2011 BMW X5 – Click above for high-res image gallery

In the luxury utility vehicle segment, the saying "less is more" rarely applies. And BMW promises us that the will deliver more power, more luxury and more refinement. But the X5 will also come with the "less" as well, as in 10 percent less fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

For 2011, BMW has revised the fourth-generation X5's now all-turbo engine offerings and added a standard eight-speed automatic to a vehicle that reportedly contains nearly 4,000 parts that are all new. And thanks to some pretty remarkable work at the company's Spartanburg, South Carolina plant, production of the new model commenced over the course of a single weekend. In short, BMW utilized a process that it calls "digital changeover" to stop production of the 2010 X5 on March 19 without slowing production at all, and just two days later on March 22, production examples of the 2011 model were flowing down the assembly line.

Beyond the multitude of powertrain changes under the hood of the 2011 X5, Bobby Hitt, (deep breath) Department Manager for Corporate Affairs, BMW Manufacturing Co, points out that the exterior received quite a bit of rework as well. "The new model X5 features exterior design changes including new front and rear bumpers, new front fenders, new headlights and new tail lights. This adaptation significantly enhances the presence of the new X5, making it look fresher and more elegant." Hit the jump to read over the BMW press release.


Related Gallery2011 BMW X5

[Source: BMW]
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Spartanburg, S.C. – March 23, 2010... More dynamic, efficient, and luxurious than ever, the new BMW X5 continues to strengthen its leading position within the four-wheel drive, premium vehicle segment. The new BMW X5 has a fresh new look and features new engines, drive trains, and thousands of new parts. The associates at BMW Manufacturing have been planning the launch of this new model for over 18 months, which involves nearly 4,000 new parts.

Since launching the original BMW X5 in 1999, this new model X5, the fourth generation, features a completely revised range of engines, standard eight-speed automatic transmission and innovative driver assistance systems that ensure the driving pleasure of the new X5 offers even greater fascination. The production launch of this new model occurred as a digital changeover within Plant Spartanburg, meaning that production associates learned new vehicle processes alongside existing processes and parts were seamlessly transferred into the new model X5. This changeover took place over a single weekend, with no ramp-down of the 2010 model on March 19 and no ramp-up of the 2011 model on March 22.

"The new model X5 features exterior design changes including new front and rear bumpers, new front fenders, new headlights and new tail lights. This adaptation significantly enhances the presence of the new X5, making it look fresher and more elegant," said Bobby Hitt, Department Manager for Corporate Affairs, BMW Manufacturing Co. "In spite of significantly improved performance, thanks to BMW EfficientDynamics, fuel consumption and emission levels are lower by up to 10%."

"One of the most significant changes for our plant was the introduction of a completely new range of gasoline and diesel engines. Almost every new X5 is equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission as standard. Further, each new drive train offers a new transfer case, new front and rear differentials, and new drive shafts," states Craig Westbrook, BMW Manufacturing's Project Manager for the New Model X5.

With the addition of BMW ConnectedDrive and new driver assistance systems, several new safety features come standard on the new BMW X5. The Lane Departure Warning feature alerts the driver to unintentional drifting from the roadway by sending a vibration through the steering wheel. Side View cameras integrated into the front of the car allow the driver to see traffic coming from the left or right. Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function ensures that the selected distance from the vehicle ahead is maintained; the system will slow the car down and even come to a complete stop – without the driver ever touching the brake pedal.

BMW Manufacturing Co.
BMW Manufacturing Co. is a subsidiary of BMW AG in Munich, Germany and is the global producer of the BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle and X6 Sports Activity Coupe. In addition to the South Carolina manufacturing facility, BMW North American subsidiaries include sales, marketing and financial services operations in the United States, Canada and throughout Latin America; and a design firm and technology office in California. For more information on BMW Manufacturing, visit www.bmwusfactory.com.

The BMW Group
With its three brands – BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce – the BMW Group is one of the world's most successful premium manufacturers of cars and motorcycles. It operates internationally with 24 production sites in 13 countries and a global sales network with representation in more than 140 countries. During the financial year 2009, the BMW Group sold approximately 1.29 million cars and more than 87,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax for 2009 was euro 413 million, revenues totalled euro 50.68 billion. At 31.December 2009, the BMW Group had a workforce of approximately 96,000 employees. Long-term thinking and responsible action have long been the foundation of the BMW Group's success. Striving for ecological and social sustainability along the entire value-added chain, taking full responsibility for our products and giving an unequivocal commitment to preserving resources are prime objectives firmly embedded in our corporate strategies. For these reasons, the BMW Group has been sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for the last five years.