2016 BMW X5 xDrive40e

BMW is a known player in the field of plug-in hybrid vehicles or PHEVs. After having debuted its super fabulous i8 super car in the year 2014, the bars have certainly been raised and now its time to perform better. Its 2016 and the market demands more, owing to change in the trends and preferences, the company has launched the X5 xDrive40e series that also happens to be BMW’s 1st non i-brand PHEV. This also entails upon the German automaker’s entry into the small yet expanding luxury PHEV SUV segment. Albeit it’s new entry, the xDrive40e is built on the tried and true X5 car platform.

This is reminiscent of the X5 that was one of the first luxury SUV’s that had debuted around 17 years ago and now the X5 xDrive 40e takes the same tradition that involved combining sophisticated utility along with fun, performance along with standard all-wheel drive together in one fat and luxurious package. BMW adds to this limited electric-only operation via a lithium-ion battery pack and emission-free operation—but it all comes at a premium price.

What powers this machine?

The 2016 BMW X5 xdrive 40e comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline powered engine that has 240 HP power and an additional 111-horse power electric motor. The total power generated by this beast is 308 Hp and that’s no joke. Power is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission with Sport and Manual shift modes.

Interiors and features:

In terms of features, this vehicle comes equipped with xenon adaptive headlights with dynamic auto-leveling along with Corona rings, LED fog lights, hill descent control, adaptive cruise control, power-folding and heated side mirrors, four-way power-adjustable front seats with lumbar support and driver’s seat memory functions, keyless entry and ignition, a sliding panoramic moon-roof with a power interior sunshade, front and rear parking sensors, and interior ambient lighting. On the tech side, you get the BMW Assist tele-matics system, Bluetooth for phone and audio, BMW Online and BMW Apps connectivity, the iDrive infotainment interface with a touchpad controller, a navigation system with a 10.2-inch display and real-time traffic information, 3D maps, and a 200GB hard drive.

The standard audio system features CD/DVD, AM/FM HD Radio, satellite radio, USB, aux-in, and 20GB of storage for audio files. Special PHEV tech includes BMW eDrive with range and charging-status display, charging station search, charging timer, and cabin preconditioning via the My BMW Remote app.

The M Sport trim adds 20-inch M wheels, an aerodynamic kit, special exterior trim, an M steering wheel with paddle shifters, aluminum roof rails, multi-contoured front seats, interior wood trim, and an anthracite headliner.

How technically sound is this car?

The biggest technical advantage of the BMW X5 x Drive 40 e is the PHEV technology that comes on board. An eDrive button in the center console is used to click through the power train settings. The default Auto mode allows the gas engine and electric drive systems to work together, while Max locks the vehicle into all-electric mode until the battery is depleted. There’s also a Save Battery setting that conserves the battery’s energy for Max use later. There is an iDriver controller and a touch pad on top that although takes some getting used to but it’s a nice and convenient management option. As with all BMWs, the xDrive40e uses hybrid connectivity, so some features are available via an embedded SIM card, such as online search, while others, like several streaming music services, are delivered through the BMW Apps platform and your smart phone.

 

Pricing:

Getting onto the most essential part of this article, the pricing. In terms of pricing, the 2016 BMW X5 xdrive 40e comes with an introductory price of $ 62,000 and comes available in various trims. Pay an extra $ 1100 and get the luxury line, while the xLine is priced at $ 2000 extra. The Sports costs $ 4350 more. The additional accessories carry a separate price tag in case you require any of them.

Performance:

In terms of performance, the xDrive40e offers superb spirited performance that comes with quick acceleration and incredible handling. A point to be noted is that this car only has a minimum of 14 miles of electric-only range and has a fuel economy of 25 mpg on highways. It takes around 3 hours to charge the battery with the 3.6 kW onboard charger with 240-volt. While the factory-supplied 120-volt charging cord that plugs into any standard wall socket takes about seven hours to recharge a completely depleted battery. That’s sadly a turnoff for electric cars.

Bottom Line:

The main question arises that is this vehicle worth the money and is the worth spending 60K+ on? Well, if you take plenty of short trips in electric-only mode, the vehicle would be a safe bet.

 

 

Pioneers of Autonomous Cars

The field of driverless cars has been developing at an incredibly fast pace. Up until the early 2010’s, Google remained the sole proponent for fully autonomous cars. However, come CES 2014, BMW soon showcased their advancements in the field as well. As a result, other mainstream manufacturers soon jumped the bandwagon and have begun their in-house development of autonomous cars. We take a look at the current players playing an active role in bringing driverless cars to the general public.

