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The Best of 2021 BMW

Everything You Need to Know About BMW 2021

BMW Concept 4

As the second best-selling German luxury car maker and one of the most recognizable German car brands, the BMW holds an important role in the global auto industry’s hierarchy. Yet, BMW’s results as of late haven’t been particularly pleasing to their brass – especially on the U.S. market which has been stagnating since 2016. Will the 2021 BMW lineup finally manage to rectify the issue, remains to be seen.

BMW’s U.S. sales came to a stop at 311,014 units in 2018 which is only a slight increase compared to 2017 when the German company sold 305,685 cars. Then again, 2017 was one of their least successful years in terms of sales on the U.S. soil in a while. Judging by the first three quarters of 2019, the drought is about to continue as, although BMW is recording better results (especially in the second part of the year), their successes are only marginal.

On a global scale, the Germans have delivered 2,125,026 models in 2018 which is an increase of 1.8 percent over 2017 when 2,088,283 BMW’s had found their new owners. The BMW Group as a whole (BMW, Rolls Royce, and Mini) has recorded 2,490,664 sales in 2018 which is another 1.1 percent increase over 2017. Furthermore, March of 2019 has thus far been the group’s best-selling month in history as they’ve delivered 263,319 models across the globe – 221,631 of which were BMW’s.

Here’s what to pay attention to when looking at the new BMW range for 2021.

What’s Hot in the New 2021 BMW Lineup

08. 2021 M3

The iconic BMW M3 is returning for another spin. The seventh-generation G20 3 Series made its debut during MY 2019 and now it’s finally time for the most potent of its models to make its mark on the automotive world as well. The BMW 3 Series and M3 in particular haven’t fulfilled the grand expectations imposed on them by their predecessors in the last decade or so, but the all-new M3 vows to break this malaise-ridden cycle.

The all-new 2021 M3 code-named G80 takes the conventional 3 Series model’s design and builds upon it using a more aggressive splitter and diffuser, adding unique wheels and spoiler, and providing much larger air intakes for improved cooling. More pronounced wheel arches and a bulging hood are another part of the next-gen M3’s design. However, the luxury performance sedan remains one of the latest CLAR platform offspring.

Interior will remain basically the same, albeit different materials and badging are here to provide assurance that this in deed is the range-topping model. Special shift lever, steering wheel, accents, seats, and materials will all pinch in into creating that unique feel for the M3. Also expect similar level of technology as in conventional models.

The M3’s heart pumps out either 473 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque or 503 ponies and the corresponding amount of rotational force in the Competition form. The heart itself is, of course a 3.0L twin-turbocharged inline-six mill dubbed S58 internally. The G80-generation of the M3 also marks the first time the performance luxury sedan will be available with all-wheel drive. Unlike the M5 or M8 where the M xDrive all-wheel drive system is mandatory, however, the M3 will offer it as an option. The M3 aficionados will also be glad to hear the next-gen models will offer a manual transmission exclusively available with rear-wheel drive models – just the way it should be.

The 2021 BMW M3 is expected to reach the dealerships sometime during the second half of 2020 as a 2021 model. Although the prices still haven’t been disclosed, expect the base models to start from around $70,000.

2021 BMW M3 test mule

07. 2021 4 Series

Introduced back in 2014, the 4 Series has line of compact luxury coupes and hard-top convertibles has served faithfully as an alternative to the conventional 3 Series sedans and wagons (latter has been axed on the U.S. market). With model year 2021 comes the next generation of the 4 Series but that’s not all. Much like the high-performance 3 Series sedan, the Bavarians are also prepared to present the all-new 4 Series coupe and convertible in their ultimate form, and straight from the get-go surprisingly. In other words, the complete 2021 BMW 4 Series lineup will descend upon us in one fell swoop.

The next-gen 4 Series takes a bold step forward in terms of overall design language. The new models feature a much larger hallmark “kidney grille” which has already been previewed in the BMW Concept 4 car, although not in such a dramatic fashion. The M car will add its own specific details such as unique aero elements including a splitter, diffuser, and spoiler.

Interior will be in line with the next-generation BMW models as well. Expect high-quality materials even in base trims, but only the range-topping models will be given the full technology treatment considering the 4 Series is still technically one of the entry-level models within the BMW portfolio.

Much like the M3, the 2021 M4 too will be offered with the S58 3.0L twin-turbo straight-six mill capable of delivering either 473 hp or 503 hp depending on a chosen package. Both the manual and automatic transmissions should be available as well as both the rear and all-wheel drive configurations – just like it is the case with the sedan version. The rest of the range will utilize a downtuned version of the straight-six capable of putting up 382 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque or a 2.0L turbo four generating 255 hp and and 295 lb-ft.

