention Assistant system provides gives BMW drivers their own coffee cup icon to remind you when it’s time to rest and hands-free trunk operation makes its first appearance in the range.
The eight-speed steptronic transmission, fitted to every model, allows the new 7 to make more of its engines. Under the hood, the inline six-cylinder in the 740i maintains the same power ratings, 315 horsepower and 330 lb-ft, but is mated to the new eight-speed Steptronic transmission and said to have “significantly improved” efficiency, with a 20 percent increase noted in the EU cycle. The 4.4-liter V8 in the 750i gets fitted with Valvetronic and gets bumps of 45 hp and 30 lb-ft, for 445 hp and 480 lb-ft total. The changes reduce its 0-60 time to 4.7 seconds, at the same time as fuel economy on the EU cycle climbs 25 percent with the new transmission.
The second-gen ActiveHybrid 7 drops down an engine size, swapping its previous V8 for the 3.0-liter six-cylinder from the 740. It’s yoked to a 55-hp synchronous motor. Rated at a combined 349 hp and 367 lb-ft, BMW says it is 14 percent more fuel efficient than the 740i.
Both the 740i and 750i will come with a new powertrain management system dubbed ECO PRO that joins the other Driving Dynamics Control settings and that includes a coasting mode operable between 30 and 100 mph. Other driving enhancements include Dynamic Damper Control, an electronically controlled damping system that works on each shock individually dependent on road conditions, self-leveling rear suspension now standard on all models, and xDrive available on the 740i.
Both the 740i and 750i will arrive in showrooms this summer, the ActiveHybrid 7 coming this fall. The high-res gallery above can show you what’s coming, scroll down to read all about it in the press release.
If you’re tired of the usual shiny paint job that appears on 99-percent of the cars on the road, a matte finish could be just what the proverbial doctor ordered. But while matte black is the common choice among the anti-gloss set, to our eyes, it can often look like someone simply forgot to apply the primer. That’s why many of us around the virtual Autoblog watercooler like matte color wraps – such as those displayed by Alfa Romeo with the red 4C Concept and Ferrari with the green 599 HY-KERS prototype.
Once the strict purview of aftermarket mod-jobs, matte finishes are growing more maintstream as select manufacturers have begun offering them direct from the factory. Notable examples include Mercedes-Benz(which we checked out in Detroit this year), Hyundai (which is launching the Veloster Turbo in matte gray) and Maserati (which launched the GranTurismo S Limited Edition in flat blue). But few have embraced the anti-glare approach like BMW has with its recent succession of special edition M3s. The Bavarian automaker dubs them “Frozen,” and is now coming back with an array of special editions of both the M3 coupe and its newer, bigger brother, the M5 sedan.
BMW is launching the M Performance Editions of both the M3 and M5 in Frozen Red, Frozen White and Frozen Blue. Black leather interiors with accent stitching color-keyed to match the exterior – along with Alcantara-wrapped steering wheels and piano black trim – come as part of the package, as do matte black alloys. Both models also come packaged with buckets full of additional equipment to make the specials even more so.
Only 30 such M3s and another 30 M5s will be made, and made available, unfortunately, exclusively in the UK. But if past Frozen editions are anything to go by, BMW is likely to find more than enough demand to make the matte red, white and blue editions available in the USA soon enough. In the meantime, you can scope ’em out in the high-res image gallery above and the press release by scrolling below.
It could be said that no auto show is as glamorous as the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. Held on the picturesque shores of Lake Como in northern Italy, the annual concours is sponsored by BMW. So it only stands to reason that the Bavarian automaker wouldn’t let the show come and go without making a splash on its own.
Previous years saw BMW roll into Cernobbio with such show-stopping concepts as the M1 Hommage and the 328 Hommage, but this year it’s not looking back on its history to draw its inspiration. Instead it’s teamed up with celebrated Italian coachbuilder Zagato to dream up the concept you see here.
A rare instance of Munich reaching beyond its own design department, the BMW Zagato Coupé is a one-off concept, but is far from a fragile show car. The shape is aerodynamically optimized and the car is fully road registered in Germany, and has already undergone high-speed testing at BMW’s own test facility. The Bavarian automaker remains tight-lipped on its underpinnings and running gear, but the obvious conclusion – whether ultimately correct or not – is that it’s based on the Z4 roadster.
Whatever lies beneath the hand-crafted aluminum shape, however, is of less consequence than its design. Reinvigorating a tradition of collaboration that goes back to the 1959 BMW 3200 Michelotti Vignale through to the Giugiaro-designed M1 of 1978, the Zagato Coupé concept aptly embodies design cues attributable to both BMW and Zagato – from the twin-kidney grille (whose mesh is made up of little Zs), over the double-bubble roof (a hallmark of Zagato styling originally intended to accommodate a racing helmet in early designs) to the Kamm tail that BMW and Zagato both claim as common heritage.
The greenhouse is set way back and the hood is longer than it took us to put together the immense gallery of high-resolution images BMW has released of the show-stopping concept, which you’ll want to check out in detail along with the full press release below.