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New BMW's Media Launch In Caithness

19th October 2009

Photograph of New BMW's Media Launch In Caithness

Spotted at Helmsdale by Bill Fernie were a stunning set of cars - the new BMW's being launched for the media at Ackergill Tower near wck and being run through their paces around Caithness and Sutherland with swaps at Helmsdale.

BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo - Gina

The all-new BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo is a car which combines an understated coup-like silhouette to the luxurious interior of a BMW 7 Series, while at the same time giving the functionality of a BMW 5 Series Touring or X5.

Aimed squarely at those car buyers who feel they have to make a compromise when choosing between a conventional saloon, an estate or a Sports Activity Vehicle, the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo covers all three of these bases. Clearly there is still a market for conventional saloon, estate and Sports Activity Vehicles, as is borne out in BMW's strong sales successes in those areas of the market. However, the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo aims to appeal to the small portion of BMW customers that seek something different while also tempting a much broader church of competitor car buyer because of its originality.

The 19th distinct model shape to be offered in the BMW portfolio has a vehicle length nearly on par with a BMW 7 Series to create a greater feeling of space for those inside. This translates into the second greatest amount of legroom offered by any BMW while headroom is equivalent to that of a BMW X5. Meanwhile, boot space can be enhanced from 440 litres up to 1,700 litres, only 50 litres behind the capacity of the BMW X5 and the second largest space compared to all current BMWs.

The BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo's innovative features set it apart from anything that has previously appeared. It is available as either a four-seat Executive specification car for a luxurious, spacious feel or in a five-seat SE configuration for a blend of sophistication and practicality. But its most distinctive feature is a two-piece tailgate which is a first in the premium segment. Now an owner has the option to choose between two ways of opening the rear of the vehicle depending on the objects needed to be stowed.

A more conventional saloon style boot opening provides access for smaller objects. This allows the cabin area to remain warm and without noise intrusion. The hatch-style opening combined with a flexible partition comes into play should the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo owner wish to make full use of its load-lugging capacity. The rear seats can be moved 100mm fore or aft to either increase boot space or provide greater legroom for rear seat passengers. With the rear seats moved forwards, the seat backs folded virtually flat and the parcel shelf removed and stowed beneath the luggage compartment floor, much bulkier items can then be transported.

One of the key features of the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo is the height of the seats. The seats are all set in a semi-command driving position for the best mix of forward vision and comfortable access. Potential customers expressed a desire for the luxury of a BMW 7 Series but also the feeling of security and all round visibility a car with a command driving position such as the BMW X5 offers and the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo satisfies this.

The BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo has been styled to represent its unique position in the market. The familiar BMW kidney grilles and large air intakes hint at the car's performance potential, while a roof line that curves downwards towards the rear and the frameless doors both give a coup silhouette.

Class-leading drivetrains
Three class-leading engines power the three models available at launch. The new BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo is offered as a 530d, a 535i and a 550i.

The 530d GT is a 2,993cc six-cylinder car that features third generation common-rail direct injection with piezo injectors for the best in diesel refinement and efficiency. It produces 245hp to accelerate from zero to 62mph in 6.9 seconds before going on to a top speed of 149mph. Fuel economy is exceptional with a combined fuel consumption figure of 43.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 173g/km.

Joining the diesel-powered car is the BMW 535i GT. This 2,979cc six-cylinder powerplant is the first ever to combine a single turbocharger with VALVETRONIC - BMW's system that varies how much the engine's valves open for optimum efficiency. The 306hp BMW 535i GT also features High precision direct injection technology for added efficiency and performance to record a zero to 62mph time of 6.3 seconds. Top speed is 155mph, yet combined consumption is 31.7mpg CO2 emissions are 209g/km.

Topping the range is the BMW 550i GT that is powered by an acclaimed 407hp 4,395cc V8 engine with twin-turbocharger technology. Performance is zero to 62mph time of 5.5 seconds and an electronically-limited 155mph top speed. The BMW 550i GT records a combined consumption figure of 25.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 263g/km.

BMW's new eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard and is six per cent per cent more fuel efficient than the previous six-speed automatic, yet it is as compact and weighs the same. The BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo also comes with many of the EfficientDynamics technologies already shown on other BMWs to enhance overall performance.

Drive Dynamic Control is another standard feature that allows the driver to fine tune the chassis configuration to suit their needs. Drivers will be able to specify Normal, Sport and Sport+, with each setting changing the steering assistance, throttle response and gear change characteristics.

