What's Electric at the PGA 2013 BMW Western Open in Lake Forest - This Weekend

Well it sure isn't today's rainy weather at the PGA 2013 BMW Western Open Golf Tournament  being held at Conway Farms in Lake Forest, Illinois.  [UPDATE: The final round has officially been extended to Monday September 16.]

This after Jim Furyk's record score of 59 set on Friday. Or Tiger Woods' two -point deduction at the 1st Hole for "accidentally" moving his ball as he cleared a stick.

Then there's plenty of electricity at the BMW vehicle Pavilion (between the 1st Hole and the Driving Range).

It's where you'll find Western Open sponsor BMW's redesigned 2014 X5 SUV (F15) and 4-Series (F32) coupe (based off the F30 E-series sedan) on display.

And where the Bavarian automaker has taken the wraps off it's first foray in plug-in Battery Electric Vehicles, the all-new 2014 i3 sub-compact.

2014 BMW X5:

A ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox is new to the X5 this year. Along with other weight reductions, BMW claims a 15% improvement in fuel economy with the N55 turbo gas inline 6 engine models. Rear-drive is also available. On the outside headlights get an a tweezed eye-brow treatment and the twin-kidney grille is wider. Pedestrian turn indicators have been integrated into the wing-mirrors.

Standard HDD navigation works with a stand-alone 10.2" LCD touchpad. A 360° Surround View is made possible by front and rear cameras. High-line specially colored Nappa leathers and wood-grains are available. The new BMW x5 35 will be priced starting well equipped at $55,000. Along with I-6 and V8 gas power-plants, a diesel is expected to be available in the U.S. at some point.

2014 BMW 4-Series:

While 4-Series may be a "new designation" at BMW this year, it is - in essence - a coupe version of the F30 sedan. To reduce confusion. After nearly 40 years of 3-Series coupes. But BMW is quick to point out track - the distance between the center line of the wheels on each axle - is significantly increased to enhance the lower stance and improve handling. Wider out back by 2"-inches than even the outgoing E92 M3. Which should bode well for enthusiasts assuming BMW delivers on an improved feel to it's electric-assisted steering.

For now, engines are two carry-overs from the F10 sedans: the N20 turbo-charged inline-four making 241 hp/ 258 lb-ft and the twin-scroll blown N55 engine [conservatively] rated at 302 hp/ 300lb-feet, each available with either 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic gearboxes. BMW 4-Series  luxury sports coupe fun begins at $40,000.

2014 BMW i4 :

Like the idea of a plug-in Battery Electric entry luxury car? Don't need the overkill in power [and price] in the Tesla Model S? Can you can live with 100 miles range - give or take - per full charge?

Hit your BMW dealership by Spring of 2014 and you'll be able to take home a genuine BMW electric: the all-new i3. The admitted sub-compact wanna-be cross-over is assembled in Leipzig, Germany using a host of renewables. As in wind-turbine energy which powers the entire plant. Raw carbon fiber trim. Eucalyptus wood sourced from local German forests which age with owner [and with car]. Seats made of recycled plastic bottles. And leather tanned using spent olive tree leaves.

It doesn't mean that the i3 leaves out what you would expect in the future of electrified luxury personal transport. As in aluminum knobs, stalks and switches, TFT gauge cluster and one mother of a  note-pad LCD display with I-Drive controls. And real suicide doors on both sides - sans B-pillars - to enhance egress into the rear quarters. Not a whole-lotta' adult knee room back there. The i3 is a hatchback with a low load floor covering a compact 22kWh Li-Ion battery and generator powered synchronous traction motor. Good to hold a healthy amount of cargo.

If you suffer from a real severe case of range-anxiety, the i3 will also be available with a rear mounted twin-cylinder 650 cc gas engine, which only-fires to charge the battery, rather than to couple to a transmission as in the Chevrolet Volt. It ups range to 160 miles. On that model the fuel-tank goes up-front in the BMW quest for "optimal" 50/50%  f/r balance.

The BMW i3 is impressively light at 2700-lbs, thanks to a composite plastic body with reinforced crumple areas. Making 170 hp/ 184 lb-ft, BMW's first consumer BEV is claimed to actually blow away any golf cart at the Western Open. Something that can't be said about the Mistubishi i-MiEV electric. Plug-In charging times will range based on charge equipment. From 3 hours on 220V supply to 30 minutes on a Level 4 480V DC fast-charger... if you can find one.

New state-of-the-art technology is never cheap. The 2014 BMW i3  starting at $41K ($44K for the extended ranger).

Total purchase cost to most buyers in Illinois will nudge under $30,000 with the more than $11,000 in federal income tax credits and state rebates available.

Not bad for an all-electric, rear-drive, real BMW made-in-Germany, with some scoot.

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2013 BMW Western Open  day spectator tickets are available for $40 for adults, with active military personnel and kids under-16 admitted for free.

There is plenty of off-site parking  with shuttle service including that from the Lake Forest Metra station.


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