bmw m4

Opinion | Are new cars actually getting more expensive?

The new Volkswagen Golf, and the excellent revised GTI in particular, got us wondering. Just how much more expensive are new cars compared to their predecessors? 

2017 New Volkswagen Mk7.5 Golf GTI

Having already won rave reviews from both print and online media, the Mk7.5 Volkswagen Golf GTI is already attracting attention. Yet a lot of the Internet comments seem to take umbrage at one particular fact – the cost. To clarify, the new Golf GTI has a list price starting at £27,865. As with any modern car, there is the huge temptation to run wild with the extras, but that basic amount will get you a brand-new three-door GTI, with a manual gearbox. No options, no fancy technology packages, not even metallic paint. Signature GTI colours like Tornado Red will add an extra £250, with metallics needing £570. In short, it’s rather easy to spec’ a GTI which costs over £30,000. Shock, horror, Internet outrage.

The most recent time a new Golf GTI garnered such positive attention was with the introduction of the Mk5 in early 2005. After the lacklustre Mk4 effort, the all-new GTI was an absolute revelation. Tartan seats helped, too. Yet when first introduced, the new Mk5 GTI had a starting price of just £19,995. Yes really, less than £20,000, and although the amount did rise shortly afterward, that’s the value we’ve used for comparison.

2005 Volkswagen MkV Golf GTI

A difference of £7,870 equates to a substantial sounding 39.4% increase in those twelve years between 2005 and 2017! On the other hand, horsepower has gone from 197hp in the Mk5 GTI, to 230hp in the Mk7.5, a jump of only 17%. If it had followed the same pattern as pricing, new GTI models should be rolling out the factory with 274hp. So have Volkswagen left new GTI buyers shortchanged?

Well no, actually. Inflation on the cost of goods and services in the UK has risen on average by around 2.9% each year. That 2.9% figure is based on the Bank of England’s CPI information, and there is little difference when using inflation calculators that rely on RPI data instead. We’re not going to delve into A-Level economics and debate the differences here – this is a car blog, not the Financial Times.

2017 New Volkswagen Mk7.5 Golf GTI

Inflation between March 2005 and March 2017 totals roughly – wait for it – 39%. Meaning a new Mk7.5 Golf GTI costs within £75 of what the financial data tells us it should do in 2017. It also means we’re getting a better deal in 2017 with 230hp, and the continuous improvement in technology and specification that has taken place in the last decade. So the next time someone exclaims the new Golf GTI is far too expensive, feel free to shut them down with data.

We couldn’t just leave it at one car, however. The Golf GTI may happen to be a freak automotive bellwether, so we checked out the new Golf R, just to be sure. But this time we went even further back with our research. All the way back to 2002, and the introduction of the Mk4 R32. (more…)

New – BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition

Saddened you couldn’t get your hands on a BMW M4 GTS? Worry no more! Now you can have one to honour a racing driver you’ve most probably never even heard of.2016 BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition

It’s a shame the DTM series doesn’t get more coverage in the UK, with close competition between 4.0-litre V8-powered coupes sounding like a rather attractive package. The fact it’s on BT Sport might not help, along with the love for our own British Touring Car Championship. Yet, despite somewhat of an unknown over here, BMW UK is going to be offering the M4 DTM Champion Edition.

2016 BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition

Built to celebrate Marco Wittman taking the 2016 DTM drivers’ title, this special edition seems to be a thinly disguised version of the M4 GTS which everyone went crazy for this year. In fact all the GTS goodness seems to be there – water-injection for the 3.0-litre straight-six turbo sees peak power of 493hp, along with torque of 443lb-ft. Yes, that’s identical to the GTS, as is the 0-62mph time of 3.8 seconds and 190mph top speed.

2016 BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition

In fact the roll cage inside, the big wing on the boot lid, and even the canards and splitter at the front end, are all taken direct from the GTS. Even the wheels are the same, save for being painted Orbit Grey, rather than featuring the wonderful orange details of the GTS. In short, if you can live with BMW Motorsport stickers and having to explain who Marco Wittman is, then this really is a GTS by another name.

2016 BMW M4 DTM Champion Edition


Friday Video – No Fooling

As the post goes live it’s April Fools’ Day, which means the press offices and PR departments of car companies have been in overdrive trying to find the wittiest way of plugging their products.

