The big MINI three-way interview with Stéphane Peterhansel, Carlos Sainz and Cyril Despres – Peterhansel: “I have never experienced team spirit like this.”

BMW:The big MINI three-way interview with Stéphane Peterhansel, Carlos Sainz and Cyril Despres – Peterhansel: “I have never experienced team spirit like this.”

Media Information

2019 Dakar Rally

30th December 2018

The big MINI three-way interview with Stéphane Peterhansel,
Carlos Sainz and Cyril Despres – Peterhansel: “I have never
experienced team spirit like this.”


  • Interview with the MINI JCW Buggy drivers Stéphane
    Peterhansel, Carlos Sainz and Cyril Despres ahead of Dakar 2019.
  • Trio of Dakar legends has claimed a total of 20 overall wins.
  • Sainz: “We have the strongest team that will be competing at
    Dakar 2019.”


Munich. The start of the 2019 Dakar Rally is imminent. The
participating drivers will be taking on the challenges of the
Peruvian desert from 6th to 17th January. A
very special trio of drivers will be competing in the MINI John
Cooper Works Buggy: Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA), Carlos Sainz (ESP)
and Cyril Despres (FRA) have chalked up a total of 20 overall wins
in the world’s toughest rally and have become rally legends. In this
three-way interview, they discuss their outstanding team spirit, the
fascination of Dakar and their chances of success with the MINI JCW Buggy.


Peterhansel, Sainz, Despres: What do you think of this driver line-up?

Stéphane Peterhansel: “My initial reaction is to
think of the very, very good team spirit. We have been driving
together for several years now and we have always shared the
philosophy of fighting for the team. I have never experienced team
spirit like this.”

Cyril Despres: “We really are a great team and we get
on really well. Each of us is very experienced and we have recorded a
lot of Dakar wins. I believe that takes the pressure off us a bit.”

Carlos Sainz: “From my point of view, we have the
strongest team that will be competing at Dakar 2019. I believe and
hope that MINI is proud of this crew.”

Is strong team spirit particularly decisive in endurance rallies?

Sainz: “You can’t be successful without very good
team spirit – and that’s what we have. We also have a shared attitude
and very high standards regarding our cars’ setup. That makes it
easier for the team as we are all working together to get the car
perfectly ready for the race.”

Peterhansel: “The fact that we are driving against
the clock in rallying, not against one another, makes it easier to
work together than with circuit races. Nonetheless, I have already
driven for many teams and I have never experienced an atmosphere as
good as between Carlos, Cyril and myself.

Despres: “I have experienced that myself over the
last two years. A couple of incidents meant that my own race was
effectively over and I then concentrated on helping Stéphane and
Carlos if they had tyre problems, for example. Stéphane then returned
the favour for me at the Silk Way Rally. That is not to be taken for
granted in rallying, but in our team we have created an atmosphere in
which we all help one another. That can really make the difference at
the Dakar rally.”

Why is the Dakar rally so fascinating?

Peterhansel: “It is simply a crazy race. We know the
route, we know the car – but we still never know what is going to
happen. That’s why, after all this time, the primary objective is to
finish the world’s hardest race. Only then can you think about winning.”

Despres: “I want to reach the top level in every job
that I do. That is why I train so hard, and in the world of off-road
rallies, there is no greater challenge than the Dakar rally. That’s
why I keep coming back every year.”

Sainz: “A great deal of the fascination is down to
the mental and physical challenge, in my case. There are days when
it’s just not going well and you ask yourself why you are doing this.
But at the end of it all, those are the days that motivate you to come
back the following year. The Dakar rally is just something special.”

How would you describe the MINI JCW Buggy in three keywords?

Sainz: “I only need two. It is a great, strong car.”

Peterhansel: “Very strong, great performance and a
very good chassis. And I’d like to add a fourth point. It is great fun
to drive.”

Despres: “I see it like that too. The chassis and the
power are very good. I also think that it is very reliable and I love
how responsive the engine is. I would particularly like to emphasise
the combination of toughness and comfort in the chassis that allows
you to stay fast even on tough terrain. I think that may have been
more than three keywords…”

What you can achieve as a team in the Dakar rally?

Despres: “We certainly have the opportunity to finish
the Dakar rally high up on the podium, but you also have to realise
that the Buggy project is still in its infancy. Anything can happen
but we certainly have the ambition to battle for the win.”

Peterhansel: “Yes, we are definitely a strong team.
X-raid has a lot of experience, as do we, the drivers. The Buggy
delivers great performance and is easy to drive, which is especially
important in the dunes. Of course, our aim is to be battling for the win.”

Sainz: “When Stéphane, Cyril and I compete together,
it’s clear that we are aiming to be involved in the battle for the
win. I think we have done everything possible during our preparations
to put ourselves in a good position.”

How does it feel to cross the finish line and know that you
have won the world’s toughest race?

Peterhansel: “I have experienced this on 13 occasions
and I still ask myself every time how it can be possible. Ultimately,
you can stumble into a trap at any point during the race – and then
that’s that. My co-driver and I do have a certain talent for this
rally but it is still an extremely complicated task every time.”

Despres: “At the finish, you just feel extremely
exhausted. It doesn’t matter whether you are a pro and have just won,
or you have just crossed the line as a semi-pro driver. Everyone feels
the same at that moment. For me, the Dakar is not just about winning
but also about an adventure on a foreign continent. That alone means
that crossing the finish line is a great feeling.”

Sainz: “To start with, you can’t be sure of winning
the Dakar until you really have crossed the finish line. Anything can
go wrong, right up to the final metres, but when you have made it,
it’s just a great day. You have been rewarded for the many months of
hard work that have got you to this point. You can compete in the
Dakar rally many times, but winning it is a rare event. That is one of
the things that makes it so attractive.”

How do you keep physically fit?

Despres: “Fitness training to prepare for the rally
is an important part of my life. I have discovered mountain biking,
climbing and ski tours. I also do a lot of swimming and do weight
training. I just love physical exertion.”

Peterhansel: “I spend a lot of time on the bike – on
the road and in the mountains with my mountain bike. I prefer outdoor
sports in general.”

Sainz: “Of course, I keep fit so that I can meet the
challenges of a tough event like the Dakar rally.”

