Moderator / European Editor
Join Date: Apr 2006
BIMMERPOST BMW 2012 Review and 2013 Outlook
Happy New Year to the entire BIMMERPOST community! As we cross over to a new year it's once again a fitting time for a recap of the past year and a look ahead to 2013. It was an amazing year for BMW, with the company hitting sales records and many new important models making their debuts. 2013 is projected to be BMW's most successful yet. Expect to see new models and facelifts coming.
Again, we wish you all a very Happy New Year 2013. May it bring to you whatever you wish for!
BMW 1 SERIES
The E88/E88 1 Series Coupe and Convertible received an enhanced performance 135is model added to its lineup. Power from its N55 engine was increased to 320hp (from 300hp), it received a performance exhaust system, and a sport suspension was fitted.
2012 also saw the introduction of an all new 1 Series model - the M135i hatchback (F21), along with the introduction of the M Performance Automobile lineup. First seen as a concept at the 2012 Geneva auto show in March 2012, the production M135i with 320hp hit the market in the Fall of 2012, for the European market only. Since then, the M135i has seen critical acclaim from the automotive press.
The future FWD 1 Series GT model was previewed by the BMW Concept Active Tourer, a variable FWD/AWD electric hybrid car. It will usher in an era of BMW's entry into the premium compact FWD model segment. Eventually, all 1 Series models will be FWD while the RWD models will wear a 2 Series badge.
BMW 2 SERIES
The 2 Series was finally confirmed in 2012, with the very first F22 coupe and F23 convertible prototypes being spotted late in the year. The 2 Series has been highly anticipated because BMW enthusiasts hope that it will hark back to the days of a smaller, lighter, nimbler BMW coupe.
The 2 Series models will be built on the same RWD platform as the current 1 Series hatchbacks (F20/F21) and may spawn a lineup including the:
• 2 Series Coupe (F22)
• 2 Series Convertible (F23) (spy pics)
• 2 Series Gran Coupe (four door coupe) - still speculative [more info].
• 2 Series Gran Sports Tourer (Hyundai Veloster type vehicle) - still highly speculative [more info].
• M235i M Performance Automobile - as now spotted and confirmed [spy pics].
• M2 Coupe - successor to current 1M coupe, recently rumored to be 4 Cylinder [more info] (though we have our doubts as the M235i is likely to share the M135i's six cylinder inline engine and our photographer confirms clearly hearing a 6 cylinder in the M235i prototype).
• M2 Gran Coupe - M version of 2 Series Gran Coupe to compete with Mercedes Benz CLA45 AMG and Audi S3 Sedan; still speculative [more info].
The 2 Series will begin production in November 2013, as a 2014 model year, so it will be an exciting year ahead for 2 Series news.
BMW 3 Series
As we predicted last year (yes, call me Captain Obvious), 2012 was the year of the new 3 Series. BMW launched the all new F30 3 Series Sedan in February 2012. The new 3 has been welcomed with mostly praise both by journalists and owners (see our US review of the F30 HERE). That being said, US sales were a bit slow during the course of 2012, and we hope the new 3 will be more successful in 2013.
BMW also unveiled the F31 3 Series Touring this past Summer. While it's been available for a couple of months in Europe and other regions, US market launch is scheduled for Spring 2013. We drove the F31 320d Touring back in July, and it did really well -- that is if you choose the upgraded sports steering.
BMW also launched the Active Hybrid 3 in Fall 2012 which we were lucky to drive back in July as well (see our impressions).
In 2013, we'll see the 3 Series GT introduced. Inspired from the quite unfortunate 5 Series GT, BMW takes another shot at the full-size 5-door hatchback niche. It remains to be seen if its sales will fare better than the 5 Series GT. As far as the styling goes, our spy photographers managed to catch an unmasked 3 Series GT just a few weeks ago. Check out the spy photos again if you haven't seen them yet.
