By on February 10, 2014

bmw m235i

When Cadillac brought out their Vsport editions, cars that have higher performance than stock models but not quite the full-tilt performance offered in the V versions, some saw it as a watering down of the V brand. Now BMW appears to be following Cadillac’s lead with M Performance Automobiles, or MPA. Automotive News reports that MPA cars will have greater horsepower and a more sporting driving experience but they won’t have all of the chassis and performance mods that the top of the line M high performance models have. They also won’t have the high price tags of the M cars. The idea is to offer enthusiasts a moderately priced model with more performance than the base car.

The MPA lineup will be introduced in the U.S. when the M235i goes on sale next month. The coupe is BMW’s new entry level car in the U.S. market, replacing the 1 Series two door. The MPA subbrand was launched earlier in Europe with diesel models that are not offered in the U.S.

The MPA versions will have revised interiors, performance tuning, a stiffer suspension and bigger brakes to go with exterior trim including a front apron. Door sills will have aluminum plates inscribed with the model designation.


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34 Comments on “BMW Answers Cadillac’s Vsport, Audi’s S Line With MPA Cars...”

  • avatar

    BMW following Cadillac? The Apocalypse is nigh.

  • avatar

    Sounds great, since balls out perforance cars are harsh and miserable to drive around town and on long highway drives, but to introduce this on the tiny 2 series is of debatable intelligence.

  • avatar

    I was driving a Maserati Ghibli Q4 S AWD this weekend.

    I am absolutely sick of the use of these TwinTurbo V-6 engines. The $75,000 Cadillac CTS V coupe had a V-8 engine that was extremely powerful and sound appropriate for the car. The Ghibli costs $90,500 with the same equipment as my $55,000 300 SRT and all you get under the hood is a twin turbo V6 that’s roughly equal in power to the $71,000 CTS V-sport. The CTS has a far better ride than the Ghibli which was overly loud and overly rough.

    I HATE the noise produced by the twin turbo V6 in the Cadillacs and the Ghibli.

    Only Twin Turbo V6 that is appropriate is the one in the GTR.

    • 0 avatar

      Just saw a Ghibli at the local car show. I liked the exterior but some of the interior materials, particularly the trim pieces are sub par. That being said, I can see it pilfering sales from the upper end of the German mid-size sedans.

      $71,000 CTS V-Sport? Damn! I didn’t know they were that expensive.

    • 0 avatar

      BigTruck rails against V6’s with snails, in an article about a new Trim Packaged designed to appeal to image-poseurs who don’t have the change to pony up for the full bannana. /sigh…

      Look, we know you hate Aluminum, Science, and Turbo V6’s. We know that it takes a V-8 to get your shitty-fuel economy pants tight, and we are happy to oblige you. There are a number of options, and you have clearly already chosen one. Why Fiat would waste the time and money of a V-6 Ghibli loaner on you, I have no idea.

      I was in a Ghibli about a month ago. Guess what – it compares favorably to the base-spec Panamera. It costs $66k – ‘same equipment’ is a misnomer because you are cross-shopping completely different segments – your 300 is still a glorified Dodge (excuse me, decade-and-a-half old Mercedes,) and this is a Maserati – and the ‘base’ model of the Maser is light years ahead of the ‘base’ 300. The CTS-V has a VERY firm ride, and again, the BASE CTS is a squishy old-man car.

      And here’s a dirty little secret – the noise is completely up to you. If you want your Ghibli – or Quattroporte, or Granturismo – to sound loud and aggressive and raspy and Italian, they respond remarkably well to aftermarket titanium exhaust. The thing is, most (especially NA) shoppers do not want a noisy car – they want an isolation chamber that doesn’t embarrass them when the neighbors pull up next to them in a Tesla.

      • 0 avatar

        @ellomdian –
        Although the 300 has some Mercedes DNA in it, it is not built on an old E Class platform. My understanding is it is a separate platform, developed by Chrysler in collaboration with Mercedes.

        Also, the Ghibli apparently shares quite a bit with the 300, I believe it is more or less the same platform with a different front suspension, and apparently the new Maserati engine uses the Pentastar block – although the rest of the engine is different enough to be unrecognizable.

        That’s in no way a bad thing – by all accounts the 300 is a very good platform – and it will allow Maserati to get some much needed volume, and compete with the Germans with a car they couldn’t afford to develop entirely on their own.

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe, the noise I’ve heard on videos like EVO, the Ghibli sounds pretty damn sweet.

