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BMW

2001: The new Mini reaches Australia.

2000 July 1: The deal is completed; Ford takes control of Land Rover.

2000 March: BMW plans to (i) sell Rover cars (which it could never get to make money) to `Alchemy' who will make MG's, (ii) sell Land Rover to Ford, and (iii) keep the (new) Mini for itself.

1999 (late): BMW X5 4x4 release in the USA. BMW is said to be working on smaller `X3' and larger `X7' 4x4s, the latter drawing on the next range Rover.

1999: Stories of a 4x4 `X3', based on the 3-series 4x2 cars and similar in concept to the X5, are circulating.

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X5 released late 1999 (USA)

1998: BMW has been developing a 4WD, wanting to compete with the likes of the Mercedes Benz M-class but without killing off its own Range Rover acquisition. The BMW X5 4x4 is likely to go on sale in 1999 / 2000 powered by petrol engines up to a 4.4L V8 or diesels. It is a more car-based vehicle than the Range Rover, with independent suspension and without a two-ratio transfer case (although automatic transmission compensates for such a lack going up hill, provided that electronic gadgetry (HDC and ABS) can compensate going down hill in the rough). The obvious question now is: what, if anything, will any replacement Range Rover III share with the X5?

1994: BMW bought Rover, and hence Land Rover / Range Rover from British Aerospace (BAe), sparking speculation about what it might do in the 4WD stakes with and/or to Rover. An immediate benefit, actually it was already in use, was the option of the 2.5L 6-cylinder turbo diesel engine in the Range Rover, Rover's own 4-cylinder Tdi being deemed insufficiently refined for the job.

Since then there have been rumours as to whether a BMW V8, one with overhead cams, might replace the Rover push-rod V8 as the petrol option. Again, when the Range Rover II is replaced, will it be with some sort of rebadged BMW 4x4?

Pre 1994: BMW has made "soft" four wheel drive versions of some of its "car" station wagons, but not a full-on four wheel drive.

Go to the X5, Z8 and Land Rover pages


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