The BMW M Division has been moving in new and funky directions lately, offering a pair of the highest-performance and most inexplicable SUVs on the planet, and bulking up the M3 to the point that it can fairly be compared with the Ford Shelby GT500--not just on performance, but on weight. But however you might feel about performance-car bloat, there are a few new and interesting features to the M Division lineup for 2010.
The new info is for the M Division's global lineup, so expect some variation from these specs in the U.S., but most of what's new will be coming our way.
First up, the BMW M3 Competition Package. We brought you the initial details a few weeks ago, but today's release includes even more, plus the ability to retrofit existing M3s with Competition Package features. A 10mm lower suspension, 9x19-inch wheels and tires, modified electronic damper control with a unique Competition Package Sport mode are part of the package for new vehicles, while retrofit options include a rear spoiler and front apron flaps made from carbon fiber to produce usable downforce.
All M3s, including Coupe, Sedan and Convertible, will get a new auto stop-start feature, available for the first time with the dual-clutch seven speed DCT transmission. The fuel economy improvement may not be measurable by the EPA's current methods, but BMW claims a gain of up to 8 percent in CO2 emissions. Auto stop-start will also be available on manual-transmission models.
Next up, we have the X5 M Sport Package. For those not quite feeling the need for speed that the X5 M delivers, the M Sport package dresses the SUV up with larger air inlets up front, 19- or 20-inch M alloy wheels, a special "mixed" tire selection, redesigned exhausts, aerodynamics improvments, and interior accents. Sport seats, and M leather steering wheel, M driver footrest, aluminum trim and an anthracite roof liner are the main cabin upgrades. A suspension upgrade improves handling and stability at high speeds.
Other updates to the M line include access to more BMW Individual options for interior and exterior appearance upgrades, plus an enhanced driver assistance system for the X5 M and X6 M, including Side View and Speed Limit Info, which do pretty much what they sound like they do.