Say Goodbye to BMW’s 3-Series Gran Turismo

BMW 340i GT M Sport Estorilblau

“It’s hideous, kill it with fire!”

This is a phrase you might find yourself using all too often in reference to the latest crossover, XUV or SAV that the world’s automakers roll out. It would certainly be an appropriate reaction to BMW’s ungainly-proportioned 3-Series GT, and it seems BMW has come to realize this because the GT will not receive a redesign after its current iteration.

For a brand that fervently seeks out and fills even the smallest of niches, the GT’s elimination is BMW admitting that sometimes you just can’t create a niche where there was only a dream before.

Be Sensible, BMW!

BMW’s top brass claims that there is still market demand for the 3er GT even though sales numbers have been presumably weak. It’s impossible to know just how few of the GTs are sold from BMW’s own market data because they roll that number up into the total count of 3-series sedans sold. Can we speak plainly for a moment? If this car was printing money, it would not be getting the axe.

It’s not as though this is going to break BMW. If there’s a vehicle out there that can print money it’s a 3-series, but even Bavaria’s original recipe is struggling to keep pace with the popular and more traditional X3 and X5 (and X1 and X1, and X7…) SUVs.

Add to that that the lower-riding 3-series variants already include a sedan, wagon and “Gran Coupe” and you can see where customers are going to suffer from Cheesecake Factory syndrome. More choices is not always a good thing, and BMW has spent decades perfecting the honest sedan.

A Face for Radio

BMW 330i GT Luxury Arktikgrau

If you know the BMW lineup fairly well, you’ll recall that there are “high coupe” variants of several X models. These crossovers can do everything a 3-series GT can but more importantly, they’re not nearly as ugly.

The 3 is the second attempt by BMW to fashion a high-beltline station-wagon-chimera out of its most popular model, if you’ve still got your sight after clapping eyes on the 5-series GT, you might just want to skip this one.

Don’t be mistaken, there’s plenty to be said for practicality and a form-follows-function approach to car design, look at Subaru. But with so much internal competition, you have to ask why? And now BMW has.

The Next Generation of 3-Series

Bimmerphiles will know the latest coming of the 3er by its G20 body code, and there will be no G20 iteration of the GT.

This is a critical time for BMW which has been criticized as moving away from their sporting heritage in an attempt to capture market share from Mercedes and Audi by offering a less communicative driving experience and a more cushy, amenity-rich interior.

The G20 has a challenging mission in rescuing the brand from dilution and restoring BMW’s sporting name without offending customers who want luxury.

That means that there’s no room for low-volume models. All the development money needs to hit home on the core product lineup which has, admittedly, swollen to a size that should not need help from any more flavors of 3-series.

So if you’ve got a 3-series GT and you love it, good for you. Hold on to it. Maybe it will become a novelty item like the Pontiac Aztek and ten years from now people will be picking through auction lots for them. If you don’t have one and you want one, you had better act fast!

8 BMW Online Influencers You Need To Know

In the digital age where all the girls think they are Instagram models and all the guys are up and coming SoundCloud rappers being “slept on,” social media can be a pretty rough place to be forced to scroll through.

I mean what else are you going to do? Read a book? Hell no!

Let me introduce you some of the most influential gear heads in the world.

BMW Knowledge Leaders

AutoExpertTV

While his channel is not exclusive to BMW’s, John Cadogan, is a great guy to check to learn more about bimmers. Some of my personal favorites of his are about BMW inventing a CT scanner and the best German Car for $50k.

He has a unique way of relaying his thoughts and is definitely worth a watch!

Kevin Haskell

Who better to teach you about BMW than the former CEO of BMW himself? Kevin Haskell is extremely well-renowned globally for spearheading the success of multiple different brands including Porsche.

He now is a speaker that gives practical and inspiring lessons about driving success in businesses.

BMW Instagram Accounts to Follow

These aren’t just any gearheads either, these are born, bred and 93 octane fed bimmer enthusiasts. I will provide a trigger warning for you that some of these guys and girls have a much nicer car than you. So don’t be jealous, and give them a follow!

@darkknightm4 – Instagram

The man behind this beauty is Jake hailing out of West Chester, PA,

A car having over 150k followers with an engagement rate north of 3.5% is no easy feat.

With a name like Dark Knight, it’s only appropriate that Jake’s car is a pristine matte black. Although Bruce Wayne isn’t driving this Batmobile, it’s a pretty sweet ride.

If you’re tired of just looking at pictures, check out what she sounds like after leaving the bat cave here.

@bmwcoool – Instagram

K Mailk has been one of my personal favorite follows. The aesthetics he creates for the pictures on his account are so carefully thought out.

Start scrolling through his feed and you’ll get submerged into an urban Norway atmosphere, with his beautiful assortment of BMW’s that he and his buddies drive together.

@bmwfinest – Instagram

If you’re looking for less of a personal feel to an account, bmwfinest is the place for you. They accept submissions of people’s BMW’s from all over the world!

From M4’s cruising down the Vegas Strip to X5’s exploring the Alps, this account has it all!

