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by Tim Beissmann

BMW has confirmed a host of upgrades that sees new variants, enhanced engines and extra features added to a number of models across its international range.

First up is the new entry-level BMW 114i, which is powered by a 75kW/180Nm four-cylinder petrol engine. Teamed with stop-start technology, the 114i uses just 5.5 litres of fuel per 100km when paired with the six-speed manual transmission, making it the most fuel-efficient petrol model in the 1-Series line-up.

At the other end of the range is the M135i, the new sports flagship in the small-car range. The new model from the recently launched M Performance range produces 235kW of power and 450Nm of torque from its turbocharged 3.0-litre straight six – just 15kW shy of the ballistic BMW 1-Series M Coupe. Launching from 0-100km/h takes just 4.9 seconds, while combined cycle fuel consumption averages 7.5L/100km.

BMW Australia’s Scott Croaker says the 114i is not under consideration, joining the three-door hatch and the optional all-wheel-drive system on the list of 1-Series variations not destined for Australia.

Croaker confirmed the five-door M135i will go on sale in Australia, and is a chance to hit local showrooms before the end of 2012.

BMW’s international 3-Series range also gets a new entry-level petrol model later this year. The turbocharged 316i produces 100kW and emits an average of 134 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

While the 316i promises to be highly economical, the 320i EfficientDynamics Edition will be the new benchmark in the petrol range. A 125kW 2.0-litre turbocharged engine is teamed with a six-speed manual transmission and a host of other technologies developed for its 320d EfficientDynamics sibling. The result is a combined cycle fuel figure of 5.2L/100km and 0-100km/h acceleration of 7.6 seconds.

Croaker says neither the 316i nor the 320i EfficientDynamics Edition are under consideration for Australia at this stage.

From July production, BMW will introduce three new high-tech options for the 5-Series range, including a new 10.25-inch multifunction display screen for the instrument panel; a 16-speaker, 1200-watt Bang & Olufsen surround sound audio system; and contactless opening of the tailgate, allowing owners to access the boot by swiping their foot beneath the rear bumper.

The addition of a new variant means the 5-Series Gran Turismo range now starts with the 520d GT. The entry-level diesel model produces 135kW/380Nm, helping it accelerate from 0-100km/h in 8.9 seconds, while using 5.3L/100km on the combined cycle.

Croaker confirmed the 520d GT would become the new entry-level variant in BMW Australia’s 5-Series GT line-up, slotting in at under $100,000 beneath the 530d GT.  It will be available from July.

The more powerful 530d GT now generates 190kW/560Nm (up 10kW/20Nm), yet despite the performance hike its fuel consumption drops from 6.5L/100km to 5.8L/100km.

The 4.4-litre turbocharged V8 in the range-topping 550i GT variant has also been uprated 30kW/50Nm and now produces peak performance of 330kW and 650Nm. The power upgrade sees its sprint time fall half a second to 5.0secs, yet fuel consumption has also been slashed 18 per cent to 9.2L/100km. The update does not affect Australia as the 550i GT was deleted from the local line-up in November.

All models in the upgraded 5-Series GT range will benefit from stop-start engine technology, electromechanical steering and Driving Experience Control with Eco Pro mode to aid fuel efficiency.

A new Protection Safety package will also be added. The package comprises automatic emergency braking to avoid crashes or limit their severity, and tightens the seatbelts and closes the windows and sunroof to offer maximum occupant protection.

The Parking Assistant system, which helps drivers find a space and then guides them into it, will be available as an option.

The 6-Series Coupe and Convertible, Z4 roadster and the X3 SUV also benefit from minor equipment upgrades that are specific to some markets.




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