BMW has kicked the six-cylinder engine from the M135i and M235i into touch and armed it with more power and more torque courtesy of its new engine range. There’s a new badge designation to go with the swap, too.
BMW has decided to phase out the old and much appreciated 3.0-litre turbocharged N55 unit from the M135i and M235i, instead replacing it with a new modular straight six known as the B-series featured in the 340i, 440i and X4 M40i. It is still a 3.0-litre unit featuring a TwinPower twin-scroll turbo but power is up by 10kW and with 50Nm more on tap the total output now sits at 250kW (5500rpm) and 500Nm (1500rpm to 4500rpm).
An added bonus is improved fuel consumption of 7 percent – 7.8l/100km claimed in the M140i and M240i, while the M240i Convertible quaffs 8.3l/100km owing to its heavier mass. This is down to improved efficiency from the electric power steering, on-demand coolant pump, variable oil pump, brake energy regeneration and engine start-stop. Six-speed manual (with automatic throttle-blipping function) and the optional eight-speed automatic transmissions remain but receive new gear ratios. The auto now also comes with launch control.
BMW also say new 1 and 2 Series models will be more refined than before due to improved sound-deadening material around the engine, too. But more importantly than that is the impressive acceleration figures – both the M140i and M240i will hit 100kph in just 4.6sec (0.2sec quicker than previously). BMW will also overhaul the 2.0-litre four-cylinder in the 228i, adding more power, and rebadging it the 230i.
The 130i/230i and M140i and M240i will go on sale in Europe from July. South African timing and pricing is yet to be confirmed. But we expect a fourth quarter debut locally. Don’t expect the all-wheel drive version that’s available in Europe to be offered locally. Shame really because that all-wheel-drive M240i Coupe, interestingly, is just as quick as the rear-wheel-drive M2 with a 0-100kph sprint of 4.2sec.