• Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
  • Image Credit: Jonathon Ramsey
BMW's M cars are undoubtedly some of the best sport sedans in the world. Unfortunately, their prices put them out of the reach of a huge segment of buyers, many of them young. However, that might change in the near future as BMW launches its M Performance Automobiles performance sub-brand, positioned between its standard cars and the full M models.

Traditionally, M car buyers have been male and in their early-40s, according to Oliver Ganser, product strategy manager for BMW North America, speaking to Automotive News. However with MPA, BMW hopes to find even younger buyers "who will be brand ambassadors and appeal to the real enthusiasts that we have," he said. These new MPA models will see a mild boost in power and handling from off-the-shelf parts, instead of the unique engines and cutting-edge tech from their bigger M brothers.

The M Performance Automobiles line was launched last March at the Geneva Motor Show with high-performance diesel models of the 5 Series, X5 and X6. The first of the MPA models coming Stateside, the M235i, launches in March. We liked it when we drove it in January, but the $44,000 base price is still a bit steep. If it proves to be a success, we will see more of them, and if not, then it'll go down as another failed experiment, like the 318ti hatchback.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 98 Comments
      enderstc
      • 1 Year Ago
      I currently drive an E39 M5 that I absolutely love. When I last took it in for service, I was looking at the cars on the showroom floor and they had a 428i for $52k. While I think the cars are good, they are not that good. I sit in the car and think it's really nice but then I'm immediately reminded that for just a grand or two more I could be sitting in a brand new Corvette. Once I start comparing this 4-cylinder with less horsepower than my wife's Volvo against a brand new V8 Corvette, all justification for the $52k price of the BMW goes out the window. I may have to hold onto my M5 for the rest of my life because I don't think BMW will ever get back to that level ever again.
        ghetto2315
        • 1 Year Ago
        @enderstc
        Considering that a 428i starts at $40K, that is $12K in options/packages lol. Plus, I doubt anybody will cross shop a 4-Series luxury car to a C7 performance car
          Bradford
          • 1 Year Ago
          @ghetto2315
          I agree with ponycargt. Making any kind of "nobody would cross shop" statement is incredibly short-sighted. My last cross-shop was between a Jeep Wrangler and a Honda S2000. And I bet there are probably a lot of people out there like me. I knew I wanted something fun, open-air, and with a significant enthusiast community. I just had to decide whether I wanted to go small and fast or whether I wanted the ability to off-road. Not everyone decides on a segment before choosing a vehicle. Sometimes they pick based on other criteria.
          ponycargt
          • 1 Year Ago
          @ghetto2315
          The whole argument of "nobody would cross shop car X with car Y" is silly. It might be true of some narrow minded people in the general public, but this is a site for car fans and a lot of us have diverse tastes. Sometimes, you have a budget to work within, and you might like different cars of various brands, genres, or country of origin. The other thing is, smart people don't always buy the most expensive car they can afford. So they might really like an Audi A6 and seriously consider one, then "cross shop" it with a Subaru legacy because they want AWD. Or, someone might want a car that's fast on a budget and they don't care if it's a Camaro SS, WRX, or 370z. People cross shopper than you think
          Matt
          • 1 Year Ago
          @ghetto2315
          I have a C6 and 335xi. I'm cross-shopping a C7 or a 4 Series as I don't know which to give up. :)
      Smooth Motor
      • 1 Year Ago
      So basically they are willing to dilute what "M" stands for with little more than an appearance package on regular models. Terrible idea BMW.
        ghetto2315
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Smooth Motor
        No, it's a great idea. I don't think you understand the products just yet. This isn't just slapping on a "Appearance Package" and calling it a day. Since when does a just a "Appearance Package" offer you power boost in performance, better brakes, upgraded adaptive suspension, variable steering, limited-slip diff, etc, like the new M235i? This is why BMW's "Appearance Package" can be broken down by what they call "Lines", such as their "M Sport Line", "Sport Line", "Luxury Line" and "Modern Line". Those are all about appearance. These new "M Performance Models" are literally the stepping stones to a true Motorsport car like the M3, M4, M5, etc.
        Jazzor
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Smooth Motor
        Seriously man. Honestly this is just dumb... Isn't M supposed to be M, as in, raw performance!??? now M is going to be "oh, I have an M badge so I have some tuned suspension and nice carbon fiber bits..." Sigh...
        Honda Girl Molly
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Smooth Motor
        I completely understand and personally agree... Though it would be nice to open the brand to a younger consumer who can "grow into" the rest of the line up as a means to BMW having a forever customer.
          The Wasp
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Honda Girl Molly
          They already have that -- they're called base models. Go ahead -- ask a 1- or 3-Series lessee how awesome his car is. His response will be every bit as glowing as an M3 owners' (though less accurate).
      throwback
      • 1 Year Ago
      Here in lies the problem with being a premium brand and trying to get "younger buyers". Bmw's are expensive, no way around that.
      sp33dklz
      • 1 Year Ago
      Premium is premium. How do they expect to sell "cheap" to a younger crowd? I can think of a TON of other cars I would purchase over a $44k M235i, based on price alone. IMO, the only reason the 318ti hatch failed was because America doesn't necessarily like hatches, and it was overpriced and underpowered. Had the 318ti been a coupe with some of the M3's visual tid-bits (wheels, front and rear bumpers etc.) and cost about $2,500-$3,000 less than when it went on sale, it would have succeeded.
