They will be followed by a diesel variant and either a 318 or 320 next year. Featuring sports suspension and the same wheelbase as the saloon, the Compact's body is 21cm shorter. The launch of the Compact will also see the world debut in the 316ti of the first production car application of an engine with a Valvetronic system - claimed to be a revolution in the construction of combustion engines. Valvetronic engines, built at BMW's new engine plant at Hams Hall, eliminate the need for throttle butterfly valves, meaning that the fuel/air mixture is controlled by the inlet valaves.
This means increased fuel economy of about 10% - the 316ti's 116bhp powerplant offers 40.9mpg on the combined cycle - cleaner emissions and increased power as engine efficiency is improved. Valvetronic technology will be introduced on other BMW engines in the future.