Edition 35 - July 13, 2001
3-Series sedan / touring
Facelifted to fight its newest rival, the Jaguar X Type, the BMW 3-series gets reshaped headlights, a wider kidney grill, small foglights, and revised red/white rear lights. A faster steering rack and stiffer suspension addresses European customers' criticisms of the E46 being too "soft" to suit American tastes. A new option is the SSG sequential transmission based on the new M3's SMGII system. The coupe does NOT receive the facelift, as it is being prepared to be spun off to become a 4-series model instead in the near future.
Due to the tremendous success of the X5 (global waiting lists stretch to 2002), BMW has delayed additional variations to the X5 and has just revealed the X3, a natural competitor to the Freelander V6 model. Initially, it will be offered with the wonderful 3-L inline six engine found in the 330i, but as the initial sales spike wears off, be sure to expect smaller engine options and then a version breathed on by the M-division or by Hartge or Alpina. The X3 will be offered in the low US$30k price range, which should also worry Lexus.
The next Benz ML-class SUV will spawn a longer variant, dubbed the MLV. It will have more "butch" styling than the ML, which will have evolutionary styling. Inside sources call it a "baby Hummer from Stuttgart".
Subaru is already reaping the fruits of its association with GM. With a gigantic parts bin at their disposal, Subaru went so far as to grab the whole Opel Zafira and slap their own label on the people carrier. In Europe, the Zafira is one of GM's sales successes, having rode the wave of popularity of the compact people carriers (strongest rivals are the Renault Scenic and Fiat Multipla). It has flexible 7-seater capacity, and all seats can fold into the floor to produce a completely flat floor for lugging any kind of luggage. Subaru should think of a less GM name, however.
Another photo of the next Camry. The JDM version will only have a 4-cyl engine, while America will continue to enjoy a 3-litre V6 engine. In Japan, it will be simultaneously debut with the new Windom, the basis of the next Lexus ES.
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