BMW Blogs To Read

Bimmerpost

The biggest selling point to Bimmerpost is the fact you can choose news and forums to be separated by what BMW model it relates to.

You name a model and Bimmerpost has something to read about it.

If you don’t want to be specific to a model, choose the BMW series you’re most interested in! The possibilities and news are seemingly endless.

BimmerBoost

Bimmer Boost is more geared towards performance upgrades for your whip. They do a great job of compiling breakdowns of what performance parts (turbo, tires, tuners, etc) are best for BMW’s and how it effects how your baby will drive.

The site leans more to track enthusiasts so if you’re a casual BMW driver this may not be the site for you.

Yes, that was a challenge to check it out for yourself or follow them on Twitter.

Bimmertech

Bimmertech is about….you guessed it BMW technology! Their blog will keep you up to date with the latest OEM parts that BMW offers.

You’ll be able to learn about parts you never could have imagined are available.

See something you may be interested in? Just pop over to their shop page and see if it’s available for your model!

If all that isn’t enough to get you excited about Bimmers, follow Bimmer Forums for the best auto updates, car stories, insider tips, and the latest BMW news!

How Will The Green New Deal Change Transportation?

The Green New Deal (GND) is a resolution from U.S. Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, both Democrats. It highlights the need to take bold measures to mitigate the growing threat of climate change, plus the prevalent problem of income inequality.

Transportation is a major aspect of the GND. Here are some of the transportation-related topics it covers and the changes that might occur.

A Net-Zero Emissions Goal

An earlier version of the GND set a milestone of the United States achieving zero emissions for the transportation, industrial and agricultural sectors by 2030. However, the latest edition of the GND proposes getting to the point of net-zero emissions. That means greenhouse gas emissions still happen, but at levels short of what the atmosphere naturally gets rid of or stores.

The people working to implement the changes rolled back their initial vision after realizing the difficulty of zero emissions in certain cases, such as for air travel.

More Dependence on Different Forms of Getting Around

People in the United States who can afford them love the convenience cars provide. Whether they’re going on long-distance road trips or heading across town for groceries, they hop into those vehicles and go.

The Green New Deal hopes to change that behavior. It proposes a high-speed rail network that helps people reach their destinations without booking flights. Some individuals pointed out that it’s not possible to cease using planes, but the GND doesn’t aim to do that.

It discusses “… overhauling transportation systems in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible, including through investment in zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing; clean, affordable and accessible public transit; and high-speed rail.”

BMW’s i line features high-tech electric vehicles that help change people’s ideas about future cars, and numerous other manufacturers have followed suit with models that don’t need fossil fuels to run.

Ocasio-Cortez also advocated for using bike lanes and public transit on Twitter in mid-2018, although the GND doesn’t specifically mention the former. In any case, this plan seeks to encourage Americans to travel in ways that may be unfamiliar now but could become commonplace and even convenient.

There’s a lot of work to do before reaching that stage, however.

Automobile Enhancements Are Ongoing

Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck announce a year long test of a BMW i3 electric vehicle at a City of Los Angeles press conference in Los Angeles, Sept. 11, 2015. Photo by Danny Moloshok/Newscast

Many people know the automobile industry takes continual steps toward progress in areas like fuel economy. For example, enhanced rolling resistance and better truck aerodynamics can cause such gains in long-haul vehicles. BMW, for example, intended to roll out more electric vehicles before the GND captured mainstream attention.

In early November 2018, BMW’s CEO said the brand aims to release five new all-electric vehicles by 2021. It also has other eco-friendly options in the works, such as plug-in hybrids. Those efforts align with what the GND hopes to do.

What About the Potential Downsides?

Some analysts chimed in to say that these transportation proposals are too far-reaching, especially in a short timeframe. Electric vehicles are far from mainstream adoption, only making up a tiny percentage of overall cars on the road. Moreover, although the prices have come down, they’re still not cheap and are likely out of reach for people in low-income brackets.

It’s also possible automakers would have to scale up their manufacturing efforts too quickly. Such rapid growth is undoubtedly difficult to manage.

Also, train travel works well for densely populated metropolitan areas, but not for residents in rural places. So, there are notable disadvantages for people in isolated towns that cannot afford electric vehicles — or cars of any type — and don’t have nearby rail networks to use.

Still in the Early Stages

In light of these possible pitfalls, people must keep in mind the “as much as is technologically feasible” line from the Green New Deal. It’s inevitable that some of the things proposed won’t work as well as advocates expect and could even be impossible.

On a positive note, perhaps the GND will encourage people to think about future improvements in the transportation sector with more open minds while being motivated by the time-based characteristic it brings.

Top Gear Reviews UK’s Sportier BMW i3s

BMW just released in Britain an i3s, the sportier version of its electric i3, with a larger 120 Ah battery. Top Gear decided to give the upgraded i3s a try, and the resulting review paints a pretty alluring picture of what it’s like to drive the car.

The i3s offers 182bhp, about 14 more than the i3, and can go from 0 to 62 mph in 6.9 seconds, 0.4 less than the i3. It also features one-inch-bigger wheels, 10mm-lower suspension, a 40mm-wider track and extended wheel arches. The car’s max speed is 99mph.