Google

One of the earliest advocates for autonomous driving technology, tech giant Google has been tweaking and testing its driverless car for a few years now. Prior to its current in-house developed super mini, Google made use of existing cars such as Toyota Prius and the Lexus RX450h and retrofitted each of them with sensors, cameras and specialized hardware to allow for autonomous capabilities.

The Google driverless car
The Google driverless car

Soon after, Google developed its very own bespoke car to continue with its experiments and showcase what its fully production ready car might look like. The Google car is a small hatch with a neutral color paint job. Unlike other manufacturers that provide a manual override in the form of a steering wheel and conventional pedals, Google’s driverless car features nothing of the sort. A sign of complete confidence from the maker in its abilities. The car features no distinct features save for two ‘eyes’ and a ‘nose’. The main purpose of the car’s “cutesy” design is to disarm the general public.

The car make’s use of a dizzying array of sensors and cameras to map the road ahead. The on-board computer then processes this information with pre-existing map data to create an inch perfect replica of its immediate surroundings. Some computation is even performed on remote server locations. Each Google car is fitted with sensor equipment worth over $150,000.

BMW

Although Google may have been one of the first endorsers of driverless vehicles, recent reports suggest that the tech supergiant is not leading horse of this race. Mainstream manufacturers such as BMW may have a higher probability of launching a fully autonomous car for commercial purposes. Unlike the Google car that focused primary on city driving, BMW’s initiative proved a bit more entertaining. The self-driving car in its most advanced avatar was showcased at CES 2014 in the form of a live demo. The Bavarian car maker managed to develop a system that mapped a certain race track and “learnt” the quickest possible routes. Similar to Google’s self-driving car, BMW’s autonomous 2 Series and 6 Series were fitted with a host of sensors that generate a 3D map of the car’s surroundings.

BMW's ultimate "drifting" machine
BMW’s ultimate “drifting” machine

Tesla

Tesla’s entry into the autonomous vehicle industry was rather unexpected. Unlike other manufacturers that advertised the upcoming technology, Elon Musk quietly added an autopilot mode for the Model S in a recent update that allowed near complete autonomous driving. However, human intervention is required from time to time. However, with the addition of the feature, Tesla has officially joined the race.

Tesla Model S P85D
The new Tesla Model S models come with auto pilot

Ford

Ford has had a late start in the autonomous vehicle segment. Ford and one other South Korean car maker are the only two manufacturers on this list that cater to a wider spectrum of car buyers. With Ford’s entry this year, we may see small instances of autonomous driving technologies such as fully driverless parking and retrieval in budget cars such as the Fiesta or Taurus.

Ford has only recently jumped into the driverless car band wagon
Ford has only recently jumped into the driverless car band wagon

Kia

South Korean car maker Kia is the other budget manufacturer to begin testing its autonomous vehicular technology. Although Ford’s and Kia’s development phases have only just begun, 2016 provides far more resources and information regarding autonomous driving technology than all the previous years. As such, the manufacturers are now able to work with more than what most car makers began with.

Kia is a South Korean car maker under Hyundai's ownership
Kia is a South Korean car maker under Hyundai’s ownership

Audi

Audi is one of the only manufacturers on this list to have actually released its autonomous fleet to the media. As part of an event, a few journalists were offered a ride from Las Vegas to CES 2015. An interesting feature of Audi’s system is the inclusion of two cameras that constantly monitor the driver’s eyes. Should the driver close his eyes, the car begins beeping loudly and comes to a complete halt following which the car switches its hazard lights on.

Audi's fleet of autonomous cars ferried journalists from Las Vegas to CES
Audi’s fleet of autonomous cars ferried journalists from Las Vegas to CES

As with most new technologies, the latent complications and ethical dilemmas of various scenarios are yet to be fully explored. Similar to the internet, Einstein’s mass-energy equation and programming, autonomous vehicles are also susceptible to misuse. As such, fears of the public are not unfounded. However, one must progress and the only direction is forwards.

Autonomous Car Systems: How Do They Work?

Cars have been around for years now, with one of the earliest cars ever made was back in 1769. Over the course of three centuries, the motor car has evolved into more than just a machine made for convenience. The car as we know it today has transformed into a tool for comfort and competition. While the internal mechanics and general purpose of cars has evolved through the decades, one of the main components of the driving experience i.e. the driver behind the wheel always remained constant. However, the rapid advancements in various technological fields is all set to change that.

