Plug-in hybrid BMW to be unveiled in China

BMW is to launch a plug-in hybrid model in China next month, designed specifically for the Chinese market, it has emerged.

The company's boss Norbert Reithofer said recently that the new "new energy vehicle" model would be based on the 5-Series and unveiled at Auto Shanghai, which runs April 21 - 28 in the Chinese metropolis, describing it as "our e-car from China for China."

It is squarely aimed at China's rapidly-growing luxury market and is set to feature the same long wheel base as its Chinese-only predecessor, the 535Li, which was designed to add more comfort to those wishing to be chauffeur-driven and included luxury touches such as sun blinds, a folding table in the rear seat and an entertainment system.

No specific details about the drivetrain were provided, although commentators believe that the car's propulsion system is unlikely to be significantly different from the 5-Series ActiveHybrid, which uses a V6 3.0 liter engine and a 50hp electric motor.

The New Energy Vehicle is one of a host of models expected to launch at the Auto Shanghai event, a show which will likely see more environmentally-friendly and luxury vehicles than ever before as automakers vie for the attention of China's eco-aware market.

However, vehicles aimed at all classes of Chinese society will be on display, with General Motors expected to officially launch the first model by Baojun, the joint venture it announced last year with Chinese automaker SAIC.

The Baojun 630 sedan first broke cover back in November 2010 as a five-seater to be aimed at the budget market, with reports suggesting a retail price tag of around $7,000 (€4,900).

http://www.autoshanghai.org/en/

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