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BMW's 'Power of Choice' strategy is about meeting the needs and wants of its customers, as the all-electric iX3 SUV and 4 Series Coupe further proves.

04 Nov 2020

Around this time last year, we found ourselves speaking to Pieter Nota, Board Member for Customer, Brands and Sales, about BMW's massive efforts to put as many models and variants of BMWs on the road.

The Bavarian automaker calls it the 'Power of Choice'. It is about finding a BMW that will suit your every need and want, from various body styles to different powertrain choices.

Now, you can easily find a car from BMW that'll suit your needs
BMW is still pushing on with its promise. Here in Singapore, the power of choice continues to grow. In just this year alone, the compact 2 Series Gran Coupe, the X3 xDrive30e plug-in hybrid and the go-fast X5 M and X6 M Competition SUVs have been made available here.

And BMW's not quite done yet. Perhaps the most talked about BMWs this year is the all-electric BMW iX3 SUV and the new BMW 4 Series Coupe, slated to arrive on our shores soon.

But would you choose them? We ask the important questions to the experts behind both cars at BMW.

Why electrify an SUV?

The iX3 is the forefront of BMW's efforts towards electrification
If you're looking for a premium SUV, the BMW X3 is a hot favourite. Spacious, comfortable and well-engineered, it does the job. But despite mainstream appeal, it isn't what you'd consider a big deal.

But what it represents are the needs and wants of customers today. And with the iX3's introduction, four powertrain options will be available for the X3.

"Why did we choose to electrify the BMW X3? The simple fact is that the X3 model line has the highest sales numbers around the world," says Wieland Bruch, Spokesperson for BMW i and Electromobility. "The X3 is the forerunner of electrified powertrain options that we will also see in other BMW model lines to come."

More electrified options in the future

BMW's Gen5 modular platform can be scaled to fit a wide range of vehicles
Which answers the question if electrifying the X3 is due to the available space for electric components, or just simply due to market demands for more powetrain options.

The ability to offer more options lies with BMW's development of its fifth generation (Gen5) platform.

"The Gen5 powertrain and batteries used in the iX3 can be adjusted to fit a wide range of vehicles," said Merten Jung, Manager, BMW Electric Powertrain.

"We can scale the batteries, adjust for different power levels, and even all-wheel drive, front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive drivetrains."

Battery problems? No problem

When necessary, only individual components need to be replaced when it comes to the battery, as opposed to replacing the whole unit
The modularity doesn't just offer BMW the ability to fit the Gen5 platform in most of its vehicles. For the customer, it means that electrical components can be individually replaced in a sustainable way.

For example, Wieland says there's no need to replace the complete battery. "There is no spare part for the whole battery. We only need to replace individual parts if required," he added.

And on that point, he mentions that BMW designs its electrified vehicle batteries to last for the same typical lifetime of conventional petrol and diesel cars. Internationally, BMW electrified models come with a battery warranty of eight years or 160,000km, too, whichever comes first.

If that sounds good to you, the rear-wheel driven BMW iX3 is targeted to arrive on our shoes in the third quarter of next year. Pricing is estimated to be similar to the X3 xDrive30e plug-in hybrid currently on sale, which is somewhere close to $260,000 (as of 3 November 2020).

About that grille…

BMW is on to making a bold statement with its cars, with kidney grilles that are growing in size
The topic of electrification will continue to gain momentum in the next few years. But today, the topic that's rife within enthusiasts and BMW aficionados alike revolves around the iconic BMW kidney grille.

Let's be honest, we've grown used to the grilles - I do like the imposing presence the BMW X7 offers with it. But with the new 4 Series, it still begs the question, why?

Well, if you're a real BMW fan, the vertical kidney grille isn't new.

The 4 Series harks back to BMW's heritage - with desirable coupes from the 1940s and 1950s like the BMW 328 Komm Coupe and the 503 Coupe Sport all sporting vertical, pronounced kidney grilles. But it still might come as a big shocker to those used to the understated styling of BMWs from the 1990s to early 2000s.

The grille of the 4 Series is inspired from classic BMW coupes, like the 328 Mille Miglia Touring Coupe from 1939
Christopher Weil, Head of BMW Exterior Design, says it is done on purpose, giving the 4 Series a distinct character compared to the 3 Series Sedan.

"If you see the 3 and 4 Series up to now, they're different in every detail, but you barely see it," said Christopher.

"With the new model, they're totally different, it has a different character and expression," he added.

Raising the bar for dynamics

More than design, the 4 Series is expected to offer optimised driving dynamics compared to the 3 Series. And we know that's something BMW always gets right.

BMW says the 4 Series is dynamically superior when compared to the 3 Series, and it is all thanks to its design
Additional chassis stiffening, increased track widths and a total reduction in vehicle height allows for a lowered centre of gravity of 21mm in the 4 Series.

And it is in its very design that allows for such benefits, according to Claus Groll, Project Manager for Driving Dynamics at BMW.

"We were able to improve the aerodynamics of the 4 Series, reducing lift at the front by about 20% and up to 30% to 50% at the rear," said Claus.

Of course, these changes in looks and driving dynamics are something we'll have to see in person. But it won't be a long wait - the BMW 4 Series will be launched in Singapore this month, with pricing estimated to start between $215,000 to $265,000.

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