The BMW 4 Series is also expected to arrive in the second half of 2020 with prices slightly higher than those of the outgoing models. The base 4 Series 430i models should start from between $45,000 and $50,000 with convertibles mandating at least $8,000 atop of that. The BMW M4, on the other hand, probably won’t be available for anything less than $75,000.

BMW Concept 4

06. 2021 i4

The all-new BMW i4 represents one of four completely new EVs in the Bavarian automaker’s portfolio and aims to replace the 4 Series Gran Coupe leaving the mentioned lineup an exclusively 2-door affair. The 4-door all-electric compact 4-door car will thus slot in a segment of its own whilst retaining close ties to both the 3 Series and 4 Series range.

Considering it shares the same underpinnings as the aforementioned models, it’ not surprising that the i4 promises to incorporate their overall styling as well. However, being an all-electric vehicle from within the separate BMW i range, the i4 will boast a different sort of frontal fascia – think of the already existing i3 and i8. The i Vision Dynamics concept might actually end up being its closest relative, but the production model will be much more subtle than the futuristic concept.

In a similar manner, the i4’s cabin will also represent a blend interiors from the 3 Series and other BMW i models. Most of currently available advanced safety features and driver’s aids will be available either as standard or optional pieces of equipment. Expect most of them to be facilitated through a large touchscreen display.

The BMW i4’s exact powertrain details still haven’t been disclosed but we expect it’ll boast a large lithium-ion battery pack and a duo of electric motors – one mounted upon each of the axles. This setup will provide an electric all-wheel drive and a healthy amount of power. It’ll also apparently provide up to 350 miles of range on a single charge and lightning quick acceleration for its class.

Contrary to previous expectations, the BMW i4 will be presented in 2020 and should arrive to dealerships as a late 2021 model, probably during early 2021 itself. BMW still hasn’t disclosed any pricing details and we expect they’ll do it after the official reveal date. At any rate, we’ll know more soon enough.

BMW i4 rendering

05. 2021 iNEXT

The iNEXT is another one of the upcoming all-electric BMW vehicles, but unlike the above mentioned i4, it’s actually an all-electric SUV. It was first previewed as a concept on the 2018 Los Angeles auto show. However, the production model will retain precious few of concept’s features. Even the name will be changed with the iX5 looking like the most likely of choices, let alone the suicide doors and a gaping grille that raises some eyebrows.

Test mules of what appears to be the iNEXT have already been caught testing multiple times which means the all-new electric SUV from BMW is almost ready for its official debut. Needless to say, the prototypes feature a much more subdued design than the concept vehicle itself, and are more in line with the current BMW design language.

Inside, the new electric crossover gets a wide curved display for the infotainment system and other controls. One of the concepts most important aspects remains a production feature, however – its self driving capability. In that light, the BMW engineers and designers have developed a new polygonal steering wheel fitted with optical fibers which notify the driver when it’s safe to let go of it and when the driver’s attention is mandatory.

The 2021 BMW iNEXT-derived SUV will likely use a large 120-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and dual electric motors which provide an electronic all-wheel drive system and ample of power for a vehicle of its size. BMW is targeting the 360-mile range according to the new European WLTP cycle which the EPA will cut once they get their hands on the final product. However, even the EPA assessment should easily remain in the 300-plus range.

The production version of the iNEXT SUV should reach us in time for MY 2021 but its prices still haven’t been disclosed. We’ll know more after one of the major auto shows in the coming months.

2021 BMW iNEXT test mule


04. 2021 X5

One of the best-selling BMW vehicles can’t afford to rest on its laurels and has to move ever-forward in order to remain competitive. Although its sales dropped slightly in 2018, BMW shouldn’t worry about the mid-size luxury SUV. In its fourth generation since 2018, the X5’s lineup should finally be rounded off in 2021 after the xDrive45e iPerformance bolsters its ranks.

No design changes are scheduled for MY 2021 as the X5 is set to carry over with its current look. The current design is fully in-tune with the contemporary BMW design language, however, and a mild facelift isn’t due before 2022. Possibility remains that the Germans will offer a new set of wheels or another exterior color option or two, however.

Expect more of the same inside as well. The current X5 offers plenty of room, technology features and refinement to go around. Forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking is standard across the board, and so are blind-spot monitors, parking sensors, and active lane control. Everything else is available at extra cost but that usually doesn’t pose an issue for the BMW owners.

There are four engines available now that the 2021 BMW xDrive45e iPerformance has joined the lineup. The base sDrive40i or xDrive40i (rear or all-wheel drive) X5 draws power from a 335-horsepower 3.0L turbocharged inline-six engine. The more potent xDrive50i sports a 4.4L twin-turbo V8 with 456 horsepower, while the ultimate X5 M squeezes out a round 600 ponies from the same mill. Finally, the newcomer plug-in hybrid combines the smaller engine with an 82-kW electric motor for a combined 394 horses. More importantly, it also provides up to 50 miles of all-electric range which is more than sufficient for a vehicle in its class. Bear in mind that this is a European market figure hence the EPA will likely cut it, but not by much.