Google is one among many corporate giants that have begun developing autonomous cars
Google is one among many corporate giants that have begun developing autonomous cars

The birth of transistors and subsequent developments in the fields of digital computing has led to advanced AI (artificial intelligence) projects from various corporations such as Google, Apple, Boston Dynamics and Honda. Despite the sci-fi legacy of artificial intelligence, we are indeed implementing AI in almost every possible field already. While most real world applications of AI is quite dull, some establishments produce immensely interesting and questionable products such as the very first non-human world chess champion (IBM’s Deep Blue) to a rat brain (The SyNAPSE Project).

The automotive industry too has begun the march towards AI. During the late 20th and early 21st century, contemporary advancements in semiconductor technology disallowed the implementation of AI in cars. These days, premium car makers such as Mercedes Benz, Audi and BMW now fit various AI cores in numerous safety systems. Car manufacturers are now taking the next step into the future: autonomous vehicles.

Mercedes Benz Brabus Rocket 900 Front Three Quarter
The Mercedes Benz S Class is an example of a car with a multitude of sensors and CPUs that constantly monitor the car’s environment as well as its occupants to maximize safety

Autonomous driving in its most basic sense is a vehicle that drives itself with the belief that a inorganic machine behind the wheel should theoretically reduce the number of accidents that occur on the road. While humans fall prey to distractions, rage, carelessness or general ineptitude, a machine specifically designed to manage traffic and navigate itself to a destination does not drop the ball. The CPU or computer of the car manages the steering, brake, throttle and gear position and constantly monitors its surroundings for dangers that lie ahead. Various manufacturers implement driverless cars in various different ways. Currently, Tesla, BMW, Audi and Google have been making headlines for their achievements in the field of autonomous driving.

BMW's take on the autonomous vehicle can even hold a powerslide
BMW’s take on the autonomous vehicle can even hold a powerslide

For an autonomous system to navigate itself, it must first be able “see”. For this, common camera systems are not enough as raw video/image data is near impossible to accurately decipher by our silicon counterparts (this is also the basic idea behind captcha or Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart). For better accuracy and resolution, most autonomous cars implement a combination of 360 degree RADAR & LIDAR systems, ultrasonic sensors and cameras. RADAR and LIDAR systems implement radio waves and laser beams respectively.

These radio waves and lasers are shot in every possible direction and the time taken for them to return is measured. This provides the distance between the point of origin (car) and the obstacle (wall, other cars, pedestrian etc). All these systems help generate a 3D map of the environment and endows the car with “sight”. For a better understanding of what a car perceives as vision, ScanLAB Projects conducted an experiment for the New York Times providing insight into the ocular capabilities of a driverless car.

The on-board computer’s memory may also store map data and high resolution images of streets to compare with its immediate surroundings and determine where it is and where it should be going. The on board computer also contains algorithms on basic road etiquette, ovetaking maneuvers, laws that govern the road and more importantly collision avoidance tactics. To avoid any mishaps on the road, most drivers must have rapid response times. While computer systems these days are immensely powerful, speed is of the essence. As such, developers such as Google make use remote computer farms for computation capability to ensure the on-board systems are under less stress and focus more on immediate responses. The computer then adjusts the steering, throttle and gears to pilot itself to the specified destination.

Numerous manufacturers are now participating in the driverless car generation
Numerous manufacturers are now participating in the driverless car generation

Driving is a skill developed over time. Over the course of many years, a driver learns where the potholes maybe, how reliably his car handles in various weather conditions, estimating possible collision situations and molding (this very human characteristic may prove to be a boon or bane depending on circumstances) his fellow drivers’ mental state, driving standards and etiquette to adjust his driving style. With an autonomous car however, none of these things are possible as these scenarios are decidedly anthropomorphic in nature. The perils of autonomous driving are multiple.

However, the pros far exceed the cons and the rise of general AI will usher in a new era for humans and cars alike.

BMW S1000R – lot more than a bike

Naked bikes have become an essential part of the bikers’ world these days. This naked street bike market has found a great elevation due to their styling, performance and handling. 2014 has seen wide range of street riders and a tough competition for conquering the crown. Some machines made their way to the top in this epic battle. The BMW S1000R is a jewel at the topper list competing Aprilia Tuono V4R, Ducati Monster 1200, KTM 1290 Super Duke R. This competition is a big one to catch up, because except the S1000R the others have a superior engine configuration, but when it comes to performance all these machines share a closer margin.

