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Putting up a big show and bringing their top executives, BMW grabbed the morning attention with the US launch of its newly, redesigned and highly expected BMW 7 Series. Even though the 7er is not news anymore for most of us, it is still exciting to finally get to see the car live, to get a sense of car’s proportions and design cues.

BMW’s CEO, Her Norbert Reithofer open the press conference and spoke a few minutes about the direction BMW is taking, mostly what we heard already, EfficientDynamics, diesel cars and the exciting Mini E. As I just mentioned, all the press was there and ready to see the new 750Li.

I won’t get into a detailed review of the new 7 Series right now and I would rather let you enjoy some photos, but I will be back with an in-depth analysis of the 7er.

Let me just leave you with this for now: is it all I expected? YES and you will see why.

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Download Word Document Version
Press Release

Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are delighted to be here in L.A. – since California is the largest market within the USA for our company.

The BMW Group is a pioneer in the field of efficient premium cars. And the state of California is a global leader when it comes to reducing greenhouse gases.

Today we will be presenting:
• three U.S. premieres for BMW
• and an absolute world premiere for MINI

These vehicles also bring new engine technologies to the market. They offer exactly the kind of green mobility that our customers are demanding here in the U.S. and around the world. No other car company has reduced CO2 more over the past few years than the BMW Group. This has been confirmed by international environmental bodies and NGO’s.

Behind all of this is our unique developing strategy EfficientDynamics. For many years now we have been taking various steps to reduce the consumption and emissions of our cars while still remaining: The Ultimate Driving Machine.

Our customers do not even have to give up large sedans – as least not when they offer both top performance and fuel economy like a BMW.

You have the proof right here next to me: the new BMW 7 Series!

No other sedan in the luxury class combines the best in dynamic driving performance and driving pleasure with such style, comfort and luxury. Whether you are behind the wheel or a passenger – you will experience the unbeatable standards of innovation, efficiency and safety the new 7 Series offers.

Here are three examples:
• An infrared camera warns the driver of pedestrians on the road at night.
• The second-generation i-Drive is even easier to use.
• The optional rear wheel drive – combined with Active Steering – ensures greater driving pleasure, dynamic performance and safety.

The 7 Series has been the BMW brand’s flagship for more than 30 years. The previous BMW 7 Series was the most successful 7 Series ever.

The new BMW 7 Series will be launched on the U.S. market in spring 2009. The BMW 750i will be the first car available – and it will also be offered at the same time in the long wheelbase version.

Today, we offer our customers the most efficient vehicles in the premium segment. We are also developing new concepts for individual mobility.

Hybrids are an important step for us on the way to the future. We can show you what it looks like in a BMW – right here. This is the U.S. debut for the BMW Concept 7 Series ActiveHybrid.

Dr. Klaus Draeger, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development

What you see here is a further step in BMW EfficientDynamics. It means: The Ultimate Driving Machine with even lower fuel consumption.

This car combines a completely new highly efficient V8 twin turbo gasoline engine with an electric drive as part of a mild hybrid concept. The electric drive produces 20 horse power and has a maximum torque of 210 Newton meters.

The electrical power is used primarily to supply the on-board power system. It also supports the combustion engine in clearly defined driving situations. In this way we can substantially enhance the engine.

What does that mean for customers?
• First: The highest level of efficiency in the luxury class combined with the best dynamic performance among hybrid vehicles.
• Second: 15 percent less fuel than a comparable combustion engine.
The new BMW 7 Series will be available as a hybrid version. We will be presenting the series model of the hybrid version as early as next year.

The same applies to the BMW Concept X6 ActiveHybrid. This vehicle is also on display here at our stand.

The new BMW X6 has been available in North America for about six months. It is proving very popular with customers. We have sold more than 3,700 vehicles so far in the U.S. Globally we have sold more than 19,000 vehicles so far.

Customers will soon have the choice between a highly-efficient combustion engine and the hybrid version. This is real progress – and real environmental responsibility at the BMW Group.
It is already possible to drive extremely economically using a different kind of engine technology.

