I’ve attended nearly ten consecutive showings of the Cleveland Auto Show, held at the International Exposition Center near Cleveland Hopkins Airport. Only last year did we decide to hit the Detroit show too, known as NAIAS, or North American International Auto Show. We took my Dad’s 2008 X530is, it ended up being a really nice show. BMW showcased the F30 3-series in each of the three trims, the F10 M5, and i3 and i8 concept vehicles.
For the 2013 show, I went with my friend Alex in my 2000 M5. The drive from Cleveland took just over two hours, and went really smoothly. The E39 is such a capable cruising car. Sport off, thigh extension out, center console armrest slid forward, cruise at 72MPH. The trip into the city passed quickly, I just wish I had XM radio! By the way, be sure to check out the embedded video from the show at the bottom of this article.
On to the point of the article, BMW’s presence at this important show. Each year seems to be more and more competitive, with more and more manufacturers producing more and more vehicles that they want to get your attention. BMW’s big cars to tout this year were the M6 Gran Coupe, 4-series Coupe Concept, and the new baseline 3-series, the 320i.
I was able to spend some time in around the mentioned cars, so I will deliver my two cents on BMW’s progress with these new important models.
2014 BMW M6 Gran Coupe
I saw my first 6-series Gran Coupe in San Diego, in the form of a 2012 640i. I loved the F11/F12 6-series enough just in it’s coupe and convertible form, the 4-door coupe version is even better. This segment became popular with the Mercedes-Benz CLS and Audi A7, so BMW is not unique with this idea. However, being the last of the big three to create one gives them an advantage, and it payed off. The M6 version of this car is exactly what you’d expect. Four exhaust tips, more aggressive front and rear bumpers, fender vents, a slighter tighter suspension, and the rest of the M goodies found on the new M5 and M6 models. With such a beautiful base car as the 640i, the M6 just improves upon the aesthetics, and delivers with the performance with the same 4.4 liter twin turbo 560BHP V8 as found in the current M5 and M6. They chose a silver ice paint option, or more widely interpreted as a matte finish. I’m not a big fan myself, but it was very beautiful to see in the flesh. The car was locked, but from what I know and saw last Saturday, my only complaint is the fact that it can’t come with a 6 speed manual. This will be a very expensive car, but it will compete very well with the Audi S7 and Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG. In short, I’m impressed. It’s breathtakingly beautiful from every angle, and now has the incredible power to back it up.
2014 BMW 4-Series Coupe Concept
When I heard that BMW was considering adding a 4-series to their lineup, I was dissapointed. I’m for perfection in simplicity, not the Mercedes approach of making forty-six point eight different models with names such as the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S 4-MATIC. The model designation should not utilize all of the available space on the trunk lid! Anyhow, after finding out BMW’s purpose of 4-series, I understand, and even approve. The 3-series is now a sedan, and the 3-series coupe will now be known as the 4, letting them do a few tweaks to set it up as more an enthusiast luxury/sports car. Seeing the 4-series in person is an experience; it’s quite the beautiful car. I’m actually very impressed, it’s a slightly smaller and enthusiastic looking 6-series. I am aware that it’s still a concept, but most of what we see now will make it to the showroom floors. I just hope those wheels are part of what make it to our world’s roads. It has a very wide, aggressive stance. It’s easily recognizable as a BMW, and really embodies the modern, classic, elegance of the brand’s recent models. I can’t wait to see the 4-series on the roads, and I’m even more excited to hear about the M4. I’d sign up for an M4 with at least 425HP and three pedals right now. Bring it, BMW. Make this thing a driver’s car.
2013 BMW 320i
The new baseline F30 3-series, the 320i. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a 320i in the United States, but it’s back. This time, BMW has chosen the same engine found in the F10 528i, a 2.0 liter turbo-charged I4. The 320i starts at around $32,500, $4,000 cheaper than a base 328i. The model at the show was open, so I took a seat. I will say that this demonstration vehicle was close to loaded, just lacking navigation and xenon lights. It had a 6-speed transmission with the M-sports package. There must be something about the new 3-series, I quite like it. Being in that made me excited for the next M3, as long as it will have 3 pedals as well.
BMW i3 and i8 Concepts
These were both at the Detroit show last year. I don’t really know what to say regarding these models. It appears as if BMW is very serious in pushing something like these out on the market in the upcoming years. They still look like severe concepts to me, nothing that would ever make it out of auto show, and I hope that I’m right. It’s up to you and your preference, but I don’t care for the design at all, interior or exterior.
By the end of the whole show, My favorite cars were the 4-series, M6 Gran Coupe, and actually, the F30. As long as it has as six speed! I am very excited for BMW’s future as they continue to roll out such beautiful cars! Having said that, I still miss the driver-centric experience that the late-nineties and early-two-thousands models had. They felt much more raw and connected, and I hope, at least, that the upcoming M3 and M4 can deliver on that feeling.
Aside from the above cars, BMW chose to show a X130i, X335i, X550i, X650i, 135i, 328i, 535i, 750Li, and the face-lifted Z4. No M5 or M6 convertible or coupe was anywhere to be found. Commenting on the actual display area, BMW finished their section very well. Elegant, clean, professional. The owners lounge was cool, quiet, and comfortable. The help was professional and helpful, what’s not to like?
Leave a comment. Thoughts on where the brand is heading? Thoughts on the cars they decided to show this year?