automaker Bayerische Motoren Werke - recognized
throughout the automotive world by the initials
of BMW - charges into 2004 with an extensive collection
of sedans and coupes, station wagons and sport-utility
vehicles, plus several ragtops and a two-seat
BMW fleet for 2004 culminates with elegant flagship
7 Series full-size sedans. Badged as the 745i
(standard wheelbase) and 745Li (stretched edition)
plus 12-cylinder 760Li, these big BMWs pack powerful
engines, high-tech electronics governing power
production and vehicle stability, and dazzling
interactive voice commands for operating navigation,
climate and communication equipment.
5 Series sedans begin a new cycle of generational
change with designs that incorporate styling points
of 7 Series sedans and upgrade hardware with optional
electronically-controlled power steering. For
the American market, the 5 Series will consist
of three models based on engine size - 525i, 530i
BMW's line, the extensive 3 Series string of compact
cars includes coupes and sedans plus sport wagons
and convertibles. This year's crop shows a six-speed
sequential manual gearbox (SMG) transmission optional
for all rear-wheel-drive (RWD) models in conjunction
with a Sport Package. In addition, xenon high
intensity discharge (HID) headlamps can be combined
with BMW's new adaptive headlamp control (AHC)
system. It keys to the angle of the steering wheel
and directs lamps laterally to light the path
on a curvy road.
two-seat sports car - Z4 - returns to the line
following a remake in 2003. The upgraded second-generation
design for Z4 features racy exterior styling cast
over an enlarged chassis with more power available
from two engine options and more sophisticated
vehicle controls on-board.
are realigned for BMW's X5 Series of sport-activity
wagons. The high-performance X5 4.6is fades away
but the X5 3.0i and X5 4.4i return with enhanced
styling inside and out plus a new all-wheel-drive
(AWD) system dubbed xDrive. Also, the X5 4.4i
earns a new 4.4-liter V8 engine rigged with Valvetronic
variable valve control.
in the year more products should appear, such
as a new sport-utility vehicle titled the X3.
Sized for the compact class, the X3 is expected
to become a scaled-down version of the X5. It
will bring several powertrain options plus a unique
loading system for the rear bay that automatically
moves cargo, such as a pair of trail bikes, out
on the tailgate for easy access.
full-size luxury/performance sedans of BMW for
2004 include three issues - 745i, 745Li and 760Li.
The 745i is the V8-power volume model with a standard-length wheelbase, while
the 745Li is a stretched version with more rear-seat room and the 760Li caps this
series with the extended wheelbase and a 12-cylinder engine. The 6.0-liter aluminum
V12 develops 408 hp and features BMW's Valvetronic system plus fully variable
bi-VANOS camshaft controls. The 745i edition and stretched 745Li draw from BMW's
4.4-liter V8 rated at 333 hp. Both engines mate with a sophisticated six-speed
automatic transmission that brings shift-by-wire technology through selector controls
mounted behind the steering wheel.
spacious cabin, lined with fine leather and trimmed in rich hardwoods, has a simplified
dash design oriented around a center-mounted terminal display and a round joystick-style
controller mounted at the front end of the center console's padded armrest. The
rotary joystick in a system called iDrive accesses various car controls as well
as climate, navigation, audio and communication equipment.
for the 7 Series cradles an aluminum suspension
with computerized active roll stabilization.
safety measures also apply, like BMW's inflatable Head Protection System (HPS)
for front and rear passengers, active head restraints, even inflatable air bags
for knees of front-seat riders. This year, new multi-spoke alloy wheels replace
last year's double-spoke design as the standard set and the AHC adaptive headlamp
control system become a new option along with Sirius satellite radio service.
The 5 Series of sport sedans shows up in BMW's
2004 line with new designs set on a new platform
that represents the fifth generation for mid-size
models. The look is tipped decidedly toward styling
for 7 Series sedans with curvy corners and a higher
trunk deck in order to carve out more cargo room
within the trunk.
front, multi-lens headlamp clusters wrap around
front corners with unique brows studded by parking
lights as shelters for primary lamps. Beneath
this sculptural skin, 5 Series cars carry new
lightweight aluminum components in suspension
and structure that pares overall mass and enhances
acceleration and fuel economy figures.
A new adaptive steering system will be available
on 5 Series sedans with an electronically-controlled
device that can vary the steering ratio to match
a driver's style and the pavement conditions.
The AHC adaptive headlamp controller also appears
on the 5 Series list of options.
have been restyled with luxurious appointments and BMW adds computerized gear
with the iDrive system off the 7-Series but in a simplified and easy-to-master
for 5 Series sedans essentially repeat, although
transmissions change. In-line six-cylinder powertrains
from the 3-Series drop into two of the 5 Series
models - the 2.5-liter six for 525i and 3.0-liter
version for 530i. Top-model totes a 4.4-liter
V8 that romps to 325 hp. All come with either
a six-speed manual transmission or five-speed
Steptronic automatic mode for clutch-less shifts.
