BMW's lineup of M-fortified vehicles now numbers nine, which is the largest it's ever been in the sub-brand's 30-year history. Munich has tweaked the lineup for 2009, and while nothing groundbreaking has been added, the additions and changes are worth noting. For instance, the BMW M3 Sedan gets a new rear end that sports updated taillights with two LED light clusters, and the entire M3 line gets some minor interior tweaks, new colors and crash-active headrests. The M5 and M6 soldier on with larger sideview mirrors, though BMW mentions that regenerative braking and an uncoupling air conditioner compressor – both fuel saving technologies – are right around the corner.
Of course, all M models are now offered with the latest generation of the automaker's much maligned iDrive control system. We haven't had the opportunity to sample the new version yet, so we'll refrain from making fun of its user interface for now. A new, impressively large 8.8-inch nav screen is, however, available with the optional Professional navigation system package and each system has moved from being DVD-based to storing all the info on an in-dash 80GB hard drive. This fall, BMW will also be offering ConnectedDrive, the first application of unrestricted internet access in a car, across the M lineup and iPhone integration has now been worked out, as well.
Perhaps the most significant addition is the arrival of a Competition Package for the M6 Coupe. The Competition Package includes a newly tuned performance suspension that lowers the car 12 mm up front and 10 mm in the rear, an adaptable suspension control system and double-spoke forged alloy wheels. BMW claims this will be the most athletic M6 you can buy and that there will be visual distinctions to set it apart from a standard M6. Unfortunately, BMW refrained from showing us what those visual distinctions will be. You can view what they did show us, however, in the gallery below.
BMW M models for 2009: Maximum performance in every discipline
Munich. The high-performance BMW M GmbH sports cars enter the year 2009 both ideally equipped and in top shape. With specific body modifications to the BMW M3 Saloon, the introduction of the new iDrive generation for all versions of the BMW M3, the BMW M5 and the BMW M6 as well as a "competition package" for the BMW M6 Coupe, we have ensured that the respective models are able to continue to strengthen their pole position in the disciplines design, ease of operation and driving pleasure. The BMW M GmbH currently offers nine models, this being the most varied and attractive product portfolio in its 30-year history as a supplier of exceptionally sporty production cars.
More than 300,000 BMW M automobiles have been handed over to customers since 1978. The most successful model was and still is the BMW M3, now being offered in three different body versions. After the launch of the BMW M3 Coupe, the BMW M3 Saloon and the BMW M3 Convertible were also successfully brought to market this year. All versions of the BMW M3 are powered by a 4-litre,V8 engine delivering 309 kW/420 bhp at 8 300 rpm. The power unit was especially developed for this model and possesses high-revving characteristics with unequalled acceleration. As an alternative to the standard six-speed manual gearbox, all versions of the BMW M3 are optionally available with the M Double Clutch Transmission with Drivelogic. It has seven gears and shifts without interruption of traction, thereby facilitating even more dynamic acceleration. The M DKG Drivelogic also has a positive effect on the BMW M3's efficiency. Furthermore, it provides gear shifting comfort on par with the supreme standards of a BMW automatic transmission.
BMW M3 Saloon: New rear light design.
In the model year 2009 and analogous to the BMW 3 Series Saloon, the four-door BMW M3 will also feature divided rear lights with the brand-typical L-shaped contour. The two LED light clusters for the taillights and the indicator lights, which also feature LED technology, have a distinctive and high-quality appearance. The new rear end design is rounded off by modifications to the bumper and rear lid. The list of interior refinements includes a newly conceived fresh air grille located in the centre of the cockpit, a newly designed storage area under the armrest on the centre console and a pearlescent chrome light switch cluster.
The new start/stop button, also in pearlescent chrome, and the rotary controls for the air conditioning sporting the same design are not only featured in the BMW M3, but also in the Coupe and the Convertible. Likewise, from the autumn, all variants of the BMW M3 will be equipped with crash-active headrests that reduce the risk of cervical injury in the event of a rear end collision. The choice of exterior colours available for the BMW M3 will also be widened as from the autumn. The colour space grey metallic is now also available for the BMW M3 Saloon. Le Mans blue metallic is new in the range of colours offered for all body variants.
Competition package for the BMW M6 Coupe.
In the model year 2009, the BMW M6 Coupe in particular presents itself as a top athlete on the road to new all-time highs. With the new competition package, the two-door coupe has managed to strengthen its consistently high performance-oriented profile even further. The competition package comprises a newly tuned suspension, including lowering by 12 millimetres at the front and 10 millimetres at the rear, adapted suspension control systems and forged alloy wheels in double spoke design. The modifications are prominently noticeable through improved handling and the competition package also contains distinctive visual differentiations. A re-contoured bonnet featuring two raised precision lines also emphasises the enhanced dynamic characteristics.
BMW M5 and BMW M6: New exterior mirrors with widened field of view and increased efficiency.
