There are few dealerships that do new car launches quite like Birchwood BMW. On July 6, more than 300 people attended a gala evening at the Pointe West AutoPark facility to celebrate the official launch of some of BMW’s 2017 models – and the guests were suitably impressed.

    The stars of the evening were the 2017 M2, 2017 M4GTS and 2017 i8 hybrid. “Tonight, you are getting a glimpse into the future,” said Birchwood BMW senior sales consultant Patrick Hasselmann while introducing the new models.

    In an interview, Hasselmann reviewed each new model individually. The i8 (which BMW introduced last year) can go from zero to 100 km/h in 4.1 seconds. The model, he notes, has a unique style with wing-like, scissor doors and a sculpted body that helps control air flow. He points to its carbon fibre construction. Carbon fibre, he notes, is half the weight of conventional steel and twice as strong. He points out the interior is made largely of recycled material. “The i8 is the world’s ultimate hybrid car,” he says. The sticker price on the i8 is $150,000. Birchwood BMW only has the one model on the ground.

    Equally rare are the M2 and the M4GTS. The 2017 GTS, Hasselmann says, is one of just 700 that have been manufactured, and only 50 are available in Canada. “The GTS is an absolute racing car track monster that you can drive on the street,” Hasselmann says. “It has fully adjustable spoilers on the front and wings on the back. The suspension can be set for all kinds of different conditions.” The new GTS, he adds, is the first car on the road with a water vapour injection system. A fine watery mist is sprayed into the intake chamber, cooling the air and making the air denser, thereby yielding considerably more horsepower and torque. “The horsepower is officially rated at 493,” Hasselmann says, “but that’s underrated.”

    The GTS exterior is also built largely of carbon fibre. Hasselmann reports Birchwood BMW’s one GTS model has already been spoken for. The ’17 M2, Hasselmann says, is a throwback to the pure M models of years gone by in terms of raw power and balance. “If you yearn for the original M3 model with its flair fenders, than the 2017 M2 is for you,” he says. “A six-speed manual suspension is available for M2 drivers, Hasselmann notes. “It’s so rare these days to have a car with a stick shift,” he says. “The mechanical precision is among the best in its class. The sound is awesome.”

    The model sells for a starting price of $55,000. “This vehicle really appeals to drivers,” he says. “The M2 is sold out for the year, but we are taking orders for next year.”

    Birchwood BMW also introduced BMW’s 2017 X1 and 7-Series models at the gala. “The 2017 model is the most luxurious 7-Series model ever,” Hasselmann says. “It is the first car in its class in the world which allows you to issue commands with just hand gestures.” The 740i version is powered by a TwinPower turbocharged 3-L inline-6 that produces 320 hp. The 750i has a 4.4-L TwinPower turbocharged V-8 that produces 445 hp. For 2017, the 7-Series offers AWD for the 740i as well as in the 750i. The BMW M760i xDrive gets a twin-turbo twelve, making 600 hp. The model is also built largely with carbon fibre. The starting price for the 7-Series is $114,000.

    “We have two or three models in stock,” Hasselmann says.

    Then there is the all-new X1, with its long-awaited new design. Hasselmann says the 2017 X1 is more efficient and more luxurious than its predecessors and is also slightly larger. “The older model was great for Europe, but small for Canada,” he says. “The new model has a longer wheel base, a new interior and it is better-equipped. If you liked the older X1, you will love the new model.” The starting price for the 2017 X1 is $38,800. Like the i8 and the GTS, there is only one model in stock at Birchwood BMW.


    It was not only the cars that were new at Birchwood BMW on July 6. Also relatively new to the staff is Ben Kuilman, a recent graduate of the Asper School of Business. He joined the sales team in June after returning from a trip to Israel as a participant in the Arni Thorsteinson Study Exchange Program (which was established in 2006 at the University of Manitoba and is funded by the Gerald Schwartz & Heather Reisman Foundation). The goal of the program is to provide Canadian and Israeli business students, who are learning about international trade, with the opportunity to meet business leaders and be exposed to business practices.

    Kuilman was one of 14 Manitoba business students and eight Israeli students from the Guilford Glazer School of Business at Ben Gurion University of the Negev. The Israeli students arrived at the beginning of May for two weeks to study international trade at the Asper School of Business. As part of the program, they met local companies and business stakeholders who deal with international trade. The entire group then travelled to Israel for two weeks, where they attended a course on international trade and innovation at Guilford Glazer.

    “It was a great experience,” Kuilman says. As for his new career, Kuilman says his fellow sales consultants have been very helpful in getting him started. “The guys here are great,” he says. “I really enjoy meeting people.”

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