In March of this year, we headed to Auckland for a BMW update – what was happening both globally and locally with BMW, including updates on new models arriving. That visit included a 600km drive home in the new X1, an awesome small SUV.
Come July and we headed back to Auckland for a further update, along with some news of an all-new BMW initiative. This visit would coincide with the shootout in Auckland central, meaning that DriveLife – since we were already on the flight – being the only magazine represented at the conference.
Adam Shaver, Managing Director of BMW New Zealand, presented all the facts and numbers around BMW’s performance since the last time we caught up with him.
Even with supply restrictions still in place in certain areas, Adam claims that there has still been an overall increase of 5.4% in BMW sales globally, with over 1 million cars sold so far in 2023. This means that BMW retains its crown of the best-selling premium car maker, says Adam, a title he claims they have maintained for over ten years straight. A number to notice here is that BMW EV models had an increase of 101% over the previous year.
MINI did well too, with 140,000 sales so far this year and Rolls Royce also sold more cars with total sales of 3,183. BMW Motorad, the motorcycling division, increased sales to 112,000 globally.
Overall, the BMW Group (including MINI, Rolls Royce and BMW Motorad) increased sales by 4.7% when compared to 2022.
Adam cites the 4 Series BMW having driven the growth with a majoring of this due to sales of the i4 (EV). This is reflected in MINI sales as well, with the MINI EV as the most popular model. You can read out MINI EV review here.
BMW UPDATE| Four Milestones
Picking four specific items from BMW’s recent achievements, Adam selected the following to represent what he suggests are the Big Four:
- The My BMW & MINI app reached 10 million active users – “This adds to a huge impact on customer satisfaction” he says. That 10 million active users includes 2 million that use the app every single day.
- BMW Art Car; this is a regular BMW feature, and this year artist Julie Mehretu will create the 20th BMW Art Car, using an M hybrid V8 as her canvas.
- AI technology has reached automotive manufacturing, with the Regensburg plant (near Munich) using AI to inspect the paint finish. This is the first automotive plant to use AI, and plans are in place to develop other systems to use the power of generative AI to improve the production process.
- The first-ever foreign BMW plant (in South Africa) celebrated its 50th birthday. Quite an achievement. This plant has built over 1.6m units since its opening, and is now the primary source of the X3 model, including those sold in New Zealand. This plant will be transitioning to building EVs including the X3 plug-in hybrid (PHEV) in 2024.
BMW UPDATE| BMW Art Car
The BMW Art Car has a pretty interesting history. It continues an almost 50-year tradition that has delighted not only motorsport enthusiasts but anyone into design or the arts, technology and mobility. Since 1975, artists such as Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Jenny Holzer, Jeff Koons, Cao Fei, and John Baldessari have created racing cars for BMW.
The initiative came from French racing driver and art lover Hervé Poulain, who, in collaboration with then Head of BMW Motorsport Jochen Neerpasch, asked his artist friend Alexander Calder to paint an automobile. The result was a BMW 3.0 CSL that competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1975, where it became a crowd favorite. This was the birth of the BMW Art Car Collection.
BMW M Hybrid V8
The canvas for the 20th BMW Art Car is the BMW M Hybrid V8. BMW M GmbH’s new competition car in endurance racing features a hybrid drive system with around 640 hp, whose 4.0-liter V8 engine is supported by an electric motor (max speed: up to 345 kph/215 mph, depending on track layout). This makes the prototype race car, which weighs just 1,030 kilograms, the poster child for typical M performance and the fascination with electrified drives.
The BMW M Hybrid V8 is currently competing successfully in the GTP (Grand Touring Prototype) class of the North American IMSA endurance racing series. BMW M Motorsport will also return to the FIA World Endurance Championship in the 2024 season. In the races for the official FIA World Endurance Championship, the BMW M Hybrid V8 will face top-class competition in the Hypercars category. This means that the BMW M Hybrid V8 will also be competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans – the first BMW M Motorsport prototype since the BMW V12 LMR won the classic in 1999.
BMW UPDATE | New Zealand
The New Zealand numbers for car sales pretty much reflect what’s happening globally for BMW. To date for 2023, they’ve sold 908 units here, up 2.7% on 2022. BMW EV sales are up even more at 205 year to date. That’s 13.3% more than 2022.