BMW 4 Series
BMW has been working on the successor to the E92 3 Series Coupe and E93 3 Series Convertible for quite some time. Over the course of 2012, we saw many test cars running around. In early December, BMW unveiled my favorite concept teaser of recent times - the stunning and elegant BMW 4 Series Coupe Concept.
The 4 Series Coupe Concept provides a good idea of what the F32 4 Series will look like when it goes in sale in Fall 2013. With its introduction, BMW officially confirmed the rumors that they'd introduce the new car as a 4 Series model to reflect its standing above the 3 Series model. This differentiation not only makes for a higher price point but also signals that it will have some premium features not found on the 3 series. As available options we expect things like Adaptive LED Headlights and a new High End Sound System by Bowers & Wilkins.
The flagship of the new 4 Series lineup will be the 4 Series Gran Coupe. When we saw the very first spyshots earlier this year, BMW had us confused by its clever camouflage, which resembled 3 Series GT. But, BMW claims that it'll be the most stunning car in the F3x lineup, so we're excited to see the final car sometime in 2014.
While the E90 M3 sedan was discontinued in late 2011, the E92 and E93 M3 models continued their production and successful sales in 2012. BMW released a couple of special edition M3s in 2012 - including the just-announced M3 DTM Edition honoring Bruno Spengler's DTM championship. Limited to 56 units (the number of BMW race victories in DTM history) the M3 DTM edition is all-black and features some unique design elements. This edition won't be available in the US, however.
The E92 and the E93 M3 will be available through Summer 2013. Starting in July 2013, BMW will retool their production lines and prepare for the start of the F32 4 Series coupe. In other words, there's about 6 months left if you want an V8 M3 and haven't got one yet.
Other than that, BMW continued to test and evaluate the new F80 M3 Sedan based on the F30 3 series (see our full gallery of F80 M3 Spyshots). Contrary to some speculation out there, the F80 won't be available before Spring 2014, but we expect BMW to start their teaser game sometime in 2013.
The F80 M3 will be powered by an outstanding inline-6 turbo engine. We've heard rumors that the targeted redline will be in the ballpark of 8,000 rpm so keep that in mind when reading doomsday scenarios being posted about the next M3. The sedan will be the only M3 model as there won't be an M3 Touring version. Coupe and Convertible versions will be called M4. To reiterate, neither the F80 M3 nor F82 M4 will be come to market before 2014.
While the rest of the world saw the F10 M5 debut in late 2011, BMW finally introduced this beast to the US market in September 2012. To celebrate the US introduction, BMW held a special event at the BMW Welt on September 1st for the very first European Delivery M5 owners. Thanks to BMW M and M-Power.com, we joined the event to report on the occasion as 20 owners took delivery of their brand new M5s at the Welt. Check out our thread on this event HERE.
I also had the pleasure to drive an F10 M5 test car for 2 weeks, so please feel free to check out my review and a great photo set HERE.
As a bad coincidence, some M5 models produced between July 2012 and September 2012 were equipped with a bad batch of oil pumps which in some cases resulted in a substantial engine failure. BMW issued a recall and took care of any affected owners.
BMW 6 Series
Following its debut in late 2011, the first-ever 6 Series Gran Coupe hit the dealer showroom floors this summer. We had the chance to drive both the 640i and 640d Gran Coup in Sicily in May, and we were stunned by this car. If I was in the market for a large four door coupe this would be it. Not only did it look so good that Italian police officers pulled me over during a test drive to check it out in detail, it also drove remarkably well for a car this large. Check out our review if you haven't before.
BMW also launched the all-new M6 Coupe and M6 convertible models in 2012. Both models follow the tradition of combining the M5 technology with added performance (Coupe) and added sensation (Convertible).
First teased at BMW's 40 Years BMW M event, BMW will also launch the first-ever M6 Gran Coupe, BMW M's version of the 6 Series Gran Coupe. The M6 Gran Coupe is one of the cars I'm most looking forward to driving in 2013. The M5 has nothing over it in terms of styling in my opinion, and I'm longing to find out if the same is true in terms of its performance.