  • avatar

    “Audi offers S Line versions of many of its cars, a step above their regular cars in terms of performance, but a step down from their top performing RS cars.”

    In essence yes, but not quite. “S-line” on Audis is mostly an appearance package, and it does not even necessarily coincide with sport package (three spoke steering wheel and different suspension). Certainly no power bump.

    What you mean are the actual S cars. An S-line A4 versus actual S4.

    • 0 avatar

      I was logging in to say exactly this.
      The S-line is appearance only on Audis.

      BMW have (or had) something like this in Europe at least, the M Sport or M Tech options are appearance only modifications that you hear BMW owners boasting about in gyms and pubs.

      I think this now means BMW have the M cars, which are full on high power cars with high design. They now have MPA which are enhances performance cars with styling changes and they have M Sport or M Tech which are appearance only packages.

      That’s either something for everyone or a bewildering choice that will dilute the brand equity.

      • 0 avatar

        I read this and thought ‘wait, isn’t that what M Sport is?’

        So M Sport isn’t actually sporty, but some meaningless, squishy acronym that sounds like an abbreviation for a meaningless, squishy public service position will be. Got it.

        Why didn’t BMW do this before applying the M badge to a host of models that weren’t actually fast coupes and sedans?

        • 0 avatar

          This is not new, started with the M550d back in 2012. TTAC is very late in reporting this.

          It’s just marketing. Audi put their top engine trim as S so they can price it higher. Mechanically it competes against the 335i and ATS 3.6L. Cadillac followed suit to call the top trim CTS and create Vsport, then comes BMW with MPA.

      • 0 avatar

        M-Technic dates back at least to the E30. This is nothing new.

    • 0 avatar

      Came to post the same thing. Audi is slicing it’s performance sausage even thinner than the article suggests. “S-line” is mostly trim, vs. a real “S”, then an additional step up to an RS.

      So S-line A4, S4, or RS4; have your sausage your way.

      The watering down continues. I thought Cadillac was very premature to whore out their “V” though. BMW at least has a history of proper M cars to sacrifice for marketing, and they’ve done similar before. The V has hardly established itself amongst the masses, and now “V-sports” wear a V on the tail. Meh.

      • 0 avatar

        Love the sausage slicing analogy, german sausage I guess?
        Wish I’d thought of that.

        • 0 avatar

          In German, the expression is “dieselbe Wurst in unterschiedlichen Längen” — the same sausage in different lengths. Applies well to cars where different models are very similar, and only differ in size. Like, say, Mercedes C-class, E-class, S-class twenty years ago, or Audi A4, A6, A8 now. (How long a stick of salami do you want; how big a car? It’s the same salami however long or short; it’s the same car however big or small.)

          The even more succinct “Ist alles Wurst” — lit. “It’s all sausage!” — means “doesn’t matter”. (I suspect it’s originally a shortening of “Ist alles die selbe Wurst”, “It’s all the same sausage” = makes no difference.)

  • avatar

    I’m betting BMW will sell a lot of these because dealers will stock a lot of them. The margin on the trimmings of “more” but not “all” has to be bigger than the margins on the base and “M” levels. People generally buy what’s on dealers’ lots, so . . . .

  • avatar

    How is this news ? BMW has always had a “sport package” where you got the mechanicals, and most importantly, the excellent sport seats, worth the package price alone. Then the //M Sport, where you got the air dam, maybe a wing, and some interior trim. The ZHP package on the older 3 series is a good example.

    Dealers all stock the “manager special”, with leather, automatic, and premimum package. You need to look long and hard for a sport package, or order and wait.

    If BMW DEALERS actually stocked these cars, then that would be a new item….or a reaction to the fact that the “manager special” has been softened up to meet the proverbial “buick buyer”, not an enthusiast driver.

    • 0 avatar


    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think that’s true, the bit about the sporty mechanicals.
      I agree that there was always an option to have the sporty looking seats and exterior trim and wheels but the mechanicals were stock.
      Right down to the weedy brake discs under the masculine masive wheels.

      • 0 avatar

        Usually BMW’s Sport Package has included sport suspensions along with the sport seats, but no power upgrade. On the current 3 Series, there are M Performance parts available that include brakes, power boosts, etc., but these are considered “accessories” rather than options. You don’t even see them on BMW’s site when you build a 3 Series; they appear under the “accessories” tab. So it seems like they’ll offer stuff like this as another “line” called MPA.

