BMW chief Norbert Reithofer has confirmed to CAR Online that a range of tii performance options will be launched soon on the company’s smaller models. He has finally ruled out a rumoured M1 version of the 1-series and said the tii spec would be the most performance-oriented model, claiming the the twin-turbo 135i was quite fast enough (it does 0-62mph in 5.3sec, after all).
The tii concept shown at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show points accurately to the approach BMW is developing: performance kits for the 1-series coupe and hatchback, an aero package, carbonfibre details, fatter wheels and tyres, sports seats and instruments. There’s even talk of a new M-style steering wheel with integrated LED rev counter.
A tii for the masses
BMW is the past master at offering huge choice in spec and trim; subtle nuance of alloy wheel size here, and Sport spec there is the stuff of workplace car park folklore. The tii spec will slot above today’s M sport spec in the multi-faceted pecking order.
However, BMW plans for the tii models to be proper performance cars in the longer run. For instance, the next-gen 1-series, dubbed F20 and due in late 2011, will offer a tii version with a downsized twin-turbo four-cylinder petrol engine and a radically lighter body and chassis, we hear.
The 3-series tii
We’ll see the facelifted 3-series this summer – with mild revisions to the lights and bonnet – but there is likely to be a tii model, too. Expect the brakes from the M3, 19in wheels, sports suspension and a new twin-clutch transmission. Again, though, a harder core tii is likely with the next 3-series, codenamed F30 and due in late 2011.
Click ‘Next’ to read our Q&A with Norbert Reithofer
See the next-generation 3-series tii in the new May 2008 issue of CAR MagazineQ&A with Norbert Reithofer
CAR: In Tokyo, BMW showed a vision for a 1-series coupe with tii genes. Fact or fiction?
Reithofer: ‘The response was positive. Expect to see tailormade tii packages in the very near future.’
Q: But the original tii was much more than a cosmetic equipment package…
A: ‘True. On the other hand, the 135i already plays kind of a tii role within the 1series.’
Q: What about an even stronger M1 as new top-of-the-line version?
A: ‘It´s not in the plan.’
Q: The tii approach epitomises core brand values for BMW. Are your smallest models most likely to get the tii treatment first?
A: ‘In terms of sportiness and vehicles dynamics, both the 1- and the 3-series are already well positioned.’
Q: Isn’t the danger that the tii suffix could be seen as just decorative? CAR thinks there should be substance to back up the badge…
A: ‘I don´t disagree. But we need a bit more time – to define the evolution of the tii theme and to physically develop it.’
Read the full story on BMW’s tii plans in the new May 2008 issue of CAR Magazine