I know what you are all thinking, how does the Italian stallion compare to the ever so popular BMW 3 series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class or the third German moustache – the Audi A4?. All giants of the same segment.
This article isn’t going to be a long-winded and unnecessary comparison, the seats are like this, the wing mirrors are like that…if that’s what you came for you can copy and paste the above paragraph into the mighty Google search. This article is simply going to give you the reason why one should consider the Giulia- summed it up in one word: Difference.
Let me expand this over a few hundred words.
You see, a BMW 3 series is a great proven product, likewise a C-class, they sell in droves partly because of this, but also because these brands are huge in this fine country of South Africa. Consumers buy BMW/Mercedes/Audi products for the same reason they buy Apple- because of how it interprets them and how they are viewed by their friends. I have happened to fall for this clever marketing ploy, you don’t sell the product, you sell the experience, the lifestyle…
The first Alfa Romeo Guila I drove happened to be the QV, its fast and nimble front end caught my attention, so did the faulty electronics, and then a day later it ended up in a tyre wall ( through no fault of my own) It’s safe to say I didn’t get to spend much time in that specific vehicle, but after spending a good amount of time in the “standard” model, the Giulia just happens to also be a very good motor vehicle – shock horror.
However, I can’t just leave you with that to break the mould. We can all see its beautiful, but above that, it drives very nicely from both a comfort and performance perspective, it’s darn comfortable, the interior is fairly splendid and features technology which belongs in 2018. The Giulia’s 2.0 Petrol with 147 kW 8-speed automatic transmission offers just a good if not a better driving experience than its direct competitors. So here is what you need to ask yourself, why not be different?
You see, life isn’t always what your friends think. While on route to test drive the “you know whats”, break the stereotype and pull into your nearest Alfa dealer. You never know unless you try and let’s be honest, if I had a Rand for every 320 M-Sport I passed on the morning commute, I wouldn’t be making a morning commute…
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is what many men would like to look like. 6 foot something, muscles for days and he can lift up one eyebrow independently like a boss. Ask yourself however, can he fit in a MINI Cooper comfortably? Can he easily pop into Woolworths and find a shirt that fits? I’m pretty sure his “bog” must be a little bit bigger than others too…As impressive as his mass is, when he’s not using it, it can be cumbersome. Kevin Hart on the other hand is someone who is also in very good shape as well. In fact, if you follow him on Instagram, you’d know how ripped the guy actually is. He’s a small man though, a very small man. That being said, he probably doesn’t battle doing everyday things. Clothes? No problem. Shoes? Easy fit. MINI Cooper? You damn right. Kevin’s size gives him a nimbleness that The Rock just wouldn’t have. I bet if you asked both of them to run through a busy mall of people, Kevin would be first to get to the end point of the race. The BMW M240i is the Kevin Hart of BMW’s, it’s loud, fast and after many hours of driving it, you don’t get tired of it.
I’ve always known that the M240i was good, but having both an M240i and an M4 Competition Package on test made me realize just how good the car really is. Let’s talk about size. Being a compact car with a big engine, you have no problem finding, taking and even creating gaps in traffic. “You’re not meant to drive like that!” Um, last I checked, I was in a red BMW M240i with M Performance parts and an exhaust that goes PAH when I change gears, I can drive how I like thanks. I joke. Seriously though, the marriage of size and 250kW on tap is the recipe for one of the most usable cars on the road you can get right now. Yes, if you have kids you’re screwed, but who needs kids? The only kid you need to worry about is the one the BMW M240i successfully brings out in you.
Next up is the chassis on the car. What a chassis it is. Let me put my journo pants on and say, “steering feel is not what it used to be in older BMW’s blah blah blah”. Now let’s talk real-world driving. In Comfort, the car responds well, steering is light, gearbox is calm and ready to use all the gears. For day to day stuff, this is the mode you’d want to use. In Sport, personally the car is perfect for my type of driving. It’s responsive, holds the revs slightly longer and is always ready to pounce on unsuspecting hot hatches. Sport Plus does the same but with some allowance for rear end slippage. This mode is best for quiet nights and roundabouts. Who said that? No one likes to wag some tail at the exit of a roundabout! That’s not responsible! (Wink wink) The only time you should put traction off in the BMW M240i is if you’re on a racetrack, or you’ve just watched any instalment of Fast and Furious. Should you get caught doing anything untoward, simply get out the car, raise both hands in the air and tell the cops that “this is Brazil”. If you need me to bail you out, I’m reachable on 011 555 22 55. Yes, it’s a landline.