      • 0 avatar

        Sport package is sport seats, stiffer suspension, three spoke (or whatever) wheel, and at least in e46 trim, big brakes. You also go up +1 in wheels, so the sport wheel is more aggressive than the base wheels. (in my case, I went backwards because NYC roads and now run 225/50 x 16-no upside to bengt rims) The sport discs just barely clear the 16 inch wheels.

        Engines are the same, save trivial increases for the ZHP package and a few others….you think they’d miss the chance to bang you a second time for the HP ? I’ve clearly spent too much time on the BMW car configurator….

  • avatar

    Funny, I thought BMW made sporty cars as it is. And weren’t the performance models already designated with an “I” supposed to be positioned above the base models and just below the M cars to begin with? Why make things complicated..

    • 0 avatar

      No, the “i” stands for “(fuel) injection”, and has been standard since the last carburetor disappeared from the line-up. Nowadays it serves mainly to distinguish petrol-engined cars from diesel-engined ones.

      There _is no_ 320 base model to contrast with a 320i, or 528 vs 528i; the “i” model IS the base model, and has been so for, idunno, maybe twenty, twenty-five years now? A looong time, anyway.


  • avatar

    So what they are saying is, the 335is tag was too confusing. 335 is what? So now it will be M335i. That, or it didn’t sound braggy enough. 335is? You mean the S-drive nonsense? No, 335i – sport. So the sport package? NO, no. It’s the i-s version, they use the N54 instead of the N55 and boost the power a bit. Your friend has already fallen asleep.

  • avatar

    I guess ending their model designation suffix “is” wasn’t catching enough brand recognition so they are replacing it with an “M” prefix.

    Either way it means the same thing: Inflated price, rough and noisy ride but your brakes will still burn up after two laps of most racing circuits.

  • avatar

    A base model is now around 33K without discount (and apparently some of you have some magic in with your dealers so getting 10K off may work for you…)
    A mid-range 3-series is now around 39K.
    A M3 is 60K.

    So in plain speak there is a big jump from the base car to the M3 and the mid-range models don’t eat up that price range very well. Figure an M-series model slots above that and hits around 45K to start would easily make sense. The M cars are so ludicrously expensive that they’re relatively low production run models so stealing some halo off these cars is nothing on the ability to push 5-10K units worldwide at a nicer profit margin. I see this as a direct correlation of the S to RS series. The RS were and are insane performance (and price) cars with limited runs, the S cars are more reachable and offer a nice upgrade.

  • avatar

    And now we know BMW has figured out people buy for the M label. Next up, the Mercedes GL MG4MAT.

  • avatar

    This might be interesting if BMW were still designing cars that were fun to drive. Removing things like hydraulic steering and excellent suspension design and then trying to get “enthusiasts” interested with a power bump and a nose job is why BMW fans are leaving the brand behind.

    And honestly, BMW, it’s because you’re listening to your marketing people, whose jobs wouldn’t exist if you didn’t operate on the presumption that your customers are gullible and stupid. They’re not. People who care about driving a “premium” brand will have one encouter with BMW before fleeing to the reliability of Lexus, and the “Ultimate Driving Machine” people will go try all of your competitors to see if anyone’s making a fun car.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    It’s already happening. M is just another brougham.

  • avatar

    It always annoyed me that the value of AMG and M got so diluted by these stupid appearance packages. An AMG E250 Diesel is ridiculous and totally devalues the AMG brand. Audi has the right idea with S-line and you won’t find RS on anything but a bonafide RS performance car

  • avatar

    I sat in the M235i at the Chicago Auto Show today. I liked it. Quite a bit more compact than the 4 series, but the interior is basically identical. It felt about the size of an E46 coupe. The back seat is unusable, but if you’re buying a coupe does it really matter? A 435 M sport is over $50k without any options. This is $7k cheaper. I’d be worried about it cannibalizing the 4 if I were BMW NA. Personally, I’d get one of these with minimal options and three pedals and call it a day.

  • avatar

    This is REALLY nothing new – there were e12 M535i then e28 M535i cars waay back in the late 70s early 80s. Long before the M5. They had bodykits, sport suspension and close ratio gearboxes, but the standard engine. Never sold in the US.

    The odd thing to me about the M235i is that there is no plain 235i. It is either the M version or nothing, at least at this point. I suppose they will add that later.

  • avatar

    Hey Chevy did it with the Rallye Sport vs. the SS vs. the Z28!
    If it gets more enthusiasts into a ‘enthusiasts’ car,more power to them!
    Just DON’T EVER put 4 exhaust tips on a MPA!!!

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