Complete the following sentence: Peterhansel, Sainz and
Despres stand out as a team because…

Peterhansel: “…we are the most successful Dakar
team and have a fantastic team spirit.”

Despres: “…we have been driving together for
several years and we get on really well.”

Sainz: “…we are the best.”

Original Press Release

Interview: Stefan Juraschek, Vice President Development Electric-Powertrain.

BMW:Interview: Stefan Juraschek, Vice President Development Electric-Powertrain.

Mr. Juraschek, was BMW slow off the mark with electric mobility?

Juraschek: No, absolutely not. The BMW Group actually
played a pioneering role with BMW i. Today we are the premium
manufacturer offering the widest range of battery electric vehicles
and plug-in hybrids. We currently produce the following electrified
models: the BMW i3 (third model evolution with 120 Ah) , BMW i3s, BMW
i8 Coupe, BMW i8 Roadster, BMW 740e, BMW 740Le, BMW 530e, BMW 225xe
Active Tourer, MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 and, in China, the BMW
X1 xDrive25Le. Plus, we have also announced new plug-in hybrid
variants of the 3 Series Sedan and BMW X5 for 2019 following the
arrival of new model generations. This number is set to grow to at
least 13 plug-in hybrid models by 2025. Adding these to the wide
selection of all-electric cars – whose range is due to increase
substantially next year incidentally – will bring the portfolio of
electrified vehicles to at least 25.

Sales topped the 100,000 mark last year and will have grown by around
50% this year.

Is the BMW Group prepared if electric mobility starts to
gather momentum at an even greater pace in future?

Juraschek: The BMW Group is already developing its
fifth generation of electric drive systems, meaning that it has
created an excellent foundation for the future. This latest generation
will go into service as soon as 2020 in the BMW iX3.

A crucial advantage of this fifth-generation system is that the
electric motor, transmission and power electronics now form a single,
highly integrated electric drive component. This extremely compact
unit takes up far less space than the three separate components used
in preceding generations. Its modular construction means that it is
scalable, too, allowing it to be modified to suit all sorts of
different installation spaces and power requirements. The BMW Group
will start to fit the next generation of battery cells in the new,
scalable and even more powerful vehicle batteries alongside the
introduction of the new electric drive components. The modular
“building block” concept will allow the new batteries to be
incorporated flexibly into every vehicle architecture. Another highly
integrated component will be added to the portfolio in the form of a
DC/DC charger unit.

So how will it all work?

Juraschek: On the one hand, we will have flexible
vehicle architectures and, on the other, the scalable and modular
building blocks for the electric drive systems. This will bring about
a lasting increase in flexibility. In future, we will be able to
swiftly decide which models we are going to equip with what mix of
all-electric drive, plug-in hybrid drive or exceptionally efficient
combustion engines. This will let us partially or fully electrify each
model in accordance with market demand, creating the basis for the
mass-market introduction of pure battery electric vehicles in the future.

Don’t you think there is a risk of not being able to obtain
the necessary quantities of raw materials once battery electric
vehicles start to be produced in big numbers?

Juraschek: We do not see any supply risks, even in
the event of growing demand for battery cells. My colleagues in
Purchasing have secured a reliable supply with long-term contracts. We
have also built up in-house battery cell expertise over the course of
joint projects with international partners throughout the value chain.
This is used to ensure access to the technology and to safeguard
supplies. At the same time, we are also endeavouring to gradually
lower the proportion of critical raw materials that are used. For
example, one of the key objectives of our research and development
activities is to bring about a substantial reduction in the proportion
of cobalt in battery cells.

The electric motor in our fifth-generation electric powertrain is
another illustration of this, as it is completely free of rare earths.

Staying on the subject of battery cells: Some well-known
competitors of yours are employing round cells or pouch cells. Why
are you using prismatic cells?

Juraschek: The prismatic hard case arrangement makes
the battery modules more suitable for industrialisation by increasing
the level of automation during module assembly. Besides this, safety
systems such as a safety valve for shutting down the cell in the event
of a short circuit can be integrated more easily. It also allows us to
achieve a higher packing density, meaning that optimum use can be made
of the installation space in the vehicle.

Battery cell manufacturers in China, Japan and Korea have been
investing enormous sums of money in cell development and future
battery technologies for years now. Is it still possible to catch up
with them, both technologically and economically?

Juraschek: We don’t consider any of our competitors
to hold an advantage over us when it comes to the battery technology.
When all the characteristics are viewed together, our battery
technology is on a par with or superior to the competition’s,
depending on how you look at it. We have been dealing with the issue
of battery cells since 2008 and are in a strong position today thanks,
among other things, to an international network of collaborations. For
us, it is important to continue to expand our in-house expertise and
keep advancing battery cell technology. What’s more, building battery
cell prototypes and producing small batches enables us to fully
analyse the production processes and acquire build-to-print
capabilities. In this way, we can provide system suppliers with exact
instructions based on BMW Group specifications, from material
selection through to cell production.

So why don’t you produce the battery cells yourselves?
Juraschek: In the BMW Group’s view, producing the
cells would not give us a competitive advantage, either now or in
years to come. We make electrical components ourselves, using our
in-house manufacturing facilities, whenever we think there is an
advantage to be gained from it, as is the case with the electric
powertrain. That’s why we use supplied battery cells to produce the
modules ourselves, before turning them into complete high-voltage batteries.

Is it really worth doing that? Surely you could buy the
electric motor from a supplier instead?

Juraschek: When the development plans for the BMW i3
became tangible, there wasn’t a single electric motor on the market
that would have met all our criteria. And today we are still just as
unwilling to make any compromises when it comes to key performance
characteristics, such as space requirements, output and weight. Drive
systems have always been an area that has set the BMW Group apart from
the competition. And exactly the same applies to electric drive systems.

All electric motors are basically the same, though. Can
customers really notice a difference?

Juraschek: The customer may not be able to identify
every characteristic of an electric motor, but a significant
difference does become apparent in head-to-head comparisons. Probably
the most obvious thing that the customer will notice is the speed up
to which the motor can sustain its performance. A more indirect effect
is that the vehicle’s range will drop faster if the electric motor
operates less efficiently.

The BMW Group is working together with Northvolt and Umicore.
Why is that exactly?

