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BMW doubles the M fun factor

M and M: The X6 M50d will pioneer the new BMW M Performance sub-brand in Australia.

More than 60 buyers already in the queue for BMW’s new M Performance models

8 Jun 2012

BMW Australia expects sales of its new M Performance sports model line – a sort of ‘M lite’ – to ultimately rival volumes generated by its acclaimed flagship M models.

The company is already holding orders for more than 60 of the first M Performance Automobiles models due in the country, the X5 M50d and X6 M50d, that will touch down in showrooms in July.

It also expects a warm response to the next cab off the M Performance rank, the M135i, which is expected in Australia later this year after being shown in concept form at the Geneva motor show in March.

The M Performance line will offer a more affordable level of M enhancement for BMW cars, forgoing some of the bespoke M features such as unique panels and M sports differential.

BMW Australia managing director Phil Horton told GoAuto that Australia already was one of the top-performing markets in the world for cars from BMW’s M Division.

“We are clearly optimistic that something that sits between the pure M car and the top of our normal range should have good potential here,” he said.

Mr Horton said that, while current M cars such as the M3, M5 and X5 M represented only a few per cent of BMW sales in Australia, this was a high proportion compared with other markets.

He said the new M Performance models – which he likened to Audi’s S-Line – would add incremental sales to the high-performance end of the BMW line-up.

14 center imageFrom top: BMW X5 M50d, the new M Performance badging, the M135i.

“In Australia, in the fullness of time, we might be talking about the same sort of volume, maybe a little more than M car sales, for the M Performance range,” he said.

Mr Horton said the M Performance models, which are designed to perform at a level between the top-of-the-line standard cars and the specially built M variants, would probably cannibalise some sales from both the standard models and M range, but would still provide an incremental sales gain.

“For any new car we bring, we have probably 50 per cent substitution,” he said.

“The other 50 per cent should be incremental. That is the normal rule of thumb we use for any new model in this relatively niche market.”

Mr Horton said he expected M Performance offerings to grow with each new BMW model introduced.

“We know there is an M135 M Performance car coming, for instance,” he said. “That is the next one I have been shown. I can only imagine we will continue it (the M Performance line).”“The crucial thing is that they have been engineered by the M division, so they are not developed by the normal engineers who are just looking to try to get the maximum performance out of them.

“They have been engineered specifically by the M division as a sub-brand to M.”

BMW has already announced prices for the first two M Performance models, the $147,000 (plus on-roads) X5 M50d, and $157,000 X6 M50d, which are both powered by BMW’s ‘triple-turbo’ 3.0-litre diesel engine – billed as the world’s most powerful six-cylinder volume-produced diesel at 280kW and 740Nm.

The X5 M Performance SUV is $11,200 cheaper than the X5 M, while the X6 M50d is some $33,900 more affordable than the X6 M.

Mr Horton said the fact that the first two M Performance models were diesel was coincidental, as petrol models were also under development.

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