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Archive for April, 2014

bmer performance school

You don’t have to travel all the way to Bavaria to engage in the true BMW experience of a European pickup of your new vehicle. While traveling to Europe is a dream of many, the time and money needed to truly enjoy the trip may discourage a few. Maybe you just bought a BMW from Chapman BMW, or have been a long-time BMW owner. Either way, take your experience up a notch by traveling to BMW’s facility in South Carolina and enroll in one of four driving programs,  or schedule a pick up there of your new BMW, complete with VIP treatment and driving class.  From Teen School, to M school, to Motorcycles, you are sure to find a program to fit your BMW passion. Each class can be completed in one or two days, depending on how in-depth you want your experience to be.

The BMW’s Drivers Program is determined to teach all of its participants the correct way to handle and control a BMW. While we all learned to drive at one point in our life, the Ultimate Driving Machine is a a very different vehicle. The one day driving school features class and practice time covering braking, cornering, stability control, and timed laps on a variety of surfaces. The two day program includes the one-day material well as lane changing, drifting, and other types of driving conditions and roads. Drivers will have the chance to test different BMW series (excluding the M series) and work with instructors to perfect their driving techniques.

BMW’s Teen School is offered for drivers as young as 15 with a valid learners permit. This is not your average teen driving program; BMW wants to encourage safety first but fun as a close second. Teens will learn how to tackle real world scenarios through lessons in braking, stability control, cornering, focus, and ending with a teen challenge.  The optional second day finishes up with more road handling, double lane change, and another teen challenge.  Drivers will have the chance to test out 3-series, 5-series and a lineup of SAVs with their instructors closely watching.

BMW’s M School is the ultimate performance program to unlock our inner professional race car drivers. By focusing on skill sets that professional drivers practice daily, participants will learn to perfect cornering, downshifting and race with timed laps. A second day program is available to refine and advance the first days skills. Drivers will become familiar with a variety of M series cars as well as other BMW vehicles.  If you dream is learning how to handle a performance vehicle this is the class for you.

BMW Motorcycle School offer classes for both on -road and off-road bike handling. The on-road class features Moto street survival including handling, braking, slalom, cornering, figure 8 and accident avoidance. Off-road school will cover similar topics along with a variety of surfaces such as gravel and dirt. To attend either of BMW motorcycle programs you must already know how to handle a bike and come prepared with complete safety gear. Students are welcome to bring their own BMW bike or are able to rent one at the facility.

If you’re looking for the VIP treatment from start to finish consider purchasing and picking up a vehicle from the Spartanburg facility. A complementary stay in a first class hotel with dinner will be provided along with an in-depth introduction and walk through of your vehicle. Finish up your stay by driving on the performance track in a vehicle similar to the one you’ve purchased and experience what your new BMW will feel like once you’ve taken delivery.

To find a BMW you love, stop by a Phoenix BMW dealership.

bmw i3

The electric vehicle did not start with the Volt, the Leaf, the i3, or even with Tesla. EV’s had a brief appearance in the late 90’s/early 2000s. After being taken off the market for a few years, they returned with a bang; almost every company has designed their version of a modern day EV.  I have only had the opportunity to test out two electric vehicles so far: The widely-popular Nissan Leaf and the brand new BMW i3. Both are wonderful rides but in my opinion, each has their own unique benefits.

Nissan Leaf– the Leaf was introduced in the US back in 2010. Since then, two more models have emerged for purchase or lease. I started leasing my 2013 Leaf last June and have been driving it daily for about a year.  The car is very simple to drive once you get used to how an EV handles. I recharge in my garage (120v) overnight and wake up to a fully charged ride. I do not own a quick charge station but when I charge at a public location, my car is juiced up in about four hours (and that’s if it is really dead).

Interior- The interior of the Leaf comes in black leather, black cloth, partially recycled gray cloth, or partially recycled black cloth. The cabin has a slight futuristic look to it, but besides a few details it looks like most other cars of its size.  The gear shift is an orb found on the middle console with a push to park button and a steering wheel that features normal radio and hands free controls along with a green “Eco” button. Backseat passengers can sit comfortably and use the back windows in the four-door Leaf.

Exterior- The 2013 Nissan Leaf comes in 7 different colors. In my opinion the car looks similar to a 2013 Prius in terms of shape, but is a bit longer in size.  The headlights are huge and extremely bright at night, much brighter than other cars I have driven because of the LED lights. While the Leaf’s exterior may look strange to some, I think it looks pretty standard especially compared to the i3 more urban look. The charging port is at the front of the car, in between both headlights. I feel that a front port is much more vulnerable to being damaged even in a crash then the i3 side port making it impossible to charge.

Drive- the Leaf provides a very smooth drive and accelerates in just a few seconds. Very few people will understand just how fast EV acceleration is without driving it first. Both the gas and brake pedals are highly sensitive to the touch.  Unique to the Leaf is their green eco button. The eco button will change your driving range from eco mode to standard, or what I like to call turbo mode. I always drive in eco to conserve my charge as long as possible, but if I need a quick burst of speed I can press the eco button and take off. Driving outside of eco mode for an extend amount of time will kill your battery quickly so I advise only using it when you need or want a quick burst of speed.  The feeling of driving the Leaf or any other EV will take some time getting used to, but you will quickly adapt to how sensitive the car is.

