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Future products: BMW focuses on small crossovers, new EV subbrand

Tue, 31 Aug 2010

BMW will concentrate on small crossovers next year with a redesigned X3 and the all-new X1. Both are based on the redesigned 3-series sedan, which will arrive in 2012.

In 2013, a new subbrand of electric and hybrid vehicles being developed by BMW's Project i group will debut.

Here is a rundown of BMW's product plans for 2010-13.

1 series: The coupe and convertible will be freshened in 2011, and a high-performance M coupe will be added. The coupe and convertible are expected to be redesigned in 2013 or 2014.

3 series: A redesign is planned for 2012 with a longer wheelbase. Power will come from a twin-turbocharged, direct-injection, four-cylinder gasoline engine. BMW probably will start with the sedan version and roll out derivatives every six months. Station wagon, coupe and convertible versions will come later.

A 3-series-based crossover similar to the 5-series Gran Turismo is expected, but it would be aimed mainly at European customers.

5 series: The redesigned sedan debuted this spring. A new M5 version will go on sale next year, likely with the 570-hp, 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 found in the X5 M and X6 M.

5-series Gran Turismo: The station-wagonlike crossover hasn't sold well since its debut last October. Executives say that's because two variants were unavailable at launch last year. The six-cylinder 535i GT arrived in June, and the all-wheel drive comes this fall.

The GT gets a freshening in 2013.

6 series: A reskinned second-generation coupe and convertible are expected in 2011. BMW probably will carry over its 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V8. The new versions will take styling cues from the Gran Coupe concept shown at the 2010 Beijing auto show. Reportedly, a four-door sedan version of the 6 series with coupelike styling has been approved. It would compete with the Mercedes-Benz CLS, Porsche Panamera and Audi A7.

7 series: A mild freshening of the flagship is expected in 2012 or 2013. The $100,000-plus ActiveHybrid 7 version went on sale in June. The Active-Hybrid uses a twin-turbo-charged, direct-injection V8 and an electric motor. It gets 15 percent better fuel economy than 7-series gasoline models.

This year the 7 series got a six-cylinder engine for the first time in the United States--a 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged inline six-cylinder for the 740i. Optional awd was added to the 750i and Li this year.

BMW also added an Alpina B7 performance model this year, using the German tuner Alpina to give the 7 series a sportier body with spoilers, wheels and interior trim. A limited number will be sold through BMW dealerships.

Z4: The hard-top roadster gets a freshening in 2013.

X1: The new small crossover based on the 3 series goes on sale in the first quarter of 2011. Because of its small size, BMW isn't counting on high sales.

X3: A redesigned version of the crossover, built in Spartanburg, S.C., debuts early next year. It will be about 3 inches longer than the current X3, or nearly as large as the original X5.

The lineup will consist of the xDrive28i with a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine and the xDrive35i with a new turbocharged 3.0-liter single-turbo engine.

X5: BMW's largest crossover got a mild freshening this year. It will be redesigned in 2013.

X6: A freshening is due in 2012.

Megacity vehicle: An electric car designed for urban use comes in 2013. BMW will make extensive use of carbon fiber for the body and an interior safety shell and use aluminum components to offset the weight of the 96-cell lithium ion power pack.

Entry-level BMW: BMW is working on a new front-wheel and four-wheel-drive architecture for an entry-level car positioned below the 1 series. The architecture also will be used for the next generation of Minis. The architecture could underpin up to 20 BMW and Mini variants.

By Diana T. Kurylko- Automotive News