BMW M Performance Automobiles launched in Singapore.

BY Joel Tam

With a high-powered SUV range and a scorching hot-hatch in its stable, M Performance Automobiles (MPA for short) has landed on our shores with a big bang.

Unveiled and ready for a trashing at the BMW M Power Drive Experience, were the BMW M Performance Automobiles range consisting of the BMW X6 M50d, BMW X5 M50d and BMW M135i. 

Think of it as a "S-Line" series from Audi, and you'll get the idea of how BMW is positioning this range of cars.
Based on current BMW models with some added technical and design modifications, the BMW M Performance Automobile sits between a high-end regular BMW model and an M car.
“The arrival of the BMW M Performance Automobiles marks a new chapter for BMW. Not only are we launching an entirely new range of cars positioned in between the regular BMW vehicles and the motorsport-inspired BMW M cars, we will also be debuting diesel-powered cars in Singapore for the first time,” said Mr Neil Fiorentinos, Managing Director of BMW Group Asia. 

“Powered by the M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology, the impressive engine found on both the BMW X6 M50d and BMW X5 M50d is equipped with three turbochargers and advanced common-rail injection system. With its outstanding abilities, we trust it will only be a matter of time before this new engine enjoys the highest level of recognition just as its fellow award-winning siblings have.” added said Mr Fiorentinos.

Putting the cars through their paces, the BMW X5 M50d and BMW X6 M50d were massively potent, thanks to having the most powerful diesel engine in the BMW engine range. With a maximum output of 381 bhp and a peak torque of 740 Nm, the tri-turbo engine in the X5 M50d accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.4 seconds, the BMW X6 M50d in just 5.3 seconds. The cars pulled from standstill with so much force, with accessible torque from any rev range. Not only that, they felt smooth, with no hint of the fact that we were driving a set of diesels.

What we really looked forward to trying was the BMW M135i. Powered by a turbocharged 3-iltre unit with 320 bhp, this hot hatch is in Audi RS3 territory. 0 to 100 km/h will be dispatched in just 4.9 seconds and the M135i will reach a top speed of 250 km/h.

M engineers have worked on the suspension geometry and rates, giving individual control of the suspension and damping systems as well as the specific elasto-kinematics of the front axle, this results in a superb handling experience as you chuck the car hard into corners and around the slalom stage in our test circuit.

Grip levels were good, thanks to the 245-wide tyres wrapped around the 18" wheels, with plenty of sensation coming through the steering wheel as we pushed the car round the course. Our cars were paired to the 8-speed automatic transmission and it served us well with its quick shifts. We really can't wait to take it out on a proper road to give it a real world test.

One thing to note, despite being marginally lighter, the 3-door felt lighter on its feet and more fun to drive. We can't be sure why, maybe its sportier looks had a thing or two to do with it!