Wednesday, July 29, 2009

BMW leaves F1

Pretty bad news for us Bimmer fans. Well at least the WTCC is bringing a bit of consolation for us lately. Below are excerpts of BMW's departure from F1.

BMW confirmed this morning that they are to leave Formula One at the end of the season stating that the resources ‘freed up’ from its exit from the sport will be deployed in other areas. The German car maker took over the Sauber team in 2006 and has since gone on to record one victory.

“Of course, we, the employees in Hinwil and Munich, would all have liked to continue this ambitious campaign and show that this season was just a hiccup following three successful years,” said BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. “But I can understand why this decision was made from a corporate perspective. We will now focus sharply on the remaining races and demonstrate our fighting spirit and put in a good result as we bid farewell to Formula One racing.”

The current season has been a struggle for the Hinwil-based team with Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica 13th and 15th in the championship respectively.

The team had expected to challenge for the championship this year having recorded its first win with Kubica behind the wheel last year in Montreal.

However the F1.09 has not proved competitive and despite the various aerodynamic updates, remains one of the slower cars in the field.

“It only took us three years to establish ourselves as a top team with the BMW Sauber F1 Team,” began Board of Management member Dr. Klaus Draeger. “Unfortunately, we were unable to meet expectations in the current season.

Nevertheless, our ten years of Formula One experience have had a major impact on our development engineers. We have racing to thank for numerous technological innovations as well as the competitive spirit that drives us to develop mass-produced cars.”

The team stated that redundancies at both Hinwil and Munich “cannot be quantified at present.”

It is expected that the signing of the long-awaited Concorde Agreement, the legal document that ties the teams with the sport’s governing body and the commercial rights holder, will be completed shortly.

However, this makes the coming days critical for the sport as rumours persist that BMW may not be the only car-maker looking at its option before agreeing to remain in the sport until the end of the 2012 season.

Ongoing speculation suggests that both Toyota and Renault are considering their future in the sport, speculation that will only be heightened by BMW’s surprise announcement today.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

2010 5 series

Here are some renderings of the new 5 series. According to forums, this are the closest to the real front design of the new 5. It looks great and I can almost see the value of the current 5 plummets to god knows how low. Thats the bad thing about owning a bimmer. The new model designs really makes the generation before look bad.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mod wisely

Bimmerworld Bmw 325I Exhaust View Bimmerworld Bmw 325I Rear View Bimmerworld Bmw 325I Front View

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The making of the E90

Poor LCI

Just came across this on a forum and sometimes you kinda wonder why would people do certain things. It's just my rant I suppose. I'm sure you would have a big reaction seeing this too. I'm a great believer of good design concept. But when you mess around a product of great design it becomes a pile of ****.

Monday, July 13, 2009

LCI steering problems

One of the popular rants about the new LCI is the power steering. I never like it since day 1. It felt remote and not really as precise as my older cars. Of late the seems to be more travel on the steering. Progressively it became worse. A low clunk is felt whenever the steering is turn anti clockwise. You don't really know how important a precise steering is. Only when it starts to act funny. Made a complain with the BMW service. They say it's not a common problem. Anyway I send it in and they took 2 days to sort out the kink... well sort of. The steering felt lighter and smoother after the repair but there's still the little soft clunk. Well if you are reading this and have this problem, do send it in. It's not suppose to be there. I've read in the forums where some drivers say it can't be fixed and usually it has a bit of free play on the steering.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bridgestone 3rd Generation RFT

Here's the latest news regarding the infamous RFT ( Run Flat Tyres).
Bridgestone has announced their latest generation of RFT that promises to address the issue of harsh ride. Hopefully this new generation RFT delivers. Reading from the Autoblog review, it seems promising. The tyres perform as well as non RFTs.
Below are excerpts from autoblog:

Consumers embraced the additional mobility and safety benefits of the 2G RFT, but they never warmed to the handling compromises as a result of the additional unsprung weight, the harsh ride (the sidewalls are a noticeable 15 percent harder than a conventional tire, says Bridgestone), or the expensive replacement cost (up to 30 percent higher, in some cases). Frustrated, many vehicle owners exchanged their run-flat tires with conventional tires even before it was time for their replacement.

