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2001 BMW M Coupe and M Roadster Make World Debut

5 January 2001

2001 BMW M Coupe and M Roadster Make World Debut At Los Angeles International Auto Show
    WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J., Jan. 5 The 2001 BMW M coupe and M
roadster made their world debut at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show.  BMW
further announced manufacturer's suggested retail prices of $45,635 for the M
coupe and $46,635 for the M roadster.  The 2001 M3 coupe, announced earlier
this year will be priced at $46,045.
    These two cars had previously won praise for their combination of unique
style and lightening quick responsiveness.  Of particular note was their 240
horsepower, in-line six cylinder engine, courtesy of BMW M.  For 2001 that
much loved engine gives way to an all-new 3.2 liter in-line six, first seen in
the M3 coupe.  In the M coupe and M roadster, horsepower goes from 240 to an
even more thrilling 315.  There's also a significant increase in torque, from
236 lb-ft. to a new peak of 251 lb.ft.

    A Tour de Force of Technology and Power
    The list of enhancements that this new engine, designated S54, brings to
the party is quite lengthy.  A new cylinder head dramatically improves its
ability to breath.  It features Double VANOS(1) steplessly variable valve
timing for both intake and exhaust which has been enhanced to match the
performance capability of this new engine.  Large, high-lift valves and
finger-type rocker arms reduce inertia for a further gain in response.  To
this add an 11.5:1 compression ratio.
    Six individual throttles, one for each cylinder, improve response.  As
with the BMW M5's V8 engine, these throttles are electronically controlled and
incorporate the M Driving Dynamics Control system, which gives the driver a
choice of Normal and ultra-responsive Sport settings for throttle response.
    All this performance-oriented engineering facilitates the achievement of
very high rotational speed, essential to the high power output; the engine's
rpm limit is 7600, and maximum power occurs at 7400 rpm.

    Spectacular Performance
    Because the compactness of the M roadster and coupe dictate an exhaust
system (aft of the headers) that is somewhat more restrictive than that of the
M3, the engine's power and torque ratings are a bit lower than in the
M3: 315 hp at 7400 rpm (vs. 333 at 7900), 251 lb-ft. (vs. 262) @ 4900 rpm.
Both models come with a heavy-duty 5-speed manual transmission.  Yet with
these roadster's and coupe's lower curb weight, they are expected to attain
performance fully comparable to that of the M3.
    Reactions to the M3 will provide some insight into the M coupe and M
roadster.  The reaction at AutoWeek was summed up in a word, "wow!"  Car and
Driver suggested that," this ferocious, screaming motor hurtles the M3 down
the road with an urgency that now rivals the world's best sports cars ... "

    Enhanced Handling, New Dynamic Stability Control
    To harmonize the M roadster's handling with its newfound power, BMW
engineers have endowed it with the firmer suspension calibration previously
found only on the coupe; Dynamic Stability Control has been added to both
models. (Previous models had All Season Traction, BMW's electronic traction
control).  For the M models, BMW M engineers developed specific logic that, in
combination with the fast-reacting engine, performance-oriented gearing and
standard limited-slip differential achieves the desired traction control in an
M-compatible way ... in other words, without undue interference with M
performance and the differential's ability to get power to the road.
    In DSC's stability-enhancing function, differences in wheel speed in a
critical cornering or avoidance maneuver are sensed to detect any deviation
from the normal cornering path (abnormal understeer or oversteer).  DSC then
judiciously manages the throttles and individual wheel brakes to help the
driver keep the vehicle on the intended path.  For situations where the driver
wants to take over fully, DSC can be de-activated via a console button.

    Evolutionary Improvements Throughout
    Along with the new engine and the chassis enhancements come a variety of
evolutionary improvements to both M models.  One such feature is the Tire
Pressure Monitoring system, which informs the driver of any falloff in tire
pressure via an indicator in the instrument cluster.  With this addition to
the M roadster and coupe, the system is now standard on all M Cars.
    Visually, the classic designs are little changed; as on the M3s, the M
logo appears in updated form, and the beefy 17-in. wheels get the same elegant
Satin Chrome finish found on the M3s and the top-of-line M5 sport sedan.
Inside, new gray dials with backlighted numerals freshen the instrument
cluster's appearance.  An outside-temperature readout now appears in the
center console in place of the previous voltmeter.

    BMW In America
    BMW of North America was established in 1975.  Since then, the company has
grown to include marketing, sales and financial-services organizations in the
United States; a South Carolina manufacturing operation; DESIGNWORKS/USA, an
industrial design firm in California; a technology office in Palo Alto,
California; and various other operations throughout the country.  BMW is
represented in the U.S. through a network of more than 340 car, 315 Sports
Activity Vehicle and 160 motorcycle retailers.  BMW US Holding Corp., the
group's headquarters for North, Central and South America, is located in
Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.
    Information about BMW products is available to consumers via the World
Wide Web on the BMW homepage. The address is:

    (1) VAriable NOckenwellen Steuerung = variable camshaft control or
variable valve timing.