BMW set to offer four-wheel drive across all new models
31 May 2012
Author: Jack Carfrae
BMW is set to roll out four-wheel drive variants across its model range.
Speaking to BusinessCar, the firm's UK managing director, Tim Abbott, said: "We'll be adding to the portfolio later in the year with xDrive [the moniker for BMW's four-wheel drive cars] on the 3-series, which will add demand in the north of the UK.
"[Apart from the X-series of SUVs] We've never had four-wheel drive on right-hand drive before, and you only need a couple of harsh winters to increase interest, so we've now looked again and said yes.
"Every new model as we go forward will probably have four-wheel drive."
He also confirmed that the hybrid version of the 3-series, due later in the year, will join the growing number of models in the firm's UK range (including the 3- and 5-series Efficient Dynamics and the Active Hybrid 5) that already qualify for the 2014 Euro6 emissions regulations.
"The Active Hybrid 3 is coming in September and that will also be Euro6-compliant. A lot of companies want to be seen in these [hybrid] vehicles and seen to be responsible."
When quizzed about the arrival of a sub-100g/km 3-series, Abbott confirmed that there would be one but couldn't say when it would go on sale.
In November last year, BusinessCar reported that, according to 3-series project leader Dr Udo Haenle, a 99g/km or 98/gkm version is due for launch halfway through the model's production life, which would be between two and three years from now.
Abbott also said he is expecting the newly launched 6-series Gran Coupe - a four-seater version of the existing 6-series to rival the Mercedes CLS - to appeal to small firms running vehicles through contract hire: "This kind of car has traditionally done quite well in contract hire with small engineering companies and things like that.
"It may get into the boardroom of large companies too. We're expecting 700 units for a full year, and with BIK at 22% and 50mpg [from the 640d] it's a very attractive car to run."
He claimed the Gran Coupe will play a larger role in the fleet market than any other variant of the 6-series and that it could act as a halo model to bring buyers to the brand.
"This is a new sector to us," said Abbott. "It's a well-styled coupe with four doors and it's appealing to a lot of people. It's a very exciting sector and we should have been in it for a long time."
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