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Auto blogThu, 22 Aug 2013
With six confirmed public debuts scheduled for the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW is definitely going to have its hands full. While we've already driven models like the 4 Series and the i3, one of the more interesting introductions is a "concept" plug-in hybrid version of the new F15 BMW X5 called the BMW Concept X5 eDrive.
As the second concept to wear the eDrive name, this X5 combines a 95-horsepower electric motor with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine to balance performance and efficiency. On the green side of things, BMW says that the eDrive system allows the X5 to reach speeds of 75 miles per hour and a range of 19 miles (although we're guessing not at the same time) under electric power only, to go with fuel consumption of about 62 miles per gallon US (3.8 liters per 100 kilometers). For performance, this plug-in can still accelerate from 0-60 in under seven seconds, and drivers can select from three PHEV modes: one that operates the system automatically, an all-electric mode and a Save Battery mode to preserve the battery's current state of charge.
Aside from the obvious plug port on the left front fender, the X5 eDrive is differentiated from the 2014 X5 with slightly restyled front and rear fascias, subtle blue accents tying in with the BMW i line and lightweight, aero-tuned 21-inch alloy wheels. There is no definitive word on whether the Concept X5 eDrive will make it to production, but judging by BMW's recent commitment to plug-in vehicles, we wouldn't be surprised to see an X5 PHEV on the roads within the next couple of years. We'll see the Concept X5 in just a few weeks in Frankfurt, but until then, scroll down for the official press release.
The king is dead - long live the king. Mercedes-Benz is now your new US sales champion in the fiercely competitive luxury market, deposing the champ BMW, which has enjoyed annual supremacy for the past two years.
Thanks in no small part to the dynamite launch of the new, affordable CLA-Class, not to mention a redesigned E-Class and hot-selling S-Class, Mercedes moved 33,007 units in December alone, while sales in 2013 were up 14 percent, to 312,534. BMW, meanwhile, managed to sell 309,280 units in 2013. It was far from a sure thing for the Stuttgart-based brand, though, as BMW managed to nearly halve its rival's sales lead heading into the last month of 2013.
"We saw record sales, flexed our muscles across the entire product line from top to bottom and brought the customer experience to an all-time high," said Steve Cannon, Mercedes USA's CEO. While we don't have individual figures, it seems at first blush that the CLA was really the car that pushed Mercedes over the top.
When you combine two billion citizens, 100 cities with more than a million inhabitants and an economy that's as unrestrained as Jim Cramer on an Adderall binge, China's explosive auto industry growth shouldn't be a huge surprise. Audi already lists the communist country as its largest market, while Mercedes-Benz is expecting it to be there in the next few years. Now, according to a report from Automotive News, BMW is expecting the People's Republic to overtake the United States in sales by the end of 2013.
We already discovered the extent that BMW is going to in establishing a dedicated Chinese stronghold, when we explored BMW's Shanghai-based DesignWorks studio ahead of April's Shanghai Motor Show. And while we argued that DesignWorks Shanghai hasn't really borne fruit, it isn't due to a lack of sales.
BMW China has seen a 16-percent jump in year-over-year sales, lead by a 28-percent gain in 5 Series sales. Part of BMW's growth strategy comes from an ever-expanding dealership network. Remember those 100 cities we mentioned with over one million people? According to Karsten Engel, CEO of BMW's Chinese operations, those 100-million-plus city dwellers don't have access to a premium dealership.