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BMW Debuts Greener Models & Showrooms

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author photo by Autotrader April 2011

The ultimate driving machine is going green. BMW announced the arrival of two new eco-friendly cars on Monday, while highlighting a plan to renovate its Manhattan showrooms, demonstrating the German automaker's increasing commitment to sustainability.

For fans of the brand's performance models, BMW's most important eco-friendly announcement comes in the form of the Z4 sDrive28i, the first four-cylinder BMW sold stateside since the cancellation of the 318 after the 1998 model year. Scheduled for a fall debut, the turbocharged Z4 sDrive28i will produce 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque – comparable figures to the 255 horses and 220 pound-feet in the current Z4's six-cylinder sDrive30i model.

For green car lovers, BMW's big announcement was the debut of the production ActiveE. Essentially a fully-electric 1-Series coupe, the ActiveE's release comes just before its scheduled launch at the New York International Auto Show later this week. The electric BMW's biggest talking point – aside from a 100-mile range and a 0-to-60 time of around nine seconds – is that the automaker actually plans to offer the ActiveE to the public later this fall, touting a 24-month lease of just $499 per month with a $2,250 down payment.

"The BMW ActiveE is part of our ongoing strategy to develop environmentally-friendly, yet high-performance vehicles," said BMW North America's manager of electric vehicle operations and strategy, Rich Steinberg. Steinberg also noted the ActiveE will help the high-end automaker test the waters for its green-themed "i" sub-brand when it launches in 2013.

It's not just cars that have BMW seeing green. The automaker also announced plans for a sustainable showroom on Manhattan's 11th Avenue, featuring heat-reducing louvers on the building's side, regionally-sourced materials with a high level of recycled materials, roof-mounted solar panels, and – of course – electric vehicle charging stations. BMW says that when the showrooms are finished – one for BMW late 2012 and one for Mini by the end of the year – both will earn LEED certification, demonstrating an exceptional commitment to sustainability.

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BMW Debuts Greener Models & Showrooms - Autotrader