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Bold new Bimmers: The German marque enters 2019 running with new offerings

Bold new Bimmers: The German marque enters 2019 running with new offerings
BMW's great 8, their flagship coupe, returns for 2019. (www.daniel-kraus.com)

Southern California is a historic market for BMW, so the posh, performancey German company put on an impressive display at the LA Auto Show, including multiple model reveals. For 2018 six new "Ultimate Driving Machines" were shown for the first time at the Convention Center. Here are four of BMW's luxurious debuts.

BMW X7
While its Sports Activity Vehicles are ubiquitous on SoCal roads, BMW hasn't offered a full-size, three-row model until now. Available stateside in March, the X7 is the biggest Bimmer ever, and positively bristling with the latest luxuries and tech. Whatever the outside conditions, the X7's cabin is an oasis of connected calm, with standard four-zone climate control, a Wi-Fi hotspot and wireless charging, and a voice-activated personal assistant. Opulent options include a Panoramic Sky Lounge LED Roof and even a backlit crystal glass gear shifter. Additionally, with its standard all-wheel drive, available 456 horsepower, and two-axle air suspension offering up to 1.6 inches of lift, the X7 stands ready for dirt roads.

BMW 8 SERIES COUPE
The new M850i xDrive is BMW's first 8 Series coupe in 20 years -- and well worth the wait. This $111,900 two-door's stunning aesthetics do justice to its performance: 0 to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds; 523 horsepower from its 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8; and a top speed electronically reined in to 155 mph. Inside, appointments include Merino leather upholstery, the latest iDrive software and an available Driving Assistance Plus package which includes active cruise control, lane-departure warning and more. But it's the new 8 Series coupe's breathtaking encapsulation of BMW's "Ultimate Driving Machine" slogan that makes its arrival so significant: a true driver's car that's also spacious (up front, at least) and luxurious.

BMW 8 SERIES CONVERTIBLE
BMW's returned 8 Series boasts something its 1990-1999 predecessor lacked: a convertible. As with the hardtop, this will initially be available only as the M850i xDrive. Other than its retractable soft top (and a modified trunk lid to accommodate this), the convertible shares the low, wide stance and muscular lines of the coupe. The top folds down or up in 15 seconds at speeds of up to 31 mph and, while stowed, a pop-up wind deflector reduces air swirl in the cabin. Under-body bracing compensates for the absent fixed roof, while adding an automatic rollover protection system. Optional neck warmers built in to the front head rests allow for top-free driving even on cooler Southern California days.

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BMW M340i SEDAN
Not everyone who needs the daily practicality of a four-door vehicle wants to altogether say farewell to the fun and performance of a sports car. BMW acknowledges this with its 2020 M340i Sedan, which brilliantly brings together the best of both worlds. Aside from the M3, this is the most powerful 3 Series to date, at 382 horsepower, with steering-wheel-mounted paddles, including launch control and intelligent programming (that alters shift points based on data from the car's navigation system), for its eight-speed automatic transmission. Other performance touches include upgraded brakes, Adaptive M suspension with electronically controlled dampers, and an M Sport electronically locking rear differential.

-Paul Rogers, Custom Publishing Writer