Jokes aside, the fast cars available today are not always the most usable. The BMW M4 is a classic example of this. On the normal road, you probably only get to use 60-75% of the M4’s dynamic attributes and power. Traffic, curbs and backache are realities of life. Also, have you tried parking any car with an M DCT Transmission? It’s the gearbox equivalent of bipolar. The M4 is in my opinion a peach on a track and is still very enjoyable on the road, but it’s The Rock of the car world. The problem is that the line between enjoyment and making a mistake is often very close. For cars with as much power as the M4, like The Rock, you may battle to find a “shirt” that fits. The road is either to short or to small to really exercise all its muscles. The M240i however is the right balance. Enough power, the right size and a forgiving chassis allows you to push the car to 80 – 90% of what it can do, on the road. The difference is that you’re less likely to make a mistake if you know your car well enough. Responsible driving is obviously important. Sometimes just enjoying the overrun burble of the car at 60km/h is enough to put a smile on your face. Like Kevin Hart, it’s relatable, it doesn’t try too hard and most of all it can make you giggle. It’s automotive comedy packaged very attractively. The optional M Performance parts fitted to the car also make individualizing your 2 Series easier. They don’t come cheap however, especially considering that some of the parts are made of real carbon fibre. At a startup price of R720 500, it’s not um…cheap. In fact, it’s quite pricey considering you’re going to throw in a few extras. Then again, for the performance and thrill you can extract out of the car, very little rear wheel drive cars will give you that experience for that price. In the world we live in, proper rear wheel drive thrills come at the R1mil + mark, so depending on what you want, you may find the M240i reasonable compared to its rivals.
The mid-sized SUV market is fast becoming one of the most hotly contested segments in South Africa and for good reason. For the family, it’s a perfect combination of space, versatility, ground clearance and all the weekend activities rolled into a sleek package that can climb pavements, swallow the kid’s kits bags and the weeks shopping. What else do you need? In this segment, you get the usual spilt of affordable and premium vehicles as you would in most segments and this has been dominated but the big three Germans with the Swede making a name for itself in the last couple of years with its XC60 iteration. One of the major players, and the topic of this article, is the BMW X3. It’s led the pack in-terms of being the right blend of functionality, Sportiness and looks and with the latest generation, chassis code G01, it’s looking to add to the 1,5 million units sold from its first-generation introduction in 2003.
Our introduction to the latest addition to the BMW X family is the 20d xDrive adorned with Luxury line. One thing that stands out from the first time you open the door and have a seat is the cabin and the materials used. Taking a lesson from the new generation Q5, the cabin is a luxurious place to be. From the light contrast seats – not advisable if you go by the name Mom or Dad- to the dark oak, the cabin gives you the right feeling for making you way to the premium shopping isle. Like the Q5, and to be honest most of the players at this price bracket, you feel like your hard-earned money bought you a lovely place to be in and you don’t feel short-changed at any time.
As is my preference on launch drives, I elected to be passenger for the first stint as this give me a chance to really get acquainted with all the new gadgets and really come to grips with the new technology, something that modern BMWs seem to be doing well. This variant seemed to have all the gizmos that your heart would want but your rational mind would decline as this would mean a second to third mortgage on your home. Straight from its older sibling’s spec baskets, our test vehicle had, amongst many standard features, the full LED lights, professional navigation, multifunction instrument display, Harmon Kardon sound, drive assist, and and and. We told you about the second to third mortgage. In terms of safety features, most of the features are non-cost and come standard, so that means that you get the full alphabet soup to keep you and your loved ones safe. The one thing that we must mentioned is that the partnership between BMW and Harmon Kardon has been a long and fruitful one and if you are a family that enjoy your sing along trips, this option is one to tick off.
