Just prior to the opening of the London Motor Show, two new BMW variations were announced and made available to us for a brief test drive in Holland.
Most important from the sales value point of view is the 2000 Touring, which, by virtue of its compact estate body treatment fulfils the multi-purpose role of 2/3-seat sports car with large luggage capacity, or 4-seat saloon, or station wagon. Priced at £2,145, its top speed of around 106 m.p.h. makes it a competitor on performance for most production sports cars, while its extra seating/luggage capacity will attract those requiring much more room and diversity of use than is possible in the normal sports car concept. Mechanically identical to the 2000 saloon it has a claimed 0-50 m.p.h. time of 8.1 seconds and fuel consumption of 28 m.p.g. at 68 m.p.h. The rear door is upward opening and has an aperture of 3 ft. 2 in. wide x 3 ft. 7 in. high. With rear seats folded the available flat floor is 5ft. 6 in. long x 4ft. 3in. The floor to roof height is 2ft. 6 in.
In the higher price bracket the new version of the 3.0S has a supplementary ‘i’ in the title indicating that it is fitted with Bosch electronic fuel injection. This, in conjunction with raised compression ratio (9.5 to 1) gives a power increase of 20 b.h.p. and an increase of torque (200lb./ft. at 4,300 r.p.m. against 189 lb./ft. at 3,700 of the carburetted car). Maximum speed is 132 m.p.h., an improvement off 4 m.p.h. while the 0-60 m.p.h. time is improved by over ½ sec. to 7.6 sec. Fuel consumption is down to a claimed 27.7 m.p.g. at 68 m.p.h., revealing the improved efficiency of the injection system.
Driving the car, an immediately noticeable improvement in acceleration on the carburetted car is apparent. This is even more marked at higher speeds and effortless cruising at 110 m.p.h. while testing on the Dutch motorways was possible, with plenty of power in hand for overtaking. The usual bugbear of fuel injection, poor starting when either hot or cold, seems to have been overcome by BMW, although we are told that this is generally due to maladjustment and not a basic injection problem.
The 3.0Si costs £461 more than its parent 3.0S but the discerning motorist of this class of car would probably feel that this is worthwhile.