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BMW

BMW For 2000

By Carey Russ

Change comes continuously at BMW. The 2000 models of the Z3 roadsters and coupes and 7-Series sedans debuted last summer, with the newest compact 3-Series models following shortly thereafter. Then it was time for the mid-size 5-Series models, including an all-new M5 high-performance sports sedan. The X5 Sport-Activity Vehicle will debut soon.

3-Series

The latest generation of the compact 3-Series began to be introduced in 1999. At that time, the 323i and 328i sedans debuted. They are followed by the 323Ci and 328Ci coupes, which feature subtly- different styling and standard sport suspensions. Of course, an even more performance-oriented suspension package is available for the coupes. Both the coupes and now the sedans have the "Dynamic Stability Control" (DSC) system as standard equipment. The 3-Series lineup will continue to expand, with a sport-wagon variant and a new M3 performance sedan on the way.

5-Series

BMW enthusiasts have reason to rejoice, as there is a new M5 performance sedan. "M" stands for BMW's Motorsport division, which essentially remanufactures various BMW models into serious high- performance vehicles. It's been a while since an M5 was available in this country, but the 2000 M5 should make up for that. It's the most- powerful, most-luxurious M car ever. And, with a 400-hp, 5.0-liter V8, it's one of the fastest. Subtle styling differences distinguish it from the other 5-Series sedans. Also new to the lineup is the X5 sport-activity vehicle, a very BMW all-wheel drive cross between a wagon and sport-utility. The core-model 540i and 528i sedans and sport wagons have increased standard equipment this year.

Z3 Roadsters and Coupe

Z3 models include two roadsters -- the Z3 2.3 and Z3 2.8, and the Z3 2.8 coupe. All have the DSC stability control system and upgraded interior features. The roadsters have new rear styling this year. The high-performance derivative M Roadster and M Coupe, powered by a 3.2-liter, 240-hp six-cylinder engine, also have minor restyling features.

7-Series

BMW's image as the "Ultimate Driving Machine" is not tarnished by its premium-luxury 7-Series. The V8-powered 740i and 740iL, and long-wheelbase, V12-engined 750iL continue with new standard and optional equipment. Underlying their BMWness, the Sport Package first available on the 740i is now offered on all models. Perhaps the ultimate safety feature can be had with the long-wheelbase "Protection" models: light-duty armoring and bullet-resistant glass.

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