Juraschek: The objective is to establish a closed
lifecycle loop for sustainable battery cells in Europe. This starts
with a recyclable cell design and continues with a production process
that mainly uses renewable energies. The battery cells should first
fulfil their primary purpose in cars for as long as possible. Once
their lifecycle there comes to an end, they could potentially be used
in stationary energy storage devices. Finally, the battery cell is
recycled and the raw materials reused, completing the loop.

And what are the tasks fulfilled by each of the three partners?

Juraschek: The BMW Group is focusing on cell
development, Northvolt is building a cell production facility in
Sweden and Umicore is the materials cycle and recycling expert.

BMW had already come up with some developments for materials
recycling. What do you now expect to achieve by joining forces with Umicore?

Juraschek: Yes, both partners are embarking on this
project with their own fundamental developments. We are working
together with Umicore on the development of recyclable cell/battery
technology that is then followed by a sustainable production process.
At a later stage, large quantities of material will, of course, be fed
back into the loop for recycling. Before this happens, however, I
foresee a long phase of primary use in vehicles followed by
second-life use in stationary storage devices.

How does this secondary use work exactly?

Juraschek: As far as the BMW Group is concerned,
employing used batteries as stationary energy storage devices is a
logical step towards holistic sustainability. The use of stationary
energy storage devices is set to gain greatly in importance with the
ongoing energy revolution. At times when surplus electrical power is
generated from renewable sources, it can be stored in these stationary
devices. And during periods of low electricity generation, the storage
device can then release the accumulated power. We have already
successfully implemented this type of power grid stabilisation with
used batteries from BMW i3 and MINI E prototypes as part of joint
development projects with partners such as Vattenfall, Bosch and
NextEra. The energy storage farm at BMW Group Plant Leipzig, which
holds a total of 700 BMW i3 batteries, is one example of how
profitable use can be made of batteries at the end of their service
life in vehicles by giving them a second life as part of a sustainable
energy model. This demonstrates once again how the sustainability
concept at BMW i extends far beyond the vehicle.

Original Press Release

An interview with Jens Marquardt: “We made BMW Motorsport history this year.”

BMW:An interview with Jens Marquardt: “We made BMW Motorsport history this year.”

Munich. There is no longer any such thing as a winter break in
modern motor racing – not if you have such an exciting portfolio of
activity as BMW Motorsport. In the ABB FIA Formula E Championship,
BMW i Andretti Motorsport celebrated a thrilling debut with victory
in Ad Diriyah (KSA) in mid-December, while the first highlights of
the BMW M Motorsport programme are already scheduled for the new
year. In this interview, BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt
reviews 2018 and looks forward to the new season to explain why BMW
i Motorsport and BMW M Motorsport are a perfect match.

Mr. Marquardt, an eventful year of motorsport with many
highlights for BMW is coming to an end. Which were the most
memorable moments for you?

Jens Marquardt: “There are plenty to choose from, as it
was an intensive 2018 season for BMW Motorsport, with a comprehensive
programme from the very first race. Of course, I particularly like to
look back at the big wins – such as the one-two result for the BMW M6
GT3 at the Spa-Francorchamps 24-hour race, the first triumph for the
BMW M8 GTE in the US, winning the FIA GT World Cup in Macau or Timo
Glock’s DTM victory at Hockenheim after his epic duel with Gary
Paffett. António Félix da Costa’s win in our very first Formula E race
stands out in particular. BMW is just starting to race with
fully-electric cars, and we won at the first attempt. Thus, we made
BMW Motorsport history this year. Of course, the DTM guest appearance
by Alex Zanardi and our return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans were very
special too. In short, we experienced a host of great moments in 2018,
for BMW i Motorsport and also for BMW M Motorsport.”

Your memories of the Formula E season-opener will be
especially vivid. What was your experience of this weekend?

Marquardt: “The first competitive appearance with a new
race car like the BMW iFE.18 is always particularly exciting, even
more so when you consider that our Formula E debut was a historic
event. This is our first season in electric motor racing. It also
marks our return to single-seater racing after an absence of nearly
ten years. We already had a good feeling after the tests. We hoped
that our BMW i drivetrain would be competitive right from the start
and the season-opener in Ad Diriyah showed just that. António Félix da
Costa clinched pole position and then victory in the very first
Formula E race for BMW i Andretti Motorsport. That was the perfect way
to round off our 2018 season and the perfect start to our Formula E project.”
What does this success mean to you?

Marquardt: “I am particularly proud of this – and of the
whole team behind it. I know just how much passion and dedication
everyone involved has put into this project. Compared to other
manufacturers, the Formula E involvement is organised differently at
BMW. The Formula E project saw the closest collaboration ever between
BMW developers from motor racing and from production. The ideas just
keep flowing in our ‘TechLab’. What makes it even more special is that
the same people who developed the e-components for the Racing eDrive01
drivetrain are also working on the electric drives of the future for
the BMW Group. The result is an extremely efficient, high-performance
BMW i drivetrain, which – as we saw in the first race – is good enough
to win from the word go. On the track, we have also shown that BMW is
one of the world’s leading manufacturers in terms of electromobility.
This success gives a great boost to our series and motor racing
developers. Now we want to continue in this vein.”
And that was not the only premiere this year for BMW Motorsport…

Marquardt: “Correct. The BMW M8 GTE also completed its
first race in 2018. The appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where
we were certainly competitive in terms of speed until around the
halfway point, was the absolute highlight. That was also the location
for the official presentation of the new BMW 8 Series Coupe. That
model and the BMW M8 benefit from the on-track experience collected
during development of the BMW M8 GTE, and during competitive racing.
As the year progressed, we also recorded the first wins for our top
model in GT racing, in the IMSA series. In customer racing, the BMW M4
GT4 also celebrated its debut with our customer teams and drivers. Its
track record in the first year was simply sensational. The new car
celebrated wins and titles all over the world. It really hit the mark.”
And in the DTM?

Marquardt: “There was a whole lot going on, both on and
off the track. The result is what matters: the future of the DTM is
secure. In 2019, our new two-litre turbo engine will help us to battle
it out with competitors old and new and record results that were
missing this year and meant that we weren’t able to really get
involved in the battle for the title. Now that we can concentrate
fully on the sporting side of things, the series can only get even
stronger. Now it’s just about the racing.”
In your opinion, how do BMW i Motorsport and BMW M Motorsport
fit together?