BMW 7 SERIES
The F01 7 Series received its LCI (facelift refresh) update in mid 2012. The facelifted parts included restyled headlights with square LED halo rings and other lighting elements, fewer kidney grille slats with a larger chrome surround, reshaped front fascia, new horizontal chrome accents bars in the lower side intakes, newly shaped side mirrors with built in turn signals, and more contrasted red tail light bulbs.
The 8 speed automatic transmission is now fitted to every 7 Series model and the 4.4L V8 750i received a 45hp / 30lb-ft bump (to 445hp / 480lb-ft torque). Acceleration times speed up to 0-60mph in 5.4s.
The Alpina B7 was also refreshed as it now uses the 7 Series LCI as the base car.
The E89 Z4 received its LCI update / refresh in late 2012, and it was a very minor one. The headlights receive a slightly new shape with new 'eyebrow lights' and the fender gills also feature a new design. The LCI Z4 added three new metallic colors including Mineral Grey, Glacier Silver and Valencia Orange. The U.S. also received the option for a Hyper Orange Package on cars with the Valencia Orange exterior paint.
BMW M Performance
2012 marked the introduction of the BMW M Performance Automobiles model category. The M Performance eiesel models M550d, X5 50d and X6 50d were introduced to the European, ROW markets. They're powered by BMW's latest version of the N57 diesel engine, a 3.0l triturbo inline 6 producing 380hp and a silly amount of torque. As you all know by now, these models aren't available in the US.
While the first Petrol powered M Performance model, the M135i, isn't available in the US either, it's somewhat of a teaser for the M235i coupe (spy photos) which will be the first M Performance model for the US.
The other focus of the M Performance brand are the new M Performance Parts lineup, which supplants parts previously labeled "BMW Performance Parts." BMW M Performance Parts makes M engineered cosmetic and performance parts for many BMW models, including the F10/F11 5 Series, F20/F21 1 Series, F30/F31 3 Series, F12/F13 6 Series, and the E92/E93 M3. Most popular items seem to be the M Performance Brake Discs for the F30 as well as the about-to-be-launched M Performance Power Kit for the 335i, which bumps the 335i's power to 320hp and 450Nm torque. Other available M Performance Parts categories include wheels, performance exhaust, short shift knob, alcantara trim pieces, sport steering wheels, and a host of costmetic aero parts. BMW has plans to expand the lineup further.
The US finally joined the rest of the world in receiving the the X1 (E84) SAV, with deliveries to American owners beginning in the Summer of 2012.
BMW X5 / X6
The X5 received a new variant as part of the first wave of BMW M Performance Automobile model category. This was the BMW X5 M50d. The X5 M50d features a potent six-cylinder inline diesel engine with M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology, aluminum crankcase, three turbochargers (high-pressure, with variable turbine geometry), common-rail direct injection with piezo injectors, maximum injection pressure: 2,200 bar, all good for 280 kW/381 hp (@ 4,000 – 4,400 rpm) and max. torque: 740 Nm (546 lb-ft) (@ 2,000 – 3 000 rpm). This engine hurls the X5 M50d from 0–100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.7 seconds.
The X6 and X6M received its LCI facelift refresh in 2012, with some beautiful updates to its exterior and the introduction of the X6 M50d M Performance Automobile model (with same powertrain and drivetrain as the X5 M50d).
In late 2012, the X6 received a special Individual X6 Performance Edition. This model is limited to 100 units and is only for the US market. It combines custom interior design elements with the engine performance enhancements of the X6 M Performance Package (ZMX). Production began in September/October 2012.
2012 saw the continued testing of the BMW i3 and i8 coupe prototypes, along with their continued presence at the major auto shows. The i8 was spotted with gullwing doors, now expected on the production model and the latest spy photos show much more details for the production car. A range-extended hybrid i3 prototype has now been spied as an alternative to the all-electric i3 model when the i3 hits the market in late 2013-2014.
The i8 Spyder Hybrid Concept was introduced in March 2012 and represents a "Spyder" convertible version of the i8 coupe. While the i8 coupe has long been confirmed for production, there have been no such confirmation or announcement for the i8 Spyder yet.
