The Caccavo family has a thing of the second-generation BMW 5 Series. In fact, you could almost call it an obsession, as each member of the family drives some generation of the 1980s classic.
Two of the options said to join what will be an extensive list on the coming 2016 BMW 7 Series are a Sky Lounge panoramic glass roof, said to be a nod going all the way back to the Concept 5 Series Gran Turismo showed off at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, and a “3CM” option code which equates to a Leather Engine Cover.
The current BMW 5 Series is just a few years old since its 2009 debut, but the Bavarians are already preparing to put the model out to pasture. Here’s our first glimpse at the production bodywork for the next-gen sedan after spotting the wagon version during testing – twice.
While the cladding and swirling camouflage make specific details difficult to discern, it doesn’t look like we should expect any massive changes in design language from the new model. The nose appears to dip a bit more at the tip of the front end, but otherwise there’s no way to mistake this as anything other than a 5 Series. Squint hard enough at the front left fender and you can notice what seems to be a small door. Our spies think that this might be hiding the charging port for a plug-in hybrid version.
While the styling doesn’t appear to be changing much, the next 5er reportedly has a new platform underneath the skin that supposedly will help it shed around 220 pounds. The debut for this lighter but likely similar looking BMW is expected sometime in 2016.
BMW quietly revealed a 5 Series GT concept earlier this week at an event in France, and it sports a plug-in hybrid powertrain capable of a whopping 670 horsepower.
BMW quietly revealed a 5 Series GT concept earlier this week at an event in France, and it sports a plug-in hybrid powertrain capable of a whopping 670 horsepower. That’s right, a hybrid BMW hatch-crossover with more estimated power than the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
BMW’s setup is called “Power eDrive,” and it uses a 20-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack that provides juice for two electric motors; they work with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This 5 Series GT would be able to travel for 62 miles under electric power.
The prototype shows the high-performance potential of the system, but the 5 Series GT is “purely a concept,” BMW spokesman Julian Arguelles told BMW Top News.
BMW revealed the prototypes to illustrate its plans to increase production of plug-in hybrids. Its goal is to add plug-in variants to all of its “core-brand models,” though specifics and timing are unclear.
Except for the fancy wheels and the overly expressive fascias, the production version of the BMW X4 looks like it will carry over practically untouched from what we saw in the X4 Concept several months back. With the same fastback roofline as the concept, these spy shots show that the X4 is taking shape to be a baby version of the BMW X6.
Sharing the same platform as the X3, the lower and wider X4 will be positioned slightly more upmarket – as is the case with the X5 and X6. We hear that this could mean that the X4 will ditch the X3’s base engine to give an even sportier feel right out of the gate, but word has it that an M version will being showing up down the road as well.
BMW has already revealed what it plans to show off at the Frankfurt Motor Show (i3, 4 Series Coupe, next-gen X5, refreshed 5 Series, X5 Concept eDrive plug-in hybrid and Concept Active Tourer Outdoor), so barring any surprised we definitely won’t be seeing the X4 there. At this point, with as close to production as these images would have us believe, our best guess would be that we’ll see the X4’s official unveiling happen either at LA or Detroit.
Because Four Is Greater Than Three
Say what you will about the name 4 Series, there is a method to BMW’s madness. On one hand, it’s easy enough to just buy into the logic that odd numbers are reserved for sedans and wagons, and that even numbers are reserved for coupes and convertibles. On the other hand, consider the idea that the higher numbers are used to separate the more dynamic, more engaging vehicles that use the same platform. It’s that sort of separation that differentiates the 6 Series so nicely from its 5 Series roots, after all. And if we’re being cynical, it also allows BMW to charge a bit more money for its lower-volume offerings.
So with the new two-door version of the 3 Series, BMW has gone the route of strengthening the dynamic virtues of its F30 chassis to create a car that’s more removed from its sedan kin than one might think. And after spending some time with the new 4 Series on the roads around Lisbon, Portugal, as well as the famous Circuito do Estoril racetrack, it’s increasingly clear that calling this car a 3 Series Coupe simply wouldn’t be fair.
When you combine two billion citizens, 100 cities with more than a million inhabitants and an economy that’s as unrestrained as Jim Cramer on an Adderall binge, China’s explosive auto industry growth shouldn’t be a huge surprise. Audi already lists the communist country as its largest market, while Mercedes-Benz is expecting it to be there in the next few years. Now, according to a report from Automotive News, BMW is expecting the People’s Republic to overtake the United States in sales by the end of 2013.
We already discovered the extent that BMW is going to in establishing a dedicated Chinese stronghold, when we explored BMW’s Shanghai-based DesignWorks studio ahead of April’s Shanghai Motor Show. And while we argued that DesignWorks Shanghai hasn’t really borne fruit, it isn’t due to a lack of sales.
BMW China has seen a 16-percent jump in year-over-year sales, lead by a 28-percent gain in 5 Series sales. Part of BMW’s growth strategy comes from an ever-expanding dealership network. Remember those 100 cities we mentioned with over one million people? According to Karsten Engel, CEO of BMW’s Chinese operations, those 100-million-plus city dwellers don’t have access to a premium dealership.
Despite BMW’s successes in the Chinese market, it’s still playing second fiddle to Audi. Its rival had the highest market share in the premium market in 2012, and it’s seen an 18-percent increase to BMW’s 16-percent increase, moving 228,000 vehicles to BMW’s 170,000.