Marquardt: “It is of fundamental importance that the two
motorsport areas do not operate solely for their own benefit. The
focus must be on the value for the company as a whole. Technology is
the decisive driver in both areas. The BMW M8 GTE is the pioneer for
its production counterpart, Formula E is our ‘TechLab’ for iNEXT and
future generations of cars from BMW i. Our focus is always on the
close alliance between production and motor racing, so that every race
kilometre and all the experience we gain also benefit BMW customers.
In strategic terms, we are very well set up overall. BMW i Motorsport
and BMW M Motorsport are also a great visual match. The shared design
features for all our cars ensure that this will remain so, regardless
of whether they use combustion or electric engines. These include the
matt black cockpit elements that can be found on the BMW iFE.18 and on
our BMW M race cars from the BMW M4 DTM to the BMW M4 GT4. I think
that these visual design elements are fantastic. They are symbolic of
how the components of the two worlds fit together.”
What will the new year bring in motorsport terms?

Marquardt: “I hope that the new season will provide BMW
Motorsport fans with thrilling races, wins and maybe even titles once
again. There will certainly be no time for a break in 2019: there are
two Formula E races and the 24-hour race in Daytona with Alex Zanardi
in January, then our debut in the Intercontinental GT Challenge at
Bathurst at the start of February, with Walkenhorst Motorsport and BMW
Team Schnitzer. This fast pace will continue throughout the whole
year. We are really looking forward to the new DTM with BMW Turbo
Power, the grand finale of the ‘WEC Super Season’ with the BMW M8 GTE
at Le Mans and much, much more. BMW Motorsport has never been so
multifaceted or had so many points of contact to series development.
Whatever happens, it’s going to be an eventful year.”

Original Press Release

BMW models enjoy awards-rich year in 2018.

BMW:BMW models enjoy awards-rich year in 2018.

Munich. BMW can look back on a highly successful 2018
yielding an impressive haul of awards and accolades. Over the course
of the past year, vehicles from BMW have managed to win over not just
automotive journalists and experts from around the world, but also the
readers of motoring magazines, market researchers and IT insiders.
What’s more, the award winners distinguished themselves in areas
ranging from product quality and design to technical innovation,
intelligent connectivity and sustainability. BMW picked up two of the
world’s most coveted honours in the process, with the title of World
Performance Car going to the BMW M5 and the International Engine of
the Year award bestowed on the BMW i8 for the fourth year in
succession. The string of successes racked up by the super-sporty BMW
M models, which topped the podium on several occasions, provided
further good news. And the premium carmaker also took home a hat-trick
of wins as the most innovative brand in the premium segment.

BMW 5 Series on top once again.

Following on from the triumphs of the previous 12 months, 2018
turned out to be another highly successful year for the BMW 5 Series
models, both in Germany and internationally. The awards for the 5
Series included Best Car in the upper mid-size category from German
motoring magazine auto motor und sport. In the Auto Trophy – World’s
Best Cars awards, the 5 Series again received the most votes in the
executive category from readers of Auto Zeitung magazine. In the
awards presented by Auto Test magazine, it was the BMW 530d Touring
that made the best impression and was ultimately declared the overall
winner, while the BMW 520d Touring was judged to offer the best
price-performance ratio in the upper mid-size segment. The BMW
5 Series received wide acclaim in the UK, too, where it picked up not
one but two coveted UK Car of the Year awards – for Best Executive Car
and Best Estate Car. The Sedan and Touring variants were also named
Car of the Year by other motoring journals, including What Car?,
Company Car Today and Car Express. Meanwhile, the BMW 520d xDrive
Touring emerged as the overall winner in the Tow Car Awards presented
jointly by What Car?, Practical Caravan and The Camping and
Caravanning Club.

Podium finishes for BMW M models.

In 2018, juries far and wide again considered BMW vehicles the
sporting benchmark, with models from BMW M GmbH leading the way. The
new BMW M5 high-performance sedan proved an instant hit at the World
Car Awards, duly earning the title of World Performance Car. The BMW
M5 and other BMW M models were a dominant force on winners’ lists in
Germany, too. The BMW M5 Competition was crowned Sports Car of the
Year by Auto Bild Sportscars magazine in the Sedans/Station Wagons
category, while the BMW M2 Competition was awarded the corresponding
accolade in the Small/Compact Car category.

In the readers’ poll conducted by sport auto magazine to find the
sportiest cars of the year, the Munich-based premium carmaker’s models
were voted top in eight different categories. This meant BMW collected
more titles than any other manufacturer in this year’s survey. The
roll-call of winners were bookended by the BMW M140i (Compact Cars
category) and high-performance BMW M5 Sedan (Sedans/Station Wagons
over €100,000), with the BMW M240i Coupe (Coupes up to €50,000), BMW
M550d xDrive (Diesels), BMW M3 with Competition Package
(Sedans/Station Wagons up to €100,000) and BMW M4 Coupe with
Competition Package (Coupes up to €100,000) in between. Alongside the
M models, the BMW 230i Convertible (Convertibles/Roadsters up to
€50,000) and BMW 330i (Sedans/Station Wagons up to €50,000) were also
voted best in class.

Electrified BMW powertrains still buzzing.
vast well of expertise in the field of alternative drive systems once
again earned it recognition, with a variety of awards for the
all-electric BMW i3, the progressive BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car
and the BMW 330e plug-in hybrid sedan. Readers of Auto Zeitung
magazine ranked the two BMW i models among the World’s Best Cars in
the categories for electric cars up to €50,000 and electric/hybrid
performance cars. The BMW i8 additionally picked up an International
Engine of the Year award for the fourth year in a row after again
fending off its rivals in the 1.4 litre to 1.8 litre category. The
electrified BMW models are proving highly popular in the UK, too,
Auto Express [PR1] magazine declaring the BMW i3 Rex to be
the Best Hybrid Car and the BMW i3 the Best Low Emissions Green Car.
Victory for the BMW 330e in the Best Plug-in Hybrid of the Year
rankings compiled by motoring journal Company Car Today rounded off a
success-soaked twelve months for BMW’s alternative drive systems.