I couldn’t stay riding shotgun forever and at one of our scheduled stops, it was time for a driver change. This new 20d motor married to the tried, tested and loved ZF 8 speed gearbox, is a little bit more eager and with vast use of weight saving materials, isn’t slow out the gate as well. The 0-100km/h sprint is dispatched in a claimed 8,0 seconds, and the feisty diesel will run all the way to a 213km/h top end. This sportiness is thanks to a hike in power and torque to the tune of 140kW and 400Nm respectively. We got some twisty bits in a damp and foggy Knysna and the BMW DNA came to the forefront very quickly. With 50/50 weight distribution cornering becomes very enjoyable and predictable. With the revised xDrive system, power and torque gets distributed seamlessly to all four corners without hesitation and never did we see the DSC light flash to warn us that we are trying a bit too hard for road conditions.
Off the beaten track, the X3 remains composed and well damped to the point of thinking that the footprint is courtesy small wheels on water balloons underfoot. On closer inspection, we found that the 20d Luxury Line was shod with 19” alloys with 245/50 section tyres. Not really off-road kit then and tell us that the Bavarians spent a decent amount of R&D on the suspension. Being a BMW and having off-road capability, we were impressed that it didn’t cower on the lose stuff and inspired confidence to the point that we started steering the vehicle via the rear axle. Not that anyone who buys this car would have this high on the importance list, but it’s good to know that should the mood take you, and you have some muddy roads on the way home, you could have some fun without working up much of a sweat.
We all met up at the superb Conrad Pezula hotel where we were to spend the night. The media briefing highlighted a very important fact for BMW South Africa and that is that this new vehicle will be built locally. This is thanks to a R160M investment upgrade to the facility in Roslyn to make sure that all is in place for the new vehicle. This does however mean that the new X3 will be replacing the locally built 3 series though. This new upgrade was done while still producing the aforementioned 3 series and new X3s are expected to roll of the production line after the last 3 series from South Africa towards the middle of 2018.
The next day, we were greeted by the previous day’s rainclouds, ever so keen to show us the handling capabilities of the new M Performance variant of the X3. Named the X3 M40i, it sports the in-line 6 cylinder with numbers squarely aimed at the Audi SQ5 and the Mercedes GLC 43, it produces 265kW and 500Nm. Claimed performance figures are 0-100km/h in 4,8 seconds and the autobahn nanny comes to halt lift off at the familiar 250km/h. Nursing this “340i with xDrive X3” variant out of hotel and through the busy centre of Knysna was like walking a very strong but lovable mature pit bull terroir. With a careless extension of the right foot, the M40i lunges forward in a fashion not fit for school run vehicle. We finally got out to the country toad and could let the M40i off its leash. This B58 in-line 6 motor is one of the best out there and with soundtrack from the exhaust, it was common to see the needle chase the redline in most of the lower gears. My fun was halted by my co-pilot who mentioned something about a Driver swop. What a kill joy! It was then I saw his cruel but genius plan of doing the second leg of the driving. See, the second leg of the driving roads had some of the most beautiful switchbacks and esses that I have seen and knowing the area, he saved them for himself. It was from the passenger seat that I had a sense of how quickly the M40i can cover ground and the pops and bangs from the exhaust on lift off and overrun are just simply sublime.
We got the airport and felt that BMW has organised the rain, fog and mud. It certainly highlighted the strength of the new vehicle and has variants to appeal to all needs and driving styles. At launch, two petrol and two diesel variants will be available being the 20d, 30d and the 30i and the firecracker M40i. Engines are an evolution of the familiar BMW drives trains with a bit more power and torque here and there but with economy being better than the last generations.
We have no doubt that BMW will continue being successful with this latest generation of the X3 and being a local vehicle now, I’m sure there will be some attractive packages to get more bums in seats. From what we have briefly seen, they are not bad seats to be in.
BMW’s most acclaimed product in the art of fast M car shenanigans, the M3 has proven itself to be one of the most capable and dynamic driver’s cars in its class. This has acclaim been made clear with the sheer number of special editions available and the popularity of the models thereof. The variations being rather similar to that of the Nando’s range of Peri-peri hot sauces, offering a level of taste bud melting deliciousness to suit every pallet. Chief among which is the M4 GTS, this is the ‘Extra extra hot’, the most ridiculously track ready variant that is too much for most and is very much sold out in South Africa. Offering only two doors it’s somewhat less practical than the M3 and thus due to lifestyle doesn’t really appeal to as vast an audience. The lesser ‘Hot’ variants, proving to be the Competition Pack, which offers more power and revision to the suspension over the standard ‘Lemon and Herb’ M3, but still soft enough for everyday use. So, what if you need four doors but like your proverbial BMW Chicken pieces at tongue bending levels of heat intensity?
