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BMW 5-series GT gets a new six-cylinder mix

Mon, 24 May 2010

After a sluggish first few months for the 5-series GT crossover, BMW executives admit they may have missed the model mix.

At launch, the 550 GT was available only with rear-wheel drive and a V-8 engine. That will change with the introduction of an all-wheel-drive model in June and a six-cylinder engine in the fall.

"The V-8 was probably not the right car to launch it with," said Rich Brekus, BMW's general manager of sales for North America, at a press event here.

This month, Jim O'Donnell, BMW's North American boss, told Automotive News that the crossover is ahead of budget globally but in North America is "running 20 percent behind budget at the moment."

O'Donnell said BMW was "too ambitious with the 550 GT."

With more buyers becoming concerned about fuel economy, and the trend toward a higher-than-expected number of female buyers for the vehicle, BMW hopes the addition of the six-cylinder 535 GT and the awd 550 GT will help sales numbers.

Since the launch, BMW has sold 1,143 GTs, outperforming sales of the 5-series wagon last year.

"This time next year," O'Donnell said, "we'll tell you if it's successful or not."

By Jason Stein- Automotive News