The base BMW X5 starts from just under $60,000 but every step up the ladder requires quite a chunk of money. The xDrive50i, for instance, requires around $17,000 atop of the base figure, while the X5 M costs $105,000 in its base or $114,000 in Competition form. The plug-in hybrid’s prices still haven’t been disclosed as it won’t be available on the U.S. market prior to early MY 2021 at the earliest.

BMW X5 xDrive45e iPerformance

03. 2021 5 Series

Available since 2017, the seventh-generation BMW 5 Series is heading into a mid-term overhaul year the German company likes to refer to as “LCI” (Life Cycle Impulse). The 2021 models won’t be joined by any newcomer as the 5 Series lineup is already up and running at full speed.

The coming facelift will bring about new front and rear fascias alongside other minor tweaks. The front end gets a slightly larger grille and new headlight graphics alongside a revised bumper, while the rear end sports new tail-lights and some tweaks to the bumper as well. An additional new color scheme or two shouldn’t come as a surprise and so shouldn’t a new set of wheels.

Inside, the 2021 5 Series carries over mostly unchanged but does get a new infotainment system and some shuffling of equipment across trims. Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitors, and lane-departure warnings are standard across the range, while adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and cross-traffic alerts are bundled in what’s called the Driving Assistance Plus package and costs $1,700.

The 5 Series’ powertrain lineup is colorful and above all else quite powerful. The base 530i models come with a 248-horsepower 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder which is also used in the plug-in hybrid 530e models where it’s paired with an electric motor and a 9.2-kWh battery pack which provides 16 miles of range on electricity alone. A 3.0L twin-turbo inline-six from the BMW 540i cranks up 335 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque, while the 550i develops 456 hp and 480 lb-ft thanks to a 4.4L twin-turbo V8 mill. Last but not least, the range-topping BMW M5 yields as much as 600 ponies in regular or 617 horses in the Competition form.

Expect the prices to remain mostly unchanged as the entry-level 5 Series continues to retail from just under $55,000. On the other end of the spectrum, however, the M5 Competition requires at least $112,000.

BMW 5 Series test mule

02. 2021 8 Series

It took almost 20 years, but the true range-topper of the BMW lineup is finally here. Not only that, but the 8 Series comes in both the coupe and convertible forms. Not to mention the 4-door Gran Coupe or the ultimate M-badged models. Of course, all of that opulence and performance comes at a steep price that rarely rears its head from behind the six-digit barrier.

The BMW 8 Series represents an ultimate expression of grace and aggressiveness in a single vehicle. That’s one of the reasons the Bavarians shouldn’t change a thing about it. The another reason is the fact the 8 Series is still rather fresh having arrived in late 2018 as a 2019 model.

Alongside the 7 Series sedan, the 8 Series represents the pinnacle of refinement among the BMW models. Soft leather, smooth accents, and myriad of convenience and tech features are the reason behind its high price tag. However, not everything is free of additional charges as adaptive cruise control, night vision, blind-spot monitors, and active lane control have to be ordered separately.

There are two powertrain choices scattered across the 8 Series range. The base 840i models get a powerful 3.0L twin-turbo V6 with 335 horsepower, while the more powerful M850i xDrive models utilize a 523-horsepower 4.4L twin-turbo V8. The same engine can be found in the full-blooded M8 which cranks up 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of twist in regular or 617 ponies with unchanged amount of torque in the Competition form.

The base BMW 8 Series coupe starts from just under $90,000, while the drop-top requires additional $9,000. At the same time, the 4-door Gran Coupe comes cheaper with prices starting from around $85,000 prior to destination charges and, of course insurance penalties. The M8 coupe, on the other hand, starts from around $135,000 while both the convertible and Competition models require more.

BMW M8 coupe

01. 2021 X6 M

The coupe-like crossovers are some of the most polarizing vehicles out there but it’s hard not to like something from Bavaria with a full-blooded M badge. The third-generation BMW X6 was only recently introduced as a 2020 model and we didn’t have to wait long for the ultimate performance version which comes alongside the X5 M.

The 2021 BMW X6 M brings about the usual M treatment which entails hallmark exterior badging coupled with a more aggressive styling. The X6 M also gets large disc brakes with 15.6-inch rotors up front and 15-inch units around the back. Given the fact it tips the scales at north of 5,000 pounds an possesses as much power as the other M models, it clearly needs them.

Interior is also in-tune with the hallmark M appearance and it’s not only the badging. Hexagonal-embroidery on both the leather upholstery and inserts, metallic accents, and special seats aren’t something you’ll be able to find in more conventional X6 units. The remainder of convenience and safety gear, on the other hand, remains shared.

