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The BMW X5 Offers a Completely New Sense of Driving

10 December 1998

The BMW X5 Offers a Completely New Sense of Driving: The World's First 'Sports Activity Vehicle'    
    MUNICH, Germany, Dec. 9 -- Making its world debut at the 1999
North American International Auto Show: a new automotive concept for the world
market made by BMW in Spartanburg, USA, an excellent offer to BMW enthusiasts
and new target groups.
   With the introduction of the X5, BMW is once more opening a new market
segment: the segment of the Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV).  The new vehicle
will be presented to the world public for the first time on the occasion of
the 1999 North American International Auto Show in Detroit (9-17 January
1999); market introduction is scheduled at the end of 1999.
    The new X5 Sports Activity Vehicle is, like all BMW vehicles,
characterized by those well-known BMW features typical of the marque:
aesthetic design, dynamic styling and performance, and superior safety.  In
addition, the X5 is characterized by a completely new sense of driving,
especially by the high seating position and the exceptional handling on roads
of any kind throughout the world.
    With its unitized body and independent suspension, the X5 sets new
standards in terms of driving dynamics and safety -- remarkable as well in
off-road conditions.  The Sports Activity Vehicle was developed from the
ground up specifically for this new market and utilizes the latest standard in
four-wheel-drive technology to achieve the highest level of driving
performance and comfort.
    This is demonstrated through a level of responsiveness and handling on the
road never offered before by other vehicles of this kind, made possible by an
innovative system of four-wheel drive with four-wheel application of the
brakes, ASC+T and DSC 3 (Automatic and Dynamic Stability Control).  The
outstanding achievement is that BMW's Sports Activity Vehicle is able to
develop its strengths both on the road as well as off the beaten track, with
exemplary acceleration and stopping power even on loose ground or -- thanks to
hill descent control -- when driving downhill on steep inclines.
    The range of engines for BMW's Sports Activity Vehicle includes BMW's
superior V8, the well-known, silken-smooth straight-six and the new
ultra-modern direct-injection six cylinder diesel.
    As expected, BMW's Sports Activity Vehicle complies with the commitment to
safety and security leadership that has always been a hallmark of the BMW
marque.  In comparison with other vehicles with off-road abilities, the X5
with its unitized body and well-known BMW security package F.I.R.S.T. offers
unprecedented crash performance for both occupants and other vehicles. And
featuring up to 10 inflatable restraints, it also offers the same supreme
standard of passive interior safety as BMW's large luxury performance sedans
-- with frontal and side airbags, plus inflatable head protection at both
front and rear seating positions.
    As far as driving comfort and the level of equipment is concerned, BMW's
Sports Activity Vehicle again offers everything you expect from a BMW: sports
package, Xenon headlights, multi-functional steering wheel, electric rear seat
rests and rear climate control as well as a top HiFi system.  Additional
options include the navigation system, comfort seats and luggage racks fitting
on both the roof and the rear part of the vehicle.
    It is the impressive proportions of the X5 that proudly reflect its
special character of power and softness.  The overall length of 4.66 meters
(183.5"), height of 1.72 meters (67.7") and width of 1.87 meters (73.6")
clearly reveal the mission of the X5 as a vehicle blending the agility and
handling so typical of a BMW -- for example in maneuvering actions -- with
surprising roominess and practicality.  As far as vehicles of this dimension
are concerned, the X5 is both compact, yet smooth and muscular at the same
time.  The powerful and dynamic look of the Sports Activity Vehicle is
underlined by the extra-large wheels up to 19-inch, the short front overhang
and the purposeful, powerful side moldings.  In many other respects the X5
stands out through well-known BMW styling features such as the large kidney
grille, dual round headlights, the unique curve at the bottom of the rear side
windows, and the L-shaped rear light clusters integrated in the rear section
with its two-piece tailgate.
    The interior of the X5 is equally thoughtful, providing an unequaled
impression of luxury, spaciousness and security highlighted by the high
seating position, generous headroom and exceptionally strong roof pillars.
Along with the other BMW models in terms of comfort and customization, the X5
clearly reflects the superiority of this new automotive concept: wherever it
goes, whether driven in a sporting, dynamic style on winding country roads or
on treacherous road surfaces off the beaten track, it is able to virtually
master every challenge and add that sheer driving pleasure typical of BMW.
    BMW's entry into this new segment was already announced last winter at the
1998 North American International Auto Show, when the company stated "BMW has
a long history of identifying new market niches and developing vehicles to
satisfy these market opportunities.  Presenting the '02 Series some 30-plus
years ago, BMW was the first to identify and introduce the 'Sports Sedan'
concept to the world market."
    The latest market niche, entered recently by BMW, is the closed two-seater
sports car segment, where the Z3 coupe based on the Z3 roadster now proudly
flies the BMW colors.  And it is no coincidence that the Z3 coupe, just like
the X5, comes from BMW's latest car production plant in Spartanburg, South
    This is indeed a further step in the strategy to strengthen the position
of the BMW Group through globalization.  BMW's US factory started production
at the end of 1994 and plays an integral role in the company's worldwide
production network.  Meanwhile, investment figures amount to $1.2 billion.
From the beginning of 1999, the workforce will increase from 2,000 to 3,000; a
new body shop and expanded assembly building will double the plant size to
more than 2 million square feet.
    Accounting for more than 150,000 units produced so far, the Z3, the most
successful roadster in its segment in recent years, is also produced in the
USA for the world market.  Now, in addition to the Z3 coupe (M coupe and Z3
coupe 2.8) introduced in summer 1998, the X5 soon to make its appearance on
roads the world over within a new market segment will also be manufactured at
BMW's Spartanburg Plant.  In conjunction with local suppliers, the plant
offers purchasers the "Made by BMW" warranty, a sign of quality acknowledged
and endorsed the world over.

    BMW of North America, Inc. was established in 1975, when the company
assumed marketing and distribution responsibilities of BMW vehicles in the
U.S. from a private distributor.  Since then, the company's North American
operations have grown to include marketing, sales and financial services
organizations in the United States and Canada; a South Carolina manufacturing
operation; a design firm in California; and various other operations
throughout the U.S. and Canada.  BMW is represented in North America through a
network of more than 375 automobile and 190 motorcycle retailers in the United
States and Canada.  BMW (US) Holding Corp., the marque's North American
headquarters, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.