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BMW readies iNext for planned EV wave

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Editor’s note: This story is part of the annual Automotive News “Future Product Pipeline” series.

BMW plans to keep its foot on the product-development accelerator over the next few years as the performance automaker looks to maintain its sales lead over rival Mercedes-Benz.

BMW is launching 12 products this year, including a new 2 Series Gran Coupe, a redesigned 4 Series and updated plug-in hybrids.

The automaker believes it has the correct mix of cars and crossovers and is out to gain market share.

Next year will be a big year for BMW’s transition to EVs. The automaker will begin production of the iNext crossover and i4 battery-electric sedan as part of a global effort to have 25 electrified models (half of which will be full electric) on the road by 2023. In the future, the X1 crossover and the 5 Series and 7 Series sedans are expected to get all-electric powertrains.

Consumer expectations and technology limitations, however, are headwinds on the journey.

BMW halted plans to bring its first electric crossover to the U.S. The iX3, an electric version of the brand’s bestselling vehicle, was scheduled to arrive in the first half of 2021. But in late January, BMW informed dealers of its decision to cancel the introduction.

While the coronavirus pandemic has upset near-term sales forecasts, BMW executives are confident it will not slow the product development cadence.

2 Series: BMW introduced a new all-wheel-drive, four-door 2 Series Gran Coupe in March. The 228i xDrive model is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 228 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque. The Gran Coupe is built on the same platform that underpins the Mini Clubman and Countryman, as well as a new BMW 1 Series that will not be sold in the U.S.

A limited-edition M2 with more power and performance is due in the fourth quarter. The 444-hp M2 CS is powered by a 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder twin-turbo engine. The cabin blends racetrack-inspired design with weight-saving technology.

The smaller 2 Series Coupe should receive a redesign in early 2022.

3 Series: A redesigned 3 Series plug-in hybrid arrived in July. It has a more powerful four-cylinder engine and a larger battery for greater range. The 3 Series Gran Turismo has been discontinued.

The high-performance M3 is due for a redesign in the first half of 2021. The four-door M3 will be powered with a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six delivering up to 480 hp.

A Competition version will offer 510 hp. The new-generation M3 will offer all-wheel drive for the first time, alongside its traditional rear-wheel drive.

The 3 Series is set to be freshened in 2023.

i3: A replacement for BMW’s first battery-electric car is not planned. U.S. sales of the i3 began in 2014. The automaker sold 4,905 copies last year.

4 Series: The coupe and convertible will be redesigned — the coupe in the fall and the convertible in the first quarter of 2021. The six-cylinder engine variant receives a 48-volt mild-hybrid system. A freshen could follow in 2024.

A redesign of the four-door Gran Coupe is expected in the second half of 2021. It will get a higher roofline and roomier interior.

The two-door M4 is due for a redesign in the first half of 2021. That model will be powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six delivering up to 480 hp. A Competition version will offer 510 hp.

Z4: A redesigned Z4 arrived last year, with a new lightweight platform and updated engines. A fabric roof replaced the car’s retractable hardtop. It should get a freshening in late 2022.

i4: The EV will launch in the first quarter of 2022, promising more than 300 miles of battery range. The sporty four-door coupe will be built on BMW’s lightweight modular Cluster Architecture platform, capable of going from 0 to 60 mph in four seconds.

5 Series: The midsize sedan gets a freshening this month that includes an updated grille design and front and rear styling, new headlights and fascia and a large center display. The six-cylinder engine variant gets a 48-volt mild-hybrid system.

The M Series version also receives an update this month. It includes new front and rear styling and a larger 12.3-inch touch screen information display. The 2021 BMW M5 is powered by a 4.4-liter TwinPower turbocharged V-8 engine producing 600 hp.

The 5 Series PHEV receives a more powerful six-cylinder drivetrain and a beefier battery in the fall.

A full redesign of the 5 Series is expected in late 2023.

6 Series: The 6 Series GT and Gran Coupe ended production in 2019 and have been discontinued in the U.S.

7 Series: The large luxury sedan received a freshening and powertrain improvements last year and will be redesigned in the second half of 2022. The next-generation 7 Series will continue to be based on the Cluster Architecture platform and offer Level 3 autonomous

driving technology. The car will be available with different drive technologies: a gas engine with 48-volt technolo-

gy, as an electrified plug-in hybrid and for the first time as a battery-electric model.

8 Series: BMW broadened its flagship model range with the 8 Series Gran Coupe last year. The rwd 840i Gran Coupe and awd 840i xDrive variants are powered by BMW’s turbo 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine.

A new M8 Gran Coupe arrived in January. The Gran Coupe rides on a chassis and body that is 9.1 inches longer, 1.4 inches wider, 2.3 inches taller and with a 7.9-inch larger wheelbase over the M8 Coupe. The performance sedan is powered by a 4.4-liter turbo V-8 that delivers 600 hp.

i8: BMW ended the plug-in hybrid sports car’s production run in June after seven years.

iNext: The new X5-sized battery-electric crossover will arrive in late 2021. It will feature BMW’s fifth-generation battery design and be built on the Cluster Architecture platform. The base version iNext will be powered by a 63-kWh battery pack and deliver 335 hp and 285 miles of range. The iNext will launch with Level 3 semiautonomous driving capabilities.

X1: The small crossover is slated for a redesign in the fourth quarter of 2022. It will remain on the current front-wheel-drive platform.

X2: BMW has positioned the X2 as a sportier alternative to the X1. The X2 is shorter and lower than the X1 and has different exterior styling. A freshening is expected in the third quarter of 2021.

X3: BMW electrified its bestselling model in the U.S. this year. The X3 xDrive30e plug-in hybrid crossover combines a 2.0-liter, inline four-cylinder engine with an electric motor and a 12-kWh battery pack to deliver an electric-only range of about 20 miles. The all-wheel-drive crossover delivers 292 hp and can go from 0 to 62 mph in 6.1 seconds.

An X3 M variant also launched this year, powered by a 3.0-liter, twin-turbo six-cylinder that can deliver 473 hp. A Competition version dials it up to 503 hp.

The X3 is due for a freshening in late 2021, followed by a redesign in 2024.

iX3: BMW put off plans to bring its first electric crossover to the U.S. next year. In late January, BMW informed dealers of its decision, citing concerns about inadequate range and the lack of all-wheel drive.

X4: The compact crossover got a makeover last summer. In addition to receiving new engines, the second-generation X4 is lighter and roomier. It is due for a freshening in the third quarter of 2022.

X5: A redesigned plug-in hybrid version of the midsize crossover arrived in July. That model is powered by a turbo inline-six coupled with an electric motor, delivering a combined 389 hp. The PHEV will go from 0 to 62 mph in 5.6 seconds.

The X5 M received a redesign in March. It is powered by a 600-hp twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8.

The X5 is due for a freshening in late 2022.

X6: The midsize crossover was redesigned last year and debuted the optional illuminated BMW kidney grille, which is part of the daytime running light feature and can remain on while the vehicle is in motion.

The X6 M was redesigned in March and is powered by a 600-hp, twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8.

The X6 could get a freshening in late 2023.

X7: BMW’s large crossover arrived in the first quarter of 2019 with three-row seating for seven passengers.

An Alpina version will arrive in the fall. The modified SUV is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 that delivers 612 hp.

A freshening of the X7 is expected in the first quarter of 2023.

X8: An all-new two-row crossover is expected in late 2022. It has been described as a sporty version of the X7 and will carry over the turbocharged V-8 and inline-six engines.

An X8 M variant could arrive around the same time as a PHEV delivering more than 750 hp.

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