      Andre Neves
      • 1 Year Ago
      In other words, the price-difference between these upcoming models and the current performance models will be minuscule...until you add just a couple of options, putting them up with all of the rest of the M models. I never understood BMW pricing.
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      The brand dilution continues.
      Teleny411
      • 1 Year Ago
      M isn't about unique engines- it's now a software upgrade and a badge.
      Semislicks
      • 1 Year Ago
      135i IS the hot hatch of the moment, it ISNT much more expencive than Focus ST fully loaded yet it annihilate even Focus RS on a track. 235i with performance pack (mech. clutch-type LSD) is the sportscar of the moment. 320hp in tight chassis with 50:50 weight distribution. Its a cheaper version of 1 M Coupe, car that won numerous drivers car awards back in 2011/2012. Its all thing to all men. Beats RS3 and A/CLA45 AMG in terms of drivers car/overall machine build. Plus its cheaper than Cayman and is faster and more fun.
      fordskydog
      • 1 Year Ago
      Gimme an M235i that is completely stripped out. Basic seats, maybe just a radio and air. No power anything else, no services. Keep the fancy diffs and stuff because the car is not all that powerful in the first place. Gimme an engine, manual box, cuppy seats. That's it. Sell it to me for 25, maybe 27. Yes 27k would put it in line with a WRX. And I would buy it. I would march right down and trade in my WRX for a deal like that. $40k might as well be 100k.
        EJ
        • 1 Year Ago
        @fordskydog
        LOL...you are so far away from the type of people BMW is looking to grab.
        Cayman
        • 1 Year Ago
        @fordskydog
        Unfortunately, BMW isn't going to come out with a car for just you. They build cars to a market not an individual. And just because you can't afford a $40K car doesn't mean others can't. There's a whole group of people who can justify spending $40K on a car but can't justify spending $100K.
        Snark
        • 1 Year Ago
        @fordskydog
        The thing is, none of the stuff you want to cut is expensive enough for them to lower the price to anywhere near what you claim you're willing to pay. Power windows are lighter than cranks and barely more expensive. Basic vs. good seats, leather vs. cloth, nav vs. simple radio - the difference in price is minimal. The difference in cost to build between a loaded model and a base model is, at most, a few thousand dollars, if not less. The cost of a car is all in the stuff you want them to keep the same.
        KaiserWilhelm
        • 1 Year Ago
        @fordskydog
        No fancy diff? Ok enjoy burning one tire with 300lb.ft of torque...
          AcidTonic
          • 1 Year Ago
          @KaiserWilhelm
          By fancy he means the electronic differential..... Not the clutch-type limited slip differential that they use normally. You are thinking of open differentials that provide one wheel burn outs....
      Jacel
      • 1 Year Ago
      The prices have gotten so ridiculous, Bmw doesnt sell cars anymore. They lease them. One look at their financial/leasing offers shows that. The 235i with the most common luxury items at 47000 is downright crazy. Or worse a 328i optioned out to 50,000. For a brand that fancys itself the ultimate driving machine you would think the sport line would be the base line.
        Matt
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jacel
        You can lease a 320i with the sport pack, xenons, and a manual transmission for <$400 month, nothing down. It makes it hard to buy an Accord or Mazda 6 instead. There is "value" to be had with BMW, but it's always through their lease deals and CPO cars, never new.
          fordskydog
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Matt
          Leases ARE NOT VALUE! If you are making a monthly payment of $400 on a loan, you get to keep the car at the end, and resell it or keep it forever. Leases are retarded. The only reason ever to have a lease is if you want a new car every other year and don't care that you are throwing away $400 every month.
          Matt
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Matt
          fordskydog, For that $400/month, you always get to be driving a "new" BMW, never pay maintenance, and pay for no repairs. It's a good deal compared to any other option if you want to drive German cars and not get stuck with huge repair bills. Buying other people's lease turn-ins as CPO is also a good option, because you often end up with more warranty than a new car. Buying a Honda or something and driving it for a decade is obviously a smarter financial decision, but we're talking apples to oranges when compared to German luxury cars.
        Felspawn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jacel
        welcome to the devaluation of the $
      BryanGx
      • 1 Year Ago
      Lowering maintenance and repair costs on old-model M3s would be a better strategy for attracting younger buyers than diluting the prestige of the ///M line. You can get a good 10-year old M3 for $25K. It's the upkeep that scares buyers, so I've heard.
        A P
        • 1 Year Ago
        @BryanGx
        The upkeep and repair costs are the dirty secret that BMW does not like to talk about. The myth of "superior" German engineering evaporates quickly when shelling out major bucks for the same part over and over on BMWs. Try pricing a simple windshield wiper fluid box......I will wait with a crash cart for anyone that does.
      sodamninsane
      • 1 Year Ago
      NO no no bmw, you've got it all wrong... we want the M performance for cheaper... not less performance for cheaper. Make a car... with the powertrain, chassis and suspension... get rid of the radio, cruise, nav, the heated this and the air conditioned that, the rear seat, bla bla bla, and sell it to me for 25k. I will put in the harnesses, the racing seats and the roll cage. Thanks, Driver.
        Cayman
        • 1 Year Ago
        @sodamninsane
        And you and 200 car enthusiasts may buy it, but that's not the type of volume that BMW is looking for. Most people don't buy a BMW looking for a stripped down track car.
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