The prototypes of BMW M2 CS and X5 M in Arjeplog on road test

ROAD TO PERFECTION.

On the road in the new BMW M2 CS and BMW X5 M with developers Christian Flessa and Peter Schmid.

ROAD TO PERFECTION.

Road to Perfection.On the road in the new BMW M2 CS and BMW X5 M with developers Christian Flessa and Peter Schmid.

Snow and ice as far as the eye can see; the thermometer shows minus 35 degrees. It’s on this bitterly cold morning that the BMW M Magazine editorial team is due to meet Christian Flessa, Head of Driving Dynamics Systems BMW M and Peter Schmid, Head of Driving Dynamics Systems BMW X5 M / X6 M. Here at the BMW Test Centre in Arjeplog, Sweden, BMW M GmbH tests everything that might affect driving dynamics on low friction surfaces – like snow and ice. The frozen lake on which the majority of the test tracks are located offers the best conditions for these extreme test drives.

 

The site is located just under 60 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle, so in order to accompany the engineers' work in daylight, there is only a narrow window of time between ten in the morning and half-past-two in the afternoon during the winter. After that, the sun sets and the sky turns pitch black. Welcome to Lapland.

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The BMW X5 M in wintery Swedish Lapland

Land of ice and snow: the BMW X5 M in wintery Swedish Lapland

Christian Flessa, Head of Driving Dynamics Systems BMW M, working in the test centre
Peter Schmid, Head of Driving Dynamics Systems BMW X5 M / X6 M, working in the test centre
"We want maximum stability and maximum traction to be available at all times, in order to guarantee a controllable vehicle in every driving situation."
Christian Flessa, Head of Driving Dynamics Systems BMW M

ON THE PATH TO PERFECT DRIVING DYNAMICS.

The road to achieving the unique driving characteristics of every BMW M involves a great deal of work. Driving dynamics systems such as DSC, MDM, M xDrive, tires, steering and the Active M Differential can only be tested and developed once all body and chassis components, especially shock absorbers, stabilisers and control arms, have been tuned. This requires a lot of precise analysis; the aim is to implement the same M typical driving feel across the various models. For Flessa and his colleagues, outstanding controllability and maximum precision of the whole vehicle are essential – the entire set-up for real-world conditions is based on this.

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The BMW M2 CS prototype drifting on the frozen lake in Arjeplog

Pushed to the limit: Developer Christian Flessa driving the BMW M2 CS

This is the exact point in the development process that we meet the team. Thanks to the many differently prepared snow and ice surfaces, the BMW Test Centre in Arjeplog is the ideal place for the so-called low friction application of the vehicles’ driving systems. Flessa steers the BMW M2 CS over the prepared track on the frozen lake time after time, paying acute attention to the car’s behaviour. Corners, drifts, acceleration, braking manoeuvres: the basic tuning of the standard drive with M differential is an important part of the extensive test cycle of the BMW M2 CS. The engineers put their focus on achieving strong traction and neutral handling. Flessa devotes just as much attention to the making the car easily controllable even when it’s pushed to the limit.

 

There is still a lot of work to come for Flessa and the BMW M2 CS prototype. Nevertheless, his passion for the job shines through with every minute behind the wheel.

 

BMW M2 CS:
Fuel consumption in l/100 km (combined): 10.4-10.2 (9.6-9.4)
CO2 emissions in g/km (combined): 238-233 (219-214)
The figures in brackets refer to the vehicle with seven-speed M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic.

 

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The BMW M2 CS prototype during a road test at night in Arjeplog

Short days, long nights: sunset in Arjeplog

TUNING THE M xDRIVE IN THE NEW BMW X5 M.

Schmid also has a busy working day ahead. Thanks to its intelligent M xDrive all-wheel drive, the new BMW X5 M he is driving today offers an abundance of potential on snow and ice. This is one of the reasons why the system is tuned in Arjeplog: M xDrive plays a particularly large part of the vehicle's dynamics on low friction surfaces. The combination of M xDrive and the Active M Differential in the BMW X5 M makes it possible to combine many complex factors and thus exert an important influence on the enhanced driving dynamics of the X5 M.