The end of 2012 saw the introduction of the BMW i3 Concept Coupe, a 'coupe' version of the BMW i3 city car. The i3 Concept Coupe is built on the same wheelbase/platform as the four-door i3, and likewise features a carbon fiber reinforced plastic body matched to a 170hp / 184 lb-ft torque electric engine driving the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission. This concept gives the best preview yet of the i3's production interior. The i3 Concept Coupe is just that - only a concept for now. No plans have yet been announced for its production.
Finally, on the business front, BMW opened the world's first BMW i store in London, UK.
BMW will launch various new and updated models this year. Here's our best guess of what's to expect in 2013.
BMW 1 Series CAT
Following the 1 Series Compact Active Tourer Concept unveiling in 2012, BMW will introduce the production version of the FWD 1 Series Compact Active Tourer. We expect both 3 and 4 cylinder engines as well as a 3 cylinder AWD hybrid version.
BMW 2 SERIES
BMW will announce the 2 Series Coupe in Summer 2013. Even though the first customer cars won't be available before early 2014, we hope to get behind of the wheel of a 2 Series test car in late 2013. Considering this will be the most compact and nimble coupe in the BMW lineup, we expect a LOT. The M235i Coupe may see its introduction at the same time as the standard 2 Series Coupe as they currently appear to be at the same stage of testing.
BMW F3x 3 SERIES
As recent spyshots suggest, the unveiling of the F34 3 Series GT is imminent. Market launch is scheduled for Spring/Summer 2013. Engine and equipment options will be very similar to the existing F30 and F31 models.
The F31 3 Series Touring will hit US shores in Spring 2013. For now, there's only the 328i model confirmed, but we also expect a Diesel version.
BMW F3x 4 SERIES
Following the teaser in the disguise of the Concept 4 Series, BMW will unveil the F32 4 Series Coupe in Summer of 2013, with the market launch to follow in Fall 2013. No other 4 Series models are expected to debut in 2013.
BMW 5 SERIES
As usual for a car 3 and a half years into its production, the F10/F11/F07 5 Series models will receive a facelift in Fall 2013 (prototypes already spied). Updates will include new headlights (full LED headlights will be available) and tail lights, as well as technical modifications. The F10 M5 will be affected by the facelift as well, but changes should be limited to the headlights / tail lights.
The just-unveiled M6 Gran Coupe will hit the dealer showroom floors later in 2013. The M6 lineup will be then be complete.
The X4 SAV Concept (think smaller X6) is expected to debut.
The all new X5 (F15) should be introduced in late 2013 to early 2014 as a 2014 model year and continue being produced in BMW's Spartanburg, South Carolina plant. The latest prototypes spotted are already at an advanced stage.
The F15 X5 may debut several new BMW technologies such as a pedestrian airbag and the iDrive Touch Controller System. The new X5 is expected to weigh less than the current X5 and ride on a modified version of the F10 5 series chassis. Expect both diesel and gasoline 6-cylinder and 8-cylinder engine options.
The next X5 M model has also begun its testing - (first spy photos).
The BMW i3 has been teased for what feels like an eternity. 2013 finally sees the market launch of the production version of the all-electric BMW i3. There isn't much left unknown about this car, except for the price. For whatever it's worth, a BMW exec told us shortly that the i3 will be "less expensive than you think."
The hybrid sportscar i8 won't be available before 2014 but we wouldn't be surprised to see a teaser or ten in 2013.
Anticipating which Concept Cars BMW might show is always a guessing game. Much like last year, we still expect the confirmed BMW X4 to show up in concept car form first.
Beyond that, BMW might increase hype surrounding the 2014 F22 2 Series Coupe by showing a concept car.
And, last but certainly not least, we'll finally see the F80 M3 Concept Car in late 2013. BMW has a lot to say about this car and they'll start teasing it in 2013, leading up to the production model's international market launch in Spring 2014.