In 2010, BMW launched a pilot program in Munich that it called “BMW On Demand.” Based at BMW Welt (BMW World), the program allowed drivers to rent various BMW models by the hour, day or week, with prices starting from $22 per hour for a 1-Series.

Now that car sharing and the idea of short-term rental is growing in popularity in the United States, BMW feels the time is right to expand the program to the U.S. market. New York City’s BMW of Manhattan has been chosen to debut the BMW On Demand USA service with a fleet of 100 BMW 328i sedans.

As Autoblog points out, BMW is targeting the service to two different types of customers, including those who want an extended test drive before committing to a purchase and those with only short-term needs for a luxury automobile.

While cars booked through Relay Rides may be good enough to visit family, you’re not going to impress an out-of state client (or your new girlfriend) by showing up in a ten-year-old Honda Civic. BMW’s rental program gives drivers the option of renting a premium luxury sedan, unavailable through other agencies, as their needs dictate.

If the BMW On Demand USA pilot program is a success, expect to see the concept rolled out to other urban BMW dealerships across the United States. As with the German program, there are plans to offer additional models such as the 7-Series, the X3 and the X5 later in the year; there's even talk of offering M3 and M5 rentals, although its likely that these would be restricted to drivers meeting certain criteria.

Short term rental pricing has not yet been announced, but other details of the program are available on the BMW On Demand USA website.