 

BMW X5 M / BMW X5 M Competition:
Fuel consumption in l/100 km (combined): 13.0-12.8
CO2 emissions in g/km (combined): 296-291

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The BMW X5 M prototype drifts on the frozen lake in Arjeplog
The BMW X5 M prototype drifts on the frozen lake in Arjeplog
"The development of the chassis will take about two years."
Peter Schmid, Head of Driving Dynamics Systems BMW X5 M / X6 M
The BMW X5 M prototype at highspeed on the frozen lake in Arjeplog

Road test on ice with 625 hp: Peter Schmid drives the new BMW X5 M

Schmid can't help but grin when he talks about the exceptional capability of the new model: with up to 460 kW (625 hp), this high-performance SAV can be driven over the snow with incredible intensity. He deliberately oversteers the vehicle and tests the reaction of its electronic systems. A power drift with an all-wheel drive? No problem for the M automobile.

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BMW M8 Coupé in Arjeplog
BMW M8 Coupé in Arjeplog
BMW M850i xDrive in Arjeplog
BMW X6 M in Arjeplog
BMW X6 M in Arjeplog
BMW M135i xDrive in Arjeplog
BMW M fleet on Nordschleife

Nordschleife or Arjeplog: every BMW M model must overcome both.

In order to implement the typical BMW M driving experience across diverse vehicle concepts, every BMW M model without exception is intensively developed and tested in Arjeplog and on the Nürburgring.

The BMW M2 CS prototype drives on a lonely road in the Eifel mountains, Germany

THE BMW M TEST CENTRE NÜRBURG.

From the Swedish Arjeplog to the Eifel mountains.

THE BMW M TEST CENTRE NÜRBURG.

From the Swedish Arjeplog to the Eifel mountains.

Almost five months have passed since our polar encounter with Flessa and Schmid. After the driving dynamics systems were tuned to a low friction coefficient in Arjeplog, the road to perfection takes us south, on dry asphalt. Of course, this is not just any road surface: we arrive at the BMW M Test Centre on the Nürburgring’s legendary Nordschleife.

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The BMW M Test Centre Nürburg, located directy at the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife
The BMW M Test Centre Nürburg, located directy at the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife

BMW M Test Centre Nürburg

PIONEER AT THE ‘RING.

BMW was the first manufacturer to have a development centre at the Nürburgring, the epicentre of vehicle dynamics development. BMW vehicles have been tested here for over 50 years; whether production, DTM or GT cars, BMW and BMW M GmbH have played a revolutionary role in testing its expertise at the Nürburgring. The centre's pioneering work is reflected in its unique location within walking distance of the Nordschleife’s start and finish line, allowing engineers to test and develop their vehicles directly on site.

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This has a decisive advantage: the racetrack is an ideal laboratory when it comes to achieving optimum handling under extremely challenging conditions. The long bends, steep climbs, fast downhill runs and a mostly uneven track with varying coefficients of friction are not only exert considerable force on the materials from which the car is constructed – the Nordschleife is also considered the world’s toughest driving challenge. If the prototypes still have any weaknesses, they are mercilessly exposed on the racetrack’s almost 21-kilometre route through the Eifel mountains. The aim of the tests: maximum controllability even at the highest speeds.

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The BMW M2 CS prototype on Nürburgring-Nordschleife
The BMW X5 M prototype on Nürburgring-Nordschleife

THE BMW M2 CS ON THE NORDSCHLEIFE.

But enough theory. Christian Flessa is ready to get going and we're accompanying him – in the passenger seat – on a drive through the ‘Green Hell’. The BMW M2 CS will be driven in DSC mode so that Flessa can evaluate the system, paying attention to every one of the M car’s reactions. Ideally, it will support the driver precisely but inconspicuously, only becoming noticeable when genuinely needed. Despite Flessa‘s more than courageous driving style, the system hardly has to intervene. In the M specific MDM mode, the driver is given even more freedom to push the vehicle to its dynamic limits.

