BMW's MPA line bridges the gap to MTue, 11 Feb 2014 00:00:00 -0800
Soon, bridging the gap between your father's 328i M-Sport and the M3 of your dreams will be simple, all thanks to BMW MPA.
The admitedly uninspiring "MPA" moniker doesn't refer to an accounting certification available at your local community college, but rather, M Performance Automobiles. It serves as a step between the M-Sport appearance package already available on nearly every BMW model and the fire-breathing M cars at the top. M-Sport, MPA, M.
Don't be. Cadillac has its V-Sport, which performs the same role on the CTS and XTS. Audi's S models are available for every car it makes, but its select few RS cars are even more exalted. Expect a horsepower increase in MPA cars but not enough to compete with the Roundel's performance range-toppers. "In the M, we develop our own engine and our own suspension and most of the parts," said Friedrich Nitschke, the man in charge of the M brand.
MPA was launched in Europe 18 months ago with four diesel-only cars, but BMW's M235i is the first example to reach America. It implies that there might be room for an M2 or 2M -- something to satisfy those of us who didn't snap up one of 740 1Ms that made it to these shores. The M235i is fast, but it's also $11,000 more expensive than the 228i -- and it's the only 2-Series with the larger 3.0-liter Twinpower engine.
America is the most important market for BMW's performance division, comprising 40 percent of worldwide sales. Ninety percent of M buyers are male, according to Automotive News, compared to 60 percent of BMW's overall sales.
More MPA models will arrive depending on how well the M235i does. At a base price of $44,025, we're interested in seeing how it does, too.
By Blake Z. Rong