Top accolades for BMW design.
Vehicles from BMW
also continually set new standards for their outstanding quality of
design. A string of awards presented to the Munich-based manufacturer
during 2018 in recognition of its design achievements confirmed as
much. No fewer than five cars from BMW received an iF Design Award
2018, one of the most prestigious seals of approval for design
excellence. The list of award winners comprised the BMW M5, BMW
6 Series Gran Turismo, BMW X2, BMW X3 and BMW i3s. The readers of Auto
Zeitung also delivered a resounding verdict in the Auto Trophy –
World’s Best Cars awards, picking the BMW brand as their clear
favourite in the category Best Design.

BMW Connected and co. ensure optimal connectivity both now and
in future.

BMW is forging ahead with the development of digitalised
services, the seamless integration of smartphones and the new digital
control/operating concept for its vehicles. The manufacturer’s
outstanding performance in the Car Connectivity Award – where the
readers of auto motor und sport are asked to vote for the best
connectivity technologies – provides compelling evidence of its
expertise in this area. BMW took the cherished top spot in a total of
three categories. The magazine’s readership judged BMW Connected to be
the best smartphone app, while the brand’s seamless Apple CarPlay
preparation was voted the best phone integration concept. BMW
Operating System 7.0 also left the motoring journal’s readers
thoroughly impressed, resulting in a further accolade in the
control/operating concept category. The new display and operating
system made its debut in the new BMW X5 and is geared more precisely
than ever to the driver’s needs. Content is personalised and can be
adapted by the user according to need. It is designed to provide the
driver with the right information in any situation and further improve
interaction between driver and vehicle.

Finally, the BMW brand’s capacity for innovation enjoyed multiple
endorsements from independent experts. The Center of Automotive
Management (CAM) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) bestowed the title
of Most Innovative Premium Brand on BMW, making it the overall winner
of the Automotive Innovations Award. The brand picked up further
prizes in the Vehicle Concepts/Body and Interface/Connectivity
categories in recognition of its innovative talents.

The major awards presented to BMW in 2018 at a glance:

World Car Awards.
World Performance
            BMW M5

Awards presented by auto motor und sport.

Best Car:
            BMW X1 (Category: Compact
            BMW 5 Series (Category: Upper
            BMW 2 Series Active
Tourer/BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer (Category:

Award presented by Engine Technology International.

International Engine of the Year:
            BMW i8
(Category: 1.4 litre –1.8 litre)

Awards presented by auto motor und sport and Moove.

Car Connectivity Award 2018:
            BMW Apple CarPlay
preparation (Category: Phone Integration)
Connected (Category: Smartphone Apps)
            BMW Operating
System 7.0 (Category: Control & Operating

Awards presented by Auto Bild Sportscars.

Sportscars 2018:
            BMW M2 Competition (Category:
Small/Compact Cars)
            BMW M5 Competition (Category:
Sedans/Station Wagons)

Awards presented by Auto Bild Allrad.

Allradautos des Jahres (AWD Cars of the Year):
BMW 3 Series (Category: AWD Cars up to €40,000)
X3 (Category: Off-roaders and SUVs from €30,000 – €50,000)

Awards presented by Auto Zeitung.

Auto Trophy – World’s Best Cars:
            BMW 3 Series
(Category: Mid-size)
            BMW 5 Series (Category:
            BMW X5 (Category: Luxury
            BMW i3 (Category: Electric Cars up to
            BMW i8 (Category: Electric/Hybrid
Performance Cars)
            BMW brand (Category: Best Design)

Awards presented by sport auto.

sport auto Award:
            BMW M140i (Category: Compact
            BMW M240i Coupe (Category: Coupes up to
            BMW 230i Convertible (Category:
Convertibles/Roadsters up to €50,000)
            BMW 330i
(Category: Sedans/Station Wagons up to €50,000)
M550d xDrive (Category: Diesels)
            BMW M3 with
Competition Package. (Cat.: Sedans/Station Wagons up
            BMW M4 Coupe with
Competition Package. (Cat.: Coupes up to €100,000)
BMW M5 (Category: Sedans/Station Wagons over €100,000)

Awards presented by PwC / Center of Automotive Management.

Automotive Innovations Awards:
            BMW as Most
Innovative Premium Brand
            BMW as Most Innovative
Premium Brand – Vehicle concepts/body
            BMW as Most
Innovative Premium Brand – Interface/connectivity

Awards presented by iF International Forum Design.

iF Design Award:
            BMW M5
            BMW 6
Series Gran Turismo
            BMW X2
            BMW i3s

Awards presented by Auto Test.
Auto Test
            BMW 530d Touring (Overall
            BMW 520d Touring (Category: Price-performance Ratio)

Award presented by What Car? (GB).

Car of the Year:
            BMW 5 Series (Category: Luxury Car)

Award presented by What Car?, Practical Caravan and The
Camping and Caravanning Club (GB).

Tow Car Awards:
            BMW 520d xDrive Touring
(Overall Winner)

Awards presented by UK Car of the Year (GB).

UK Car of the Year:
            BMW 5 Series (Best
Executive Car)
            BMW 5 Series Touring (Best Estate Car)

Awards presented by Company Car Today (GB).

Company Car Today Award:
            BMW 330e (Best Plug-in
Hybrid of the Year)
            BMW 5 Series (Car of the
            BMW 5 Series (Executive Car of the
            BMW X1 (Premium Crossover of the Year)

Awards presented by Auto Express (GB).

Best Cars:
            BMW i3 Rex (Best Hybrid Car)

            BMW i3 (Best Low Emissions Green Car)
New Car
            BMW 5 Series (Executive Car of the
            BMW X3 (Mid-size Premium SUV of the Year)

Award presented by Car and Driver (USA).

Best Trucks and SUVs:
            BMW X1 (Category:
Subcompact Luxury SUV)

Awards presented by JD Power (USA).

Initial Quality Study:
            BMW 4 Series (Category:
Compact Premium Car)
            BMW X1 (Category: Small Premium
            BMW X6 (Category: Midsize Premium SUV)

Award presented by Car Magazine (SA).

Best Buys:
            BMW 3 Series (Category: Premium
Midsize Car)

Original Press Release

A highlight to start the season: BMW Team Schnitzer and Walkenhorst Motorsport preparing for Bathurst.

BMW:A highlight to start the season: BMW Team Schnitzer and Walkenhorst Motorsport preparing for Bathurst.

