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BMW to Turn X5 & X6 to Ms

April 20, 2009

WOODCLIFF LAKE, NJ - If SUV drivers want more performance, BMW is ready give it to them with the X5 and the X6 joining the company's M stable of high-performance vehicles, according to www.greenvilleonline.com.

The two models made their global debut at the New York International Auto Show.

Both high-performance vehicles will be built at BMW Manufacturing Co.'s Greer plant along with their siblings the X5 sports activity vehicle and the X6 sports activity coupe. The plant also is producing diesel X5s for the North American and overseas markets. By the end of the year, production is expected to begin on the X6 hybrid and production of the X3 SAV will move to Greer in 2010.

Production of the M vehicles has not yet begun although the plant did build the vehicles to be displayed at the New York auto show, said Max Metcalf, plant spokesman.

"The U.S. gets it first," said Matt Russell, BMW of North America spokesman, adding that the models should be ready for launch in mid-summer.

He said the X5 M would likely sell about midway between $80,000 and $90,000 and the X6 M would likely be priced a few thousand dollars higher.

Despite the turmoil in the auto industry, Russell said the new M models are expected to fare relatively well.

"The vehicles will out-compete their competitors at a lower price point," he said. "We see it as a value proposition. I believe Americans really do care about the performance of their vehicles."

Last year, BMW's M division, which received a boost from its newest mainline model, the M3, had its second best year ever, with 26,772 M vehicles sold worldwide, according to www.greenvilleonline.com.

The M versions of the X5 and X6 would be able to accelerate from a standing start to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. It will be equipped with a newly developed V8 twin-turbo engine delivering 555 horsepower.

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