Any ex­cuse for a party

Herald Sun - Motoring - - NEWS - PETER BARNWELL peter.barnwell@news.com.au

BMW is cel­e­brat­ing its cen­te­nary, not of mak­ing cars but the ad­vent of the name BMW... Bavar­ian Mo­tor Works.

It came into be­ing out of air­craft en­gine maker Rapp Mo­tor Works in 1916.

BMW took over fi­nan­cially trou­bled Rapp and started pro­duc­ing a six-cylin­der air­craft en­gine that proved suc­cess­ful in a bur­geon­ing Ger­man air­craft in­dus­try and then moved, post-WWI, to mo­tor­cy­cles in 1923 with the shaft-driven R32.

Its first car was a re­hash of the Austin 7 assem­bled in 1928 and the first car of its own de­sign didn’t ar­rive un­til 1932 — a met­ric ver­sion of the Austin 7 called the Dixi.

So, cen­te­nary cel­e­bra­tions from “car maker” BMW are a stretch but the com­pany has pressed ahead with com­mem­o­ra­tive ac­tiv­i­ties around the world and lim­ited edi­tion cen­te­nary mod­els in­clud­ing the 330i sedan and 430i Gran Coupe sold here.

The cars, in Lux­ury Line or M Sport spec, are es­sen­tially op­tioned-up mod­els with “100 Year Edi­tion’’ badges. There are, how­ever, con­sid­er­able price sav­ings — $9000-$13,000 less than a sim­i­larly op­tioned car from a deal­er­ship.

The sedan costs from $75,855 and the Gran Coupe is from $85,855. There’s scope to add even more kit to your BMW.

Both 100 Year cars run the same high-out­put 2.0-litre turbo (185kW/350Nm), driv­ing the rear wheels through an eight­speed sports au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. Each claims fuel con­sump­tion of 5.8L/100km and coin­ci­den­tally clock 5.8 sec­onds for the 0-100kmh sprint.

Cool kit in the Lux­ury Line cars in­cludes spe­cial blue paint and beige leather up­hol­stery, wood and me­tal dash fas­cia with chrome high­lights, Har­man/Kar­don au­dio, sports seats, ex­tended smart­phone con­nec­tiv­ity and 19-inch light al­loy wheels.

Big time for BMW: 740e, main; 330i, be­low left; and 430i Gran Coupe

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