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Turbos won't kill BMW V8s

It will not be the end for BMW's V8 performance M cars after all.

Rather than spelling the end of performance V8s in M-cars, BMW's new-found fascination with turbocharging will open even greater possibilities, according to the company's new Australian boss.

Stavros Yallouridis, who took the reigns of the Australian operation last month, is adamant the throaty burble of a performance-tuned V8 will remain a BMW fixture.

"We see with the new generation of the V8 engines in the M3s what a great success those engines are," Yallouridis says. "While we may see an M car with a six cylinder engine again in the future, I think at the moment we will continue to concentrate on performance V8s."

Yallouridis says the search for a balance between power and fuel efficiency is one of the reasons turbocharging has become an attractive option.

BMW has set non-M performance standards by bolting twin turbochargers to its brilliant 3.0-litre six and it will not be long before the M division gets in on the force-fed action.

"In the very near future we may even see V8s with twin turbos on them ... the X6M and the X5M are heading in that direction," Yallouridis says.

"It is a lot more horsepower ..."

"We are already experiencing better than 500hp from a V8 engine on the test bench and there is still a lot of testing going on."

What you shouldn't expect from the maestros at the M garages is a return to the company's two engine extremes.

"I really don't think we will see another 4-cylinder M engine but I also don't think there will be another 10-cylinder engine either. What we really want, though is a good balance — we want good fuel efficiencies with a good power result but without going overboard."

Yallouridis is also quietly confident that the Australian new car market will be able to weather the global financial storm in as good, if not better, condition than overseas markets.

"If the total car market stabilises at a 20 per cent drop for the year I think all of us in the Australian car market will be satisfied," Yallouridis says. "We have seen erratic market movement across the world and thats varies from 10 or 15 per cent in some markets up to 60 per cent in others.

"In Europe it appears markets are travelling at an average of 30 per cent down while in Australia it is around 21 per cent.

"The premium market in Australia is around about 17-18 per cent down and we (BMW) are performing at around about 11-12 per cent down."

Yallouridis believes the premium segment of the market has been better insulated from the full effects of the downturn than other more mainstream segments.

"We are speculating that we should see a stabilisation early next year.

"New product is obviously an insulation in times like this. Product is a big part of any success story at the moment."

While BMW has just launched the new 7 Series and the Z4 and will have the much-anticipated X1 baby SUV late in the year Yallouridis acknowledges that the effect of these models — along with the 5 Series Grand Tourismo and all new 5 Series late in 2010 — will not be felt until next year.

"We knew going back five years that 2009 was going to be a dip as far as new product was concerned and in a strange way that has actually helped us with regard to circumstances from the economic crisis," he says.

"The availability of fresh and new product as the economic gloom begins to lift next year will give us a strong competitive boost."

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