The drive system now also has a new Sport mode, and you get a bespoke steering setup and slightly updated exterior design. The upgraded i3s costs £37,615, or about 49,022, new — about 3,258 more than the regular i3. Overall, Top Gear gave the BMW i3s a rating of 8/10.

2014 BMW All-Electric i3 Press Drive.

The Top Gear reviewer, Stephen Dobie, notes that on paper the differences between the i3s and i3 are pretty subtle. When it comes to how the car drives though, he writes, the i3s “does noticeably lift it to another level.” He notes that the acceleration is “flipping quick” up to 60 miles per hour, especially in the first 40. Lifting off the gas pedal often provides enough of a slowdown to navigate turns, speed bumps and the like without needing to hit the brakes.

Top Gear writes that the i3s handles well “to an extent.” Dobie notes the vehicle’s tall body and flighty steering as well as its rear-wheel drive and the fact that the car’s heaviest portions are set low. After some time, you’ll get used to how the car handles and even learn to take advantage of it to tuck into and out of corners, he writes.

“It’ll even indulge a small amount of silliness if you slacken off the stability control,” Dobie says. Loosening up the stability control with a few turns and clicks of the iDrive wheel will let you get enough momentum during a turn to enjoy some nano-slides.

The setup and design of the car seem to encourage you to drive fast, Dobie says. There’s a large fishbowl windscreen that gives you a clear view of the road, and a digital speedometer at the bottom of it. The way the car flat-lines its acceleration around the typical highway speed limit means you can get to the car’s fun dynamics without pushing too hard.

BMW Press

“What’s present here – and not in a Leaf, Zoe or Ioniq – is a real sense of humour, and layers of fun beyond those first few hits away from the traffic lights,” Dobie writes in his review. “Isn’t it vital to know as cars fundamentally change, their sense of fun is still tangible?”

Of course, if you drive hard, your range will decrease from the quoted 160 miles. The car doesn’t have the optional range extender, a small gas-powered engine, anymore either — it’s fully electric.

Based on this review though, it seems like enjoying the full extent of the driving experience the i3s has to offer might be worthing losing a bit of range now and then.

World Car of the Year Award Finalists

It’s the most exciting time of year for car enthusiasts — they’ve just announced the finalists for the World Car of the Year award. This award, which has been given annually since 2004, highlights the best of the best in automotive manufacturing.

Let’s take a closer look at this year’s finalists, as well as some of the highlights of previous years.

2019’s Finalists

Ten cars are shortlisted for the award:

  1. Audi e-tron, Audi’s first fully electric SUV
  2. BMW 3 Series
  3. Ford Focus
  4. Genesis G70
  5. Hyundai Nexo, the only hydrogen-powered model on the list
  6. Jaguar I-Pace
  7. Mercedes-Benz A-Class
  8. Suzuki Jimny
  9. Volvo S60 and the S60 Wagon
  10. Volvo XC40

There are also five other categories — Design of the Year, Luxury Car, Performance Car, Urban Car and Green Car — that are all up for grabs. One fan favorite is the Suzuki Jimny, a boxy off-road SUV that scored three ANCAP safety stars.

It might not be the most technologically advanced car on the list, but it’s both fun and affordable, making it a front-runner in this competition.

Choosing the World’s Best Car

What goes into selecting the world’s best car every year?

This award is based on the judgments of each year’s jury — 82 automotive journalists from around the world that are newly chosen for each new year. To qualify, the vehicle must be sold in at least five countries, making it a global commodity. This qualification counts out many North American cars and manufacturers because they’re only available in the states.

During its first year, the only award handed out was the big one — World Car of the Year. In 2006, the performance, green and design categories were added, and in 2013 the luxury category joined the ranks. In 2017, the urban car award was also added.

Past Winners in the Present

While we wait for the jury to finish their judging — the winners will be announced at the 2019 New York Auto Show in April — let’s take a peek at some of the winners of the past, especially those that are in the running again this year.

The Audi XC60 took the big prize in 2018, and it’s up for the same honors this year. BMW won World Performance car in the same year with the M5, and Audi took the title of World Luxury Car with its A8.

BMW took the first Urban Car title in 2017 with the i3. That year also features two wins by the Jaguar F-PACE, and one each by Mercedes, Toyota and Porsche.

BMW, in particular, has entered at least one prize-winning car in the last five years. The 7 Series took the Luxury Car title in 2016, and the i8 won World Green Car in 2015. In 2014, the i3 took two titles — Green and Design.

Even with all of these wins under their belt, BMW hasn’t won the World Car of the Year title since 2006 with the 3 Series — the same model that’s shortlisted as a finalist this year. Maybe 2019 is the year that BMW’s luck changes.

Final Thoughts

We’ve got a couple of months before this year’s winners will be announced — 2019’s New York Auto Show runs from April 19th through the 28th — but that’s plenty of time to speculate on who might take home the title this year. Who do you think will win the coveted World Car of the Year title?