BMW has announced the introduction of the BMW 130i, powered by the company’s new light-weight six-cylinder petrol engine.

First seen in the BMW 630i and the BMW 330i, the new engine provides 258bhp and 300Nm of torque. The aluminium and magnesium alloy 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engine powers the BMW 130i from zero to 62mph in 6.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 155mph. The car posts a fuel consumption figure on the combined cycle of 31.4mpg.

The performance is due in part to the VANOS and VALVETRONIC valve opening and valve lift control mechanisms that ensure optimum combustion and engine breathing. An electrically driven water pump also cuts down on internal engine friction and improves efficiency. Power is transmitted to the road via a standard six-speed manual gearbox feeding power to the rear wheels.

Several key styling features mark the BMW 130i out from the four-cylinder-powered models already on sale. The new car receives chrome kidney grille slats, 17-inch alloy wheels and large twin chrome exhaust pipes at the rear. The exhaust system also plays an important role in the performance of the car thanks to a valve in the rear section opening and closing depending on throttle input. At rest and slower speeds the valve is closed for better emissions, while at higher speeds it is opened fully for improved engine breathing and a more satisfying aural note.

Standard interior trim for the 130i includes Sports seats, leather steering wheel, BMW Business radio with single CD player and six airbags. Customers will also be able to specify BMW’s Active Steering system.

An unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show in March heralds the first public appearance of the 130i before it goes on sale in the UK in Autumn 2005. Prices will be announced at a later date.