Enter the ‘Extra Hot’ BMW M3 CS, showcased at the M Festival and due early next year, with only one Extra, it fills the void between the Competition and the GTS as a lightweight version of the saloon, with an additional 7kws and 50nm’s over the standard model. Power is increased to 338kw and 600nm. This boost in ponies is enough to drop the 0-100 time to the sub-4sec mark with a blistering time of 3.9secs. The top Speed is raised in accordance with the M driver’s package standard on the CS to a limited 280km/h. Thus, making it the most powerful and fastest BMW M3 Ever.
In terms of Dynamics, the CS comes standard with adaptive M, with adjustable dampening and suspension to ensure it carries the most grippy yet smokey drift like traits possible. The M differential has also been fettled and has been developed specifically for the CS. A staggered stance of 19” inch wheels at the front and 20” at rear mated to a set road legal semi-slick MICHELIN pilot sport Cup 2 tyres come as standard fare, with the more road-friendly Pilot sport 2 option fitted at no cost.
The other changes being to that of the interior and exterior with extensive weight saving measures being taken, through the use of a plastic-carbon fibre composite roof, carbon fibre front splitter, rear diffuser, and a carbon fibre Gurney boot lip exclusive to the CS. Inside the car, the weight savings are less drastic with the CS still offering all of the creature comforts Typical of a car of this calibre, and the likes of Harmon-Kardon surround sound, dual-zone climate control and navigation included in the package, with the few hints of the cars driving prowess being clued in small touches, such as the Alcantara draped dash with CS embossing and the new two-tone Silverstone and black leather.
BMW M3 CS Pricing in South Africa
The M3CS will be South African shores in May of 2018, with only 15 of the 1200 worldwide being allocated to our Republic. Pricing will be realised closer to the launch in May, but with the M4 CS priced at R1.8m, we can expect to see the M3 CS going for a similar rate.
BMW M…hang on. BMW has graced the motorsport world with, to be modest, some track devouring machines and they are back on track. The 8 Series badge has been resuscitated and has undergone some extensive metal and carbon surgery to give us the new BMW M8 GTE, unveiled at the IAA (Frankfurt International Motor Show). Rolled out on the first of July 2017, the M8 GTE is the latest precision scalpel to roll out of BMW’s M Division.
Firstly, a bit of nostalgia. The Circuit de la Sarthe has been hosting tortured tyres annually since 1923. Le Mans is known as the most prestigious endurance race on the calendar. BMW motorsport dipped its toe into the pond of Le Mans as victors in class in 1939 and came fifth overall, with the BMW 328 powering the drivers along the gruelling and fast track. Ever since, BMW has obtained numerous accolades racing at Le Mans – ’73 saw the BMW 3.0 CSL (E9) power to a class victory. 1999 saw BMW surging to their maiden overall victory with the BMW V12 LMR, boasting a chassis developed by WilliamsF1 and the BMW S70/3 5990 cc V12 as retained from the BMW V12 LM.
The thing about motorsport is that getting one’s head around the precision, planning and technology involved in the development of a race car like the M8 GTE is simply impossible.
BMW has gone to great lengths with the M8 GTE to make this concept of racing even more difficult to comprehend. For example: BMW is using a principle called “virtual development” where the traction control system (the system that keeps you on the road when you feel like Ken Block) is being developed with the assistance of an artificial intelligence system (something similar to “skynet” in Terminator). 3D printing and “Rapid prototyping” makes it possible to produce a usable prototype part within 24 hours. 3D measurement tools are also being implemented for precise reassembly of the exterior that consists of CFRP components (Carbon fibre reinforced plastics) that help with keeping the weight down to 1 220 kilograms.
