Issue: Apr 2012


Innovation- BMW style



Innovation

by Nick Palmen

BMW’s plans for the future and current strategies around technology were shared with Automotive Industries by Dr. Klaus Draeger, BMW AG board member and Chief of Research & Development, at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.

Automotive Industries (AI) asked Draeger to share the main developments in design, dynamics and efficiency of the new BMW M6 Coupe.

Draeger: If you have the chance to drive the new M6 Coupe, you’ll enjoy the design and the performance of the car in terms of driving characteristics. A carbon fibre reinforced plastic roof contributes to the reduction of vehicle weight, as well as shifting the centre of gravity downwards - two ways in which it optimises the agility of the 2-door model. Wide-ranging configuration options for the drivetrain and suspension, two M drive buttons on the steering wheel for saving and retrieving a preferred set-up, the typical M cockpit design and the optional Head-Up Display, provide the ideal basis for enjoyment of this high-performance model.

AI: What does the new BMW M135i concept offer in terms of performance and sustainability?

Draeger:
We know that we have customers that love performance cars and do not want to make any compromises in terms of daily usage. The M performance layer is perfect because fits between the series production cars and the M cars. When I started my career in BMW as a young engineer, we already had the M533i. That was the first car to integrate M performance in a series production car. We’ll see more of this type of car in the future.

AI: What would the new concept bring to further the development of the BMW 1 Series range?

Draeger:
I think the majority of the 1 Series, especially the hatches, will be 116i or 120 diesel. We’ll have a couple of new 125is with a special sport package as well, and of course the M135i.

AI: What new features and technologies will we see in the new 3 Series?

Draeger:
One of the areas where we continuously improve is the intelligent all-wheel drive system BMW xDrive, which will also be available for the new BMW 320d as an alternative to the standard rear-wheel drive. BMW xDrive - with its electronic control system and extremely fast power distribution between front and wheels - guarantees superior traction, maximum safety, excellent handling and optimum application of engine power in all weather and road conditions.

With the 328i, we have a perfectly balanced car available in a sports package for the first time. The engine of the 328i with 180Kw offers great performance, with more torque and less weight on the front axle, which, in turn, gives you better handling and fuel consumption. The most recent BMW ConnectedDrive innovations provide further optimisation of comfort, safety and infotainment inside the vehicle. The BMW Live service connection is made through the customer’s own mobile phone. Apple iPhone owners can use features such as a web radio function in the vehicle, as well as Facebook and Twitter.

AI: What engines can we expect in the new 3 series?

Draeger:
At the Geneva Motor Show we presented additional 2.0 litre four cylinder engines for the new BMW 3 Series Sedan, with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology for 316d, 318d and 320i. Later in the year, the Active Hybrid 3 is coming. In the new BMW 3 Series, the range of models with BMW xDrive starting out in July 2012 will be continually extended, and other combinations with different engines will follow (BMW 320i xDrive, BMW 328i xDrive, and BMW 335i xDrive).

AI: How does the new diesel engine fit in your EfficientDynamics program?

Draeger:
This engine is a perfect fit. We’ve never seen so much performance and so little fuel consumption. The 5 Series fuel consumption will be less than 6.5l/100km, the acceleration and top speed are limited to 250km/hr. The good thing about this engine technology is that our competitors are using 8 cylinders. Having 6 cylinders makes a huge difference. Driving performance is not only about power. It is about the weight distribution between the front and rear axle. With the 6 cylinder diesel engine we really do not add much weight to the front axle. The 6 cylinder engine also shows where the diesel can go in the future, in terms of power. The engine reaches its peak torque at just 2,000 rpm, while its maximum output is available at 4,000 rpm. The engine’s high degree of efficiency derives from a new generation of common rail direct injection, with piezo injectors operating at a maximum pressure of 2,200 bar.

AI: What steps are you taking to ensure that you have the best batteries?

Draeger:
We are doing battery development ourselves. We have to look at four different areas. The cells themselves; cooling; battery control; and housing. The question is how the chemistry will develop over the years to obtain even better performance from the cells. Management of the cells includes how to charge and how to discharge, and how to keep the temperature of the battery down. Our core knowledge is how to run the battery cells in the battery. Starting with Mini E and the BMW Active E, I think we’ve got a good understanding of battery cells.

We have also announced that we are going to co-operate with Toyota on future battery cells. The battery cells in the far future might come from our joint venture BMW- Peugeot – Citroen Electrification.

AI: What is the biggest challenge you are facing in the electrification of the i3 & i8?

Draeger:
We want to bring a perfect car with the BMW typical quality and performance to the market. With the i8 we have a new revolutionary concept, where we are combining an electric motor at the front and gasoline engine at the rear. These two engines must work together. Setting up carbon fibre for mass production is also something new. Of course, it is a challenge. 

 



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