The BMW Z4's rear decals | All photos by Kap Maceda Aguila

All-new BMW Z4 and 3 Series now in PH

All-new iterations of two “iconic” BMW models were unveiled last night in Makati City. New generations of the Z4 roadster and 3 Series are now available in the Philippines through the official importer and distributor of the German auto brand, SMC Asia Car Distributors Corporation (SMCACDC).

The 3 Series, now on its seventh generation, is BMW’s bestselling model – moving more than 15 million units worldwide since its debut in 1975. A SMCACDC release said that the car “epitomizes the concept of sporty driving pleasure in the global premium midsize class.”

BMW Group Asia managing director Christopher Wehner (center) with (from left) BMW Group Asia sales manager Sue Ann Phoon, SMC Asia Car Distributors Corporation president Spencer Yu, Jomar Ang of SMC, and BMW Group Asia corporate affairs director Preeti Gupta

In a speech at the launch, BMW Group Asia managing director Christopher Wehner declared that “even in a challenging environment, BMW is still attracting new customers and, of course, retaining old (ones). We are able to do this because we have a very strong portfolio of products.”

The moment of unveiling | Video by the author

The executive noted that the company has registered growth as of April this year as it has already delivered “more than 800,000 cars from the BMW Group, and roughly 700,000 for the BMW brand.” He attributed this to the “unexpected high demand for the first-ever BMW X7 and the BMW 8 Series,” along with clamor for the 3 Series. Wehner added that X models account for more than 40 percent of sales.

Meanwhile, he credits the local success of the brand to the “strong partnership” with SMCACDC which has been “commendable” in its handling of the franchise.

For his part, SMCACDC president Spencer Yu said the firm “looks forward to an exciting second half” of the year. This follows a challenging 2018 for much of the car industry still reeling from the effects of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, which generally drove vehicle prices up with some exceptions.

Yu revealed that both the 3 Series and Z4 will come with a five-year/200,000-km. warranty.

BMW 3 Series

Produced in Munich, the all-new 3 Series sedan is marginally larger than the outgoing iteration. It is 77 millimeters longer (at 4,709mm), 16mm wider (at 1,827mm), and 1mm taller (at 1,435mm). Its wheelbase stretches by 41mm to 2,851mm, while track widths also grow.

The familiar BMW kidney grille is fringed by headlights with a two-way split emphasized by a notch in the front apron that rises up into the headlight contour. Full-LED headlights “with extended contents come as standard.” BMW reports that the “LED front fog lights and the air curtains are integrated into the outer air intakes. The dynamic side view is shaped by a pair of character lines and a dynamic side skirt contour. The trailing edge of the side window graphic with its Hofmeister kink design cue is now integrated into the C-pillar. Horizontal lines and slim, stylishly darkened LED lights give the rear a wide and muscular stance.”

A driver-focused cockpit banners “a new screen grouping of control display and instrument cluster; (a) tall center console; and coordinated design of the light, modern instrument panel and door panel trim.” Controls are clustered into clearly structured function panels. 

The start/stop button is now located in the aforementioned control panel in the center console, with the gearshift lever joined by the iDrive controller and the buttons for the Driving Experience Control switch unit and electromechanical parking brake.

Powering the sole locally available variant (the BMW 330i) is an upgraded 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine delivering a maximum output of 258hp between 5,000 and 6,500 rpm, with peak torque of 400Nm available from 1,550 to 4,400rpm. The company says this power plant delivers six more horses and plus 50Nm over its predecessor – a result of “focused optimization” of the BMW TwinPower Turbo system – which comprises of twin-scroll turbochargers, high-precision-injection direct petrol injection, Valvetronic fully variable valve timing and Double-Vanos variable camshaft timing. 

The new 3 Series was developed with “enhanced driving dynamics, agile handling characteristics, high-precision steering, and superior braking performance,” boasting weight reduction of 55 kilograms. “The all-new BMW 3 Series also has a low center of gravity and 50:50 weight distribution, while the stiffness of the body structure and suspension mountings have been significantly increased,” continued the release. 

The 330i M Sport variant is priced at P4.59 million.

BMW Z4

SMCACDC calls the Z4 “an updated interpretation of the classical roadster concept.” The soft-top sportscar, like the 3 Series, grows in size over its older version. It is 85mm longer (at 4,324mm), 74mm wider (at 1,864mm), and 13mm taller (at 1,304mm). Meanwhile, in aid of agility, the wheelbase has been shortened by 26mm to 2,470mm and tracks have been widened – 1,609mm at the front (plus 98mm) and 1,616mm at the rear (plus 57mm). The car’s central seating position, low center of gravity, lighter weight, as well as 50:50 weight distribution, also contribute to a more agile, nimble drive.

The Z4 has a sculpted front apron with large air intakes, a low, broad BMW kidney grille and headlights positioned at the outer edges. A new-look mesh-design BMW kidney grille combines a track-inspired honeycomb pattern with a three-dimensional structure, whose elements have a vertical arrangement reminiscent of traditional kidney grille bars. The headlamp units feature two light sources positioned one above the other for the first time. The vertical design is cut off at the top by a diagonal accent strip with integral direction indicator. The all-new BMW Z4 is equipped with LED headlights as standard.

An elongated bonnet with arrow-shaped contour lines directed at the kidney grille highlights the wheel arches. The joints at the hood’s sides merge into the flanks’ upper character line, which runs back to the tail lights. A second character line emerges from the large air intakes behind the front wheel arches. 

The all-new BMW Z4 sDrive20i Sport comes in Black Sapphire, Glacier Silver, and Mineral White. The M40i variant comes in Black Sapphire, San Francisco Red, Alpine White, and Misano Blue. The soft-top roof of both variants comes in black as standard. The electrically operated roof can be opened or closed in 10 seconds, even while traveling at up to 50kph.

Inside, the use of trim finishers is restricted to “just a few areas,” and “electroplated detailing adds to the roadster’s sophisticated ambience, while the clearly structured arrangement of the controls focuses the attention even more on the driving experience.”

Both driver and passenger have sports seats with integral head restraints. All variants are upholstered in Vernasca leather as standard, with trim finishers can be specified in High-gloss Black (BMW Z4 sDrive20i) or Aluminium Tetragon (BMW Z4 M40i). Door sill strips and trim finishers, a Sensatec instrument panel, and M sport seats with additional adjustment options are also standard accoutrements. The M Sport package and BMW M Performance models add an M leather steering wheel, M pedals and an M driver’s footrest.

Two gas engines are available: a straight six, 3.0-liter featuring M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology delivering 340hp and 500Nm, and a four-cylinder petrol engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology good for 197hp 320Nm. Either is mated to an eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission as standard. The transmission also features a Launch Control function for accelerating hard from a standing start with optimized traction. 

The BMW Z4 sDrive20i is priced at P3.99 million, while the BMW Z4 M40i costs P5.79 million.

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