The BMW 130i, set to début at the Geneva Show, will be the first model of the Munich subcompact range fitted with a Valvetronic straight–six powerplant … And with 192 kW on tap, the three-litre 1 Series could potentially turn the hot hatch hierarchy upside down.

The BMW 130i, set to début at the Geneva Show, will be the first model of the Munich subcompact range fitted with a Valvetronic straight–six powerplant … And with 192 kW on tap, the three-litre 1 Series could potentially turn the hot hatch hierarchy upside down.
Some hot hatch aficionados were left underwhelmed by the zero to 100 km/h time of over 10 seconds posted by the BMW 120i manual in CAR’s road test of October last year. However, the 130i, powered by what is claimed to be the world's lightest six-cylinder petrol engine, will combine the much-lauded chassis and rear-wheel drive sharpness of the One with 192 kW and 300 N.m of torque.
BMW further claims that the aluminium and magnesium alloy 3,0-litre straight-six unit will propel the 130i from standstill to 100 km/h in 6,2 seconds, an on to a limited top speed of 250 km/h. That puts the Beemer in a different category to the upcoming Volkswagen Golf 5 GTi and current Renault Mégane RS – and in the heart of Alfa Romeo 147 GTA and Audi A3 3,2 quattro territory… Don’t be surprised to see the 130i replacing the 330i in South African Production Car racing in the near future!
Having achieved a near 50:50 weight distribution with the 130i, BMW claims its new hot hatch will lap the Northern Loop of the Nürburgring in 8:35. A BMW spokesman said: “Some have referred to the model as a baby “M” car – that’s not surprising given that it can lap the Nürburgring in a time that wouldn't disgrace an M3."
BMW is currently phasing in a new generation of six-cylinder engines with Vanos and Valvetronic (valve opening and valve lift control) across its ranges. For example, all six-cylinder versions of the new Three will be fitted with those power-units, which have electrically-driven water pumps that improve efficiency by cutting down on internal engine friction. In the case of the 130i, power will be transmitted to the road via a standard six-speed manual gearbox feeding power to the rear wheels.
The 130i will be distinguishable from its four-cylinder-powered siblings by virtue of chrome kidney grille slats, 17-inch alloy wheels and large twin chrome exhaust pipes at the rear.
The car’s exhaust will be equipped with a valve that opens and closes depending on throttle input. At rest and slower speeds the valve is closed for better emissions, and at higher speeds it is opened fully for improved engine breathing and a sportier growl.
Standard interior trim for the 130i includes sports seats, leather steering wheel, BMW Business radio with single CD player and six airbags. BMW's Active Steering system will be optional.
According to a report, the 130i will become available on the European market around the third quarter of the year. When CAR spoke to BMW South Africa about its product plans for 2005, officials at the Rosslyn-based company confirmed that the 116i, 118i and 120d were in the pipeline.
Speaking to CARtoday.com on Wednesday, BMW SA marketing department spokesman Eric Gauché said the 130i was definitely being considered for the local market, but added that plans for the model’s rollout in right-hand drive markets had yet to be finalised.
If the 130i was to be introduced in South Africa, it would probably be early in 2006, he speculated.

Original article from Car