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Take a look at the torque curves (archive)

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Posted by robbo on October 18, 1999 at 03:54:23:

In Reply to: Why now just 118hp instead of 140hp in the 318i ? posted by Karlitos on October 18, 1999 at 01:39:27:

The torque from the new 1.9 engine is much more even and flat over the range, and overall is probably better for the "average" driver who is cruising around the city and never gets the car above 4000rpm. The multi-valve engine only delivers at high revs, so granpops and grandma never get there. Sadly, that is the majority of the drivers.

Those that truly want performance will go for the 6's.

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