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Awards 2011 - Manufacturer of the Year: BMW

Date: 25 January 2011

It's a reflection of BMW's corporate sector success and desirability that it has pulled off a hat-trick of BusinessCar headline award successes in 2011. As you will have seen on the previous page, the new 5-series has been selected by you as the Business Car of the Year, while cast your eyes to the right and you'll see the 320 Efficient Dynamics model is the Green Model of the Year.

Sandwiched between the two is BMW as a model line-up. The readers of BusinessCar and have selected the company as their top manufacturer, and the reason lies in the combination of outstanding running costs and a badge that most fleet car drivers are desperate to have hanging from their key ring.

Last year was a busy one for BMW, being the first full year of sales for the likes of the new X1 small off-roader, the quirky 5-series Gran Turismo and the low-CO2 320d ED and 316d versions of the 3-series.

Then during 2010 - as well as the new 5-series saloon and later in the year Touring - came a revised 3-series Coupe and Convertible range, and right at the end of last year, the new X3, which we found to be the new benchmark in the compact premium off-road market.

And 2011 isn't showing signs of being any slower. The new 6-series makes its bow, and later in the year we're expecting to see the new 1- and 3-series models, although they may not go on sale until 2012. Further Efficient Dynamics low-CO2 developments will also mean a 5-series getting under 120g/km before the end of this year, while other lower-emitting products are also in the pipeline.

BMW is still untouched for online connectivity, with the Connected Drive system that's fitted as standard to every car with the navigation package. Connected Drive allows the user to send directions straight from their desk to the car via Google Maps, and an in-car button lets the driver connect to a call centre, where they can get the address of any business, property or even the nearest shop or petrol station sent to the satnav. It also offers the facility to browse the latest news, sport and weather headlines, and to set up bespoke RSS feeds to get updates from the user's favourite websites.

Connected Drive is like much of what BMW is doing at the moment, in that it's clever, and helps a business and a driver achieve maximum efficiency and ownership pleasure. That's why BMW is again BusinessCar's Manufacturer of the Year.