Meanwhile back in the laboratory, Bridgestone engineers were hard at work developing the third-generation run-flat (3G RFT, above) designed to address these concerns head-on. Their research and prowess resulted in three new cutting-edge technologies:

  • Unique ply construction: The reinforcing layers of a tire are called the "ply." Bridgestone developed a tire ply that uses the heat generated by a deflated tire to contract and curb deformation. In simple terms, the material in the new sidewalls automatically shrinks to abate damage from abrasion and heat. When the tire cools, the ply automatically returns to its original state.
  • New rubber compounds: Laboratory-engineered rubber compounds, Bridgestone calls them "NanoPro-Tech," are also used in the sidewalls to limit heat. Conventional tire compounds warm through friction between the carbon and polymers (two common tire ingredients). By optimally distributing the polymers, friction and heat are minimized. Of course, this also reduces energy loss increasing fuel economy.
  • Innovative heat control: Bridgestone developed so-called "cooling fin" technology for the new tire. Molded into the sidewall are small protrusions (think of them as miniature spoilers). While this seems rather rudimentary, they effectively disrupt the airflow at the surface to help radiate heat and cool the tire. Thermo-vision (heat sensing) photography of the "cooling fin" technology in action shows a dramatic improvement when compared to smooth sidewalls.

Bridgestone utilizes these technologies independently, or combined, based on the specific design parameters and size of each 3G RFT tire application. For example, the lower sidewalls of a sports car (e.g., BMW Z4) will unlikely receive cooling fin technology, but a higher-profile tire with more weight to bear (e.g., non-sport BMW X5) would have the cooling fins. Regardless of the formula, Bridgestone says all of its new 3G RFT tires are designed to operate safely with zero pressure for up to 80 kilometers (about 50 miles). But, more on that a bit later...

Leaving the technical jargon in the classroom, Bridgestone encouraged us to try its new third-generation run-flat (3G RFT) from behind the wheel. Lacking sensitive test equipment to capture objective differences between the 2G and 3G tires, we were understandably apprehensive approaching this tire "comparison." After all, how does one subjectively "feel" through fast-food sculpted posteriors the subtle nuances in ride quality that reportedly differentiate the two generations of run-flat tires? The answer was Bridgestone's European Proving Grounds in Italy.

The European Proving Ground (EUPG) is to a tire enthusiast what an unattended pharmacy cabinet would be to a drug addict – pure bliss. Located 50 km (about 30 miles) south of Rome, the purpose-built facility is a sprawling high-security testing ground for the latest in Bridgestone tire technology. Set within the outer perimeter gates of the four-year-old complex is a glass-smooth four-lane oval nearly 2.5-miles in length with 35-degree banking in each corner. Inside the oval, and connected for high-speed runs off the main track, is a massive skidpad (an amazing 22 acres of smooth concrete!), two independent short road courses, a wet handling course, and several side-by-side lengths of paved straight-aways designed to mimic various smooth and rough pavement surfaces found around the world. The whole package is wrapped in neatly manicured grounds sprawling with blooming Italian wildflowers.

Strapped in near identical late-model BMW 5 Series vehicles, Bridgestone offered us the opportunity to drive three different variants of its high-performance RE050A tire back-to-back: Conventional, 2G RFT, and 3G RFT.

We drove the conventional RE050A first. A high-performance tire fitted to such cars as the Nissan 370Z and Lexus IS-F, the standard rubber was comfortable on the smooth sections. The course/rough pavements didn't provide much of a challenge either as the compliant sidewalls absorbed the abuse without drama. We've put thousands of miles on these high-rated tires in the real world with few complaints.

Next, we tried a set of RE050A "2G" run-flats, the OEM application found on thousands of late-model BMW and MINI models. Owners appreciate the run-flat technology, but have raised issues with ride quality initiated by the stiff sidewalls and additional mass rotating on each wheel. While they were comfortable on the smooth sections, the compromises of the 2G run-flats were immediately evident when we entered the first sections of rough pavement. What had been damped by shock-absorbing sidewalls on the standard tires was now transferred into the cabin in the form of sharp, and rather uncomfortable, impacts. This test reinforced what many owners have expressed and what we have personally experienced.

The final run through the test course was done with the all-new RE050A "3G" run-flats. Eureka! Surprising even the skeptics among us, the third-generation tires were nearly imperceptible in ride quality from the standard tires (non run-flat) we had driven on merely minutes earlier. The ride was very comfortable. According to Bridgestone, test instruments reveal that the slight difference in ride quality was a near-imperceptible 5 percent change in harshness.

Bridgestone also allowed us to drive a 3G RFT technology-equipped vehicle with a flat tire through a simulated slalom course. The car handled sloppy, and the tire howled when pressed, but it was entirely controllable. Afterwards, the tire wasn't even very hot to the touch.

Driving their message even further, we were shuttled by bus out into the Italian countryside for some real-world observations. Another fleet of late-model BMW 5 Series vehicles were fitted with 2G RFT and 3G RFT tires for back-to-back comparisons. Bridgestone held us close (with pace cars front and rear) as we toured 2-lane roads across farms and into the surrounding hills. The roads were in fairly lousy condition, but they again demonstrated the newfound compliance one can expect with the third-generation run-flat.

