Tag Archives: featured

The First-Ever 2019 BMW 8 Series Convertible … the M850i xDrive Convertible

BMW has just introduced the first-ever BMW 8 Series Convertible, which joins the new BMW 8 Series Coupe in blending ultra-sporting driving dynamics with an emotional and elegant design. The soft-top, four-seat BMW M850i xDrive Convertible combines immense power and torque delivery with tenacious grip and peerless poise from the advanced chassis, luxurious comfort and state-of-the-art innovations in technology, driver assistance, and connectivity. The result, is a vehicle that delivers an impeccable four-season driving experience, with the charisma of a low-slung, aggressively styled open-top sports convertible, inviting the warming rays of the sun and the wind flowing past the cockpit to be your constant driving companions.

The launch of the first-ever BMW M850i xDrive Convertible marks the premiere of a new BMW TwinPower turbocharged V8 engine. The latest generation of the 4.4-liter eight-cylinder engine has been radically revised with numerous detailed improvements. Two twin-scroll turbochargers with charge air cooling located within the V-shaped space between the cylinder banks, high precision injection, VALVETRONIC fully variable valve control and Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing all form part of the M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology, whose extensive overhaul has given a substantial boost to maximum power, torque and efficiency.

The M850i comes with BMWs xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system which has been improved for more efficient operation. With its rapid, precise and fully variable distribution of drive torque between the front and rear wheels, it maximizes traction and handling stability not just when driving in adverse road conditions, but in performance driving situations as well. Power is split in accordance with demands at all times using an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch that is networked with the powertrain and chassis systems. This results in extremely quick and exact response to any change in the driving situation.

To increase the system’s efficiency, all of the drive torque is directed to the rear wheels in situations when all-wheel drive is not needed. The xDrive system’s rear-biased set-up guarantees a driving experience for which BMW sports cars are renowned. The fact that the all-wheel-drive system has been specifically designed for performance handling is especially noticeable in the SPORT and SPORT+ modes selected via the Driving Experience Control switch.

Standard on the M850i is Adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled dampers. Both compression and rebound are adjusted continuously and independently. This facilitates finely tuned spring and damping responses, providing the driver with only relevant information about the road surface. The extremely stiff suspension springs reduce roll tendency and allow the dampers to stabilize the wheels as much as possible, avoiding traction losses caused by bumps and ruts in the road surface. The electronically controlled dampers respond adaptively to road surface conditions and driving style in order to eliminate undesired vehicle movement. Minor road damage is comfortably filtered out and narrow bumps do not induce unwanted pitching movements.

Damping characteristics can be adjusted via the Driving Experience Control switch. SPORT and SPORT+ modes activate optimal responses for maximum handling. This is noticeably different from the comfort-oriented damper setting in ECO Pro and COMFORT modes.

Active roll stabilization is optionally available for the first-ever BMW M850i xDrive Convertible and further enhances the car’s sporty handling characteristics. Electric swivel motors on the front and rear anti-roll bars ensure fast and precise compensation for lateral forces during dynamic driving maneuvers. The system is controlled through a constant analysis of vehicle speed, lateral and longitudinal acceleration, steering wheel position, wheel and body acceleration and variation in height levels. In BMW M Performance models, active roll stabilization has an exceptionally sporty set-up and adapts to changing requirements. It optimizes agility and directional stability on turn-in and helps line the car up as neatly as possible for improved acceleration out of corners. The reduced body movement also means that fast evasive maneuvers can be executed with great assurance.

The standard specification for the new BMW M850i  contains exclusive design features and options to enhance the driving experience. In addition to multi-function seats and the M leather steering wheel, there are M pedals, M driver’s footrest and special floor mats to imbue the cabin with a distinctly sporty flair. The illuminated door sills and the display in the instrument cluster bear the BMW M Performance Automobile model badge or the M logo respectively.

The M850i xDrive Convertible is scheduled for release March 2019 with a starting price of $121,400 plus $995 destination charge.


M Performance Parts for your BMW X5

Want to add some style to your BMW X5?  BMW is releasing a full set of M Performance Parts to help personalize your vehicle.  Many people think that BMW has diluted that “M” so it now stands for marketing instead of motorsports.   People often forget though that BMW is in the business to sell cars and if they have to make some performance “inspired” parts for all their vehicles to sell some more cars… so be it.  Development of the full range of M Performance Parts has always drawn on the extensive motor racing expertise of BMW M GmbH. All components are perfectly matched – both with each other and with the specific properties of each model. In this way, they not only give the vehicle concerned a more striking, dynamic appearance but also serve a functional purpose. The features have a positive impact on the vehicle’s aerodynamic properties, for instance, or contribute additionally to the intelligent lightweight concept. 

The M Performance exterior components in carbon fibre are especially effective in creating a particularly striking look in the BMW X5 that is clearly inspired by motor racing. They are all characterised by the honeycomb structure that is so typical of carbon fibre reinforced plastic. Finished by hand and sealed with a clear finish, the components are given a final high-gloss polish for an impressive depth effect. For example, the air intake trim element for the standard bumper and the front winglets not only visually enhance the front section, they also highlight the breadth of the SAV model. At the rear, the same applies to the rear winglets and the rear diffuser. 

