BMW has long enjoyed success with its performance-oriented image. Iconic BMW vehicles have stayed as the benchmarks in their market segments by adopting advanced engine and driving control technologies.
The steady upsizing of BMW's iconic 3-Series left room for BMW to bring its smaller line of cars to the US market. With the introduction of the second generation model in 2014, the 1-Series became the 2-Series to follow BMW's revised naming conventions. When compared to the 4-Series, the 2-Series is about 8 inches shorter, 2 inches narrower and a thousand pounds lighter. Two models are offered with numeric designations tied to the powertrain offerings. The 228i equips a 240-bhp turbocharged four-cylinder engine, where the M235i equips a 3.0l inline six-cylinder engine rated at 322-bhp. Pricing starts at around $33,000 for the 228i, which is about $8000 less than the 428i, but expensive option groups quickly inflate the price. Regardless, the 2-Series coupe is one of the best price / performance values on the market.
The 3-Series Gran Turismo is a five-door variant of the 3-Series sedan. The Gran Turismo trades the trunk for fastback styling, and a hatchback. Unlike the X4 crossover, the Gran Turismo rides on a longer wheelbase which increases both legroom and cargo capacity. BMW's xDrive AWD is standard on all models. Powertrain choices include 2.0l four-cylinder (330i) and a 3.0l inline six (340i). With a wide array of 3-Series variants to choose from, the Gran Turismo is a niche vehicle that will only appeal to someone looking for something different.
The BMW 3-Series has been considered a benchmark sedan for decades. The 3-Series is offered with a wide array of powertrain choices including four-cylinder gas (320i, 330i) four-cylinder diesel (328d), inline six-cylinder (340i, M3), and hybrid gas/electric (330e). Most models offer BMW's optional xDrive all-wheel-drive system. Base prices on 3-Series models can be misleading due to the fact that commonly included standard equipment like heated seats or leather upholstery are options which add quickly to the price. The BMW 3-Series sedan is now part of a larger family of vehicles including the 4-Series coupe/convertible, 4-Series Gran Coupe four-door, 3-Series Gran Turismo five-door, and also the X4 crossover fastback.
The 3-Series has long been the standard-bearer in one of the industry's most competitive segments and is still offered in a traditional wagon body style. Since US buyers tend to ignore station wagons, there are only two models offered: a gas powered four-cylinder 330i, and the diesel powered four-cylinder 328d. BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system is standard on both models. There are now a number 3-Series related models which include the hatchback Gran Turismo and X4 crossover. Unlike the Gran Turismo, the wagon retains the same dimensions as the sedan without the increased ride height of the X4. Starting at around $43,000, the 3-Series wagon offers all the style and amenities of the sedan, with an extra dose of utility in the back.
The BMW lineup has gained another utility vehicle, the 5-Series Gran Turismo. This new model combines the ample proportions of the 7-Series sedan with a fastback/hatchback rear roof profile. Inside, there is two rows of seating for five. The rear hatch features a unique dual hinged mechanism that opens below the rear glass like a traditional trunk and at the top of the glass like a hatchback. Several powertrains are offered including a turbocharged V8 with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The 6-Series is BMW's most exclusive 2-door model series. With a base price of over $73,000, this four-passenger coupe sits in a grey area between smaller coupe models like BMW's own 3-Series and more expensive luxury coupes like the Bentley Continental GT. Despite its generous exterior proportions, the 6-Series has a tight rear seat which actually has less legroom than the smaller 3-Series coupe. The 650i equips a 400-bhp 4.4l V8 under the hood which is paired with an either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic. The 640i model pairs BMW's 3.0L inline six with an eight-speed automatic to achieve an impressive EPA rating of 21 / 31 (city / highway). BMW claims that the 650i can sprint to 60MPH in 4.9s. Like other modern BMW models, the 6-Series is chock full of exotic materials and cutting-edge driving aids. Owners can brag about the standard 10.2-inch center screen or the 20-way adjustable seats (650i).
The BMW i3 is a purpose built electric vehicle intended to appeal to urban customers. The i3 is a four-passenger model with a hatchback. Access to the rear seat is provided by two rear-hinged access doors. The rear-mounted electric is rated at 170-bhp and drives the rear wheels. BMW estimates that the 22 kWh lithium-ion battery pack gives the i3 an 80-100 mile driving range. A full recharge at 220V requires 3 hours. For drivers that worry about the electric driving range, the i3 is available with a 34-bhp 650cc two-cylinder gasoline range extender engine. The range extender is used to provide electricity and does not drive the wheels. The i3 has a uniquely styled interior with upright seating.
The i8 is a new hybrid sports car with a 3-cylinder gasoline engine driving the rear wheels, and an electric motor driving the front wheels.
The BMW X3 is a smaller five passenger SUV/Crossover that competes with models like the Audi Q5 and Cadillac SRX. Model designations indicate the equipped powertrain. For example, the X3 xDrive 28i equips a 240-bhp turbocharged four-cylinder engine and all-wheel-drive and the X3 xDrive 35i equips a 300-bhp turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine and all-wheel-drive. The X3 has a base price around $39,000 which does not include leather seating. Like other BMW models, the X3 requires a number of option packages to add common equipment and the price can quickly escalate. The X3 is produced in South Carolina.