While Bridgestone states that all of its new 3G RFT tires are designed to operate safely with zero pressure for up to 80 kilometers (about 50 miles), the reality is that a run-flat tire is designed to get you safely off the road and out of harm's way to where the tire may be safely serviced or replaced. In truth, a virtual clock starts ticking the moment a RFT loses pressure (the frictional stress and heat literally "cook" the service life out of the rubber compounds). Consequently, high vehicle loads, high ambient temperatures, and high speeds accelerate the clock, while light loads and cold temperatures slow it (when we experience a loss of pressure with a run-flat, we immediately pull over safely in the hope that the tire may be properly repaired before it is destroyed by driving on the vehicle). Of course, run-flat tires should never be fitted to a vehicle without a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).

The track sessions and test drives made it clear that Bridgestone has eliminated the biggest objection to run-flat tires – abusive ride quality. We never had an opportunity to push the performance envelope of the tire, but Bridgestone says the tread compound of the RE050A 3G RFT is identical to that on the conventional tire, so the grip levels should be very high. Lastly, the cost of RFT technology has come down a bit. While pricing has not been announced as of yet, Bridgestone expects the 3G RFT to carry a 20-percent price premium over the equivalent conventional tire, a small price to pay from a safety aspect.

Bridgestone's third-generation run-flat technology also seems to have clearly addressed the issue of comfort that plagued its predecessor. Moreover, the new "NanoPro-Tech" polymers and "Cooling Fin" technologies will undoubtedly allow the company to expand the fitments and marketability of the new 3G RFT product line, likely helping to bring the cost down even further.

While the first two iterations of zero-pressure tires from Bridgestone delivered the safety and mobility they promised, their negatives frequently outweighed the benefits... particularly in performance applications. Bridgestone's third-generation run-flat tires seem to represent a solution with far fewer compromises. It is a path we are finally willing to take.

Monday, July 6, 2009

LCI Internet Connected Idrive

Here's a glimpse of how the idrive would be even more engaging with internet connectivity. Hopefully this feature will be available in Malaysia soon via BMW Assist. My advise, don't buy a bimmer without idrive. You've been warned.>

Friday, July 3, 2009

BMW 3 series GT 2011

Here are some photoshop renderings of the 3 series GT that will be rolling off production lines in 2011. I don't think it will look this bad!

MUNICH, Germany — BMW has confirmed its plans for a 3 Series hatch called the 335i Gran Turismo, which follows in the footsteps of its bigger relative — the 2011 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo. It's slated to hit the streets in 2011.

Like 5 Series GT, the 335i GT will carry a price premium, settling in between the standard 3 Series and 5 Series. It is meant to rival Audi's A4 Avant lineup as well as the new Q3 SUV, which is an interesting point considering the compact X1 crossover is similar in size to the 335i and already set to come to the States in 2011.

With comparable models like the X1 and 5 Series GT, BMW offers proof that a global recession is not hindering its production plans: "We haven't cancelled the crossover of the 3 Series, as it is considered a volume builder with which we can earn good money," said BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer.

Like the 5 Series Gran Turismo first shown at this year's Geneva auto show, the 3 Series GT will have a unique two-stage tailgate, giving owners the option of opening just a small part of the trunk or the complete tailgate (including the rear window) if more space is desired. Remember, BMW does sell a wagon version of the 3 Series in the U.S., so the Gran Turismo will bring the model's body style count to five (coupe, convertible, sedan, wagon and the GT five-door).

Sources also tell us that two seating configurations will be offered, a four-seat or a more practical five-seat setup, and BMW's latest turbo and diesel engines will be offered. As far as we know no M3 version is planned. --

BMW Performance Kit - Black version

Thursday, July 2, 2009

M sport & iphone - Perfect integration

e90 LCI M sport in 4 colours

Here are the four official colours that you can choose from. Titanium Silver, Le mans Blue, Black and White. I have not seen it in any other colours apart from the 4 I mentioned. White and Black seems to be the popular choices just looking through the web. Over in KL I haven't come across any Le Mans blue on the street. My favourite is still the Titanium Silver. It's got huge presence and looks big in comparison with the other colours.

The white looks too feminine to my liking. To most buyers, white is the new black. Too bad it's very common to see white cars in all shapes and sizes on the road.

The Black is my next favourite colour. Problem with black is that the car don't look like an Msport. The kit is well hidden and I guess some buyers like the subtlety of it.

Le Mans Blue was The M Sport colour a few years ago. Somehow it never caught on. Maybe it's because Blue is a taboo colour for the chinese. Resale value for uncommon colours are pretty bad.