As it is the case with the remainder of the M range, the X6 M too boasts a powerful 4.4L twin-turbo V8 mill which comes in two sets of tunes. The ultimate Competition models raise 617 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of rotational force, while the more subdued models generate exactly 600 ponies. Only all-wheel drive is available and so is an 8-speed automatic transmission. This might not be the traditional combo when it comes to the BMW M division but we’ll have to get used to them because they’ve spread across most of the range.

The 2021 BMW X6 M has already been revealed and is available for $110,000. That’s a hefty sum for a crossover/SUV with limited headroom but it’s still not the most expensive M-badged BMW car.


What’s Not in the New 2021 BMW Lineup

02. 2021 7 Series

Introduced back in late 2015, the BMW 7 Series is nearing the end of its sixth generation. It’s still a great flagship sedan with lots of advanced tech features, a highly refined interior, and a silky smooth ride, but it’s probably better to wait out another year or two and see what the Germans have in store for the next generation. They’ll apparently offer an all-electric version of the flagship sedan but that’s a story for another time.

The current 7 Series lacks nothing in terms of design compared to the rest of BMW portfolio. It’s stylish, elegant, and both classic and contemporary-looking at the same time. Nothing is expected to change in 2021 which should be the flagship car’s ultimate or penultimate year at best.

Inside, the 7 Series offers plenty of leather everywhere and some of the most advanced technology gear one can find in a car nowadays. Sadly, not everything is available for the starting sticker and that which isn’t costs an arm and a leg. Again, don’t expect any changes come 2021 as BMW has other priorities.

The BMW 7 Series’ engine lineup comes exclusively in six and eight-cylinder guises now that the 4-cylinder has been dropped from the hybrid models and V12 has been axed from the most potent M version. The base 740i models use a 3.0L turbocharged straight-six engine with 335 horsepower, while the 750i’s benefit from a 4.4L twin turbo V8 with 523 ponies. The BMW 745e plug-in hybrid now pairs a six-cylinder with an electric motor and a 9.s-kWh battery pack for a combined 389 hp (up from 322 hp) and 16 miles of all-electric range (up from 14). The M760i with all of its 600 horsepower, surprisingly isn’t the most powerful of 7 Series models. That honor belongs to the 7 Series Alpina B7 which also makes 600 horsepower but accelerates to 60 mph one tenth of a second quicker (3.5 seconds) than the M760i xDrive (3.6 seconds).

Prices will remain intact throughout 2021 as entry-level 7 Series models start from just under $87,000. The most expensive Alpina B7 and M760i xDrive models cost at least $143,000 and $157,000 respectively.

BMW 7 Series

01. 2021 i3

The first all-electric BMW car introduced way back in 2013 is now seriously lagging behind competition. It hasn’t been properly updated in a while because BMW has its hands full with other EVs they intend on introducing soon, it’s quite expensive for its class, and still doesn’t offer good enough range despite recent improvements on that front.

Design-wise, the i3 will carry over without any significant changes. Different than its conventional, internal combustion engine siblings, the i3 is highly polarizing – especially among the BMW crowds. Yet, it was intended to be so from the get-go so we won’t hold that against it.

The city all-electric car’s interior is different too. Despite not being as luxurious as the rest of BMW range, the i3 still features an interesting choice of materials which includes real leather, subtly-colored open-pore eucalyptus wood, and renewable natural fibers. A large touchscreen display hovers above the dash but most of the advanced safety features are only available at extra cost.

The recent enlargement of the i3’s battery pack now sees the mini car offering up to 153 miles of range on a single charge. The battery itself has been enlarged from 33-kWh to 42.2-kWh but the i3 BEV is still far from the likes of Chevy Bolt, Hyundai Kona, and especially Tesla Model 3. The i3 is also available as a range extender model which features a small gasoline engine whose sole purpose is to charge the battery. The BMW i3 REx offers around 200 miles of total range with both the full battery and tank.

The i3 starts from either $44,500 for the BEV model or $48,500 for the REx model. Although BMW’s are still eligible for federal tax credit, they’re also much more expensive than their rivals. Especially considering what they offer. Atop of that both the 2017 and 2018 models have been subjected to various recalls which plays an important role in deciding which car to buy if you ask me.

BMW i3

Nikola Potrebić
About Nikola Potrebić

Despite driving a piece of junk, Nikola still manages to survive the harrowing experience called "A road trip in a Yugo," day in, day out. On the other hand, precious few things move him as muscle cars do. Especially those from the bygone golden era, which makes him wonder why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been given the opportunity to enjoy the likes of the Pontiak Aztek, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Fiat Multipla, and other lovely millennials, right? Come to think of it, I'll stick with my Yugo. Thank you very much!