I am talking about the diesel engine. Norbert Reithofer will now present BMW Advanced Diesel with BluePerformance.

Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG

Exceptionally economical – and yet still sporty and dynamic to drive – that is BMW Advanced Diesel with BluePerformance.

We are now offering our American customers: The BMW X5 xDrive35d and the
BMW 335d Sedan.

The BMW 335d Sedan is among the finalists of the “Green Car of the Year Award” – presented here at the L.A. Auto Show.

Both models are here at our stand. Both models meet the strict US BIN 5 emission standard.
And they are true “50 states cars”. Both models will be available at our American dealerships from December of this year.

BMW has a long tradition of sporty diesel engines. We have won the renowned “Engine of the Year Award” several times.

We are convinced that BMW Advanced Diesel with BluePerformance is particularly suitable for environmentally-conscious American customers:
• It offers the best performance-to-efficiency ratio.
• It has huge potential for cutting emissions.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The dream of driving emission-free has already become reality:
Making its world premiere here in L.A.: the MINI E!

Our Project i is working on various concepts for new mobility. The first baby of this project is the MINI E with electric drive. By the end of the year we will have 500 MINI E’s available to customers in Los Angeles and New York City.

Their experiences with this electric car will provide valuable input:
• How do customers like it?
• How well is the electric drive accepted?
• What kind of infrastructure do we need?

The input and feedback from our customers will help us in preparing for series production.
If any of you would like to drive a MINI E: Starting now, you can apply for one of the 500 MINI E’s on the MINI USA web page.

When we developed the MINI E we were able to draw on our experience: Back at the Olympic Games in 1972 there was an electric car from BMW driving alongside the marathon.
This time we decided that our first car for customers with an electric drive should be a MINI.
Lots of Americans love MINI. And they want to drive a green car.

That is why we have seen MINI sales grow more than 30 percent in the U.S. over the first ten months of this year. That makes the United States the largest single market worldwide for both our BMW and MINI brands. The electric drive fits well in a MINI.

The MINI E is clearly a car of the premium class. And it is suitable for everyday driving as well:
• Right now, you can drive about 156 miles or 250 kilometers
with this car.
• The lithium-ion battery needs only around two hours or a bit more to be fully recharged.

The MINI E is not some kind of study that we roll out in one event after another. The MINI E belongs on the road.

That is why we want:
• our customers to go shopping with it
• to bring the kid to school with it
• to go on outings on the weekend with it.

156 miles will easily take you from the Convention Center here down to San Diego, for instance.

We will factor all of this input into series development.

It is also important for us to work closely with political decision makers. For alternative drive technologies to have a future, we need reliable parameters.

Dr. Klaus Draeger, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development

The MINI E’s 150 kilowatt electric engine accelerates from 0 to 62 in 8.5 seconds. And the acceleration does not stop until it reaches 95 mph.

What makes the MINI E special is that it gets off to a flying start and unleashes its full engine power from the word go – because an electric engine always delivers maximum torque.

To ensure the MINI E achieves the same level of responsiveness as a regular MINI, we adjusted the suspension and the Dynamic Stability Control. Energy efficiency is becoming increasingly important. This MINI E offers another option for drivers in the future. The energy efficiency of the MINI E is so outstanding that you only need one kilowatt hour of electricity to drive about five and a half miles.

For our customers that means: The MINI E has enough range for you to make your daily commute in any major city in the world. In the evening you just recharge your MINI E at home.

The MINI E went through a modified, but rigorous, development process, just like our series-produced MINI. As such the MINI E meets both European and American safety standards.
Electric cars require additional safety precautions:

• So we have color-coded all current-carrying equipment in the engine compartment.
• Another safety feature is: The power supply is interrupted if the hood is opened. And there is an emergency cut-off in the trunk which isolates the MINI E from the lithium-ion battery.

Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG

Throughout the USA – especially after the election – there is a strong sense of a new era beginning. The BMW Group is also on the move towards creating a new era for individual mobility.

Now, I’d like you all to join us here on stage to discover our new cars! Experience these efficiency advancements for yourselves as well!