Maybe this does not 100% belong here but some interesting news nonetheless. There is talk of turbo charging a E90 to create a niche between the normal series and the E90 M3 V8 (because of too much "gap" between the 3 litre V6 and M's new V8)? Folding carbon fibre roof for E90 coupe?
A remarkable number of new BMW models will reach Australian shores in 2005
By MARTON PETTENDY 1 June 2005
BMW Australia will make amends for a quiet start to the automotive year with an unprecedented rush of models in the second half of 2005 and beyond.
While its most important new model for the decade, the E90 3 Series, hit dealer forecourts last week, at least six other high-profile additions will join the volume-selling compact sedan on sale this year.
BMW hopes to better last year’s record result of more than 5000 3 Series sales by shifting around 5500 examples in 2005 – including both run-out E46 models and the new E90 sedan.
The German marque’s cause will be aided by the mid-range 325i sedan, which arrives here in August, joining the entry-level 320i and flagship 330i sedan launched in May.
Also bolstering its range will be the E90 3 Series Touring, which arrives here in the middle of 2006, a year in which BMW hopes to sell some 6000 3 Series vehicles in Australia.
Expected to again be available only in 320i guise, the 3 Series wagon will be available in Europe with a choice of five petrol engines and one turbo-diesel.
Of course, despite conceding defeat to BMW in the overall luxury market battle for 2005, Mercedes-Benz will do its best to reign on BMW’s parade when its 200kW 3.5-litre V6-equipped C350 sedan arrives on sale here later this year.
While BMW Australia managing director Dr Franz Sauter openly admitted the new C350 engine – which will out-perform the E90 330i’s all-new 3.0-litre R6-series inline six – would give C-class the upper hand on paper, he cautioned: "We’ll have to see how its dynamics compare".
Expected to shift the balance of power back to BMW a little further afield will be a turbocharged version of BMW’s 3.0-litre six, which aims to plug the gap between the current 330i sedan flagship and the M3.
The current E46 M3 offers a 252kW 3.2-litre six, which will make way for a lightweight 4.0-litre V8 based on the 5.0-litre V10 that powers M5/M6 and offering around 300kW of peak power.
The significant performance (and price) increase expected to be realised in the E90 M3 – not due to appear until 2007 – will create a niche for the turbocharged 3 Series, which may come brandishing a new 335i nameplate and similar peak power to the current M3 – around 250kW.
One UK magazine has also speculated that the force-fed 3 Series, which is reported to feature twin-turbos to boost both low and high-rpm torque, will launch with a VW/Audi DSG-style double-clutch transmission to maximise its torque delivery.
Australian BMW officials gave their strongest hint yet that a turbo petrol engine would exist in the E90’s future.
"Turbo is not a priority, but you never know what might happen on some models," Dr Sauter said.
Though he claimed maintaining E46 coupe and convertible sales alongside the new E90 sedan would not be a problem, Dr Sauter said the E90 two-door models would be heavily differentiated from their four-door donor cars when they appeared in late 2006.
A folding steel roof is likely to be a key distinguishing feature of the next-generation 3 Series convertible, which should appear globally after the E90 coupe in early 2007.
Closer to home, BMW’s next newcomer is the facelifted 7 Series, which goes on sale in June. For 2005, BMW’s flagship sedan range will open with the $178,300 740i, which replaces the $6000-cheaper 735i as BMW’s entry-level E65 limousine.
The 735’s 200kW/360Nm 3.6-litre V8 will be retired in favour of a 225kW/390Nm 4.0-litre version, while the 745’s 245kW/450Nm 4.4-litre V8 will also be swapped for a 270kW/490Nm 4.8-litre version in the rather misleading ‘750’ models.
While the long-wheelbase 760Li, which continues with a 327kW/600Nm 6.0-litre V12, will be $14,300 higher at $335,600, the 740Li will be priced at $189,900 (up from the 735Li’s $182,300).
Finally, the 750i and 750Li will be priced at $208,400 and $227,400 respectively (up $7300 and $10,900 on the 745i and 745Li respectively).
Next up will be the new 5 Series wagon, which will arrive here late next month in a single 530i Touring variant priced at $114,800. An optional Sport package will be priced at $118,800.
Featuring BMW’s new 190kW six, it will replace the 530i Touring Executive and 530i Touring Sport last sold here in April 2004, priced at $105,200 and $107,300 respectively.
Also set to receive improved six-cylinder performance is the E60 5 Series sedan, which in July will come brandishing the new N52 engine.
The 160kW 525i and 190kW 530i sedans will come into line with their 3 Series stablemates, and will not look quite so pedestrian alongside the E60 M5 sedan, which will offer 373kW of V10 power for $226,000.
Rounding out BMW’s hectic 2005 launch schedule is the 190kW six-cylinder 130i sedan (pictured above), capable of 0-100km/h acceleration in a respectable 6.2 seconds and available here in December.
Also on sale from December will be the M6 coupe, which features the same 373kW V10 as M5 and blasts to 100km/h in a claimed 4.6 seconds. Less than 20 examples of the $250,000-plus coupe will be made available in Australia, with a number of high-profile local personalities already having expressed interest.
What's coming from BMW:
320i/330i sedan - May
7 Series facelift - June
530i Touring late - June
M5 sedan - late June/July
190kW 530i - July
160kW 525i sedan - July
325i sedan - August
M6 coupe - December
130i variant - December
335i sedan - early 2006
320i Touring - mid-2006
E90 coupe - late 2006
E90 convertible - early 2007
E90 M3 V8 coupe - 2007