BMW of North America is pinning hopes for growth in 2017 on the redesigned 5-series sedan, a vehicle that it will use to showcase the brand's high technology.
The 5 series makes its debut at the Detroit auto show. The seventh-generation 5 series features lightweight magnesium and aluminum as well as high-strength steel, making it about 137 pounds lighter than the current car. High-tech and semiautonomous features are trickled down from the flagship 7-series sedan.
Along with the all-wheel-drive 540i xDrive and high-performance M550i xDrive, the range will include a plug-in hybrid 530e iPerformance. The redesigned 2017 5 series will go on sale in February, and the M and hybrid debut in the spring.
In 2016, BMW sales slipped in a rising market after the brand unseated Lexus and Mercedes-Benz as the top-selling luxury brand in the United States a year earlier.
BMW of North America didn't have the proper vehicle mix. Its sedan sales slumped as Americans increasingly moved into crossovers, where the German brand still doesn't have a large vehicle.
To meet the high crossover demand, BMW has pushed ahead the launch of the redesigned X3 crossover. The third-generation X3 goes on sale in late summer on BMW's new lighter-weight architecture. In 2017, BMW is also expected to launch the 6-series Gran Turismo four-door with coupe-like styling. The 6-series GT will replace the quirky-looking and slow selling 5-series GT; it is expected to be larger and more stylish.
The X2 compact crossover with coupe-like styling and the redesigned 3 series debut the following year, followed by the full-size all-new X7 in 2019. The X7 is late to the market because BMW pushed aside its development to spend billions on its i plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles. Sales of the i3 haven't been on fire, forcing BMW to double the range on the compact just two years after its launch. But even that increase in range doesn't come close to the 238 miles of the Chevrolet Bolt.
The new BMW Number One | Next strategy will further push the brand into electric, self-driving cars and artificial intelligence through 2025.