Germany's 'big three' were always in the running to win a contract to replace Australia's home-grown six- and eight-cylinder muscle cars for use as police pursuit vehicles, but a perhaps unlikely model has been given the nod for Victoria.
BMW is the winner as far as the lucrative contact goes, but the carmaker won't be asked to churn out scores of M5s to patrol the state's highways.
Instead, the Victoria Highway Patrol will use BMW's diesel-powered 530d sedan, promising lower fuel bills for the tax-payer compared with the petrol-powered V8s they replace.
The 530d reports for duty next year, with an initial order for 80 units carrying a retail price of $119,990 before on-road costs.
The purchase price is unknown, but it's fair to say the figure will be a far cry from the $47,490 plus on-roads commanded by one of the current pursuit cars - the Holden Commodore SS.
Victoria Police recognises that the public may be a little annoyed at the price difference, saying the vehicles will be of base-specification and will do away with higher-end luxuries in favour of a factory-fitted 'Police Pack'.
Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer said the BMW was the best fit both commercially and for operational purposes.
“BMW has come to the party and worked with us on making sure their cars are as fit for purpose as possible,” Fryer said.
“They are the only company to date that has been able to provide a factory fitted ‘police pack’ making the commercial agreement an extremely attractive value-for-money decision."
“The BMW 530d meets our safety and performance standards as it has been subjected to the evaluation tests that underpin our vehicle safety classification system."
BMW's police-spec 5 Series is used extensively throughout Europe.
The first of the BMW 530d highway patrol vehicles will begin service from early 2018, with the rest of the 80-strong fleet in use by the end of the next year.
Speculation has been rife as to which vehicle would replace the Australian-made police cars once local production ends.
Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru and even Ford's Mustang have been considered, but Victoria Police is the first to show its hand for the new highway patrol cars.
As for the general duties vehicles post Commodore and Falcon, that remains to be seen. At least one state is set to continue with the Commodore badge as either pursuit or patrol cars, adorning the soon-to-be fully-imported model.
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