BMW shows off lighter, 5-series sedan, even a new cycle – Detroit Free Press
How the media covers the Detroit auto show.
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BMW revealed a new, lighter midsize 5-series sedan, a 2018 BMW X2 concept SUV and even a new motorcycle this morning at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Long considered one of the world’s best sport sedans, next-generation BMW’s midsize 5-series grows larger but lighter and adds several intriguing new models for this year. The last 5-series felt heavy to some connoisseurs, but an all-new architecture reduces the new, seventh-generation 5-series’s weight by up to 137 pounds.
The storied 5-series, first introduced for the 1972 model year, has long been known for performance, luxury and interior room, according to Edmunds.com. It’s also highly regarded for its refined styling and innovative technology features. It’s the second-best selling sedan in its segment. But U.S. sales of the 5-series fell 26% last year to 36,408, more than twice the 12% decline experienced by the segment.
But BMW officials highlighted the importance of the 5-series to the company’s total portfolio.
“The 5-series is the core of the brand. It’s one of those products that makes a huge contribution to the group in total. We sold over 2.3 million of them in the last generation. So here in North America, the biggest market for the 5-series, we’re unveiling the car for the very first time,” said Ian Robertson, board member for BMW AG.
The updated lineup starts with the 530i, which offers a 248-hp 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The 540i gets a 335-hp 3.0L straight-six engine. The M550i xDrive cranks up the performance with a sub-4.0 second 0-60 mph and 456-hp 4.4L twin-turbo V8.
At the other end of the spectrum, the 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid reaches 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, but can go about 14 miles on battery power alone.
“The 5-series is the core of the brand. It’s one of those products that makes a huge contribution to the group in total. So here in North America, the biggest market for the 5-series we’re unveiling the car for the very first time,” said Ian Robertson, board member for BMW AG.
The company also highlighted its total sales, calling 2016 the most successful year ever for the BMW Group with almost 2.4 million sales, which it said was a 5.3 percent increase.
The 2017 5-series goes on sale early in 2017. Prices start at $51,200, excluding destination charges. The 530e hybrid and M550i xDrive arrive in the spring.
With sales of luxury sedans declining it makes sense that BMW would want to add another SUV to its lineup, especially when the German automaker already offers an X1, X3, X4, X5, and X6.
Looking ready to roll off the production line tomorrow, BMW’s sleek X2 concept SUV is a clear look at the automaker’s plan for a sportier companion to the X1 compact that went on sale in 2016.
The concept’s big grille and long hood flow into back into a low roofline and prominent rear fender flares. A long roof and narrow windows create the impression of a roomy interior.
A BMW badge on the C-pillar recalls a design touch from the brand’s coupes, while 21-inch light-alloy wheels fill the wheel wells. Experimental lasers contribute to slim headlight lenses. A production version of the X2 is expected in 2018.
The company also showed off a new M760i xDrive, a V12, 610 horsepower machine that Robertson said ” underscores our desire to strengthen our presence in the large luxury class.”
Cars and SUVs were not the only vehicles the company highlighted Monday. A new K1600 B motorcycle also took the stage, and is expected to be available later this summer.
With its cruiser-inspired design, 6-cylinder performance and genuine touring qualities, “it truly captures the spirit of the open road,” said Ludwig Willisch, president and CEO of BMW of North America..
Willisch said the United States was the company’s No. 2 market for motorcycles after Germany in 2016.
In addition, the company plans to introduce an electric scooter for the first time in September.
With the recent focus on automakers from President-elect Donald Trump, BMW officials promoted their own commitments to the United States.
Robertson said BMW is investing $1 billion in its Spartanburg, S.C. plant.
“It’s our largest plant in the world, and it will continue to move onwards and upwards to around 450,000 cars, more than any plant in the BMW Group and will remain our center of development and center of production for the X products,” Robertson said when asked about its plans to open in a plant in Mexico in coming years. “I think our commitment to this country is very, very clear. Mexico is a new world plant that we’re bringing online. Where we’ll actually supply the cars and sell them from Mexico remains to be seen.”
Contact Eric D. Lawrence: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @_ericdlawrence.