BMW has released an Australia-only limited edition version of the M140i hot hatch with driving purists in mind, complete with a spare set of wheels for track days.
The BMW M140i Performance Edition will be limited to just 60 units split between 45 eight-speed automatics and 15 six-speed manuals, with latter coming with a limited slip differential.
The limited-slip diff was added to the manual to capitalise on the purity of driving, says BMW Australia’s head of product marketing and planning Shawn Ticehurst.
“It’s manual with a limited slip, rear wheel drive, six cylinder. It’s in some ways a little bit old school, but it’s an old school drivetrain interpreted in a modern way with all the new tech and all the rest of it.”
While you can custom fit limited slip diffs to M140s, this is the only version that comes with it off the production line.
Ticehurst, who was largely responsible for the manual versions being included with the M140i Performance Edition, reckons you can never have enough manual cars, but believes they’ve got the balance right with the different transmissions.
“We talked about doing more [manuals] but once we spoke with our dealer group and we faced the realities of the Australian market now that is so automatic driven,” he told Wheels.
“But we said we knew there were the enthusiasts out there who like me said ‘I love the feel of a manual gearshift’ and thought 15 out of 60 is the right number … which is 12-15 percent of the total. In a lot of our cars, like the M3 and so on, we’re seeing manual being around the five to 10 percent of sales.
Powered by the BMW M140i’s 250kW/500Nm turbocharged six-cylinder engine it comes with a host of visual changes hand-crafted carbonfibre exterior mirror covers and the high-gloss black BMW kidney grille.
The rear is accentuated by black rear fins and roof-mounted spoiler finished in black bright chrome twin tailpipes at the end of the ladder exhaust providing a better engine note.
It also comes with BMW M performance 19-inch light alloy wheels finished in bi-colour ‘orbit grey’, along with a spare set if 18-inch wheels from the standard M140i to use for track days.
“We recognise that a lot of people that will buy this car probably do get an opportunity to put it on a track and we all know that once you do get on the track you end to eat up your tyres.
Because we fit the unique equipment to this car in Australia those 18-inch wheels were being taken off to fit the 19s so we said let’s give them to the customer.”
The interior is a tribute to Alacantra, with the synthetic, suede-like material applied liberally on the seats, trims and steering wheel, along with carbon-fibre trim.
Ticehurst says all unique features and parts were added to complete production M140i cars after they arrived here, a first for BMW Australia.
“The parts are all fitted before the car goes to the dealer but developing that process and the quality control around it that’s all new and a big learning curve but now we’re all ready to go.”
The BMW M140i Performance Edition will also come with a bespoke numbered plaque depicting the ‘1 of 60’ build status and featuring the M Performance logo.
Other key features include:
- Adaptive M Suspension
- Variable sport steering
- M Sport brakes (4-piston front callipers, 2-piston rear)
- Adaptive LED headlights with BMW Selective Beam
- ConnectedDrive infotainment including iDrive5 with Navigation System Professional
- 12-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system with DAB+ capability
The 2017 BMW M140i Performance edition will cost $71,990 which is about $4500 more than the fully optioned M140i.
It will be available in showrooms during the second quarter of the year.