Unlike the never ending back-and-forth between the A6 and/or the A8, we’re certain this is the new 2011 5 Series Touring, a.k.a. a Bimmer station wagon or “Kombi” as they call ‘em over in Europe. Not bad, right? Kinda lithe yet athletic at the same time. Good looking, too. And let’s not forget the M versions of these puppies. Only thing is, what we think probably doesn’t matter – odds are we’ll never see the 5 Series Touring here in the States.
We’ve mentioned it before, but BMW just launched the 5 Series Gran Turismo. Selling both of the fairly similar five-door cars along side each other might cut into sales. Additionally, wagons have never sold well for BMW here in North America – and for some reason, Americans just aren’t into traditional car-like station wagons.
Never mind the nearly 1,000 pound weight advantage of the wagon (around 4,000 pounds) over the GT (about 4,800 pounds) – which should bring with it better mileage, performance and handling – to its detractors, the Gran Turismo just has an air of Chrysler Pacifica about it. Of course, since the day it came out, many of us auto-journo types have been asking why one would buy the SUV-ish X5 when the hauls-just-as-much-stuff 5 Series wagon is not only available but costs less, goes quicker, handles better, etc. Looks like BMW just might just disarm that line of questioning altogether.
We knew that BMW’s pivotal 5 Series was slated for replacement soon, and we’ve seen plenty of spy shots to prove that it’s in the cards. Up until just now, however, we didn’t know when it would appear.
In a brief press release available after the jump, BMW promises that its new 5 Series will be revealed with a “Live-Stream of the unveiling ceremony” on November 23 at 8pm CET. In the meantime, the automaker has released a teaser video of an amazing kinetic sculpture at the BMW Museum that gives away the car’s outline.
The eye-catching orange paintjob is a throwback to extreme Bimmers of yore. But after you look past the timely Halloween color scheme, you’ll notice a set of exclusive 19-inch competition alloys – coated with 225/35 rubber up front and 285/30 in the rear – protruding out of the bulging bodywork, housing six-piston calipers up front and four in the rear and mounted to yellow springs and an adjustable suspension. You can hardly miss the giant front splitter and rear wing protruding from either end, and the interior’s been stripped down with contoured racing buckets, an emergency cut-off switch and a fire extinguisher taking the place of the air-con, nav and radio, along with mounting points for a roll cage and six-point harnesses and a Macrolon rear windscreen to replace the stock glass, helping the M3 GTS tip the scales at just 1490 kg (3285 lbs), some 419 lbs less than the stock M3 coupe’s 3704-lb curb weight.
First deliveries are scheduled to begin in Germany next May, carrying a sticker price of 115,000 euros (about $170k) before taxes. Official engine specs haven’t been released, but we’re still looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of 450 horsepower from an enlarged 4.4-liter V8, driving through the Bavarian automaker’s 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
This morning we get our first “clear” look at the next generation BMW 3 Series as one of our intrepid spy photographers captured one sitting on a trailer somewhere in Germany. The newest version of BMW’s mainstream model is expected to debut sometime in 2011 as 2012 model. Judging from these shots, it does not appear that the size of the new 3 will change much, although we can expect BMW to implement some weight reduction measures in order to help meet new fuel efficiency and emissions standards.
The next 3 is also expected to adopt some new powertrains including a new turbocharged and direct-injected three-cylinder engine. When the new 3 arrives here in the U.S., it will likely also mark the return of four-cylinder engines to the brand’s U.S. lineup, to which we say, bring on the fuel savings.
The former turned out to be a one-of-a-kind special. But details on the latter are beginning to circulate, and they look promising. Firstly, sources suggest that the model won’t wear the CSL designation at all, and instead be labeled either M3 GT or M3 GT4 Street, in reference to the homologated racing version.
First, the good stuff: the engine is tipped to be tuned in the neighborhood of 450 horsepower, give or take, driven exclusively through the 7-speed dual clutch transmission with no manual expected to be on offer. Stopping power is anticipated to come from Brembo 6-piston calipers up front and 4-pots in the rear gripping slotted steel discs, and while carbon-ceramics may be on the options list, the jury’s still out on when BMW will roll out the production version of its F1-derived Kinetic Energy Recovery System, a.k.a. regenerative braking. Recaro buckets and the removal of the rear seats should help the M3 GT (or whatever it will be called) shed some 220 lbs of weight, sitting 25mm lower on BBS alloys mounted to a Sachs suspension with standard roll bars.
The prototype is said to have already lapped the Nurburgring in 7:40, with testing still underway in France. Targeting the Porsche 911 GT3, the hard-core M3 will be extremely limited in production – possibly as few as 25 examples annually – available directly from BMW Motorsport but certified for road use – at a price point hovering around 110,000 euros ($172k). Unfortunately, the signs suggest that it won’t be making the transatlantic voyage Stateside.
We’re not sure what to believe anymore. A bit over a year ago, reports surfaced that BMW was planning a successor to the E90-generation M3 CSL, a highly coveted, track-focused version of its legendary sports coupe. Within a month, the Bavarian automaker had announced that it was canceling the program. And then these photos show up.
This M3 test mule was seen lapping the N