While overall MINI sales in New Zealand are up 7.3%, the EV model has remained with the same amount of sales (108), even though it’s the most popular MINI model.
BMW New Zealand says they are one of the only premium brands showing growth in EV sales with 1 in every 4 BMWs sold here as a full EV. Adam points out that this is even though they do not have any EV models under the $80K threshold to receive a clean car rebate.
Interestingly, the BMW X5 is the country’s most popular new BMW, and sales of this model have increased by 35.9% from the previous year. New Zealand stands alone with the X5 as a most popular model, showing our apparent love for medium SUVs.
Let’s not forget that New Zealand sells more M models of BMW per head of population than any other country. Apparently, we lost that title last year, but have it back again. In fact, year to date there have been 257 M cars sold, or 28% of total sales.
BMW UPDATE | Destination Charging
This is an all-new offering from BMW, where they are partnering with certain premium business, such as Millbrook Resort in Queenstown or the Hyatt in Auckland. This partnership will see 4-6 BMW wallbox chargers at each location (with more to come) and these chargers will be available for all EVs to connect to – not just BMW.
BMW UPDATE | Free Wallbox
We’re reminded that all new BMW EV buyers are offered a free wallbox to assist in fast charging at home, certainly something that’s quite rare for new EV sales.
BMW UPDATE | Product Update
Tim Michaelson, BMW New Zealand Product Manager, gave DriveLife the update on the new models coming soon from BMW, and there are plenty.
April saw the new M2, and the highly anticipated M3 Touring is arriving right now. Apparently the response globally has exceeded all expectations for the M3 Touring, and we don’t expect any less for the New Zealand market.
June saw the M3 CS launched, a limited edition, high performance version of the iconic M3. New Zealand’s allocation for this model is just 11 units.
The 2 series Active Tourer is arriving shortly, and it’s almost completely new. There will be a PHEV model available, it will have BMW’s current curved display, and will run version 8 of BMW’s operating system. The PHEV model will be the 225e xDrive with up to 90km range on a charge. This car is priced at a sharp $78,500, so is under the $80,000 threshold to get a clean car rebate. Tim points out that this model gets the maximum possible discount due to its very low CO2 emissions.
BMW UPDATE | X5 and X6
Let’s not forget the new X5 and X6 that are arriving now. This model now comes as a 48-volt mild hybrid and is a substantial upgrade over the current generation to the point where BMW are calling it an all-new car. The X5 and X6 will get the new curved displays, and new driver assist systems.
The engines are changed too: while BMW will retain x30D model it will also be a mild hybrid, and the xDrive 50e will be a plug-in hybrid with up to 110km range on battery. The flagship X5 M60i will feature an M TwinPower turbo 4.4-litre V8 and will also have mild hybrid technology. This enables 390kW of power and 750Nm of torque.
Both the X5 and X6 will feature the new Automated Manoeuvre Assistant, that:
- The feature provides automatic support in tight, difficult and recurring parking or manoeuvring
- Parking solutions for your own garage or parking space can be saved. Stored driving situation can then be selected by the user and vehicle completes the parking manoeuvre independently.
- Up to 10 manoeuvres with a length of up to 200m each at different locations can be saved.
- Vehicle can also leave the saved route for up to 30cm in the event of obstacles.
- You can also control parking manoeuvres remotely via Apple iPhone (iOS 16.2 or later). This is handy if the parking space is too tight to open doors. The driver can exit the car and finish the parking remotely.
BMW UPDATE | XM
This is an all-new model, and the first-ever M car developed inhouse since the original M1. It’s a big SUV that will get to 100km/h in 4.3 seconds and is powered by a 480kW 4.4-litre V8 and plug-in hybrid technology. Torque is rated at 800Nm and the car will do 88km on a single charge before the V8 kicks in. A higher-performance version is arriving late in 2023 and will be the most powerful car BMW M have ever made, with 550kW (737hp).
With a slew of new models coming out, BMW certainly seems set to continue its growth in sales. We look forward to receiving some of the new models to carry out our full and comprehensive review.