Key facts

The long-wheelbase gives limousine levels of interior space and ride refinement.
Rear seats that can be moved fore-and-aft by up to 100mm. BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo offers 7 Series legroom with seats in the extended position.
Second largest luggage capacity after a BMW X5. Courtesy of an innovative luggage partition the boot volume can be increased from 440-litres to 1,700-litres.
A vehicle height of 1.56 metres means the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo has a lower roofline than the BMW X5, yet still has the same headroom.
Semi-command driving position for ease of entry and greater forward visibility.
Dual tailgate for flexible storage options.
On sale 24 October, 2009. For more details see

BMW X1 - Gina

BMW created a new vehicle segment a decade ago when it launched the X5. That vehicle received critical acclaim at its launch and continues to this day as a market leader. The popular X3 followed in 2004 and the X6 spawned a new niche in 2008. Now BMW has introduced the next derivative of the X model line-up.

The BMW X1 is a logical extension to the BMW model portfolio and enters the fray as the only premium compact Sports Activity Vehicle currently on sale in the UK. This unique position affords buyers the chance to purchase a BMW that is more tailored to their needs. It also represents a significant conquest sales opportunity for BMW as car buyers look to trade up from other manufacturer offerings.

The new BMW X1 takes its key styling cues and practicality from the X5 but shrinks it into a more compact and affordable package. The vehicle's elegant lines and command driving position echo its larger stablemate, while the five-seat configuration and 1,350-litre boot space provide outstanding load-lugging capability.

Power comes from a choice of three diesel engines and, for the first time on a BMW X product, the option to have rear-wheel-drive (sDrive) or four-wheel-drive (xDrive).

The dominance of diesel engines in other BMW SAVs, led BMW UK to decide only to offer diesel in the UK. The range starts with the BMW sDrive18d SE and the xDrive18d SE both of which feature four-cylinder diesel powerplants. The 2.0-litre engine produces 143hp which equates to a zero to 62mph time of 9.6 seconds and a top speed of 124mph for the rear-wheel-drive X1 sDrive18d SE. The four-wheel-drive X1 xDrive18d SE posts figures of 10.1 seconds and a 121mph top speed. Both models are exceptionally fuel efficient, capable of 54.3mpg and 49.6mpg on the combined cycle and record 136g/km and 150g/km CO2 emissions respectively.

Indeed, while the BMW X1 is the only premium vehicle of its kind currently offered in the UK it manages to be the most fuel efficient Sports Activity Vehicle in the overall compact SAV segment.

Offering higher outright performance, the BMW sDrive20d SE and xDrive20d SE are also available. Powered by the same 1,995cc engine as the BMW X1 sDrive18d but in a higher state of tune, these two models up the ante offering 177hp for an 8.1 seconds (8.4 for the xDrive20d) zero to 62mph time and a top speed of 127mph.

As the flagship model the BMW xDrive23d SE is offered only as a four-wheel-drive variant. Still using a 2.0-litre engine, albeit with twin-turbocharger technology, this International Engine of the Year category winner provides rapid performance that defies the model's Sports Activity Vehicle position. The 204hp engine accelerates the X1 to 62mph in just 7.3 seconds. The xDrive23d SE is an EU5 rated vehicle that records 44.8mpg on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of 167g/km.

The BMW X1 comes as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox. However, buyers of the xDrive23d have a six-speed Sport automatic gearbox with paddles located a finger tip away from the steering wheel for sporty changes as standard.

EfficientDynamics plays a part in the BMW X1 story with the introduction of Auto Start-Stop technology on an X product for the first time. Available on all manual transmission cars the system improves fuel consumption figures. The BMW X1 also has the full suite of EfficientDynmamics technologies including Brake Energy Regeneration, optimised aerodynamics, optimum shift indicator and on-demand use of ancillary units to name a few.

The design of the new BMW X1 is stylish and sporting yet practical. Sleek lines blend into flared wheel arches to underscore the car's dynamic capabilities as does the tapered roof line and wide track. Short overhangs front and rear, typical of every BMW, ensure the best basis for optimum handling. The profile of the car belies an interior space that sees five adults seated comfortably along with their luggage.

Inside, and all the main controls and dashboard displays are angled towards the driver. A range of storage compartments, trays and large door pockets provides a variety of places to keep personal effects. An owner that specifies one of the two available satellite navigation systems featuring the latest iDrive display, controller and favourite buttons gains a slightly revised interior layout to accommodate the system. The interior of the BMW X1 can be further enhanced by opting for the new Design package. This sees Sport seats in Oyster Nevada leather, Anthracite headlining and Fineline Wave wood trim. The Oyster theme continues to the lower part of the dashboard, all of the centre console and leather piping on the floor mats.

The BMW X1 goes on sale in the UK on 24 October, 2009 with the sDrive18d and xDrive18d variants following in December.

Key facts
The new BMW X1 is the marque's first compact Sports Activity Vehicle.
It is BMW's first X model to be offered with the Auto Start-Stop function as part of its EfficientDynamics technologies.
The BMW X1 is the first X model to be offered in two- and four-wheel-drive.
On sale 24 October, 2009. For more details see


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