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BMW Business as Planned - New Models Under Development

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
BMW 5 Series GT

By Henny Hemmes Senior European Editor

MUNICH, June 26 2009. BMW will proceed with developing new models and technology as planned before the financial crisis hit the world.

During the Efficient Dynamic Technology Day, in the one day earlier opened super modern new Aerodynamic Test Center (TAC) in Munich, spokesman Ulrich Knieps said upon a question from the media, that no models are postponed. “Projects can be canceled indeed, but no, we are going forward like planned.” The canceled models so far, have never been officially announced for production, but were, of course, given serious thoughts. That was proven by realistic concepts, presented at international auto shows over the past couple of years. But we have never seen those models as a test mule. I am thinking of the Z8 replacement, or the X7, the Z8, Z2 and X4.

So far, only the plans for the CLS, a light and fast version of the E92 M3 and the Grand Turismo four-door coupe were officially confirmed to be canceled.

As fast as DKG

So, let’s stick to the new products that are in the pipeline. First of all, we will very soon (next month) be able to drive with the 760i, the V12 model of the BMW flagship 7 Series. That engine will be teamed to the new 8-speed automatic transmission that was presented during one of the Efficient Dynamic workshops in the brand new TAC facilities. The new transmission has been developed together with ZF. The final construction evolved from simulations programs. According to Wolfgang Nehse, responsible for drive train development, eight variants evolved from a computer evaluation of some 1,000 variants. “This finally was the best, it is what we wanted. It has advantages, as it is light and compact,” according to Mr. Nehse, “It is of the same size as our 6-speed unit. Furthermore we can use start-stop in connection with this transmission and is it prepared for Hybrid xDrive.”

The new transmission uses 5 clutches, of which only two are open at a certain time, there is lower friction. Combined with better efficiency, Mr. Nehse said that this transmission shifts as fast as a DKG (Doppel Kupplung Getriebe), or DSG (direct shift gearbox) and is very fuel efficient. He claims it to be some 14 per cent better compared to the 6-speed automatic.

Of the 8-speed unit there will be three packages that will be applied to different models, depending on the torque. The largest can handle a maximum of 900 Nm, or 664 lb.-ft.

The next models to be hitting the market with the 8-speed transmission will be the 550 GT, due at the end of this year, the 7 Series ActiveHybrid, that is expected to on international markets in 2010, the new 5 Series, also in 2010 and the new 3 Series, that is planned for 2012.

© HHR June 2009