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|Spied: 2010 BMW 7-Series, 2010 Z4, Hybrid X6 Model|
|Written by Rich Truesdell|
|Thursday, 03 July 2008 05:47|
This week in the Automotive Traveler garage we have Dodge's new 2009 Durango Two Mode Hybrid, and of course we wanted to see how well its air conditioner worked in extreme high-heat conditions so we made another trip to the Mojave Desert. And what did we find? Three new BMWs, the 2010 7-Series, the extensive refresh of the 2010 Z4, and what appears to be a hybrid variant of the recently introduced X6 Sports Activity Coupe.
The next-generation 7-Series will grow in almost all dimensions and it is reported that it will offer--in addition to its usual extensive selection of I6, V8, and V12 engine choices--a gas/electric hybrid option. The styling, once the cladding is peeled off in time for the Paris Auto Show in October, is expected to show a further toning down of the "flame surfacing" style that was first shown on the previous generation 7-Series, giving the BMW flagship a much more elegant look with some design cues found on last year's Shanghai concept. While the cladding cloaks much of the rear, it looks as if the oft-criticized "Bangle Butt" has been subtly reshaped.
Big news for the next-generation of the Z4 two-seater appears to be a retractable hardtop, if the lines in the roof cladding are any indication. The South Carolina-built Z4, while a solid seller, has never sold in the volume that many BMW fans have hoped for. With further refinement of the existing styling, combined with the versatility of a folding hardtop, the next Z4 is expected to bring new buyers into BMW showrooms. A standard folding cloth top still might be offered for those who want the virtues of a traditional rag top.
And finally we have the newest addition coming to the X6 lineup. From what we've been able to gather from several BMW enthusiast blogs and forums this appears to be a hybrid version of BMW's controversial X6 Sport Activity Coupe. The lack of heavy cladding would seem to indicate that this one is close to production; expect it early in 2009.
If you know of more information or have additional speculation on upcoming BMWs, be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.