For months now, there have been signs and clues pointing to the potential release of several M tuned BMW models which will create a new category of models to fill the gap between the standard series cars and their M versions. It's now just been officially announced by BMW M! Think of this new category of models as akin to Audi's S models.
BMW M Performance Automobiles Category Announcement
12th January 2012
M genes as standard: the BMW M Performance Automobiles.
New model category with emphasis on sporting characteristics combines exclusive engine line-up, enhanced agility, precise chassis tuning and emotional design. Driving experience defined by the development expertise of BMW M GmbH. World premiere at the International Geneva Motor Show 2012.
Munich. In spring 2012, BMW M GmbH will unveil a new product range for drivers seeking a particularly sporty driving experience, yet who also value the familiar comfort and practicality of BMW models. The BMW M Performance Automobiles offer exclusive engine variants, noticeably enhanced agility and outstanding precision on the road, plus design laced with emotional appeal. The harmonious interplay of engine output, power transfer, chassis technology and aerodynamic balance provides a captivating showcase for the familiar M genes - in day-to-day driving and beyond. The BMW M Performance Automobiles will be presented to the global public for the first time at the International Geneva Motor Show 2012 which takes place from 8-18 March.
The BMW M Performance Automobiles represent a totally new model category none of its rivals can offer. Only the high-performance sports cars from BMW M GmbH provide a more convincing execution of an overall concept focused on inspirational driving dynamics. "We are targeting our efforts at customers looking for more emotionality and more performance, but who don't want to forgo the everyday usability of their cars," said Dr. Friedrich Nitschke, President of BMW M GmbH. Nitschke announced plans for further additions to the new product line-up, referring to "a range including a wide variety of model series, as well as both petrol and diese-engined variants". The intelligent all-wheel-drive system BMW xDrive would also play a significant role in the BMW M Performance Automobiles, he added.
2011 will go down as one of the most successful years for BMW M GmbH since the company was founded. In addition to the BMW 1 Series M Coupe, which marked BMW M GmbH's first ever foray into the premium compact segment, last year also saw the successful introduction of the new BMW M5. The imminent arrival of the BMW M Performance Automobiles provides 2012 - which will also feature the world premiere of the new BMW M6, among others - with an early highlight.
"The BMW M Performance Automobiles benefit from the full expertise of BMW M GmbH," explained Nitschke. The BMW Group subsidiary can call on decades of motor sport experience when it comes to translating outstanding engine power into excellent dynamics. This development expertise also imbues the BMW M Performance Automobiles with their distinctive character.
The models in the new product category follow in the tyre tracks of the BMW M535i, which was unveiled in 1980 and went on to capture the hearts of performance-minded customers with its extra power, precisely tuned chassis technology and subtly modified design. A fresh addition to the BMW 5 Series ranks, the Sedan remained a highly successful member of the line-up through two model generations and - up to 1987 - with the BMW M5 for company within the range. "Our aim with the BMW M Performance Automobiles is to continue this tradition," confirmed Nitschke.
So what rumored models can we expect to launch this new category of BMWs? The following three rumored models should all come with the criteria just announced by BMW M for its new M Performance cars category -- extra power, tuned handling, and M visual enhancements.
There is the M550d
, which was first discovered on the label of a new BMW brake pad package (pictured left). The M550d will be a new tri-turbo inline-6 diesel F10 5 series and it's effectively been confirmed
. What's not yet confirmed however, is a power figure.
The latest rumor
coming out of a BMW dealer presentation held in the Netherlands in November was that the M550d will come in with 381hp
and 516 lb-ft torque
. It will be AWD-only.
The X6 M50d is the car which has been teased by BMW in recent days with their teaser video
. It should to be powered by the same tri-turbo inline-6 diesel engine as the M550d. Complimenting the power plant should be a dedicated M Sport Package and some other goodies. It will debut in the X6 LCI (facelift) form, which should be revealed imminently.
We've confirmed at the 2012 NAIAS
however, that this model will not be seeing North American shores, which likely rules out the M550d as well.
From the same Dutch BMW dealer presentation in November which yielded the 381hp tri-turbo diesel M550d rumor (see above), came a report
that a "M135i" F20 1 series hatchback is coming next summer. Those in attendance were reportedly told about a M135i featuring 320hp
and powered by the N55 inline 6 engine.
A few months back, we spied what appears to be an M Sport 135i F20
, so we wouldn't be surprised if BMW went with the "M135i" moniker for that car.