Munich. The BMW M6 GT3 will be appearing in the upcoming
Intercontinental GT Challenge season as part of the BMW Motorsport
programme. BMW Team Schnitzer and Walkenhorst Motorsport will each
compete with one car in the opening race of the global race series
in Bathurst (AUS) on 3rd February 2019. Three BMW drivers
will be sharing each cockpit.

Both BMW teams have plenty of momentum as they
approach the legendary “Mount Panorama” in south-eastern Australia.
BMW Team Schnitzer claimed victory at the FIA GT World Cup in
mid-November – and intends to build on this strong performance at
Bathurst. As he was in Macau (CHN), Augusto Farfus (BRA) will be at
the wheel of the #42 BMW M6 GT3 in the Intercontinental GT Challenge.
His team-mates will be Martin Tomczyk (GER) and local hero Chaz
Mostert (AUS). Last year, BMW Team Schnitzer secured pole position at
Bathurst, but the BMW M6 GT3 then had to retire early from the race.

“Bathurst is one of the best circuits in the world,” said
Farfus. “Last year, we had a good weekend there overall but were
unable to top it off with a good result. However, we still learned a
lot in 2018. So, I think we are well set for the race in February. We
have certainly set ourselves some ambitious targets.”

The greatest triumph thus far in the history of Walkenhorst
Motorsport came with victory at the Spa-Francorchamps (BEL) 24-hour
race in 2018. The team, headed by principal Henry Walkenhorst (GER),
is now taking on the new IGTC challenge. Christian Krognes (NOR) will
be one of the drivers, accompanied by the BMW works drivers Nick
Catsburg (NED) and Mikkel Jensen (DEN). Jensen made the step up from
the BMW Motorsport Junior Programme in 2018.

Catsburg added: “Bathurst has long been on my to-do list – and
now I will be competing there for the very first time. I am really
looking forward to it. I am familiar with the circuit from the
simulator and I have watched all the races from recent years.
Christian Krognes and Mikkel Jensen are great drivers and Walkenhorst
Motorsport has just had a sensational year. Now we are preparing
intensively for this great event.”

The Intercontinental GT Challenge will continue at Laguna Seca
(USA, 31st March), Spa-Francorchamps (BEL,
27th/28th July), Suzuka (JPN, 25th
August) and Kyalami (RSA, 23rd November).

Original Press Release

BMW Group at the CES 2019 in Las Vegas. Virtual drive in the BMW Vision iNEXT.

BMW:BMW Group at the CES 2019 in Las Vegas. Virtual drive in the BMW Vision iNEXT.

Munich/Las Vegas. At this year’s Consumer Electronics
Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the BMW Group will showcase the future of
driving pleasure and the potential of digital connectivity in a
variety of different ways. From January 8-11 2019, visitors will have
their first chance to take a virtual drive in the BMW Vision iNEXT,
accompanied by the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. In this way,
the BMW Group is underlining its innovative capabilities in the fields
of design, automated driving, connectivity, electrification, and
services (D+ACES), which are all defined as key areas of future
activity in its corporate strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT.

The vision vehicle will be displayed alongside a sophisticated
mixed-reality installation that, for the first time, provides a
virtual and immersive impression of what it is like to drive
autonomously, emission-free, and fully connected in the BMW Vision
iNEXT. To begin the simulation, the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant
suggests an agenda for the day and plans the activities for the trip
perfectly. With virtual reality goggles and a specially-designed
spatial concept, visitors are able to immerse themselves in this
virtual world: Initially, they drive the BMW Vision iNEXT themselves,
but the vehicle soon takes over the driving function. In autonomous
“Ease” mode, the driver interacts with the BMW Intelligent Personal
Assistant, which makes suggestions and controls various digital
services for the driver – from videoconferencing, to shopping, to
smart home functions.

With its ground-breaking technology for highly automated driving,
intelligent connectivity, and innovative display control concepts, the
BMW Vision iNEXT showcases totally new ways to utilize driving time.
Visitors can explore the fundamental design principle referred to as
“Shy Tech” – discretely integrated technology that only becomes
visible when needed – directly, thanks to two further exhibits outside
the vehicle. The interior of the BMW Vision iNEXT is designed as a
mobile environment that enhances quality of life. This “Favorite
Space” answers the question: “What will cars look like when they no
longer have to be driven by a person, but still can be?”

The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant marks the dawn of a new era
for the BMW brand, using natural language for interaction with the
vehicle and to access functions. In the new BMW X5 visitors can check
out the functions that will be available for new models from March
2019, along with selected future capabilities of the BMW Intelligent
Personal Assistant. The personal assistant is also an integral part of
the stand concept. It welcomes visitors at the entrance to the stand
and guides them to the center of the exhibition through sound and
light experiences.

The BMW Group presence at the CES 2019 is completed by spectacular
outdoor vehicle presentations. BMW Motorrad will demonstrate one of
its research highlights in the field of automated driving: a
self-riding BMW R 1200 GS. The insights gained with this test bike
will help provide even better assistance with difficult maneuvers in
the future. For the first time, visitors can also take a seat in the
all-new, first-ever BMW X7 and enjoy being driven through an
impressive off-road course.

Original Press Release

“A bit like Jimi Hendrix”: virtuoso performance from Alessandro Zanardi behind the wheel of the BMW M8 GTE.

BMW:“A bit like Jimi Hendrix”: virtuoso performance from Alessandro Zanardi behind the wheel of the BMW M8 GTE.

Munich. The BMW M Motorsport engineers compare him to a
drummer, while Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) himself says: “I feel a bit
like Jimi Hendrix.” The manner in which the BMW works driver
controls the BMW M8 GTE that he will drive during the 24 Hours of
Daytona (USA) in January is comparable to a virtuoso performance.
Together with BMW M Motorsport, Zanardi has developed a special
system that allows him to accelerate with a throttle ring on the
steering wheel but also allows him to brake by hand, by using a
brake lever.


“When we started to think about what I would need to drive the car
longer in distance in an endurance race, the idea was for sure to
forget the legs and to do everything with my hands,” explains Zanardi.
That was the genesis of a plan to install a brake lever instead of the
brake pedal that he pushed by moving his hips and applying pressure
through his artificial leg. This lever is mounted on the transmission
tunnel and connected to the brake. Zanardi accelerates by using a
throttle ring on the steering wheel, primarily with his left hand. He
can change gear with a shift paddle on the steering wheel. There is
also a switch on the brake lever that allows him to shift down when
braking into turns.

