DETROIT -- BMW this year will introduce in North America a 7 series equipped with an inline six-cylinder engine, said Ian Robertson, the BMW AG board member in charge of sales and marketing.
The turbocharged 740i will be the first 7 series equipped with a six-cylinder engine since 1992, said brand spokesman Jan Ehlen. Since then, all 7-series cars have had eight-cylinder engines.
Ehlen said the car will be available in the second quarter.
“We see a trend in the market that people might be willing to accept smaller engines in cars like the 7 series,” Ehlen said. “It used to be that this was the perfect car for an eight-cylinder. We've seized the opportunity to bring the six-cylinder back into the 7 series.”
In other BMW news:
• Robertson said BMW and Mini dealers in the United States spent $427 million on their stores last year and about $3.2 billion over the past 10 years.
• BMW Group, including Mini and Rolls-Royce, expects to increase sales in 2010 by single digits, Robertson said.
• The concept ActiveE, based on the 1-series coupe, will be available in 2011, said Klaus Draeger, the BMW board member in charge of r&d. The electric vehicle is powered by a new synchronous motor that generates 170 hp. Its power is stored in newly developed lithium ion batteries.