WE’RE NOTHING if not greedy here at MOTOR.
Our latest long-termer is one of 60 BMW M140i Performance Editions produced for Australia only. In fact, it’s even rarer than that, as 1ID-7CK is one of just 15 manual M140i PEs so if you’re waiting to buy one, sorry, we’re not quite done with it yet.
In our defence, having rambled on at length about the M140i/M240i’s need for a limited-slip diff (and their M135i/M235i predecessors), when BMW answers our pleas is it any wonder we have our hands up for an extended test? That’s right, in addition to the plethora of M Performance parts liberally scattered about the M140i PE’s interior and exterior, the 15 manuals receive a mechanical LSD as standard.
The 45 automatic PEs miss out on this upgrade but still benefit from 19-inch alloys, a performance exhaust, carbon fibre mirror covers and a black grille, rear fins and spoiler to differentiate it from its standard sibling. Inside it adds an Alcantara steering wheel, cloth/ Alcantara sports seats (leather W optional), splashes of carbon fibre trim, LED door sills and aluminium pedals for a sporty look.
It continues BMW’s Australia-only initiatives which have included the bargain-priced, de-specced Pure series that’s encompassed everything from M2 to M5. In the words of BMW Australia’s CEO Marc Werner: “[The M140i] is a car with a strong enthusiast following. This Performance Edition builds further on these strengths and its limited production status creates a halo effect for the 1 Series range.”
Each car is identified by a ‘1 of 60’ build plaque and costs $71,900 before on-roads, a premium of $7000 over a regular M140i. You could build your own Performance Edition from BMW’s extensive M Performance Parts range, however buying each part individually would leave you with a bill for around $20,000 – the wheels and tyres alone are $6594, the diff another $4730 (plus fitting).
Being based on the new M140i means the Performance Edition packs the latest B58 3.0-litre turbocharged inline-six developing 250kW/500Nm. This cuts the 0-100km/h claim to a brisk 4.6sec in eight-speed auto guise, the manual adding an extra 0.2sec according to BMW – we’ll be putting that to the test in due course.
There are plenty of other questions that need answering. The Performance Edition comes standard with 19-inch wheels shod with Pirelli P Zero run-flat tyres, however each buyer also receives the standard 18s and Michelin Pilot Super Sports, so we’ll be doing plenty of kilometres on both sets of tyres to discover which is the better rubber.
Likewise, is the limited-slip diff the final piece of the M140i’s dynamic puzzle that lifts it from excellent to exemplary? We already have a standard M140i booked in for a back-to-back evaluation. The same test should answer the question of six-speed manual vs eight-speed auto. Finally, in the face of German premium rivals that are lowering hot hatch acceleration times to supercar levels, is the M140i’s rear-drive USP a big enough carrot to entice keen drivers? We have four months (and two sets of tyres) to find out. – SN