The BMW i3– The BMW i3 will be available for purchase and lease this July. Both the i3 and Leaf have a standard plug letting you charge at any public charging station and both have a cord allowing you to plug into a normal 120v home outlet. You can install a few different in home charging systems if you prefer a quick charge rather than waiting overnight. Leaf owners have the option to use the Blink network while BMW has partnered with ChargePoint for their vehicles. Both charging systems can be used on either car the only difference being payment and subscription.

Interior- The i3 interior is beautifully designed and feels surprisingly open, much more so than the Leaf. Ninety-five percent of the interior is created from recycled fibers and materials with olive oil tanned leather and eucalyptus wood accents.   The gear shift is on the right side of the wheel. The middle console has a BMW-signature navigation toggle found in their newer vehicles along with a switch to change from comfort, to eco pro, to eco pro+ mode. To enter the back seat you must open the front door, pull the interior switch to open the smaller back “coach door” and slide behind the driver or passenger seat. Remember to close the coach door before you close your passenger or driver side door.  Rear windows do not roll down in the i3 which could be problematic for backseat passengers. BMW has designed low profile seats to allow more room in the back.

Exterior- The i3 has two color combinations, black and orange with grey accents or silver and black with blue accents. It has two standard doors along with two coach doors that open from the inside of the vehicle.  The car seems to be shorter in length then the Leaf, although I did not measure them side to side. I did not try the car at night, so I don’t have much to say about nighttime visibility but I am sure the headlights are just as bright as the Leaf. Both cars have LED headlights to maximize battery life. The i3’s charging port is on the back right where a traditional fuel door would be on a gas car which makes more sense in my opinion then the Leaf’s front placement.

Drive- BMW’s navigation is phenomenal. It looks sleek and modern and having the control down in the middle console makes it much easier to use verses reaching up to a touch screen. As for the step-by-step navigation the i3 prepares you for your next turn early and does not take long to recalculate your route after making a wrong turn.  Like the Leaf, the i3 accelerates extremely quickly from 0-60mph in 7.2 seconds. While the i3 is supposed to accelerate faster (by a few seconds) compared to the Leaf I did not notice a difference; both have amazing torque thanks to the direct-current battery. Changing from comfort to eco pro or eco pro+ will not give you the same boost of power as changing modes on the Leaf.  Instead the modes reduce fuel consumption up to 20% by optimizing cabin temperature and lighting.  A unique feature to the i3 is how quickly it decelerates when you take your foot off the gas. As I started my drive in it I keep removing my foot from the gas and jerking forward, almost to a complete stop. While it takes a while to get used to I believe the quick deceleration without the use of the brake is an added safety benefit.  I thought the Leaf’s gas and brake pedals were sensitive, but the i3 took it to a new level. Only a small amount of pressure is needed to accelerate or brake.

Both the Nissan Leaf and the BMW i3 provide an amazing drive. Each car accelerates fast, drives smooth, and responds quickly. The i3 has a much more luxurious feel which is expected from a BMW. The interior has a Zen, open feel with sleek technology and beautiful accents. On the contrary, the Leaf standard design provides a more comfortable ride for back seat passengers. Both cars are city cars, meaning they will not get more than 100 miles per charge. For my day-to-day drive this is more than enough, and if my range is low I hop on surface streets; the car recharges slightly as you brake, making stoplights your new friend.  EV’s take driving to a whole new level; I highly recommend taking one for a spin if you get the chance! The i3 will be available at Chapman BMW  this June.


It’s no secret that BMW continues to roll out new versions of its existing lineup. The latest model BMW has officially unveiled is the BMW X4 crossover, which features a coupe-like shape similar to the X6.

The BMW X4 is built on the same platform as the X3 and will be offered in the same xDrive28i and XDrive35i versions, which means the base version is powered by a 240-hp 2.0L turbocharged engine, while the xDrive35i gets a 300-hp 3.0L six-cylinder. Both engines are mated to a standard eight-speed automatic transmission. The xDrive28i reaches 0-60 mph in six seconds, while the xDrive35i only takes 5.2 seconds to reach the same speed. Those familiar with BMW model naming will know that both come standard with all-wheel-drive.

Inside, elegance mixes with sporting intentions, with a high-gloss black panel accented with aluminum trim strips in the wood paneling. With more standard features than the X3, the X4 comes with a sports leather steering wheel, variable sport steering, and rear parking sensors. Also standard is a power tailgate, but for those who want to open it simply by moving their foot underneath the tailgate, that will be optional.

Also on the options list is a head-up display, adaptive cruise control, pedestrian and collision warning, lane departure warning, blind spot system, surround rearview camera, and a park assist system that parallel parks the X4. If you don’t like making too many trips to the gas station, the X4 is also available with eco mode and a start-stop system.

BMW digs deep into its technology resources for the X4, offering everything from the latest version of iDrive to LED headlights. The car will come with a data connection to power Google search in the navigation system and support app integration through BMW Connect. The new version of iDrive comes with a touch pad for gesture control embedded into its main dial.

The X4 can be further customized with the M Sport package. Per usual, that option will outfit the X4 with an aerodynamics package, a sport-tuned suspension, sport seats, Anthracite headliner, M leather steering wheel, M door sills, M driver’s footrest, and 19- or 20-inch wheels.

For more information on the BMW X4, visit Chapman BMW.