Friday, January 29, 2010

2011 BMW 535i

2011 BMW 5-Series
2011 BMW 535i

The one thing you can be sure of when you walk out of a BMW news conference is that you'll have plenty of information. Your head aches from it. Your ears ring with it. Your jaws are sore from swallowing it whole like a snake.

I fairly staggered out of the press briefing at a hotel here laden with facts about the company's latest personal executive sedan, the 2011 BMW 5-series. This numerical disquisition will soon be yours, so brace yourself.

But here's a number that absolutely fascinated me. According to BMW execs, the 5-series -- the company's second-best-selling model after the multifarious 3-series -- represents 50% of the company's total profit. Buyers typically heap pricey luxury, technology and sport packages on top of the $50,000 base price, resulting in a tidy windfall for BMW, if not an F5 tornado of money.

Consider what this fact suggests about 5-series buyers: These people are buying the sedan because of its size -- comfortable but still fairly intimate -- and because of what the Germans love to call "sportivity." These buyers also yearn for the cutting-edge technological spritz that comes as standard equipment in the flagship 7-series, the next segment up, and are willing to pay extra to get it.

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