The old 3.0 litre turbocharged N55 engine that powers both the M135i and M235i has been phased out in favour of of BMW’s new modular B-series straight six. Still displacing 3.0 litres and featuring a twin-scroll turbo, the new engine makes 10kW more power and 50Nm more torque than the outgoing engine for a total of 250kW and 400Nm.
Peak power happens at 5500rpm while peak torque is available from 1500rpm through to 4500rpm. To reflect their extra muscle both cars will, from June, sport M140i and M240i badges on their rumps, while the three-door bodystyle will continue to be offered in Europe for the M140i (though isn’t likely for Australia).
Fuel economy improves by up to 7 percent too, with European-cycle fuel consumption of 7.8 l/100km for the M140i five door and M240i Coupe, with the M240i Convertible drinking 8.3 l/100km on account of its higher kerb weight.
A six-speed manual continues to be the standard transmission (and will feature an automatic throttle-blipping function), with the optional eight-speed automatic receiving new gear ratios to help boost economy. Opting for the auto also brings a launch control function.
Both cars take power to the rear wheels as standard, while in Europe all M Performance 1 Series and 2 Series models will be available with all-wheel drive as an option - but don’t expect that to be offered here.
Refinement is said to be improved thanks to more sound-deadening material around the engine, with efficiency boosted by electric power steering, an on-demand coolant pump, variable oil pump, brake energy regeneration and engine start-stop.
But of most interest is just how fast both models become. The M240i xDrive automatic hits 100km/h in just 4.4 seconds, just a tenth of a second shy of the BMW M2 auto’s sprint time. In RWD guise, the M140i automatic and M240i automatic hit triple digits in just 4.6 seconds - 0.2 seconds faster than before.
The M140i and M240i ranges are set to go on sale in Europe from July, however Australian timing, specifications and pricing has yet to be confirmed.