The car looks absolutely jaw dropping when stationary, but at some point it is going to have to compete in a race and the package consisting of the engine and aerodynamics will come into play. In true BMW fashion, no IT worker was spared. An algorithm was developed to aid in CFD calculations (Calculations and numbers on how air moves over, around and under the car) which increases the number of possible simulations before moving to the wind tunnel. The result of all of this collaboration – late nights, 30 cups of coffee daily and aero rims. Every tenth of a second counts.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, the drivetrain and engine. In the engine bay of the M8 GTE lives a 4.0-litre V8 with two turbochargers for company (Also called BMW TwinPower Turbo Technology). With racing restrictions and regulations of late, the engine is restricted to 4.0 litres but has a base horsepower output in excess of 500 horsepower – thank you Al Gore. The V8 is teamed up with a 6-speed sequential gearbox and a Sachs carbon-fibre clutch. There are rumours that the production model, with BMW’s already familiar 4.4 litre V8, will pack the punch of 600 Bavarian stallions.
To keep the driver pointing in the right direction, the M8 GTE makes use of 30/68 R18 tyres on the front axle and 31/71 R18 tyres on the rear axle, provided by Michelin.
The transition from track to road has always been a road littered with obstacles, but a new course of action is being taken by BMW. We can expect to see the 8 Series on the road by late 2018 to early 2019 and having said this, the BMW M8 GTE has already competed in numerous outings in the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech SportCar Championship in North America with all the knowledge gained being incorporated into the production model. With the expected launch date estimated at late 2018 to early 2019 the amount of development that can be made on the production model through the workings of the M8 GTE is endless. Indeed a very exciting prospect.
The M8 GTE is unquestionably a marvellous machine to behold and a technical master class. We will be waiting with bated breath for the launch of the production model and will be biting our nails on race day whilst the BMW M8 GTE makes its way around the boxing ring called Le Mans.
The popularity of the SUV has created an age where we have consumers in their numbers moving away from the traditional sedan style of car, and with the estate concept proving to be too reminiscent of a hearse to the South African market; the move to the SUV has almost become the go-to. The categories and subcategories, being numerous, make it hard to keep up with the manufacturer’s response to demand, with Crossover SUV’s, large SUV’s, compact SUV’s all making things a bit confusing.
This ethos has led to the rather obvious move by BMW to create the X2. Based on the Current underpinnings of the 2-Series Active Tourer and the MINI Countryman, it falls in between the X1 and X3. The BMW X2 will take on the likes of the Volvo XC40 and the Range Rover Evoque as a compact and stylish coupe-style SUV. Well, SAV or Sports Activity Vehicle in the case of the BMW. The X2 is a sporty alternative to the more grown-up X3 and offers a sleek and sporty roofline and presence that is appealing and muscular
The BMW X2 will be available in three trim levels, namely – base, M sport and the M-Sport X which will allow for different levels of specification and customisation as the owner so desires, ergo creating various looks and enhancing the visually striking elements.
Upon the launch of the BMW X2, the option of either BMW’s 2.0-litre petrol motor in the sDrive 2.0i offering 141 kW and the 147 kW for the xDrive 2.0d diesel will be available. Fuel consumption for the petrol is a claimed 5.9l/100 km in the combined cycle and a rather diminutive 4.8l/100 km for the diesel. Standard on the xDrive 2.0d is the xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive and the eight-speed Steptronic transmission. The petrol model is fitted with a sporty seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The usual array of BMW options will come to the fall, including Apple CarPlay, voice control, heads-up display and the customary combination of electronics and leather and wheels to make your BMW X2 not only stand out but cost a whole lot more than the list price. Chief among these is the option of three new exterior colours Misano Blue, Sunset Orange and Galanic Gold. These can be combined with the option of Dakota Leather, finished in Magma Red and the Micro Hexagon Anthracite and Alcantara combination, finished in Black with M piping and yellow contrast stitching.
BMW X2 Pricing in South Africa
There is no indication of price thus far but the local launch is scheduled for March of next year. Expect this to be a rather popular alternative to the more sedate options from other manufacturers, as well as within BMW.
Ahead of the Frankfurt Motorshow later this month leaked images of BMW’s X7 IPerformance SUV concept, have come to light giving some interesting perspective to their new 7-series based full sized SUV. Due to arrive in international markets next year, the X7 will likely be based on a version BMW’s CLAR modular platform that underpins the current 7 Series.