With new equipment features and optimisation in safety and efficiency, product quality offered by the models BMW M5 and BMW M5 Touring, the BMW M6 Coupe and the BMW M6 Convertible has increased even further in the model year 2009. In future, the high-performance sports cars powered by the 373 kW/507 bhp V10 engine will also feature brake energy regeneration and an air conditioning compressor which can be uncoupled - both features having been developed within the framework of BMW EfficientDynamics. Moreover, the new smooth-running bearing for the rear axle transmission is characterised by an optimised friction coefficient and its efficiency-enhancing construction.
The new exterior mirrors with widened field of view are an additional safety highlight on all four models. Carbon black metallic has been added to the range of available colours.
More supremacy through intuitive operation:
The new iDrive generation enhances driving pleasure.
From the autumn of 2008, BMW M models will also feature the new generation of the iDrive control system which will facilitate even easier activation and control of the most important entertainment, communication and navigation features as well as a number of other functions. The models BMW M5 and BMW M5 Touring, the BMW M6 Coupe and the BMW M6 Convertible are all equipped with the new iDrive control system as standard. It also comes with the BMW M3 in conjunction with an optionally available navigation system. It encompasses a newly devised controller which includes preference keys on the centre console and - in conjunction with the optional navigation system Professional - an 8.8-inch control display with a four times higher screen resolution (1280 x 480 pixel) for displaying high resolution graphics and a new menu structure.
Flat menu trees and familiar systematic with cascaded main menus derived from computer technology provide improved orientation. Visual control aids which include, for example, an image of the controller displayed on the monitor, provide additional clarity. Town or street names are spelled and telephone numbers entered by means of a circular "speller". The functional range of the tried and tested preference keys situated below the radio control unit have been further optimised. Using these, it is now also possible to store not only radio stations, telephone numbers and destinations, but also all further menu items accessible via iDrive, which can then be retrieved at the push of a button.
In the BMW M3, the new controller and the preference keys arranged in its vicinity are surrounded by a newly designed cover for the centre console. The central control element facilitates the operation of various functions by means of standardised rotary and toggle switches as well as push-buttons, whereby the additional keys can be operated without eye contact due to their individual haptic attributes, offering direct access to the most important menu options. The new iDrive controller is, therefore, now much simpler to use and can be operated intuitively without a long familiarisation period. Consequently, the driver gains additional confidence and can concentrate even more intensively on the job of driving.
The perfect travel companion: Navigation system Professional with full screen display, preview maps, 3D symbols and guided tours.
The new navigation system Professional for the models BMW M3, BMW M5 and BMW M6 offers full screen map display. Travel maps, details of the surrounding area and symbols for places of interest can be displayed as three-dimensional graphics. When defining a desired destination from a list of locations, a map preview of each proposed destination appears additionally on the display when the selection function is activated. Thanks to this geographical information, different destinations bearing the same name can easily be distinguished from each other. The travel planner with guided tours function integrates various destinations into an individual route and, if desired, the driver can also add his own choice of stopovers to the routeing.
The storing of navigation data on an on-board 80 GB hard drive guarantees shorter access times. Moreover, this data storage medium can be used as a music archive. For this purpose, music files from a CD, an external MP3 player or a USB stick can be transferred to the hard disc, after which the music files are permanently accessible.
New from BMW ConnectedDrive: Unrestricted in-car use of the Internet and enhanced remote functions.
The further advanced iDrive controller also forms the basis for in-car use of the Internet. From the autumn of 2008, BMW will be the first car manufacturer worldwide to offer unrestricted access to the internet as an option. The function of the controller is similar to a conventional computer mouse. Internet pages can be displayed on the screen in high resolution. An additional function renders possible an enlargement of visible screen areas for highlighting details.
Internet access is optionally available for the BMW M3, the BMW M5 and the BMW M6 on attractive flat rate terms. For safety reasons, the displaying of internet pages on the screen - analogous to the TV function available for BMW M models - is only possible when the vehicle is stationary.
In addition to the Internet access, new remote functions provide an even wider variety of telematics and online services included in the BMW ConnectedDrive range. From the autumn of 2008, enhanced remote functions will be available for BMW M models as an integral part of the BMW Assist service. In the event of the car key being left inside a locked boot or when the driver is not sure whether he or she locked the vehicle when in a hurry, all he or she has to do in future is call the BMW Call Center. After confirmed identification, a BMW Call Center employee can then lock or unlock the car by remote control.
Integrated use of a smartphone with USB connection for the Apple iPhone and other smartphones.
Commencing in the model year 2009, the accessory range will include a new snap-in adaptor for the full integration of the latest smartphones into the vehicle and an optional compatible USB board will be available for the BMW M3, the BMW M5 and the BMW M6. Using the upgrade option of linking the music player to the mobile phone, it will be possible to utilise both the communication and entertainment functions of the respective mobile phone and to control them via the iDrive control system. Telephone numbers and music titles stored in the smartphone are displayed on the vehicle's control monitor. The driver has permanent access to both the telephone and the MP3 functions of the external device. Furthermore, the power supply to the smartphone and reception via the car aerial are guaranteed. The new interface is suitable for the integration of the Apple iPhone, the Sony Ericsson K850i and the Nokia 6500c cell phones.