The 3 Series coupe and convertible have had a little surgery done and been caught post-op. The actual changes aren’t monumental, but up front appear to have quite an effect on the looks. We’ll wait to see the uncovered version without the tape over the headlights before final judgments are issued, but from the three-quarter view the increased sweep, the changes to the kidney grille, and the drawn headlights makes the front look a little — forgive us for saying — vintage Grand Am.
In back the car gets revised taillights and a bumper massage. Inside expect slightly upgraded ergonomics and iDrive. The sedan and touring are rumored to get this look as well, and should appear next year.
Everyone is getting ready for the Mini Countryman — including, perhaps, the WRC — but everyone is going to have to wait, according to a report by those Mini-mad folks at Motoring File. The holdup is the upcoming BMW X3, which is BMW’s foremost concern right now as the little crossover is practically as important to BMW as a Euro print plate is to the European Central Bank.
The Mini will be produced at Magna’s plant in Austria, but first BMW has to complete the shift in X3 production from that plant to its facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Until that’s done, Countryman production can’t begin. That has observers figuring that the production Mini crossover won’t meet the public until next year’s Geneva show, instead of Detroit.
The other Countryman-related news is that, like SH-AWD and Quattro and Symmetrical AWD, Mini plans on a specific brand for its flavor of all-wheel drive. The name is said to be “All4.” Yes, our minds are already agog at the ways in which Mini will be spinning that little moniker.
The 2011 BMW 5-Series is slowly undressing as far as camouflage goes, and its looks are going the “more substantial” route to match its more substantial, modified 7 Series chassis along with a dose of 5 Series Gran Turismo in back. The front end gets a less sculpted treatment while, if the swirls don’t deceive us, the rear glasshouse slopes more steeply into the trunk lid. The lower rear fascia gets the same severe angle as that on the 5Series GT.
Inside – at least according to the forms, since everything but the shift lever and iDrive is covered – it is beginning to look like a 7 Series in miniature.
Under the hood will be the usual suspects, with the 550i supposedly getting the brand’s eight-speed auto. There are also rumors of a turbocharged four-cylinder and Active Hybrid. The car should make its first public appearance sometime early next year.