A BMW insider said that company’s M Performance line of vehicles will replace the brand’s “is” models. The M Performance models, which are positioned between the brand’s regular lineup and the true M GmbH–developed high-power cars, were developed in close partnership with M. The first M Performance models to come out in Europe are the X5 M50d, the X6 M50d, and the M550d xDrive with a tri-turbocharged straight-six diesel engine. It also includes the gasoline-powered M135i hatchback. The powerful turbodiesels were added to the lineup, while the M135i (which is a 1-series M with slightly more power) is discontinued. There will be more high-powered M Performance derivatives of different BMW models, such as the 3-series coupe or 4-series and the Z4.
The M Performance versions will replace the presently offered “is” models. A BMW source said that nothing will be changed now since it will just create confusion in consumers. But with the modifications for the next model generation, the successors of these models will be M Performance vehicles. The Z4 M35i will arrive in the market in early 2015. The M335i (or M435i) is set to be launched in 2013.
The purist approach of the true M cars will not be followed by the M Performance models. For example, the M135i gets an optional torque-converter automatic rather than a dual-clutch transmission. In addition, the turbodiesels get conventional automatic gearboxes. Their chassis and driver interface are based on BMW’s regular turbodiesels rather than using a trickle-down approach from the M5, the X5 M, or the X6 M. It’s typical for the engines in the M Performance models to be used in other BMW models that don’t bear the M Performance name. [source: Caranddriver]