The Key indications to the X7 production model are the simplicity through which the design is carried through, which allow for ques, typical of BMW design language to be very clear and apparent yet in effect still feel new. The clever design of the vehicle doesn’t hide the fact that this is no small car and the overall size and dimensions will not be overly friendly to the concept of the Undercover parking lot or Parrell parking in the CBD.
The concept makes use of the typical extravagance that is the very notion of a ‘concept car’ interior, but the main points to understand is the level of simplicity and the high-quality materials to be used. The use of light and space are used to conceal the cavernous exterior proportions rather well. This is through the large panoramic roof and the use of clever mood- lights that help add light to the cabin and give it the same effect as looking up at the sky light on a summers evening – or in fact the ceiling of a 7 Series, from which the system was undoubtedly lifted.
Infotainment will be handled through a driver focused 12.3 Inch Screen that serves as an instrument cluster and a smaller one that the centre console. Rear seat entertainment includes an additional two screens likely optional fair but an effective addition gives the SUV’s Child hauling destiny. The usual mix of high-quality woods and metals is used to make up the cabin but the largest and most interesting is the number of seats totalling 6, and in fact suggesting to the 7 that will likely be available on the production model.
BMW X7 Availability in South Africa
Early production models will hit international markets as early as 2018, with no confirmed dates as to when we will receive the X7, but we should get the bruiser at some point in 2018.
When you’ve ruled a segment for decades, it’s hard to keep pushing the benchmark forward. BMW has been in this position for many generations now with the competition having closed the gap significantly. Remember the normally aspirated C63 AMG? Yes, the one that caused a fair bit of confusion for E92 M3 drivers. That was one stunning car, from its noise to its looks. It proved to be one hell of a rival for the M. Now we have the likes of the turbocharged Mercedes-AMG C63 and the infamous Alfa Romeo Guilia Quadrifoglio Verde. The competition has done a great deal of catching up and some have even questioned if the M3 is still the benchmark. The facelifted M3 is a stunning piece of kit, the obvious choice for those who need some space and performance, packaged with aggressive styling and shiny 20-inch alloy wheels. That’s what tells passers-by that your M3 is a Competition Package, besides an M3 badge finished in black.
Internally, the difference comes in the form of more power, 331 kW to be exact. 550 N.m is a boat-load on the chassis of the M3, so much so that the vehicle is in constant attack mode, looking for any excuse to light up the rear wheels. This particular example we drove was finished in Sakhir Orange paintwork and had an aggression to it that we’ve never experienced in an M3/M4, and we’ve driven many an M3. Despite the added power and louder exhausts, one’s got to ask the question, is the Competition Package worth the extra money? At R135 000 more than a standard M3, the reality is that with the Competition Package, the added power is not the only thing the vehicle gives you. The whole car feels somewhat different. Anyone who’s driven an M3 will tell you that you can’t drive that car in anger with a nonchalant attitude. Do that and you’ll end up on YouTube under the “BMW fails” title. The Competition Package is still as lethal, but somehow slightly more forgiving, probably due to the larger rubber fitted to it. These larger wheels offer more grip, making the car more controllable in modes such as MDM, which allows for slight slippage of the rear wheels.
The biggest appeal of the M3 is its practicality, you can really use this car as a parent who loves thrills. It’s also comfortable in the right setting, namely “Comfort” which keeps everything normal. Oh, in terms of interior changes, the CP has slats in the front seats, giving the seats a different look and the opportunity for back seat passengers to tickle the driver with ease. (Yes, we know that’s weird). Some experimenting is essential to find the perfect balance between comfort and speed for everyday driving scenarios. We found that a throttle setting of “Sport” with “Comfort” dampers and “Comfort” steering was best for the daily commute. With that, we saved our M1 mode. M2, on the other hand, was a bit riskier, dampers were still “Comfort”, steering “Sport” and throttle set to “Sport Plus”. Lastly, we had the car in MDM mode, just to keep us feeling alive. Our gearbox settings were rarely in the most lethal “Level 3” setting as this was just ridiculous. In the most brutal gearbox mode, the car mimics the E60 M5 days, with its “shove you in the lower back” type of gear changes.
