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New
New BMW Chairman
Joachim Milberg Bernd Pischetsrieder, chairman of BMW since 1993, was replaced Friday after an emergency board meeting. His replacement, Joachim Milberg, at left, former head of engineering and production, is a surprise since industry followers expected Wolfgang Reitzle to be named to the top spot.  The reason for Pischetsrieder's ouster is rumored to be his inablity to turn around the Rover group, purchased by BMW in 1998.  How this will effect BMW automobiles remains to be seen, however Pischetsrieder is credited with the increased popularity and sales of BMWs world wide.

M5 Release
The new M5 debut in Europe at the Paris auto show, and has been shown in the US to BMW CCA members at the M Day event in Spartenburg, South Carolina. Sporting 400 horsepower from its 5 liter engine and a 6 speed transmission the car is the fastest production sedan.

The Upcoming X5
BMW's sport utility vehicle, the X5, called a "Sport Activity Vehicle" by BMW, will debut in North America at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. For more information about the X5 see the Rumors page.

BMW X5


BMW X5

Model Range Changes for 1999
The slightly restyled 7 Series will offer a sport package on the 740i(L) models, consisting of a shorter final drive ratio, a higher stall speed torque converter and an M sport suspension.   The sport package will cost US$2,600. The 740i has a base price of US$62,400 while the 740iL has a base price of US$66,400.

Starting next spring, the 740iL and the 750iL can be equipped with a light armor package.  The armored vehicles will be produced in house by BMW.

Additionally for í99, the Z3 roadsterís entry level 1.9L 4 cylinder engine will be replaced by a 2.5L 6 cylinder engine, with a new designation of Z3 2.3.  The new addition will cost US$29,950.   According to Michael Erne, the Z3 product manager, "The 1.9 attracted new customers but didnít have the reach of the 2.3."

Pricing Information for New 3 Series
BMW has released official pricing information for the 1999 3 Series lineup:
  • The 323i sedan - $26,400
  • The 328i sedan - $33,400

Ordering Information for New 3 Series
The 1999 328i E46 4-door will be basically equipped as the 1998 model, however expect the price to increase approximately $1500. New standard features include the ITS head airbag system, 3 position memory for power seats, steering wheel controls similar to the 5 Series, and a driver memory system that remembers each driver's setting for A/C, driver's seat, and steering wheel. Options will include the following:

  • Premium Package including:
    • Montana leather
    • Power moonroof
    • Myrtle wood
    • 4 way lumbar support
    • Automatic dimming or inside rearview mirror
    • Rain sensing windshield wipers
  • Sport Package (not available until September 1998 production) including:
    • 8 way power sport seats with 2 way manual control
    • 17x8 star spoke design alloy wheels with 225/45-17 W rated performance tires
    • Sport tuned suspension
  • Rear side door airbags
  • 5 speed automatic transmission
  • High intensity discharge headlights (not available until September 1998 production)
  • M aerodynamic package (not available until September 1998 production)
  • In-dash CD player in lieu of cassette
  • Integrated on board navigation system (not available until September 1998 production)
  • Park distance control
  • Harmon Kardon premium stereo
  • Heated seats
  • Fold-down rear seats
BMW expects the M Individual program to be available in the US in 1999, offering 12 additional exterior colors and 42 different colors and grades of leather and cloth interiors.

New 3 Series Interior
New 3 Series Interior

New 3 Series Airbag Arrangement
New 3 Series Airbag Arrangement

Reviews of New 3 Series Trickling In
The German automobile magazine Autobild has reviewed the new 3 Series, in both 328i and 318i guises. The general consensus is that the car has lost some handling sharpness in return for more ride comfort and smoothness. The 6-cylinder, 2.8 liter engine now has VANOS variable valve timing control on both intake and exhaust cams and the 4-cylinder 1.9 liter engine has balance shafts. Safety features take the next step with head-level side air bags. Photos of the production car follow:

New 3 Series
Front quarter veiw.

New 3 Series
Side view of production car.

Seen on the AutoBild web site out of Germany, official pictures of the upcoming 3 Series (E46 chassis). The car will be offered in Europe in 318i, 320i, 323i, and 328i engine and trim levels. It is likely that the 320i, 323i, and 328i versions will be released in the US with 150 (4-cylinder), 170, and 193 horsepower, respectively. Europe will also receive diesel powered versions, in the form of the 320tdi and, later, the 328tdi. The car will have, standard, side air bags, and BMW's newly developed head restraint system.

New 3 Series
Front quarter veiw.