Nissan – Alive (2016) from Alessandro Pacciani™

We’ve covered these efforts before on ESM but, instead, this year we’ve decided to take a completely different approach. The fact is, car advertising in the UK finds itself embattled with the Advertising Standards Authority, which takes a dim view of anything dangerous or exciting. Quite frankly, it’s amazing that we haven’t had car adverts banned from TV altogether, for fear of upsetting Britain’s Victorian morals. Read the industry guidance on car advertising and you’ll begin to understand the minefield marketing departments have to navigate.

Take, for instance, this BMW M4 Convertible advert – banned by the ASA in 2014 after a grand total of a single complaint. Yes, one person, or more likely a single safety-minded organisation, put the brakes on the advert which featured the car on road and race track. The ASA were concerned viewers might not be able to tell the difference, and thus be encouraged to drive dangerously on the public highway.

So that’s why, to celebrate the ridiculousness that are the rules imposed by the ASA, we’ve featured two videos from the incredibly talented director Alessandro Pacciani. We’ve no doubt his work would be banned instantly were it shown on TV, but that’s more of a reason to like it. Also, we were attracted to the absurdity of a Nismo-spec Nissan Patrol in the first video, and the obvious irony of a BMW M4 doing naughty things in the second one:

BMW M4 – Factory Trailer from Alessandro Pacciani™

Consider these your welcome break from the April Fools’ adverts you’ll have endured this morning.

Guest Post | Ned Jasper | BMW M4 GTS

A BMW M4 with more power and extra orange bits? This sounds like a car EngageSportMode could really get onboard with! Ned Jasper gives you all the details below.

2015 BMW M4 GTSIf you felt that BMW M cars have been lacking a bit lately, then this is the car for you. It’s called the M4 GTS and to create it BMW have taken the standard, already quite muscular M4, then put it on a diet and given it steroids. Lots of them.
You’ve got to admit that it looks good, scratch that, it looks flipping gorgeous. The new muscular curves, huge rear wing and orange inserts create a feast for any petrolheads eyes. Better still they’re more than just eye candy, they’re functional – but we’ll get to that later.

Whilst the old M3 GTS – the car it replaces – was accused of having little more than aesthetic modifications, the new M4 is something a bit special. Firstly it’s 30kg lighter than the standard car; not much I grant you. But when you consider the GTS has a roll cage, rear wing, a plethora of modifications plus all the standard kit. Then it doesn’t seem that bad, does it?

Secondly, the specs that we all want to hear; the power! For the GTS, BMW has developed a whole new unique water injection system; this lowers the intake temperature and allows the turbos to run at higher boost. This, combined with a new titanium exhaust, gives the car a brutal 493bhp and a 0-62mph time of just 3.8 seconds. Better still, they’ve taken the limiter off, so this über-coupè can reach a staggering 190mph.

2015 BMW M4 GTS

Now, although you would think that BMW have focused their attention on the engine solely, the truth is the rest of the car has been showered in improvements too. The front splitter, roof, bonnet, rear wing, diffuser and boot lid are carbon fibre – now you know where the weight has been saved. As well as that, the GTS has a tailor-made three-way coil over suspension, which works in tandem with BM’s familiar adaptive damping system.

But it doesn’t stop there (more…)

Friday Video – BMW M4 “Ultimate Racetrack”

Should it still really be called the M3, does it matter that it’s turbocharged, can you love a car that has synthesised engine noises? All important questions when discussing the new BMW M3 M4. 

2014 BMW M4 Coupé 001

However, watch this video that we found on YouTube posted by BMW Canada, and you should find those questions float away into obscurity.


New – BMW Concept M4 Coupe – Photos & Video

Following on from yesterday’s tribute to BMW M Cars of old, here’s the very latest one which was unveiled this week. The M3 is gone, as a two-door at least, so all hail the new King, the BMW M4.

BMW M4 Coupe 001

Looking resplendent in what looks to be a lot like Phoenix Yellow paintwork, but actually called Aurum Dust, the Concept M4 was revealed to the world at the ‘Concours d’Elegance’ at Pebble Beach in California. Although clearly billed as just a “Concept” for now, given BMW’s previous track record it’s fairly safe to assume this is how the M4 will actually look when launched fully.  (more…)