For the first time ever, BMW M is offering all-terrain tires on the X5. 
For customers who prefer to highlight and make use of the off-road capabilities, there are now 20” M light alloy wheel Star Spoke 748 M with all-terrain tires is now available for the fourth generation of the BMW X5. 
The specific rim design combined with the striking tread design of the all-terrain tire reflects both robustness and stability.  Optional 22-inch tires are also available for customers, that include a set of wheels from the M Performance Parts range. The 22″ M Performance light alloy wheel Start Spoke 749 M with rolled rim well (flow forming) is about one kilogram lighter than a comparable wheel of the same size due to the special manufacturing technique used. All in all, the unsprung masses are reduced by approx. four kilograms as a result, which impacts positively on driving dynamics and turn-in response. 

The Quail, A Gathering of Extravagance. And then Some

Pictures by Mitchell Weitzman and Daniel Blodgett

Last year I was lucky enough to attend the Quail, A Motorsports Gathering at the lavish Quail Lodge fairways in Carmel Valley. It was my first time back at The Quail Lodge for over fifteen years when they last hosted il Concorso Italiano, now at the Bayonet. I’ve always wanted to go back since I first heard they formed their own signature event, but the honest truth is Monterey Car Week is so packed with things to do, it’s tough to fit everything in. Not last year. Last year, I finally made the efforts to attend the Quail and ohh my was it the biggest mistake in Car Week history.

Now when I saw mistake, I don’t mean the event. The mistake was me not attending The Quail for the prior fifteen years, and that’s because it was incredible. Stupendous, in fact. How have I been missing this for the past decade and a half? I thought to myself. No, not again. I must go every year now. And so it has cemented itself as tradition in my own personal Monterey Car Week lore. With that in mind, yes the 2018 edition was one I couldn’t miss.

What makes the Quail special? Everything. No, honestly, and literally. The cars are amazing, but they’re only part of the show. The food is delectable. And there’s a lot of it. A pass into the Quail nets an all-you-can-eat buffet with an outstanding variety that’s influenced from each corner of the world. Let’s see, I at different times of the day indulged in salmon, chicken, oysters, caviar, salads, cake, and Thai food (still not cultured enough to tell you the name of what it was). And it was all mouth-wateringly good. Don’t forget the drinks. From Bulliet Rye Manhattans and Whisky Sours my friends enjoyed to Margaritas and to wine (not your bottom shelf Andre, either), it was all there.

I’ve never been somewhere that makes me feel like an A-Lister until coming here. Speaking of A-Listers, I was looking over a selection of Rufs when I noticed the man in front of me peering into the side window looked slightly familiar. Then I heard him speak and immediately recognized the Aussie accent from down under. It was none other than known car guy Eric Bana (if his lap on Top Gear was dry and not a monsoon, he likely would have set the fastest time years ago). In amazement I told him how upset I get when he dies by Brad Pitt’s sword every time I watch Troy. His replay was, “Well unfortunately, we couldn’t change history.” Great guy. His film Love The Beast, about his love for cars and racing, is a must see. 

Nick Mason was also present, with his son-in-law and racing driver Marino Franchitti. And yes, Dario was there as well making the rounds. Nick Mason, for those that ask, “Nick Who?” was the drummer and founding member of Pink Floyd. His collection of cars includes just about everything, with his Ferrari 250 GTO being his most publicized and valuable ride. Though, to my surprise, I asked him what his most enjoyable car to drive is, and his answer was not the GTO, but his vintage, pre-war Aston Martin Ulster.

Also, had the pleasure to bump into Doug Demuro, who aggressively dresses exactly like he does in his videos even at super fancy car events. Respect. My friends and I chatted with him and his friend for probably a solid ten minutes. A wonderful, and I repeat, wonderful guy to talk to. He knows his cars as good as anyone I’ve ever met and truly loves the excitement and emotion that cars can bring in the driving experience. Hopefully I run into him again next year. Top bloke that Doug Demuro. 

So now to the cars. Every modern hypercar was in attendance, meaning a Zonda, a baker’s dozen of Huayras, Bugatti Chiron and the new Divo, Koenigsegg Agera, 918, McLaren’s Senna and P1 LM, Singer 911 DLS, and lots bearing the prancing horse. The all-new Z4 was on display as well, in M40i guise. The parking lot is a wonder as well, with, I kid you not, a car show of its own. Attendees leave a filled out slip on their dash in the parking areas, and judges select a best-of the parking lot. A 300SL Gullwing was the winner.

Add all these components together and this becomes something surreal. It feels like a dream, like it can’t be real. Maybe it’s a David Lynch-like dreamscape, but it’s real and genuinely authentic. Most importantly, two years in, I enjoyed it just the same if not more this time around. The novelty of it all has not worn off one bit.  And I really could go for some oysters right now. 

The Quail has become a crown jewel of Monterey Car Week, possibly even upstaging the finale that is Pebble Beach Concours. It’s a gigantic party centered around cars that I didn’t want to end. And I could look at the cars and people endlessly, but unfortunately we had to be ushered out at some point when the show was deemed finito.

I can only hope I’ll be back on the Quail’s fairways next year once again. In just two years, Quail has officially become a pastime and staple event; a highlight of my annual calendar. It’s that good. If you have the means, go. You won’t be disappointed. Only eleven months to go…