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BMW reveals official cars for London 2012 Olympics
BMW is loaning a 4,000-strong fleet of vehicles to the London Olympic Games Organising Committee.
The German manufacturer is an official sponsor of London 2012 and will supply cars to the Olympic Games to ferry VIPs and executives between sites using Olympic-only lanes - 30 miles of specially designated roads, introduced to help speedy transit between venues.
In a contentious move, Transport for London and the LOGOC have banned ambulances and other emergency services vehicles from routinely using the Olympic lanes.
How many BMWs are in the Olympic games fleet?
BMW is providing diesel, hybrid and electric cars, as well as motorbikes and bicycles, for the Olympic games in London this summer.
The fleet mostly consists of 3 and 5 Series vehicles in EfficientDynamics guise, the firm's eco-focused trim.
What will the fleet of BMWs be used for?
The enormous collection of BMWs and MINIs will be used as shuttles for Olympic officials, media, LOGOC employees and representatives of national and international sporting bodies attending the games.
At least 250 of the country's most important officials and politicians will be assigned a personal chauffeur (all volunteers) and a vehicle to whisk them from venue to venue during the festival of sport.
The Olympic BMWs are distinguished by the London 2012 branding on the cars' doors. Parked end-to-end, it is estimated that the fleet would stretch for 10 miles.
Where are the Olympic lanes?
The Olympic Route Network will affect large areas of London - including the Olympic Park in Stratford to the areas around the ExCeL arena and Greenwich Park.
The plans for Olympic lanes extend into the centre of the capital, with Victoria Embankment, Millbank and roads between the areas of the Mall, Hyde Park and Lord's Cricket Ground all affected.
With public transport routes disrupted as a result, commuters could grind to a halt during peak times.
Emergency services are not immune to the disruptions either. Ambulances will only be allowed to use the reserved roadways when on a 999 call and with the use of their blue flashing lights.
What do 4,000 extra vehicles mean for emissions and congestion?
The BMW 320d EfficientDynamics and 520d EfficientDynamics - the main two vehicles in the fleet - emit 109g/km and 119g/km CO2 respectively, both under the 120g/km CO2 emissions target of the LOGOC.
BMW's hybrid and electric vehicles - as well as pushbikes - will help keep the inevitable rise in pollution around the games down, but will only add to the problem of congestion during the 16-day competition.
An extra 4,000 vehicles on the capital's already congested roads won't do pollution or air quality any favours and doesn't send out a great message as to the state of the city's public transport network.
The message from LOGOC in its aim for Olympic goers to utilise public transport appears at cross-purposes with the Olympic lanes idea.
Disruption to bus routes as a result of the restricted lanes won't help get people out of their cars and onto buses and will cause resentment among some in that executives and officials get chauffeur driven to Olympic venues.
First Drive: BMW 320d EfficientDynamics (2010 onwards)
First Drive: BMW 520d EfficientDynamics (2011 onwards)
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London 2012 Olympics MINI special edition