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What’s New in the Showroom for 2007

The most impressive lineup yet will maintain BMW’s premium segment leadership.

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Story by Trevor Hofmann

It was only a little over a decade ago that Brian Jessel BMW’s much smaller Coquitlam showroom offered just the 3- and 5-Series, in various configurations, plus the range topping 7-Series sedan and Z3. Now the model lineup has expanded significantly, both growing with its customers’ needs and opening up BMW ownership to a wider variety of consumers. That big 8-Series has been replaced by the more athletic 6-Series coupe and convertible, and the 3-, 5- and 7-Series are better than ever, therefore still revered as some of the best sport-luxury offerings in their respective segments. Added to the mix, however, are two highly regarded luxury cross-over SUVs, the X3 and X5, a scintillating Z4 Roadster, a gorgeous two-seat M Coupé based on the all-new M Roadster, and on that note, an outrageously powerful M lineup that has grown to include six models, soon to be seven. It’s part of a BMW onslaught that delivers more drivetrain options than ever before to accompany the myriad body style options. No wonder the move to the Boundary and Lougheed location was in order and with that, the showroom had to grow larger.

For the 2007 model year, BMW’s entry-level 3-Series delivers better value than ever. Actually, you might be quite surprised at how well all BMW models stack up beside their competitors dollar for dollar, and that’s before factoring in one of the highest resale values of any premium brand. The 323i remains the lowest-priced compact luxury sedan with six-cylinder power, featuring a window sticker that matches rival four-cylinder entries. This said it performs with greater confidence than ever thanks to 28 additional horsepower and 10 lb-ft more torque than its predecessor, totaling 200-horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque for a 0.3 second sprint time advantage to100 km/h at 7.4 seconds. Its rear-drive layout and inherently agile suspension system continue to make even the base 3 a sport sedan benchmark, while six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions help out in performance and fuel economy.

If you want to go quicker or would like to move up to a more opulently equipped sedan, the new 328i doles out 15 extra horsepower and an identical increase in torque over its 325i predecessor, for snappier throttle response. Still a great value at $41,000, few cars can match it on the open road. BMW’s new 335i, replacing the 330i, can surpass it, of course, with 70 additional horsepower on tap and other performance enhancing upgrades. Yes, you guessed it, this year’s range-topping 3 gets the all-new twin-turbocharged and direct injection enhanced 3.0-litre inline-six.

This engine was first introduced with the all-new coupe and makes a soul-stirring 300-horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque, the latter from as low as 1,400 rpm. That’s 45 horsepower more than last year’s 330i, and an amazing 80 lb-ft of additional torque that results in a zero to 100 km/h time of 5.7 seconds; 5.9 seconds with the optional six-speed auto. The 335i is not available with all-wheel drive (that will arrive in early 2007), but those who want four-wheel traction can take solace that the new and improved 328xi continues forward with xDrive.

As a side note, BMW is the world’s number-one all-wheel-drive supplier in the premium segment, with 1.13 million AWD-equipped cars sold worldwide in 2005.

The only additional equipment added to all 3-Series models is pre-wiring for satellite radio. And that 3-Series coupe I just mentioned? It has been redesigned with some of the styling cues of the new four-door, although it boasts a sleeker look that’s truly all its own. The new two-door comes in three flavours, starting with the same 230- horsepower 3.0-litre six that’s in the 328i sedan, in both rear- and all-wheel drivetrains, and is topped off with the same 300-horse power powertrain as in the 335i.

A new start/stop button adds a little F1 influence, while the 8-way power adjustable seats make sure you don’t forget this car isn’t only about sport. Of note: the 3-Series Cabriolet will get an update next year similar to new 3-Series coupe. The 328Xi Touring, the most practical 3-Series, gets the same engine upgrade as the 328i sedan and coupe. Like last year it only comes in all-wheel-drive trim, balancing performance and fuel efficiency with the needs of young families and active lifestyle couples.

Revised in 2005 and updated with new engines last year, the midsize 5-Series sedan and 530xiT wagon, the latter new last year, carry forward with only minor updates. The sedan is still one of the only midsize premium cars to offer a six-speed manual with all

engine choices, from its 215-horsepower inline-6 to in the 525i to the 360-horsepower V8 in the 550i, plus the 255-horsepower six in the 530i and all-wheel-drive 530xi, while a sophisticated six-speed automatic with manual mode is available. With the manual, the 550i shoots to 100 km/h in 5.6 seconds—and there’s not even an M-badge attached. The Touring, incidentally, is once again only available in 255-horsepower 3.0-litre trim with xDrive for all-weather traction. Also, all 5-Series models get BMW’s Professional radio, pre-wired for satellite radio; it features an auxiliary input at the front of the centre console for plugging in iPods and MP3 players. The audio interface also includes MP3 capability via the in-dash CD player, two RDS tuners and a favourites list.