 

The BMW M2 CS is being tuned by Flessa to make it even more racetrack-oriented than the BMW M2 Competition. This is an exciting task for the development engineer, as the base model already has very high driving dynamics potential on the racetrack. The tuning includes giving the M2 CS its own suspension and steering set-up and an Active M Differential specially adapted to the vehicle, in combination with specially developed Michelin Cup 2 tyres. In addition, new driving dynamics possibilities are explored through targeted lightweight construction methods and modified aerodynamics for the M2 CS. With the optional carbon ceramic brake, the further reduction in wheel load opens up further potential for increased driving dynamics. A consistent racetrack set-up is pursued with every further lap on the Nordschleife.

 

Flessa did not count how often he drove through the Fuchsröhre, Breidscheid and the Hohe Acht sections of the circuit today, analysing and adjusting data. What matters most is that during that time, the new BMW M2 CS became an even more powerful proposition, as is evident from Flessa's beaming facial expression.

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BMW M developer Christian Flessa
BMW M developer Christian Flessa

Christian Flessa

"We've turned our hobby into our profession."
Christian Flessa, Head of Driving Dynamics Systems BMW M

M POWER ON RACETRACKS AND ROADS.

It's not just the world-famous race track that Flessa and Schmid have in mind when they race around the circuit. The narrow and demanding country roads of the Eifel region also expose any weakness in a car’s everyday driving characteristics. This makes them ideal for the two developers, as all BMW M vehicles are designed to produce optimum driving dynamics both on the racetrack and on regular roads. In other words: to support the driver in normal life as well as they do on a track day.

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The BMW M2 CS prototype on a narrow road in the Eifel mountains
The BMW X5 M prototype on a narrow road in the Eifel mountains

BEST IN CLASS.

From the frozen lakes of Lapland and Sweden's mountains to the development centres in Munich and the Nürburgring; for half a year we accompanied the development team led by Flessa, Schmid and their colleagues. Our road trip with the team is drawing to a close. For the engineers, the project is not yet finished, with the market launch of the two M automobiles imminent. But Flessa and Schmid are already very satisfied; the goal of perfecting the BMW M2 CS and the high-performance SAV BMW X5 M in terms of driving dynamics and equipping them with the M typical driving characterisitc has been achieved. When asked what drives him in his job, Flessa answers resolutely: "We want to be best in class.”

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ROAD TO PERFECTION: MASTERING ULTIMATE DRIVING DYNAMICS BY BMW M.

BMW M2 CS:
Fuel consumption in l/100 km (combined): 10.4-10.2 (9.6-9.4)
CO2 emissions in g/km (combined): 238-233 (219-214)
The figures in brackets refer to the vehicle with seven-speed M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic.

BMW X5 M / BMW X5 M Competition:
Fuel consumption in l/100 km (combined): 13.0-12.8
CO2 emissions in g/km (combined): 296-291

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  • The models illustrated include optional equipment.

    The values of fuel consumptions, CO2 emissions and energy consumptions shown were determined according to the European Regulation (EC) 715/2007 in the version applicable at the time of type approval. The figures refer to a vehicle with basic configuration in Germany and the range shown considers optional equipment and the different size of wheels and tires available on the selected model. 

    The values are already based on the new WLTP regulation and are translated back into NEDC-equivalent values in order to ensure the comparison between the vehicles. [With respect to these vehicles, for vehicle related taxes or other duties based (at least inter alia) on CO2-emissions the CO2 values may differ to the values stated here.] 

    The CO2 efficiency specifications are determined according to Directive 1999/94/EC and the European Regulation in its current version applicable. The values shown are based on the fuel consumption, CO2 values and energy consumptions according to the NEDC cycle for the classification. 

    For further information about the official fuel consumption and the specific CO2 emission of new passenger cars can be taken out of the „handbook of fuel consumption, the CO2 emission and power consumption of new passenger cars“, which is available at all selling points and at https://www.dat.de/angebote/verlagsprodukte/leitfaden-kraftstoffverbrauch.html.

    All vehicles, equipment, combination possibilities and varieties shown here are examples and can differ in your country. In no way do they constitute a binding offer by the BMW M GmbH. Visit your local BMW website or see your authorised BMW M Retailer for accurate details on the offers in your country.