The new system endured its first serious test during a race when
Zanardi guested in the DTM at Misano (ITA) in August. With success:
driving the modified BMW M4 DTM, Zanardi secured a spectacular fifth
place in Sunday’s race. Based on the experience gathered in Misano,
the BMW M Motorsport engineers and Zanardi then began to optimise the
system for the 24 Hours of Daytona (26th/27th January 2019).

“In Misano when I was driving the DTM car, I realized that my right
hand is so busy,” explains the Italian driver. “I could not keep my
hand long enough onto the steering wheel to push the radio button and
talk to the pit. Because at one point the corner was coming so I had
to reach for the brake lever. And it’s more important to brake rather
than to continue your conversation. And especially in a 24-hour race
you have to be able to report to your pit whatever is happening, the
state of the car and so on. When you change something so radical and
switch to a brake lever, there are a lot of other collateral items
that need to be adjusted. The experience from Misano helped us to
implement some different solutions, lay-out of some functions, in
buttons and triggers and switches in a different way.”

There is also a new horn-like extension on the left-hand side of the
steering wheel: “When I put a lot of lock approaching left-hander
turns I have difficulties to reach the throttle. This extension will
grant me the possibility to operate the throttle if I have to, leaning
up against something solid which is been shaped in this particular way.”

All that helps Zanardi to drive the #24 BMW M8 GTE from the BMW Team
RLL around the circuit like clockwork at the 24-hour race in Daytona.
However, he emphasises that: “Although it may not look that difficult,
it is in reality. There are switches and buttons that I have to deal
with while I am driving. There is almost no point where either of my
hands are free enough to focus on only one operation. I may have to
push a button while my fingers are opening the throttle with the ring
behind the steering wheel, I may have to trigger a downshift while
pressing the brake lever. I feel a bit like Jimi Hendrix: I play with
both of my hands.”

Zanardi has to complete – and be able to coordinate – extremely
complex processes in every turn: “When you press the lever with your
hand, on the same time you have to have a different feel with your
fingers. So your muscles are doing one thing, and other muscles are
doing another thing. This is incredibly complicated. Probably, it will
be easier for a guitar player, someone who is used to use his hands in
a different way. And while I am doing this, my head is basically
focused on applying the right amount of pressure but I am kind
flipping the throttle as I need to feel a little bit of power but at
the same time I am steering with the left hand. So every single muscle
is dedicated to handle a particular operation and synchronise this
all. And then I have to change something if something goes wrong –  if
the car goes sideways or you go a little deep into the corner and you
lock the front wheel. Then I have to reduce a little bit the pressure
and maybe downshift a second longer. Well, at times it gets complicated.”

Alessandro Zanardi – the virtuoso in the cockpit of the BMW M8 GTE is
ready for the 24 Hours of Daytona with BMW M Motorsport and the BMW
Team RLL.

Note to editors:

On the BMW Group Sports Facebook channel, you can find an onboard
video that shows how Zanardi controls the BMW M8 GTE as he drives
around the Daytona International Speedway:

We will publish more features about various topics in the weeks
leading up to Zanardi’s appearance at Daytona.

Original Press Release

The BMW Group Autonomous Driving Campus: the first 450 days. Six questions for Elmar Frickenstein, Senior Vice President Automated Driving and Driver Assistance, BMW AG.

BMW:The BMW Group Autonomous Driving Campus: the first 450 days. Six questions for Elmar Frickenstein, Senior Vice President Automated Driving and Driver Assistance, BMW AG.

In September 2017, you and your team moved to the Autonomous
Driving Campus in Unterschleissheim.
What prompted the BMW
Group’s decision to create this new site?
We are
currently experiencing the largest paradigm shift in the history of
the automotive industry. The industry is set to witness more change in
the next decade than in the past 30 years. Today, we are already on
the brink of highly automated driving. There are many challenges to
overcome as we progress towards highly and fully automated driving,
the biggest of which is surely to handle the overall complexity of the
task. To succeed, we must have the courage to change our way of
thinking. And this is exactly what we have done. Having the Campus as
a central site where all of the BMW Group’s autonomous driving
resources are bundled forms a fundamental element of our all-embracing
approach. Here, we work closely interconnected also with our
technology and collaboration partners on the development of the
necessary technical solutions. For example, software developers can
immediately test out code they have just written – in the actual
vehicle and in just a few steps. Everything is done on a common code
base. The Campus with all its facilities was completed in record time;
we moved in just one year after receiving the go-ahead.

After the first 450 days there, what changes do you feel
working together at the Campus has brought about?
the same time as moving to the Campus last year, we adopted an agile
working method known as LeSS – Large Scale Scrum. And we aligned the
organisational structure to the new working environment. Working in
feature teams with end-to-end responsibility, our employees at the
Campus produce valid results in two-week sprints that they can test
out and experience in the actual vehicle. It’s incredible to see just
how much this new way of working together motivates the developers.
The remarkable spirit I can sense here on a daily basis is another
thing that reminds me of Silicon Valley.
That is why I
personally see the Autonomous Driving Campus as symbolising the dawn
of a new era in mobility. I’ve been at BMW for 30 years and have both
witnessed and played an active part in many changes. But when I moved
to my new workplace at the Campus on September 18th  2017,
I was in no doubt that a new chapter in the BMW Group story was
beginning here. The Campus is different, new, innovative and quite
unique in the automotive industry. We need to embrace change in this
way if we want to master the complexity of autonomous driving; the
development of new technologies calls for new approaches.

What do you like most about the new working
The agile working method is based, among other
things, on the principle of ongoing improvements for both products and
methods. For example, the teams convene for a ‘sprint review’ at the
end of each sprint. They present their results to all the employees in
a kind of marketplace. This means that when they plan the next sprint
afterwards, consideration can also be given to issues arising at short
notice as a top priority. Then there is the ‘retrospective’, when the
teams share observations from the last sprint and work together to
identify measures for improvements in the next sprint. The beauty of
it all is that these regular exchanges put the developers in a
position where they can make decisions themselves, which is crucial
not only for product advancement, but for this style of teamwork as
well. Hierarchical delegation becomes a thing of the past as a result,
while knowledge is scaled to maximum effect and made available to
everyone. That’s how you develop for the future.