Frankly speaking the BMW has fixed a reasonable price tag for this roadster with various special features that are synthesized with the bike’s body. If you take a KTM Super duke, it’s a mean machine offering more and more torque but the BMW gives you a fantastic road presence in addition to a punchy torque while the Ducati and Aprilia makes a tranquil rise to their top speeds.

Conquer the Asphalt on the S1000R

Now let us get deep into our subject, the S1000R. The BMW Motorrad has come up with its S1000R in a mindset of giving  the riders an experience of the legendary S1000RR stuffed in a naked bike. Yes, the S1000R and the S1000RR are siblings with a slight difference in design and performance. The S1000R uses the same 4-cylinder in-line engine derived from the S1000RR with a minor optimization which results in an extreme linear torque delivered for a constant forward actuation across the entire speed range. Focusing into the optimization we can find that the power has been cut out by 30bhp from that of ‘RR’ and the torque remains the same.

It seems that the BMW has declared that this power is enough for the naked bike. But trust me, the S1000R is nothing inferior to the RR with a reduced power, because the R will go wild on the streets. The 0-100km/h is attained at 3.1 seconds with the top speed of 275km/h which makes the S1000R the fastest for its engine configuration.

Technical Specifications:

BMW-S1000R-dash1

If we look at the technical specifications listed by the manufacturer we may wonder how cool this machine has been designed. The street rider has an electronic fuel injected water/oil-cooled 4 cylinder engine using the 4-valve technology with a capacity of 999CC and two overhead camshafts. Theoretically the power has been rated as 160bhp at 11000 rpm with a maximum torque of 112Nm at 9,250 rpm. Here the maximum torque is a same number as that of the mighty S1000RR.

The most important area is the power transmission, this is taken care bya 6-speed constant-mesh gearbox supported with a multiplate anti hopping clutch unit. This provides the bike with a quick-shift between the gears, the engine can cruise at any speed at any gear which is probably an issue in the KTM Super Duke, Aprilia Tuono and Ducati Monster. I seriously admire the S1000R because the 100km/h is crossed at the first gear which is an impossible dream with my little FZ-S. Ok I was just kidding, the FZ-S doesn’t belong to this big league, but cruising above 100km/h at the first gear is an amazing experience. Well done BMW Motorrad 🙂 that’s a wonderful job you people have done with the design of that quick-shift gearbox.

Now let us take a look at the chassis configuration and the dimensional specifications with which the S1000R naked roadster has been built. The integral part, the frame has been made of aluminium composite material for a mixed result of light weight, good strength and corrosion resistance. The front and the rear suspension system are adjustable electronically for a good biking experience on a variety of roads. The brake system has been constructed with the same set of front and rear discs offered in the S1000RR. The front wheel has twin disc brake with the diameter and thickness of 320mm and 5mm respectively. The rear wheel has a single disc with a diameter of 220mm and thickness of 5mm. In addition to this the BMW Motorrad has given the BMW a Race ABS that can be controlled electronically. The R has a dimension of 2057mm X 845mm X 1228mm that is entirely different from the S1000RR. The fuel tank can carry 17.5l of fuel with an estimated fuel consumption of 5.4l per 100km at a constant speed of 90km/h and 0.2l extra for a same distance at 120km/h.

Main Highlights

BMW S1000R-01.JPG

The major attractions of this BMW machine is the cutting edge electronic system that provides a better company to support the rider with his biking experience. There are three riding modes that can be switched over to and be used on various conditions. These riding modes are programmed to provide a variation in throttling and torque on the go. So 4 riding modes that’s awesome, what are they? Rain mode, Road mode, Dynamic mode and Dynamic Pro mode… yes these are the four riding modes that can be switched using the simple menu available in the bike’s control display, ok the main display or speedometer unit.

The Rain mode offers a sensitive ASC/ABS response on wet road surface. The Road mode offers an optimum throttle and ASC/ABS response for an outstanding acceleration on dry roads. The Dynamic and the Dynamic pro mode is available on an optional package with DTC for very notorious riders who are happy to follow their own riding style without the full assist of ABS.

Not only this, the R has Dynamic Damping Control (DDC) and Dynamic Traction Control (DTC). I have mentioned DTC in the previous paragraph, before going to DTC let’s see what Dynamic Damping Control (DDC) is. The DDC is nothing but the ability of the roadster to adjust and adapt its suspension system within milliseconds according to the condition of the road surface. Whereas the Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) is nothing but an assistance system housing a sensor to prevent the rear wheel from slipping during low friction at roads and provide maximum possible throttle. In addition to this there is a wheelie control system and anti-rear lift system which ensures in providing maximum safety.