The flagship 7-Series was also significantly reworked recently, smoothing out the angular lines of the outgoing model and adding a standard 360-horsepower 4.8-litre V8 for both regular-wheelbase 750i and long-wheelbase 750Li models, plus an optional 438-horsepower 6.0-litre V12 for the top-line 760Li. All 7-Series models get new power folding mirrors and 19-inch Star Spoke alloy wheels, plus satellite radio pre-wired, an auxiliary audio input for the standard LOGIC7 audio system, a power-actuated trunk lid, Comfort Access, selfclosing doors, a power rear sunshade and side sunshades, an active driver’s seat, ventilated front Comfort Seats and heated rear seats.

Improving driving dynamics in the 750Li is Adaptive Drive (which includes Dynamic Drive and Electronic Damper Control) plus selfleveling rear air suspension. The 760Li gets standard infrared Night Vision. Optional across the line are comfort-oriented 18-inch wheels and all-season tires. Positioned in a class of its own between the 5 and 7 is the sportier 6-Series Coupe and Convertible that use the same standard drivetrain and optional transmission upgrades as the 550i and 750i sedans. Both 6-Series models are hardly changed from last year except for the satellite radio and auxiliary input upgrade already mentioned earlier. These cars are superb, offering distinctive styling and delivering thrilling performance. Visibility is critical when

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traveling at high speeds, making the addition of optional Night Vision an important upgrade, while Comfort Access is also now available. On a more pragmatic note, 2007 will be a big year for BMW’s entry-level SUV, the X3. Inside and out it receives upgrades, most notably under the hood. The base 2.5i model is now gone, replaced by the X3 3.0i for an increase of 31 horsepower to a total of 215, while the new X3 3.0si sports 260-horsepower, up 35-horsepower over the old 3.0i. The standard DSC Dynamic Stability Control system has been enhanced with hill-start assist, eliminating rollback when taking off from inclines; brake standby, for shortening emergency stopping distances; brake drying, for slowing quicker in wet conditions; fade compensation, for improving stopping when the brakes are hot; plus soft stop, for smoother braking with less dive. Also, the X3 gets the first application of Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) on a BMW SUV drivetrain.

Inside, a new 3-spoke steering wheel is also standard, while new map pockets and a new speaker grille design gets fitted to the revised door panels, which incidentally get an insert of matching upholstery on their upper halves. The dashboard has been upgraded too, with a new grain and material, plus the climate vents feature pearl grey adjustment knobs. Outside, the tailgate is now fully painted for an upscale look, while the front and rear bumpers are redesigned and partially painted with a new black centre insert. Xenon lights with corona rings are included, while fog lights are integrated into the upper portion of the bumper. The X3’s larger brother, the X5, is all-new for 2007, featuring a new lineup of more powerful engines, a larger overall footprint, and for the first time in any BMW, three rows of seats for up to seven occupants. The base 3.0si model gets 260-horsepower, a 35-horsepower increase over the 2006 model, while the 4.8i improves by 45-horsepower to 350 hp. For more details, see a full review of the new X5 in this issue. If you want to treat yourself this year, the Z4 roadster has become one of the most

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entertaining sports cars available anywhere, with racy styling highlighted by rich design details uncommon in any class. Both its 3.0i and 3.0si drivetrains were upgraded last year, so the car maintains its steady course throughout 2007. Last but hardly least amongst BMW’s 2007 lineup is its supercar-like M division, which boasts more models than ever before. The M3 is no more, mind you, at least for the 2007 model year, soon to be replaced by an even more enticing version based on the previously mentioned 3-Series coupe and rumoured to have a 400-hp V8 inside!

Until then, performance purists will be relieved that the M5, considered by many to be the ultimate sport sedan, now comes with a six-speed manual to complement the SMG sequential manual already being offered, an addition that incidentally drops the entry price by $2,200 to $113,300. The M6 coupe, sporting a trick carbon fibre roof and M5 mechanicals, less the new six speed manual, is now joined by a convertible model and, like the hardtop, gets an

auxiliary input upgrade to the stereo. What might be the quintessential BMW sports car, the M Roadster carries forward with the 330-horsepower M3 engine and six-speed manual gearbox, an ideal combination for otherworldly acceleration and nimble balance in the corners. And finally the pièce de résistance, a car that without doubt will become a favourite amongst BMW M car faithful, the all-new M Coupe. With all the performance features of the M Roadster, including its 330-horsepower six-cylinder engine with six individual electronically controlled throttles and slick, six-speed manual transmission, the two-door hardtop blasts to 100 km/h in only five seconds while its rigid body structure made up of gorgeous complex curves joins an ultimately agile suspension system for optimal road-holding. Truly, BMW will enjoy the most impressive lineup in its history when all the 2007 models arrive, helping to maintain its leadership in the hotly contested sport-luxury segment.

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