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BMW M Performance Launching M235i In The U.S. 10
Posted by Kurt Ernst in 2014 BMW M235i, Automotive, BMW, Kurt, M Performance on 07 10th, 2012

BMW’s 1 Series M Coupe – Image: BMW

BMW has been a bit schizophrenic towards driving enthusiasts in the United States. First, it launches the 1 Series M, a car that BMW itself admits is aimed at the enthusiast driver on a budget. Next, it sets a base price well beyond the point of what we’d call “affordable,” then it announces the car will be limited production. Dealer price gouging ensues, and at the peak of the madness one California dealership was asking approximately double the sticker price, since the 1 Series M was “destined to be collectible.”

Then, BMW launches a line of M Performance diesels, like the M550d xDrive, followed by the stunning M135i hatchback shown in April. Just as we’re ready to march on down to our BMW dealership with a deposit check in hand, BMW says, “silly rabbit, hatchbacks are for Euros.” Once again, those of us on this side of the pond lose, except for a vague promise that BMW will bring in a coupe to replace the 1-Series M.

That car, according to Autoweek, will be the M235i, which will also have the distinction of being the first M Performance car sold in the United States. Like the 1 Series M, it will be a coupe, and power will come from a version of BMW’s N55 turbocharged in-line six. Expect to see a minimum of 316 horsepower, and expect the M235i to come with the buyer’s choice of a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

The car should make its debut at the Detroit Auto Show in 2014, with a convertible version following later the same year. Pricing is still a long way from being set, but expect BMW to build enough copies to satisfy demand this time around. That won’t lower the MSRP, but ready availability should keep dealer price gouging under control.

BMW Marketing M Performance Parts For 3 And 5 Series Sedans 7
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Accessories, Automotive, BMW, Kurt, M Performance on 05 7th, 2012

BMW shows off its latest M Performance accessories. Image: BMW

If you’re passionate about your ride, chances are good it isn’t stock. The most afflicted among you have probably spent as much on aftermarket performance as the car cost to buy, while others are happy to change out a gearshift knob or add a deck lid spoiler.

BMW is well aware of how much Americans spend to personalize their cars, so the Bavarian automaker is introducing a line of M Performance accessories for the new 2012 BMW 3 Series sedan, as well as 2011 and later 5 Series sedans. Some items, like the M Performance steering wheel, the Brembo big brake kit or the high-flow exhaust system, are functional and may actually increase your car’s performance.

BMW shows off its latest M Performance accessories. Image: BMW

Other items, like the carbon fiber mirror caps or the carbon fiber and Alcantara interior kit, are cosmetic only. Some accessories fall into the gray area in between cosmetic and functional; the 20-inch forged wheels, for example, save just 2.2 pounds per corner, which really won’t add much of a performance gain. We suspect there are plenty of aftermarket wheels available that cost less money and save significantly more weight.

That’s really not what the M Performance parts program is about. Sure, you can spend your money on aftermarket parts, but they won’t be backed by a BMW warranty or installed by a BMW dealer (in most cases, anyway). If you’re more concerned with convenience and a warranty than outright gains, the BMW M Performance parts may be worth looking into, and your dealer can give you complete details on availability and pricing.

Just promise us that you’ll skip over the hideous vinyl stripe that’s part of the M Performance collection, okay?

BMW Explains The Development Of M Performance Parts: Video 16
Posted by Kurt Ernst in Automotive, BMW, Kurt, M Performance, video, Videos on 04 16th, 2012

BMW’s M Performance group builds cars like the not-for-U.S.-consumption M550d xDrive sedan, but it also designs and builds components to increase the performance of existing BMW models. The group focuses on four main categories, including aerodynamics, drivetrain, cockpit and chassis.

It’s ironic that M Performance was founded in reaction to the success of aftermarket BMW tuners and parts suppliers, and it’s clear to us that the group has some impressive resources at its disposal. While most aftermarket tuners test parts in competition, we’re not sure how many have the resources to wind-tunnel test aero kits on a rolling platform, which is just one reason to look at BMW’s offerings.

We’d love to see the M Performance group’s M135 hatchback (as seen on track in the video) on these shores, as it could be the ultimate blend of performance and practicality. BMW hasn’t confirmed the rear-drive hot hatch for the U.S., but they haven’t given a flat denial yet, either. We’ve got our fingers crossed.