Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE -

MA­JOR en­gine en­hance­ments to BMW’s en­try-level M Per­for­mance mod­els will ar­rive be­fore the end of the year.

The Bavar­ian brand says it will “pass ba­ton” from ex­ist­ing tur­bocharged six-cylin­der en­gines pow­er­ing M135i and M235i mod­els to the typ­i­cally more pow­er­ful less thirsty new en­gine that launch in mod­els dubbed M140i M240i.

The up­grade af­fects three in Aus­tralia: five-door hatch, M235i coupe and M235i con­vert­ible.

power boost is backed by a 7 per cent drop in fuel use, with the claimed of­fi­cial con­sump­tion now down to 7.9 litres/100km, emit­ting just 179g/km of car­bon diox­ide.

As is be­com­ing norm most mak­ers, per­for­mance in­creases de­spite the en­gines be­ing less thirsty. In this case 0-100km/h sprint times are down to 4.6 sec­onds us­ing the eight-speed auto that is al­ready stan­dard on lo­cal M Per­for­mance mod­els. The con­vert­ible’s added mass adds 0.1 sec­ond.

Power in­creases from cur­rent 240kW/450Nm to 250kW/500Nm — in­cred­i­bly, that matches the fig­ures of the bahn-storm­ing 1 Se­ries M coupe cult car built in 2011-12.

That has only now been su­per­seded by M2 coupe, which can run to 100km/h in just 4.3 sec­onds, thanks out­puts of 262kW/465Nm, trick com­po­nen­try and weight-sav­ing mea­sures.

Prices for the ex­ist­ing M Per­for­mance mod­els start at $62,900 M135i top out $86,500 M235i con­vert­ible. BMW Aus­tralia spokes­woman Lenore Fletcher says new pow­er­train should fuel al­ready strong lo­cal de­mand for the com­pany’s per­for­mance vari­ants.

“We don’t have any specifics other than re­lease at this point, but we do know Aus­tralians will wel­come the added per­for­mance,” she says.

“Un­til the ar­rival of M2 M135i and M235i mod­els were our goto hot hatch fast coupe re­spec­tively there is still a big mar­ket that ap­pre­ci­ates good en­gine with­out want­ing to en­gage ev­ery day with full-on M model.”

The gear ra­tios in the eight-speed auto have been stretched match ex­tra power and drivers can choose per­form mul­ti­ple down­shifts on pad­dle-shifters when en­ter­ing a cor­ner, with car then match­ing ra­tios to revs as they drop.

Left in auto mode, the trans­mis­sion can em­ploy pre­dic­tive shifting — by check­ing with sat­nav match ra­tios con­tours.

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