Even the “ultimate driving machine” needs to pick up the pace every now and then if it’s to maintain its self-proclaimed title.
With the rest of the range evolving, BMW feels its bread-and-butter, “Un-Bangled” 3 Series is also due for a bump in excitement. Come December 29 at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the German automaker will announce a performance package much like the one introduced in January on the 330i sedan for the 330Ci coupe and convertible.
Like with the sedan, horsepower jumps 10 notches to 235 horsepower thanks to modified camshafts and engine electronics. The six-speed manual gearbox is standard, but it now comes with a short shifter and a shorter final drive ratio.
The suspension also gets recalibrated to compliment the extra grunt. BMW claims the massaging shaves half a second off the stock 330Ci 0-to-60 time to 5.9 seconds.
But how are your neighbors going to know you’ve spent the extra money? The first clues are the 18-inch wheels and the aerodynamic skirt package. Upon closer inspection you’ll notice slightly more distinguished exhaust tips and hear more accentuated combustion sounds from the muffler.
The interior takes a more subtle approach with cloth Alcantara sport seats and steering wheel along with aluminum trim. A trained eye will detect a tachometer that reads 300 rpm higher, the only other hint of the extra character under the hood.
The go-fast goodies will begin production in March 2004 with the first examples hitting dealerships a month later. While final pricing has not been set, BMW said we can expect the price to hover around the 330i performance package, which retails for $3,900.
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