BMW launches high-revving 320si

BMW 320si with WTC winner
BMW 320si with WTC winner
BMW has announced details of a new limited-edition version of BMW’s 2006 World Touring Car -- the BMW 320si saloon, a homologation special, on the back of BMW driver Andy Priaulx's 2005 championship.

Designed to comply with FIA homologation regulations, only 500 BMW 320si’s are destined for the UK out of 2,600 cars worldwide. All feature a hand-built four-cylinder engine made at BMW’s engine plant at Hams Hall, near Coventry. The high revving 2.0-litre unit delivers 173bhp at 7,000rpm before red-lining at 7,300rpm and 147lb-ft of torque at 4,250rpm.

As you'd expect, performance is OK but not stellar: the BMW accelerates from zero to 62mph in 8.1 seconds with a top speed of 140mph. It delivers 31.7mpg on the combined cycle and conforms to the EU4 emissions regulations.

This compares quite favourably with the £25,180, 320i M Sport, which offers a nine-second dash from zero to 62mph from a 150bhp/148lb-ft engine, and a top speed of 138mph -- but you'll probably have to rev the nuts off the 320si to get the best out of it..

The limited production run of the BMW 320si starts in March 2006 and ends in September 2006, with first customer deliveries expected in April 2006. Retail pricing for the car is still to be confirmed, but expected to be approximately £24,975.

Motorsport engineering

BMW touts the amount of motorsport technology that's gone into the 320si. Compared with the standard BMW 320i, the engine has been significantly modified with larger induction and exhaust valves to increase airflow. The cylinder bore has increased by 1mm to 85mm while the stroke has been reduced by 2mm to 88mm.

The compression ratio of the engine has also been increased from 10.5:1 to 11.0:1, helping to boost power by 23hp over the 320i. Additionally, instead of running with grey-cast-iron cylinder liners, the pistons run in special aluminium-alloy liners in the cylinder block. Engineers have also decided to remove BMW’s patented Valvetronic induction system, reverting to a conventional throttle due to the higher engine speeds demanded by a racing engine.

In a direct link with BMW’s motorsport programmes, the cylinder head is cast at BMW’s Landshut foundry alongside Formula One engine blocks. Additionally, to save approximately 10Kg and lower the car’s centre of gravity, the cylinder head cover is made of carbon fibre.

Chassis

The specification of the 320si is based on the 3 Series M Sport model that includes front and rear aerodynamic body styling, sports seats, sports suspension and aluminium interior trim. Additionally, the BMW 320si features Touring Car-style alloy wheels with BMW Motorsport motif. The front wheels are 8J x 18 fitted with 225/40 R18 tyres while at the rear the 8.5J x 18 wheels are fitted with 255/35 R18 tyres. Finally, mirror caps finished in satin chrome differentiate the car from a standard 3 Series.

World Champion Andy Priaulx

Priaulx was crowned FIA World Touring Car Champion at the final round of the championship in Macau, China on 20 November, the first British world champion since Damon Hill in 1996.

Priaulx won the title with a total of 101 points, with Dirk Muller of BMW Team Deutschland in second with 86 points and Fabrizio Giovanardi driving an Alfa Romeo in third place with 81 points. Priaulx scooped top honours courtesy of consistent driving throughout the season, making it to the podium 11 times. BMW won the manufacturers’ title with a total of 273 points, 37 points more than second placed Alfa Romeo.

Comments (71) Join the discussion on the forum

  • kingmoosa 19 Jun 2011

    More resurrection!

    Just picked up one of these, wasn't aware of them until I saw it for sale and looked into them, thought it was a little bit different from the norm and worth a try. It feels a bit underpowered perhaps but at the same time feels nicely balanced, although I haven't driven a standard SE or Sport model to compare with. But at the same money as an SE and less than an M Sport model I thought it was too good a deal not to try.

    Has anyone else here owned one and if so what were your thoughts?

  • clonmult 12 Dec 2007

    And in furthering the "holy thread resurrection" ...

    Interesting that this 21st century take on the 320iS is a bit down on power over the mid 80s 320iS.

  • B19 RUS 12 Dec 2007

    problemchild said:
    Aha! I have found the search function on PH!

    So, did anyone take the plunge and run ones of these?

    Is it style over substance?
    Or an under-rated drivers car?
    Is that bespoke-tune engine reliable?

    My key question is, as prices soften on second hand cars, will I always regret not buying the 325?
    Hi PC

    I am currently sat in the special build area where these engines were made. Although on paper the changes did not seem to amount to much the drive was great. They sound great- really gruff and meaty, they had lots of low down pull (not sure if this was gearing or torques??) but above all the handling/ balance was superb.

    With regards to sales I tried buy my wife one of these about 10 mins after I drove one. They were all sold and I was absolutely gutted.

    Thats My ten penneth

  • problemchild 11 Dec 2007

    Donut said:
    Holy thread resurection batman!!!! hehe
    laugh I've lurked around here long enough to know that a good "use the search function!!" flaming can lurk around every corner!

    I think I'll have a try in one of these.

    Anyone know how the trade views these? Is it favoured above the 320i MSport or is it some of curio that sits outside the mainstream?

    btw, this is obviously THE fastest example available on sale today!!

    http://www.bmw.co.uk/bmwuk/auc/car_details/0,,1260...


    Edited by problemchild on Tuesday 11th December 22:54

  • Donut 11 Dec 2007

    problemchild said:
    Aha! I have found the search function on PH!

    So, did anyone take the plunge and run ones of these?

    Is it style over substance?
    Or an under-rated drivers car?
    Is that bespoke-tune engine reliable?

    My key question is, as prices soften on second hand cars, will I always regret not buying the 325?
    Holy thread resurection batman!!!! hehe

    They are great fun, although you to have to rev it so fuel consumption can be poor, I would say it is more fun than a 325i but without the refinement of a six cylinder.

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