Arguably the first SUV that put the emphasis on "Sport", the BMW X5 is now in its third generation. The X5 has grown large enough to add an optional third row seat. Engine choices include a inline-6 gas, inline-6 diesel or V-8. Most models are equipped with xDrive AWD. Safety & handling enhancements include Active Roll Stabilization, Dynamic Traction Control, rearview camera, and Adaptive Drive. The X5 is produced in South Carolina.
The BMW is a highly specialized alternative to the X5. BMW stylists replaced the wagon-like backend and third row seat with a sharply raked fastback profile. The result defies categorization. The X6 has the all-wheel-drive and tall stance of an SUV, but little of the utility. Inside there is seating for up to five and a shallow storage area in the hatch. The X6 comes with a couple of different powertrains. Like other BMW vehicles, the X6 has a long list of technological features. Prices start at over $60,000.
The BMW 4-Series convertible (formerly 3-Series) is a compelling choice for drivers looking for open-air motoring with the security of a retractable hardtop. Competition includes the convertible models of the Audi A5, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Infiniti Q60. Available with turbocharged 4-cylinder (428i) and 6-cylinder (435i) engines, the convertible retains most of the performance and handling of the coupe. Torsional and bending rigidity is surprisingly good for a convertible, but this convertible weighs in at 2 tons. A comprehensive set of active safety enhancements ensure the best possible accidence avoidance capabilities.
The 4-Series (formerly 3-Series) has long been the standard-bearer in one of the industry's most competitive segments. BMW offers an impressive combination of styling, performance, and luxury features for a German luxury coupe priced from the low forties. Offered in RWD and AWD versions, the 3-Series model range includes multiple models with alphanumeric designations corresponding to their drive train. The 428i equips a turbocharged four-cylinder rated at 240-bhp whereas 435i models include the traditional inline-6 rated at 300-bhp. Most BMW models includes a healthy list of driver aids and available technology, but some common items like heated leather seats require hitting the option list.
The BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe is a four-door coupe model closely related to the 3-Series sedan. The Gran Coupe has a sleeker roofline with a hatchback for cargo access. Powertrain choices include a four-cylinder (430i) and a six-cylinder (440i). Both are available with RWD or BMW's xDrive AWD system. The Gran Coupe is now part of a larger family of vehicles including the 3-Series sedan/wagon, 4-Series coupe/convertible, 3-Series Gran Turismo five-door, and also the X4 crossover fastback.
The 6-Series is BMW's most exclusive 2-door model series. With a base price of over $90,000, this four passenger convertible model is almost without equal. BMW's German competitors offer convertible roadsters in this price range, but the 6-Series manages to keep a tight but usable rear seat. There are several four-passenger convertibles for less money including BMW's own 3-Series convertible. The convertible is a power-retractable soft top that opens in 19 seconds and closes in 24 seconds. The 650i equips a 400-bhp 4.4l V8 under the hood which is paired with an either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic. The 640i model pairs BMW's 3.0L inline six with an eight-speed automatic to achieve an impressive EPA rating of 21 / 31 (city / highway). BMW claims that the 650i convertible can sprint to 60MPH in 4.9s. Like other modern BMW models, the 6-Series is chock full of exotic materials and cutting-edge driving aids. Owners can brag about the standard 10.2-inch center screen or the 20-way adjustable seats (650i).
In 2013, BMW introduced the 4-door 6-Series Gran Coupe to provide a stylish alternative to their 5-Series and 7-Series luxury sedans. The Gran Coupe is similar in size to the 5-Series sedan but lacks some of the interior volume due to a 3-inch lower height. BMW identifies the seating configuration as "4+1" which means that it's optimized for four passengers, but can carry 5 in a pinch. Like all BMWs, model designations mirror their powertrains. The 640i equips a 315-bhp turbocharged inline six-cylinder and eight-speed transmission. The 650i ups the power level to 445-bhp with a 4.4l turbocharged V8 engine. All-wheel-drive is available on both the 640i and 650i. Like other BMW model series, the ultimate performance model is the M6 Gran Coupe which equips a higher-output 560-bhp 4.4l V8 engine mated to a six-speed manual or 7-speed automated manual transmission. The Gran Coupe carries a hefty price premium over the 5-Series sedan with prices ranging from $78,000 and up.
The 7-series continues its tradition as BMW's flagship luxury sedan. The wide range of powertrains in the 7-Series include the 740i/740Li powered by a 3.0l inline six-cylinder, the 750i/750Li powered by a V8, and the 760Li with its 6.0l V12. The range also includes a gas/electric hybrid model. Models with an L in the name designate long wheelbase models which add extra-back seat room. This large, heavy car is a technological tour-de-force. Like most BMW models, the 7-Series is offered with a large number of packages and customization options which allow buyers to tailor the 7-Series to their tastes. In the US, BMW also imports a tuned version of the 7-Series, manufactured by Alpina. Alpina models are built on the same assembly line as the normal production 7-Series models but include a more powerful 600-bhp 4.4l V8.
The X4 is a specialized spin-off of the popular 3-Series sedan. The X4 trades a trunk for fastback styling, a hatchback and higher ride height. With the rear seats up, the interior is similar in size to the sedan, however the hatch and fold-down rear seats offer a larger and more accessible storage area. BMW's xDrive AWD is standard on all models. Powertrain choices include 2.0l four-cylinder (xDrive28i) and a 3.0l inline six (M40i). The X4 is a niche vehicle that will only appeal to someone looking for something different. The 3-Series offers stronger performance credentials and a wider array of powertrain choices.