New 3 Series
Front end.

New 3 Series
Rear quarter view.

3 Series interior
Interior view showing air bags.

New M Cars for the US
BMW is introducing three new M Cars to the US this year, the M3 convertible, the M Roadster, and the M Coupe.

M3 ConvertibleThe M3 Convertible
Perhaps the most sought-after car in BMW history. The thrill of open-air driving and M3 race-bred performance in one car. The top lowers and raises at the press of button. The nappa leather sport seats hold you comfortably. The handling reaffirms the M car experience - unrivaled in its braking, cornering and, of course, acceleration. Yet the M3 convertible offers BMW sensibilities that you would expect - safety, security and performance-based luxury. It's no wonder so many have requested this car. Starting at $45,900, standard features include:

  • 3.2-liter 24-valve DOHC in-line 6-cylinder with variable valve timing
  • 240 horsepower with 236 lb.-ft. of torque at 3800 rpm
  • 0-60 mph estimated at 5.9 seconds
  • 60-0 mph estimated at 2.8 seconds
  • Five-speed manual
  • Electric convertible soft top
  • Rollover Protection System
  • All Season Traction with limited-slip differential
  • Large capacity 4-wheel ventilated disc brakes with vacuum assist
  • Antilock braking (ABS) with M calibration and servo assist
  • Variable-ratio rack and pinion steering with engine-speed-sensitive variable assist
  • Halogen free-form headlights, high and low beams
  • Halogen free-form foglights
  • Metallic paint in special M colors
  • M aerodynamic mirrors (heated/electrically adjustable)
  • 3 Spoke M sport leather steering wheel
  • Nappa leather sport seats
  • Power windows and door locks
  • Dual airbag supplementary restraint system
  • Front-door-mounted, side-impact airbags
  • Coded Driveaway Protection (EWSII)
  • Close-ratio five-speed automatic transmission optional at additional cost

M roadsterThe M roadster
First came the Z3 roadster 1.9, then the 2.8-liter version. But now, the performance has escalated to a new level. As the highlights below foretell, the M roadster's responsiveness will leave you breathless. And its luxury will leave you fulfilled. The M roadster is so thoroughly appointed that it has no extra cost options. Its many standard features include rollover bars, electric top, heated, electrically adjustable nappa leather sport seats and premium Harman Kardon audio system. Start thinking in terms of pure pleasure. Plan for your test drive. M roadsters to be available at authorized BMW Centers near the end of March, in limited quantities. Starting at $42,200, standard features include:

  • 3.2-liter 24-valve DOHC in-line 6-cylinder with variable valve timing
  • 240 horsepower with 236 lb.-ft. of torque at 3800 rpm
  • 0-60 mph estimated at 5.5 seconds
  • 60-0 mph estimated at 2.6 seconds
  • Five-speed manual transmission
  • Electric convertible soft top
  • Rollover Bars
  • Limited-slip differential (All Season Traction not available)
  • Quad exhaust pipes
  • Cruise control
  • Large capacity 4-wheel ventilated disc brakes with vacuum assist
  • Antilock braking (ABS) with M calibration and servo assist
  • Variable-ratio rack and pinion steering with engine-speed-sensitive variable assist
  • Halogen free-form headlights, high and low beams
  • Metallic paint in special M colors
  • M aerodynamic mirrors (heated/electrically adjustable)
  • 3 Spoke M sport leather steering wheel
  • Nappa leather sport seats (heated/electrically adjustable)
  • Power windows and door locks
  • Harman Kardon audio system
  • Air conditioning
  • Dual airbag supplementary restraint system
  • Coded Driveaway Protection (EWSII)

M coupeThe M coupe
Experience driving in the classic GT tradition, but with a heart-stopping twist of power. The dramatic M coupe brings hardtop style to the same platform as the M roadster. And with a 240-horsepower M3 engine under its hood and M-calibrated handling and braking, it will quickly set itself apart from would-be challengers. No other sports car will look like it and we expect that few will be able to match its performance. Specs and features - to follow soon. M coupes to be available at authorized BMW Centers Fall '98, in limited quanities.

As you may already know, BMW has introduced new 323is and 323i convertible models. With a 2.5 liter 168 horsepower engine, the cars are priced at $28,700 and $34,700, respectively. For 1998, these cars will supplant the 318is and 318i convertible models and raise the refinement level of the 3 Series cars. The 318i and 318ti will continue as the baseline 3 Series offerings. Europe, however, has been graced with a 323ti, or Compact, as it is known over there.




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