New Five Series
You probably haven’t had a chance to d rive on the 323iX yet, but you should hurry. For there is a plethora of newer models on the way, and it’s hard to catch up when you get behind on these sorts of chores.
Next March the new S-series will be released in Europe. Their look is patterned after the new 7-series, which is to say, t hey look terrific. They are a little less limousine-like than the Sevens and have a neat little pompad our built into t he t runk lid (presumably for aerodynamics, not fashion). The bod y is four inches longer (with a S .6″ wheel base increase) and two inches wider than the present Fives, most of the extra length dedicated to rear legroof!!. Consequently, the inside is about the same size as the Seven’s. At about 3100 lbs, it should outperform the Seven, assuming the same engine is installed.
A variety of engines is available in Eu rope, but over here you can expect the familiar 3 .S liter out of the 73Si, at least for a few years. Come 1990, the new range of mod ular engines will be in full production , with the S-series slated to get a 4.0 V-8! Frankly , I shudd er at the prospect of being on the receiving end of any new engine from any manufacturer, but the success (engineering, not marketing) of BMW’s 2.4 liter turbodiesel is encouraging.
Speaking of diesels, the continent only 324td has been revised , with electronic fuel injection and turbo boost control, all mapped on a chip. I believe this is a first, certainly in passenger cars-all other diesels I’ve seen have had mechanical injection pumps as their heart. Or else the Autocar report mis-states the nature of the fuel deliv ery system (BMW used electronic controls on the mechanical injection pu mp on the S24td). Back when the S 24td was available (remember the S24td? I’d sure like to find a used one for a fair price!) I advocated putting the engine into a 3-series chassis. This BMW did , and I’m sorry the car isn’t imported, but given U.S. marketing conditions I can hard l y fault BMW for the deci sion. Next fuel crunch, maybe they’ll come in. I wonder if BMW will EPA certify the new engine? It would be a bright move . . .
Back to those new Fives. Look for ABS and ATC (automatic traction control) on them, along with air bags and an option package with l S” BBS wheels and 22S / 60 tires . And a 0.31 d rag coefficient as standard equipment, translating to about l SO mph top speed and no wind noise at cruise.
The M S will not be replaced in Europe until su mmer of ’89, when the new chassis will get a 24 valve 3.7 liter six, rated at 300 hp and good for 1 6 S mph. My guess is that the 3.7 liter M S will hit our shores about when the 4.0 V-8 S40i comes in; t his would parallel the present M3 / 32Si dichotomy nicely, with the M having fewer cyli nders, smaller displacement, less weight and more ponies. And look for a turbo M3 even sooner, at least in Europe. It seems a shame to spoil the M3 with a turbocharger, but one can only assume BMW has something pretty nifty in store for us. Maybe a turbocharged small six cylinder?
About 1990 the S-series variants should start arriving, including the obligatory four wheel d rive, a station wagon and , possibly , a hatch back . Hard to see why BMW would want to ad d a hatchback to the range, and if we’re lucky it will be canceled, if for no other reason than the D Mark being so out of whack .
This article was originally published in the January 1988 edition of Zundfolge