As much as the standard M3 is a great car, the Competition Package is very special. The car feels more complete and looks better as those wheels fill the car out beautifully. Very little is wrong with the M3, but it has become an acquired taste for many. Gone are the days of the E92’s composure and that fact alone has put some off the car, as they might feel like it’s too much effort to exploit all the car’s power. For the brave, the M3 remains a massive thrill as its razor-sharp nature can be intoxicating. Our experience in the car was very enjoyable. We love the fact that you can be civilised when needed, but a complete hooligan when the opportunity arises.
BMW M3 Competiton Package Pricing in South Africa
At approximately R1.4 million with a few extras, it’s not cheap but boy is it a rewarding car to drive.
Do you have a R1million to spend on a coupe? Are you torn between a BMW 440i or an Audi S5? Well, you’re in good hands, TheMotorist is here to help you decide…
If only things worked like that. You read an article online. You make your mind up and off you go into either an Audi or BMW dealership and you drive away as the sales team cheers you off. Firstly, sales people don’t cheer you off, by the time you’ve driven off they’re just super glad they don’t have to talk about discounts with you anymore. I digress. The truth is, if you’re going to spend R1 million, you kind of know what you want. Right? Also, we all have preferences – so if you’re an Audi guy, get the S5 and if you like Beemers, give them a ring. What we want to do in this article is objectively compare the two models and see what comes out on top. So first and foremost, the looks.
Who’s the fairest of them all?
The 4 Series is a hit in SA. Everywhere you go people are driving these things. The problem we have with the 4 Series is that besides the amount of exhausts you have and the badge in the rear, they all look the same. Obviously, you have different model lines to choose from, but we wish the 440i had something about it that says, “I’m a 440i, not a 420i!!!”. Don’t tell me the two large exhausts are the differentiator because non-car people won’t even notice that. The S5 at least has different outside trimmings compared to the standard S Line models, so you can notice a slight difference. Again, it’s not huge because Audi loves to keep things low-key but you do have four exhaust pipes on the S5. So there’s that. The interiors on both cars are top notch, but the S5 has nicer seats and the BMW has a nicer dashboard. The S5 does have Apple CarPlay so that’s a big win, but BMW’s infotainment system also works really well. Whatever you do in both cars, you always need to go for the higher spec sound system. Audi calls it 3D surround and BMW has Harman Kardon.
The only reason why you’d be buying either an S5 or a 440i is because your co-worker has a lesser model and you want to show them who’s boss, no? Either that or you’re a petrol head and fancy yourself some speed. This is the trickiest part between choosing between these two cars because both have SUCH nice engines. The Audi sounds nicer since it’s a 3.0 V6, but BMW’s new in-line 3.0 6 cylinder “B58” is the Greek yogurt of the range, so pure and creamy. Both cars feel just as fast and understandably so as you get 240kW in the 440i and 260kW in the S5. The BMW may have less power, but you’d have to be mad woke to notice a real difference. Where the difference comes in, is the drivetrain setup.
Quattro VS RWD:
The age-old debate between 4WD and RWD is a long standing one. We all love a good “slidey” RWD car but ask yourself, when am I going to do big slides in my car? If drifting is a concern, then the 440i is the obvious choice. But answer me this, do you attend many track days? Do you have access to an airfield? Do you have an endless budget for tyres? If you answered no to two of those questions, then RWD vs 4WD shouldn’t be your concern. “But don’t Quattro’s understeer?” You may wonder. Anything understeers if you come into a corner too quickly. The fact is that both the S5 and the 440i handle beautifully on regular roads and twisty ones, the average person will enjoy both cars at speed.
So, what’s the best then?
