What do you do when a 76 percent drop knocks your car company in its second-quarter profits? BMW announced they plan to resurrect the iconic Isetta “bubble car,” publicized by Steve Urkel on the show “Family Matters.” Ever notice “Family Matters” is a double entendre?
In a statement released by BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer: “The Board has now decided: This auto (Project i/ Megacity Vehicle) will be launched on the market as a sub-brand of BMW. As BMW is the innovation driver within the Group, the decision for a sub brand [much like the company’s M-division] under BMW is the most logical step.” (1)
BMW has been kicking around the idea of creating a modern-day microcar that draws heavy inspiration from the Isetta for nearly two years now. As CarToday.com describes it, the micro aims to combine “urban hipness with environmentally friendly technology.” (2)
Even on “Family Matters,” the Isetta appeared to be from another reality. The original 250 putted about with a 12 horsepower rear-mounted motorcycle engine, had one swing-away nose panel for the door, and an overall egg shape that handsomely complemented Steve Urkel’s gigantic glasses and endearing social mishaps.
The new car could be sold under the brand name “I-Setta,” and will likely have two side-doors, a more powerful, fuel efficient engine equipped with technologies such as direct-injection and start/stop capabilities, but the egg-shape is said to have made the cut and will be retained with the help of some modern styling cues. If all goes well, the micro could be the cleanest, most fuel-efficient car BMW has ever produced and go head to head with the likes of Daimler’s Smart brand.
Considering the re-release of other retro-themed economy cars, such as the Volkswagen Beetle, Fiat 500 and BMW’s own Mini brand, brining about a new Isetta might not be so out of the ordinary, albeit a bit risky. From CarsToday:
“It’s a big gamble, but in a market environment where the ability to diversify your product line up into the microcar niche is backed by the legacy of a car as friendly and recognizable as the Isetta, the chances are BMW could be on the verge of producing something very special.” (1)
The NUBRUGRING, or “The Ring,” is extra special because it’s widely regarded as being the toughest and most dangerous racetrack in the world. Dangerous in part because it’s difficult for emergency cars to reach the scene of an accident in a timely fashion due to the lack of space on the sides of the track and the overall length of the course. Hmmm, sounds like a job for a ridiculously fast emergency car.
A 2010 Nissan GT-R, Fire-Fighting Safety Car now patrols The Ring as a rapid response vehicle. It’s a good idea because the $80,000 Nissan is one of the quickest in its class around the track, and when Nubrugring isn’t closed off for racing purposes, it’s open as a toll-road to the general public. Imagine how many yahoos with a fast car take advantage of that and wind up in a wall with their stopwatches still running – a lot.
Nissan will now come to the rescue in the Fire Truck GT-R, equipped with special graphics, light bar, full roll cage, racing seats, emergency equipment and a large tank of fire retardant hooked up to a quick-release hose. (2)
See the pictures at: http://jalopnik.com/5329686/nissan-gt+r-fire+fighting-safety-car-now-patrols-the-ring/gallery/