One always can count on good things from BMW AG, and model-year 2000 will be no different, from both the product and business sides of the company.
The German automaker has a slew of new products planned for the year, starting with the much- anticipated, much-talked- about and much-overdue X5. The automaker finally is launching its first BMW- badged sport/utility vehicle (SUV) - or sports/activity vehicle (SAV) in BMW talk. Whatever the acronym, the X5 will help BMW grab what it views as its rightful share of the global SUV market.
Launched with a 4.4L 282 hp V-8, the $49,970 X5 will get a V-6 version later in the year. More expensive than its Mercedes rival, the SAV will find an audience with affluent SUV buyers who spend more time at grocery stores and office buildings than in the great out-doors.
BMW also will capitalize on the new trend among young professionals - the station wagon. After returning to the wagon segment with the 5-series wagon earlier this year, BMW also will launch its 3-series sport wagon for 2000.
Looking nothing like the brown, panel-covered station wagons of the '70s, BMW's interpretation promises both the utility of a station wagon and the performance of a BMW.
Other new models for 2000 include the 3-series coupe, 2European version of the M3, the 395-hp M5 and a facelifted Z3 roadster.
The automaker also will decide in 2000 whether or not it wants to bring Rover cars back to the U.S. The suffering British brand has brought BMW headaches and losses for years. Most likely its last ditch effort, BMW has promised a cash infusion to update the Longbridge, U.K., plant and redesign the 200/400 and Mini.