What are the next development steps towards autonomous driving
at the BMW Group?
With the Campus, the switch to the
LeSS working method and our organisational structure, we have created
a solid basis for mastering the complexity of the task. This enables
us to establish new key technologies such as artificial intelligence
and simulation as the focus of development. We are also gradually
expanding our fleet of vehicles. Currently we have 80 vehicles
operating in Europe, the USA and China. The aim with these measures is
to validate our highly and fully automated driving technology and to
carry out the transition from demonstrator development to production development.

How will customers benefit?
In 2021, we will be
offering customers a perfected system in the BMW iNEXT that adds
noticeable value to the vehicle experience. Highly and fully automated
driving will give our customers back one of the most precious
commodities of all: time. The optional “Highway Pilot” will allow
customers to drive on the motorway from Munich to Hamburg, for
example, at speeds of up to 130 km/h (81 mph) and spend the time doing
other things, such as reading a newspaper or just enjoying the
landscape. We will also be operating pilot fleets with Level 4
technology based on the BMW iNEXT in selected regions. Our motto is
always “safety first”. With the right technology, the right technology
partners and an agile working model, automated driving will make our
roads safer for everyone. Our Campus creates the basis for
customer-centric development. Thanks to the unique spirit instilled by
the Campus, we are changing the face of personal mobility for our
customers and giving them back valuable time.

Finally, if you had to describe the Campus with three
hashtags, what would they be?

#EmbracingChange #Transformation #GermanSiliconValley

Original Press Release

Merry Christmas powered by BMW i.

BMW:Merry Christmas powered by BMW i.

The BMW i3 is silent and carries much electricity on board; often
even more than what is needed for driving. This video shows what could
be done with it. The BMW i engineers are working on it.. (BMW i3 as a
electricity dispenser).

The figures for fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and power consumption
are calculated based on the measurement methods stipulated in the
current version of Regulation (EU) 2007/715. The information is based
on a vehicle with basic equipment in Germany; ranges take into account
differences in wheel and tyre size selected as well as optional
equipment and can change during configuration.

The details marked * have already been calculated based on the new
WLTP test cycle and adapted to NEDC for comparison purposes. In these
vehicles, different figures than those published here may apply for
the assessment of taxes and other vehicle-related duties which are
(also) based on CO2 emissions.

For further details of the official fuel consumption figures and
official specific CO2emissions of new cars, please refer to the
“Manual on fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and power consumption
of new cars”, available at sales outlets, from Deutsche Automobil
Treuhand GmbH (DAT), Hellmuth-Hirth-Str. 1, 73760 Ostfildern-
Scharnhausen and at

Original Press Release

Rebirth in Dingolfing: The BMW 1600 GT convertible.

BMW:Rebirth in Dingolfing: The BMW 1600 GT convertible.

Munich/Dingolfing. The vehicle collection of BMW
Group Classic is now richer by another unique special. This is all
thanks to the vocational training team at the BMW plant in Dingolfing.
The apprentices restored the BMW 1600 GT convertible in a project
lasting several years under the guidance of their trainers. The
four-seater painted in silver has a red hood and its unusual history
makes it a revealing representative of the time when the company BMW
made the transition from being a niche automaker to a mass-production
car manufacturer enjoying steady growth in success and an
international reputation.

The classic car now radiates a new lustre. It is the only surviving
example of originally two prototypes that BMW commissioned from the
Italian bodywork designer Pietro Frua. In autumn of 1967, both
automobiles left the production buildings in Dingolfing for the first
time. The test drives for one of the vehicles came to an end with an
accident and the vehicle was then scrapped. The second car was granted
a special honour. The BMW 1600 GT convertible was handed over to the
major shareholder in BMW AG at the time, Herbert Quandt. It remained
in the hands of the family for many years and was then passed on to
other private owners. A fashion model from Munich enjoyed the wind
coursing through her hair as she drove along in the open-top BMW and
the rare treasure was then acquired by a businessman from Fürth in
Franconia, and subsequently found a new home at the Munich-based
Allianz Centre for Engineering.

Major restoration work was carried out there on the BMW 1600 GT for
the first time so as to ensure that the car was preserved for
posterity. When the experts from BWM Group Classic became aware of the
unique special from Dingolfing and they succeeded in agreeing an
acquisition, a plan emerged to return the automobile to its original
condition at the very place where it first saw the light of day. The
restoration at the Dingolfing plant became a project that formed part
of the training of apprentices who were aspiring to become bodywork
and vehicle construction mechanics.

BMW Group Classic supported the project in a number of ways including
the expanded options for procuring original parts that had recently
become available. Furthermore, replicas of numerous components that
were no longer obtainable were painstakingly remanufactured.

The rebirth of the BMW 1600 GT convertible in Dingolfing also
rekindled memories of a particularly exciting chapter in the history
of BMW. When the two-door car came into existence, the company had
just taken over the Dingolfing vehicle manufacturer Glas in that same
year. Since 1955, the company had successfully produced the
Goggomobile. In 1964, Glas launched the sporty, elegant Glas 1300 GT
styled by Frua in the marketplace and one year later the more powerful
Glas 1700 GT. Glas was looking for a strong partner and the automaker
initially agreed a joint-distribution operation with BMW but this
ultimately led to a complete takeover by the Munich company. The
compact sports car was then fitted with the rear axle, the seats and
the 77 kW/105 hp engine from the BMW 1600 TI, a BMW kidney grille for
the front end of the automobile and the round headlights from the BMW
02 Series.

The idea of placing the sporty coupé alongside a convertible came
from the USA. A proposal was made by the importer Max Hoffmann to
develop a new version of the coupé with a 2.0 litre engine and an
open-top version. In October 1967, Frua delivered a convertible body
mounted on a strengthened floor assembly. This was then painted in
Dingolfing where all further assembly work took place. On 16 November,
the BMW 1600 GT convertible was entered in the plant’s production book
as being completed. However, the plans for series production and
export to the USA never came to fruition.

Only a single example of the Italian-Bavarian convertible was ever
licensed for driving on public roads. 51 years after the first
automobile was manufactured, its second production was registered.
This time the completion of the car’s restoration was celebrated to
give BMW Group Classic another gem for its collection.

Original Press Release