Bob Harper · Blog
“Do you know Jeremy Clarkson?” and “What’s your favourite car?” tend to be the first two questions you’re asked when folk you’ve met for the first time discover you are a motoring journalist. The first answer is simple: “No, but I was at the same media event as him once,” but the second is a little harder to answer.
I’m sure we’ve all got stories about the one that got away. The car we sold, the car we were offered or could have bought for what now seems like a knock-down bargain price. Of course, if I’d known that BMW E52 Z8s were going to go mad in recent years I’d have bought the one I was offered at around £40k by a main dealer not long after it was launched.
It’s not often that two M cars arrive in the space of a few weeks, but here we are with the bookends of the fullfat M range, the M2 and the XM, both being put through their paces by the motoring press at the same time. One’s a traditional M offering: straight-six and rear-wheel-drive, and available with a manual gearbox, while the second is a massive SUV powered by a hybrid V8 powertrain… can you guess which one received the more favourable reviews?
I’ve always been a sucker for a Nürburgring trip. I’ve lost count of how many times I have visited, but it’s in the double figures. It’s not a difficult or particularly expensive one to tick off the bucket list, either, as I often tell people who wistfully talk of ‘one day I’ll go there’! Two and a half hours from Glasgow sees me at the Newcastle ferry for a relaxed (or party-spec, depending on your mood) overnight crossing to Amsterdam.
A couple of months back, I had a keyboard full of vitriol, and I was getting ready to unleash it towards the BMW i Vision Dee concept that was revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Something held me back, though, and after a couple of months of reflection, I feel able to give a slightly more considered verdict on this latest concept car. Initially, I was struggling to see past the crappy name – Dee standing for ‘Digital Emotional Experience’.
BMW M has certainly been enjoying itself during its 50th anniversary year, and the debut of machinery such as the M3 Touring and the M4 CSL have been some of the highlights. More recently, we’ve seen the world premiere of two further M cars, topping and tailing the range in the guise of the all-new XM and the perhaps rather more enticing M2.
This is the end, beautiful friend…” so said Jim Morrison and The Doors all the way back in 1967. The song – The End – was, of course, part of the soundtrack to Apocalypse Now and while I’m not quite as unhinged as many of the film’s characters become I am deeply saddened that after 28-years BMW Car will be closing its pages for the very last time.
Maybe it’s my age, or perhaps it’s simply that I’ve been out in the sun for too long this summer but I have a severe hankering for a convertible. Normally I’d go for the most practical option which would see me behind the wheel of a 3 Series cabrio and having had a quick look at the classifieds it looks like there are some real bargains out there if you’re not to fussy about which generation you go for and which engine you’ve got under the bonnet.
So it’s finally arrived, the third car to bear those hallowed letters – CSL. Unveiled at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este the G82 M4 CSL will no doubt be quite the performer but I can’t help but feel a trifle conflicted about the car. On the one hand I’m delighted that BMW is still prepared to put the effort into producing halo machines like this but I’m not quite sure that its execution is as good as it could have been.
I must admit that when it comes to art I’m no world authority on the subject. I like some, can take or leave plenty of it and also indulge in some serious head scratching trying to understand why some folk are prepared to pay so much for something that you couldn’t pay me to hang on my wall. I wouldn’t say I’m a philistine, just not an aficionado either.
When it was launched ten years ago the F30 was the most advanced 3 Series ever made, today it represents an excellent used buy... Words: Words: Bob Harper Photography: BMW. Ultimate Guide: BMW F30 / F31 3 Series It’s 10-years since the F30 generation 3 Series arrived in our lives. We delve deep into the model to reveal everything there is to know...
The M2 and M2 Competition could be the last in a grand dynasty of M cars – small, agile, analogue and a hoot to drive. Buy now before it’s too late. Words: Bob Harper. Photography: Jason Dodd. The Last Emperor? The M2 F87 is the car of the moment – find out everything you need to know about owning this BMW M pocket rocket. So what’s the best M car you can buy and own right now? The one that will have enthusiasts of the future going all dewy-eyed and wishing for the good old days?