5 Series cars also provide the entire spectrum
of BMW mechanical systems for performance and
safety, including HPS air bags and BMW's computerized
Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) mechanism that
can correct potentially dangerous car movements
when wheels slip laterally.
our Review: BMW
5 Series X3
The majority of all cars sold with a BMW badge
come from the 3 Series class of compacts. These
vehicles - in designs of a four-door sedan, five-door
station wagon and two-door coupe or convertible
- set a high standard for performance, handling
nomenclature amounts to alphanumeric designations
to describe the body style and displacement of
an engine. Two in-line-six aluminum-block engines
- measuring to 2.5 liters and 3.0 liters - power
the class, earning 170 hp and 225 hp, respectively.
Sedans and wagons with the 2.5-liter engine are
labeled 325i for RWD and 325xi for AWD; for the
3.0-liter plant, the two sedans are the 330i (RWD)
and 330xi (AWD).
and convertibles carry similar designations as
325Ci and 330Ci, each with rear-wheel driveline.
The coupes and convertibles have a revamped front-end
design for 2004 and standard automatic headlight
control system, with xenon HID headlamps optional
for the adaptive headlamp control system. The
330i and 330xi sedans and wagons show new front
grilles and headlight surrounds trimmed in black.
two-seat roadster, produced at a BMW plant in South Carolina, bears contorted
sheetmetal shaped into an intricate series of twists and curves in crisscrossed
lines that amount to separate character marks scored across the flanks. A bulging
trunk deck is defined by an angular ridge ringing sides and rear, with unusual
shapes for taillamps inset into the thick slab bumper.
Compared to the roly-poly roundness of Z3 first-generation issues, the angular
styling for Z4 looks edgy and quick. It can be quick to act too, due to two different
engine options that enthuse the roadster. Z4 2.5i gets the BMW 2.5-liter in-line-six
tuned to 184 hp. Z4 3.0i packs a larger straight-six at 3.0 liters with dual overhead
cams and BMW's infinitely variable valve timing system. Output reaches 225 hp.
A Getrag Type B+ five-speed manual transmission comes with the 2.5-liter plant,
while the heavy-duty ZF Type H six-speed manual links to the 3.0-liter version.
Both offer optionally a ZF automatic articulated through five forward gears with
BMW's Steptronic mode. Further, BMW's six-speed SMG is available with either engine
and it's rigged with one automatic and two manual shift programs. In manual mode,
you can shift the SMG by tapping finger paddles on the steering wheel or the shifter
standard safety systems reach from frontal and side-impact air bags to BMW's knee
protection system (KPS). The cockpit for two stocks bolstered bucket seats, a
three-spoke steering wheel and twin binnacles on the dash housing an analog speedometer
soft top contains a glass rear window and heat element. It folds back quickly
by manual means, with the forward panel of the lid covering pleated parts and
fitting flush against the body to eliminate the need for a tonneau. Power motivation
to fold the top automatically is optional and works in 13 seconds flat. For 2004,
rain-sensing windshield wipers become a standard feature.
is what happens when BMW's performance-geared designers turn their attention to
a SUV. It looks remarkably like one of BMW's big sports sedans, only jacked up
with a wagon's cargo compartment at the tail. Consider the X5 as a broad and long
four-door wagon that stands in the mid-size class of SUVs.
engine fits in front of the four-door cabin that holds two rows of seats for up
to five riders plus a rear cargo bay accessed through a clever clamshell tailgate.
What makes BMW's SUV different from convention concerns its unitized structure
and the application of performance-oriented mechanical paraphernalia. All components
fit aboard in such a manner that weight is distributed ideally, with half loading
on the front wheels and the other half on the rear ones. This perfect balance
makes X5 extremely controllable through predictable patterns.
the use of lightweight aluminum for independent suspension links pares the unsprung
mass of this vehicle, which ultimately makes it stick better on pavement and glide
more uniformly over road bumps.
For 2004 issues, X5 units display updated exteriors with reshaped sheetmetal fitting
the patterns of BMW's sedans. The prow projects larger grille ports plus halo-style
headlamps mounted on front corners.
BMW's new 'intelligent' AWD system called xDrive has been added with locked front-to-rear
traction distribution but counteractive intervention from a stability control
system when the treads begin to slip. X5 divides into two different models for
2004 based on powertrain. The X5 4.4i stocks a new version of the 4.4-liter V8
with variable valve timing and output of 320 hp through the six-speed automatic
shifter out of 7-Series sedans. X5 3.0i carries a 3.0-liter in-line-six worth
225 hp with Steptronic automatic or standard six-speed manual.
Bluetooth wireless (hands-free) cellular phone system will be offered as an accessory
on all X5 models.
Just as BMW's midsize 5 Series and compact-class
3 Series sedans compare in step-down size, so
too does the size vary from midsize to compact
with X5 and X3 sport-activity vehicles.
X3 is the new model, arriving late in BMW's 2004
season and looking somewhat like a high-hiked
3 Series sports wagon after six months of pumping
iron at the gym. Expect lively traction action
due to the use of BMW's new xDrive AWD system.
Adjustable and totally variable, the xDrive device
can send engine power to whichever axle, front
or rear, has the best traction bite. It works
in conjunction with BMW's DSC stability controller
to keep on tracking on pavement.
pavement, X3 adds another sophisticated device
called Hill Descent Control (HDC) to keep wheels
firmly planted on a steep slope. The first engine
in X3 is predicted to come from 3 Series sedans
with a 3.0-liter straight-six.
our Review: BMW
5 Series X3