The Verdict

The BMW S1000R is a wonderful bike that deserves a lot of appreciation. Somewhere around the internet I have come across an article comparing the S1000R with the Nissan GT-R. It’s really a strange comparison, but the bike conquers your heart. If u are getting the same kind of experience at the price one tenth of the GT-R you will definitely go for it. And yeah I can write a 100 pages about this bike and its reading experience! The BMW S1000R is lot more than a bike as the title tells you. So if u are ready to spend on a 1000CC range street bike you can go for the S1000R.

BMW M4 — Unveiled On an Aircraft Carrier!!!

BMW has launched its M3 series in 2010 and it is taught to be as one of the most successful premium cars released in that year and through this car BMW has gained a huge reputation as well as clients throughout the world. With this success BMW was planning to release a new car in the same M series, and yup you get it right – it’s the M4 🙂 So BMW is planning to make this car to be as successful as its predecessor. It has unveiled their new M4 Coupe DTM safety car. By hearing this name you will obviously get a question, ” what is this safety car..?

As we know that premium brands like BMW release new cars with grand names such as Gran Turismo, Cabrio etc. but this car was released with a tag behind its name as “DTM safety car”. So,what on earth is this BMW’s DTM safety car? It is exclusively designed for the Moto GP when it was first revealed on the company’s Facebook page and now it sets its target towards the DTM racing and when it comes to safety the new BMW M4 is equipped with many features which includes the famous BMW M Performance parts and also a lot many things are made of carbon fiber which includes rear diffuser, mirror caps, rear spoiler and front splitter. We know that the carbon fiber is meant to decrease the weight of the car and also at the same time its heavy duty and strong enough to tackle road accidents. Hence, major car manufacturers are concentrating on carbon fiber instead of aluminum and iron mixture. It also gets a black grille, side skirts which are made as per aerodynamic principles and an exhaust system made from titanium. The model also has a DTM livery, a KW coil over suspension and emergency lights which are placed on the roof. These are some of the parts which are equipped on outside of the car.

 

BMW M4                                                                                                     Pic Courtesy: YouTube

Interior:

When it comes to Interiors, BMW is a company which never compromises on anything. The inside of the car has some unique parts which are exclusively designed only for this car by the BMW group. It receives parts such as the Recaro racing seats, Schroth harnesses and carbon fibre trim and under the hood, it just follows the standard model i.e. from its predecessor BMW M3. The DTM safety car is equipped with a 3.0-litre Twin Power turbo six-cylinder engine which can develop a range of 429bhp and 550 Nm of torque and this speed monster is amazing with this power pact combination from both outside and as well as inside.

The Grand Release:

By looking at such exotic features we sure consider and expect a grand release for this monster of a car. BMW also thinks same and it has unveiled this monster on a never before race track [ oh yeah, you are getting it right 🙂 ]. For this grand release BMW selected an Aircraft carrier for the prestigious launch. BMW recently released a video flaunting this new car drifting over an aircraft carrier ( which many of you might have already seen it shared on Facebook ) . In this video, the M4 drifts along the edge of the Aircraft carrier CVN-74 ( a U.S Aircraft carrier ) and the amazing thing in this is that the CVN-74  is still a working US aircraft carrier. We know in the past, Land-Rover hired a retired U.S.S Intrepid aircraft carrier to unveil its Discovery Vision concept but unlike Land Rover, BMW flaunted the M4 on a working & very much active aircraft carrier! This video is trending all over the internet not only on video streaming websites like YouTube but also in Twitter, Facebook, Reddit as well. This video has got a whopping 3.2 million views, since its release and it’s quite amazing.

Video:

The BMW M4 Coupe was displayed at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show and it will hit the market in 2014 as a 2015 model. After its release this model can face a huge competition especially from Jaguar and Mercedes Benz as they are also planning to release their new car from their successful lineups.

Bottom Line: When it comes to bottom line we can definitely say that the new BMW M4 can be a huge success from its Predecessor and with this BMW can increase its reputation worldwide and with the great safety measures BMW can certainly prove that, it will always stay as an unbeatable pioneer in the automobile industry.

A proverb states that “The beginning is the most important part of the work” and BMW has already given a good start. All we have to do is wait for the result., which in our opinion – will ROCK !

2014 BMW M4 Coupe

Visit BMW India Website: www.bmw.in