SINGAPORE — The BMW Group is holding what it calls the “largest single automotive group showcase in Asia”, with its BMW World 2014 exhibition, to be held this weekend at Halls B and C of the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, right here in Singapore.
Among the key highlights at the three day-long event, from 1st to 3rd August, include the much-heralded launch of the BMW i brand in Singapore, accompanied by two of its landmark models, namely the BMW i3 electric city car, and the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid supercar.
Aside from the pair of BMW i cars, two other ‘normal’ BMW models will also be making their debuts at the event, being the X4 crossover and the 4 Series Gran Coupe. Also on display at the show will be the landmark 2 Series Active Tourer (the first-ever front-wheel-drive BMW), as well as concepts such as the Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe, the Vision ConnectedDrive, and the MINI Clubman Concept.
The i3’s arrival marks not just the debut of BMW’s first electric car to be sold in Singapore, but also kicks off the sustainable mobility movement for the brand. BMW hopes that by taking the first step in offering the product and the accompanying infrastructure, it will spur the relevant stakeholders into viewing electric motoring as a viable solution in addressing Singapore’s urban mobility needs.
In Singapore, the i3 is targeted towards young urban professionals whose commuting needs mainly take place in and around the city, although given Singapore’s compact size, there’s no doubt that the i3 is capable of meeting the majority of local drivers’ driving needs. CarBuyer has given its verdict on how the i3 is like to drive, so the key details you need to know here is that the i3’s price tag starts off at $229,800, inclusive of COE. For that price you get a range extender engine that gives the i3 a cruising range of around 240 to 340km on a full charge, a charging wall box that can be installed at your home, as well as access to public charging networks.
READ MORE: BMW i3 review
On the other end of the BMW i scale is the i8 supercar, which is a plug-in hybrid that is expected to be a rare sights on our roads, for the time being at least. Singapore’s i8 allocation for this year is said to be in the low double digits, and all of them have already been spoken for, so even if you want one, you’ll have to wait your turn (mid 2015 at the earliest), and prove that your residence has the necessary means to juice up the car.
But, if you can afford it, the i8 is certainly well-worth the wait. Its head-turning body cloaks an astonishing drivetrain, comprising of an electric motor producing 131bhp, mated to a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine that churns out 231bhp, for a total power output of 362bhp. The result is a car that can go from 0-100km/h in a scant 4.4 seconds, and yet can return an average fuel consumption of 2.1 litres per 100km, and emit just 49g/km of CO2 from its tailpipes.
READ MORE: BMW i8 review
Crossover SUVs being a big deal these days, it’s no wonder that BMW wants as many slices of the pie as it can. The odd-looking X6 has proven to be a surprise success for the brand, and the natural progression is of course to expand upon that, which is where the X4 comes in. Targeted at those who like the X6’s “Sport Activity Coupe” concept but prefer a smaller-sized vehicle, the X4 will be available in Singapore initially in xDrive35i guise, with a 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 302bhp. Prices start at $328,800, including COE.
READ MORE: BMW X4 review
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe
The second ‘Gran Coupe’ in BMW’s line-up, following the 6 Series Gran Coupe, is a car that aims straight for the Audi A5 Sportback, a model that has found much popularity by offering the sleek looks of a coupe matched with the practicality of a hatchback. The 4 Series Gran Coupe joins a burgeoning range of BMW niche models, with the intention of offering something for everybody, and the model range kicks off with the 435i Gran Coupe, retailing for $312,800, with COE.
READ MORE: BMW M4: Hot Lap
BMW 2 Series Active Tourer
Not for sale in Singapore yet, but nevertheless present at the show, is the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer. It may look rather unassuming sitting at the corner of the hall, but this car marks a breakthrough for the Bavarian brand, being its first-ever mass-produced front-wheel-drive car. Essentially a compact crossover MPV/hatch designed to tackle the likes of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class and Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan, the 2 Series Active Tourer offers classic BMW engineering wrapped in a practical everyday package. The car is expected to go on sale here by the end of this year, and expect its price to closely match its three-pointed star rival (currently selling at around the $160k range), depending on engine options and COE prices.
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