Again, both packages are very good indeed. The Audi wins when you’re sitting inside the car, but the BMW looks better on the outside. The Audi sounds better and has one hell of an engine, but the BMW’s engine is just as good. Money talks and this is where most decisions are made. The S5 will cost you R928 000 whereas the 440i will cost you R864 976. Both those prices don’t include options but an approximate difference of R60 000 between the two is interesting. If you’re financing, it’s not going to be a huge difference, either way you’re in for a big installment. What would we take home? I hate to say it but the BMW 440i is our top pick and before you scream “We knew it!”, the decision is based largely on the following: It’s all good and well to buy a new car but a time will come when you need to get rid of it. This is where the BMW wins because it’s biggest disadvantage is also its biggest advantage. There are many 4 Series models on the roads so you may lose out on the exclusivity you’ll have in the S5, but there is a bigger demand for the 4 Series in the used market. This means that when the time comes for you to trade in your 4 Series, you’ll get a better trade in value over an S5, purely because of the demand. For that reason, we’d drive away in the BMW. Besides that, both cars are a very good match for each other.
“Who needs a supercar when BMW’s new M5 and Mercedes AMG’s E63 are around?”
Let’s just begin with that 0-100 km/h time of 3.4 seconds. Like. Uhm. What? Basically, if you’re a speed chaser, you don’t need a supercar. With cars like the new M5 around, the only real reason you would want a supercar would be because you would like the aesthetics and attention that comes with a car such as that. That is understandable because for some, nothing beats being in a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. For those, however, who happen to have children and other dependants and a generallack of R6 million, these new age super saloons will do you just fine.
Unlike the likes of the M4/M3, the look of an M5 has become quite predictable. Many renderings of the car look very similar to the finished product. BMW has always kept the design of the car understated, with slightly wider fenders and flares here and there and of course the signature four exhaust pipes we’ve seen on every M5 since the E39. Let’s not lie to ourselves though, the G90 M5 looks good. The 5 Series range in general looks great so it’s not mind blowing to see that the M5 has followed suit. Where the G90 really shines with regards to its design, however, is the interior. I mean, look at those seats. Mmm mm mm!
The good stuff:
Besides the way it looks, the real reason we care so deeply about the M5 is because of its ability to hunt supercars, as well as the fact that it can probably kill you if you’re not nice to it. Anyone who drove the F10 will attest to its ability to humble even the most skilled, should you be brave enough to stand toe to toe with it with no assistance activated. The G90, though, may be the most controllable M5 yet.
The reason why this will be the most forgiving M5 is because it has M xDrive fitted to it. This system is 4WD but allows for all the power to be sent to the rear wheels, depending on the mode you’re in. As a result, in 4WD mode you can confidently exploit all 441 kW & 750 Nm from its 4.4 litre Twin Turbo V8 and not run into a tree of sorts, as the rear slides uncontrollably and your hands are all over the place trying to remember how Chris Harris does it. We all knew that this next M5 was going to have a 4WD system because you simply can’t have so much power in a RWD car and tell an average driver to go and play. That does create a problem for those that want to enjoy some skids, or rather the idea of skidding around town, however. So, to keep everyone happy, the G90 can toggle between different modes. It’s funny how we read about this setup months ago from BMW, but Mercedes-AMG were the first to do it in the segment with their E63 S, which I’m sure grinds the people at BMW. Anyway, it doesn’t matter who did it first, what matters is who does it best. From what we hear about the E63 S, the system works amazingly, not interrupting in anyway. You can be sure that the G90 will do the same, though, as BMW loves a good drift.
Besides going sideways, the benefits of having a 4WD car are simple, more traction all the time. In real world conditions, nothing beats being able to put your power down and having confidence in your car, something these new super saloons will allow you to do.
All in all, the G90 M5 is the fastest production BMW to date. The question is, where to from here? Are we really going to have a sub 3 second super saloon sometime in the future? Maybe even in the G90 generation, especially since BMW loves their special editions. Who knows? All we know is that we live in a crazy, power-hungry time. What matters most is not the figures but rather how the car will make you feel behind the wheel. There’s something very satisfying about a large car that can handle in a way that defies physics and keeps you entertained at the same time. The real fight between this car and the Mercedes-AMG E63 S is not which is the fastest, but rather what’s the most entertaining. Time will tell…
BMW M5 Pricing in South Africa
The M5 will be available in South Africa during the first quarter of 2018 with a approximate price of R1.8M. The BMW M5 First Edition, featuring a unique Frozen Dark Red Metalic Paintwork will also be available in very limited quantities in SA, with only 400 being produced worldwide. The cost of the First Edition is approximately R300k on top of the standard model.