Mmmmmmm.... So BMW will replace the "is" models with the M Performance lineup. But it's not really an M model as we know it, it sounds like a sort of lowercase m. What's wrong with GT? That used to represent the driving-lights-and-stripes variation and in some places (see Australian Mad Max Ford Falcons) they were the real thing. .
Technically the M Performance line is slotted between the regular lineup and the true M GmbH–developed high-power cars, and the M Performance models are said to be developed in collaboration with M. Back in Europe, the first M Performance offerings are the X5 M50d, the X6 M50d, and the M550d xDrive with a tri-turbocharged straight-six diesel engine, as well as the gas-powered M135 hatchback.
Turbodiesels have been added to the lineup, while the M135i replaces the slightly more powerful 1-series M, which was mangled nomenclature anyway. In future, there will be M Performance derivatives of various BMWs, including the 3-series coupe or 4-series, and the Z4.
“We won’t make the change right now as it would confuse customers, (no kidding!) but with the next model generation change, the successors of these models will be M Performance vehicles,” said a BMW spokesman. Expect the Z4 M35i in 2015; the M335i (or M435i) will be launched next year.
The M Performance models don’t follow the purist approach of the true M cars; the M135i, for example, comes with an optional torque-converter automatic instead of a dual-clutch transmission. Turbodiesels have conventional automatic gearboxes, and the chassis is developed from BMW’s regular turbodiesels instead of employing M5, x5M or X6 improvemnets. The M Performance engines will come from non-M models.
What you can expect is that the M performance models will cost more than the base BMW series, so I think this M stands for More Money.––Paul DucheneBack to News