Future Cars: BMW/MINI/Rolls-Royce

More of TCC's Future Cars






2006 BMW 3-Series Convertible2006 BMW 3-Series Convertible2006 BMW 3-Series ConvertibleWhile BMW has just released the new 3-Series sedan, the matching 3-Series coupe and convertible are still undergoing tests before their launch at the 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show in autumn. BMW has consulted various German specialist companies like Webasto and Edscha to help develop the folding roof's mechanism, ensuring that the car remains a full-trunked four-seater. An M3 variant is a natural, probably for the 2007 model year.



2007 BMW X52007 BMW X5The second-generation BMW X5 is due in 2007 as well. Measuring in taller, longer and wider than today's X5, the new version is expected to come standard as a five-passenger model, with optional seven-passenger seating configuration available. The South Carolina-built ute isn't expected to be at dealerships until late in the 2006 calendar year, but sources have been referring to the new X5 as both a 2006 and a 2007 model-so we'll have to wait a bit longer to find out the exact model-year designation.



BMW's Z4 Coupe will quickly spawn a new M version when it shows up in South Carolina next year. Like the Porsche Cayman, the Z4 Concept shares its fundamentals with a roadster, and while it has its own roof and luggage area, the Z4 shares the Z4's 3.0-liter in-line six-cylinder engine with 265 hp and 232 lb-ft of torque. BMW says it will take only 5.7 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph and will hit a top speed of 155 mph. Electric power steering and more powerful brakes are expected to make it into the production version of the Z4 Coupe when it arrives in the 2007 model year.




COMING: A new crossover vehicle will be built in South Carolina and may have MPV-like characteristics.






A new MINI Cooper is in the works, but BMW's intentions for fleshing out the brand are still hazy. The new Cooper should arrive in the 2007 model year.

MINI says it's going to broaden its future lineup, and while the Traveler may be a bit much to contemplate now, it's certainly being considered as an addition to the next generation car coming in a year or so.

Pitching it as a latter-day successor to the Mini Traveller that bowed exactly 45 years ago in September 1960, the new concept has a long side view made more expansive by the lack of a B-pillar. Big doors make for easier access to the back seats. And the back of the vehicle is bespoke with all sorts of utility solutions: the doors are symmetrically split, the roof opens for loading taller objects and the cargo box at the rear has a clear sliding shelf that moves out of the way for your stuff - or flips toward the headliner and latches into place to provide a see-through separator between humans and their things.




2006 Rolls-Royce Phantom LWB2006 Rolls-Royce Phantom LWB

Rolls has a new long-wheelbase Phantom limousine, with almost ten inches of extra length built into the body behind the B-pillar. The car will be built at the Rolls-Royce factory at Goodwood, on the south coast ofEngland, and is aimed at the Middle Eastern and Asia-Pacific regions, where demand for such an uber-Rolls is greatest. The price will be $385,000. The cars will effectively be handbuilt, and Rolls sees the long version as a means of returning to the old standards of luxury cars built to order and embodying exactly the features that the prospective buyer wants.

COMING: A production version of the 100EX convertible is coming to production, likely in 2007.

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