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by Jay Traugott
The more affordable line of M Performance models will soon be arriving in the US.
According to a new report from Car and Driver, BMW will soon be replacing its "is" models with a different name that should sound more familiar to many. As a quick refresh, "is" branded models fill in the gap between the standard cars and the M GmbH high-powered cars. They're simply a more affordable alternative to those pricey yet absolutely fantastic M cars. In fact, BMW has already begun this process in Europe with models such as the 2012 X6 M50d, the X5 M50d and the M550d xDrive.
Those models have received performance upgrades courtesy of the M division as well as some styling improvements inside and out. The M135i, for example, has an optional torque-converter automatic instead of a dual-clutch gearbox. Chassis upgrades also seen in M cars will not trickle-down to the M Performance-branded models. Fortunately, this moniker will soon be making its way stateside with its first appearance at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show. The first model will more than likely be the M235i coupe, which is currently known as the 135is.
This rollout will continue with the next generation BMWs when models like the 335is will be rebranded the M335i and M435i for the coupe and convertible. Expect to see this designation added to the Z4 as well. But to be clear, these M Performance Series will not replace the more purist M cars.