Issue: Dec 2014


Maximum driving pleasure with minimum consumption



by Nick Palmen

BMW has reduced the emissions of all new BMW group vehicles by 30% since 1995, and is on track to reduce them by a further 25% by 2020 – without compromising the driving experience.

The company is driven by the BMW EfficientDynamics philosophy, which stands for the noticeable reduction of consumption and emissions with a simultaneous increase in performance and driving pleasure. Intelligent energy management and lightweight construction, as well as aerodynamics and engine efficiency measures help the company to provide what it calls “sustainable mobility”.

EffficientDynamics is also guiding engine development, including new types such as the BMW ActiveHybrid and the BMW eDrive concepts. The BMW i brand put the company’s electromobility concepts on the road using the guiding principle of BMW EfficientDynamics. The company’s philosophy is encapsulated in the new BMW 2 Series Convertible.

Automotive Industries (AI) asked Dr Herbert Diess, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development, what had influenced the design of the new BMW 2 Series Convertible.

Diess: I see the 2 Series Coupe and Convertible as typical traditional BMW. The vehicle has a close to 50% weight balance between front and rear, a very stiff body shell, high torsional stiffness, rear wheel drive, and very efficient straight six engines. We also have the four cylinder diesel engines which produce only 109 gr CO2/km powering the car – which is very much the way forward. There is a noticeable increase in agility, while the new engine line-up combines enhanced sporting ability with outstanding efficiency. It is a very much improved car in all its aspects. 

The rooftop is made of new material which is very silent and well insulated. The electrically operated soft-top can be opened or closed in 20 seconds when travelling at up to 50 km/h (31 mph). The car is the first with the new ConnectedDrive function which we call “over-the-air” update. Others in the BMW range will follow. You get update over-the-air every three months via the embedded SIM card. It is revolutionary. We are the first established OEM in the car industry to provide such kind of service. As for the rest of the car, I would say it is very much a refined BMW.

AI: What can we expect from BMW in this lower segment?

Diess: I wouldn’t call it a lower segment. The 2 Series is the best performing car in this segment with engines of more than 300hp. Even in that segment we offer a full BMW experience.

AI: Are you satisfied with the launch of BMW 2 series Active Tourer?

Diess: Absolutely! We received very positive feedback from the press. The car is nimble, quick and agile. When it comes to road holding and steering it has a good balance between comfort and sportiness. There is a nice interior with premium equipment features. The first feedback from the public is that we achieved what we set to do – to attract new customers, younger families and of course the older generation without compromising the brand.

AI: How far and beyond does the new BMW X6 go from the previous model?

Diess: Much improved. The previous model was probably the best combination of exciting design concept and emotion, but still a very practical car. The new model is improved in every dimension. The biggest improvement is probably the fuel consumption level coming down by about 20% against its predecessor. There are much improved levels of comfort in the car, with very precise steering. The car is much more silent now and the refinement level of the interior is much higher than before, so I would say the concept remains the same pure emotion improved in every way.

AI: In the BMW Concept X5 eDrive you combine hybrid technology with intelligent all wheel drive. What were the challenges?

Diess: The hybrids which we will roll out between 3 Series, 5 Series and 7 Series will have technology which we have refined through the i8 and the i3 because we are using basically the same components - the batteries and the cells. We are already quite experienced in the field. We are launching soon a 5 Series plug-in hybrid in China, and the next car will be the X5. They all feature the same technology. It is a new gear-box with an additional electric motor in it. I think the integration is probably the biggest challenge. We had to find room for the battery pack and for the additional electric engine, but still the cars will be very refined. At the end you have a car which you can use in the city as a full electric car, but not only for 20, 30 or 40 km. Outside of the city you enjoy the performance of a six cylinder car – even though there are just four cylinders. It will be a very nice package for the customer. 

AI: Let’s talk about the success of the i family.

Diess: We are very happy with the achievements so far. The i3 is getting close to 10,000 units which is a good result. It is ranked in the top selling electric cars in Europe. A few months ago we also launched it in the United States. Customers are extremely happy with it. We are attracting new customers to the brand. The i8 is a stunning story – there continues to be very positive feedback from the press. Production is revving up smoothly, and we’ve delivered close to 800 cars. We think that with this concept we can revolutionize the sports car architecture of the future.

AI: Are we going to see any new models based on the LifeDrive architecture?

Diess: It is too soon to talk about this. We are still in the ramp-up of the i3 and i8. We can always conceptualise derivatives of those. We even showed some in the recent fairs. No decision has been made on their introduction.

AI: What new developments can we expect from BMW ConnectedDrive?

Diess: As mentioned we introduced the “over- the- air” update of the apps with the 2 Series. With people using connectivity in the car more and more the BMW ConnectedDrive line-up has been expanded to include new functions and technologies. We regularly add new apps to our apps store for each vehicle. We are, of course, already preparing some new applications for next year. The 5 Series has been selected as the best connected car, and we want to stay in that position.

 



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