Birchwood BMW News


The 2017 BMW 550i on display at rear of Pizzeria Gusto, 
which hosted Birchwood BMW's first off-site new product launch.

On June 14, for the first time ever, Birchwood BMW went off-site for a new product launch.

More than 200 invited guests showed up at Pizzeria Gusto on Academy Road to enjoy delicious food and wine, great music and the opportunity to learn about the new BMW M550i xDrive sedan - which is due out next year.

What better way to celebrate the arrival of world class luxury cars than at one of Winnipeg's premier fine-dining establishments.

The overview was provided by BMW Canada product planner Patrick Clancy, who reports he has personally been working on the newest 5-Series model for the past two years.

"Our 5-Series combines the best features of the 3-Series and the 7-Series," he says. "Globally, the 5-Series is our bestseller. So the M550i xDrive is very important for us. We build cars for people who like to drive."

The M550i xDrive is a mid-sized sedan which, Clancy says, will be the fastest 5-Series model ever. The new AWD M550i xDrive is powered by a twin turbo V-8 engine that puts out 565 horsepower and can go from zero to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds. It is also 62 kilograms lighter than its predecessor.

"BMW doesn't believe in making radical changes," Clancy says. "Rather, our models evolve. So, the new M5 has the same BMW grille and headlight configuration, but with a more swept-back silhouette that gives it a sportier appearance. It is a car that commands attention."w

Inside, Clancy notes, the new M550i xDrive will have all the comforts and luxury touches the higher end 7-Series has to offer. The leather and wood trim are of the highest quality and the metal button is really metal. Both driver and front passenger can enjoy massaging seats. And you have a choice of interior fragrances.

"BMW developed the fragrances with the help of a well-known Parisian perfumerie," Clancy says. "The fragrances are designed so the aroma doesn't stick to your clothing when you leave the vehicle."

Clancy says BMW is planning to introduce a fully-automated vehicle for 2021. "Even then, we prefer to view our drivers as co-pilots," he says. "Even now, our driver-assist technologies - lane-keeping assist, active cruise control and stop-and-go technology - are leading edge."

Steve Payne, Birchwood BMW's sales manager, reports quite a number of people at the event came into the store last Saturday to test drive some of the 2017 models that were on display outside Pizzeria Gusto.

Mini Winnipeg launches new model

While Birchwood BMW has made it standard practice to host gala evenings to introduce new models, sister store Birchwood Mini Winnipeg has traditionally welcomed new models with little fanfare. With the launch of the 2017 Mini Countryman, however, the dealership took a leaf from the BMW store and threw a party to introduce the newcomer.

"This was the first time we have had a real product launch," Birchwood Mini product genius Tony Pedreira says of the May 23 event, which also featured music and refreshments. "We had a pretty good turnout and a really positive response to the model."

Pedreira points out the new Countryman's Cooper and Cooper S versions offer a choice of front-wheel drive or Mini's ALL4 all-wheel-drive system. The Cooper has a 134-hp 1.5 litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine with six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The Cooper S comes with a 189-hp 2-L turbo four-cylinder engine with an eight-speed transmission.

The 228 hp John Cooper Works version and a plug-in hybrid model are still to come.

Pedreira notes the new model is larger and roomier than its predecessor, a design feature MINI customers have been waiting for.

"When in the past our customers' life situation changes and they have needed larger models to accommodate growing families, they would have to move on from our models to competitors' vehicles," Pedreira says.

"Our new Countryman can accommodate a family of four or five and sports gear or baggage for family trips."

Standard equipment on all models includes sunroof, keyless entry, a backup camera, rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, Sensatec synthetic-leather upholstery, and 17-inch wheels (on the Cooper). The Cooper S models have 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and daytime running lights and sport seats.

Pedreira reports the purchase price for the 2017 Countryman ranges from $27,000 to about $38,500.

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."
Birchwood BMW wins National Award of Excellence

Birchwood BMW is the winner of BMW Canada's Excellence in Overall Service Satisfaction Award for Western Canada. Birchwood had the highest year-over-year growth in vehicle sales and also ranked as the No. 1 volume BMW and BMW M Performance automobile dealer (non-metro) in Western Canada last year.

"We credit our record-breaking growth to our focus on delivering an outstanding customer experience," said Craig Becker, Birchwood BMW general manager. "The BMW brand is about innovation and creating emotion, enthusiasm, fascination and thrills for the driver. We set out to bring that same emotion, thrill and enthusiasm to the Birchwood BMW experience. It goes beyond the day you buy the car. We aim to deliver an outstanding experience each time you bring the vehicle in for service, detailing or repair.

Birchwood BMW finished first nationwide in sales growth 
and overall service satisfaction   

They're the best in the west.

Birchwood BMW led all BMW dealerships in Western Canada in vehicle sales growth and customer service satisfaction, the company announced earlier this month. It also had the highest year-over-year growth in vehicle sales while ranking as the top BMW performance automobile dealer in terms of volume in the west.

The good sales news has continued into the first quarter of this year, with company officials noting they have again finished tops in the region for year-over-year sales growth.

"The BMW brand is about innovation and creating emotion, enthusiasm, fascination and thrills for the driver," said Craig Becker, Birchwood BMW's general manager, in a press release. "We set out to bring that same emotion, thrill and enthusiasm to the Birchwood BMW experience."

Birchwood BMW is located in the Pointe West Autopark.