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BMW introduced two new models Monday at Detroit’s auto show, both cars global worldwide debuts. Both are new entries from the M division, with roots in motor sports with a priority in performance.

The first is the X4M40i, which is a straight-six cylinder 3.0-liter twin-turbo high performance four-door fastback, built in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The second is the M2 coupe, a two-door version of the M1 sedan, also powered by the powerful inline six-cylinder.

"This car is the very soul of what BMW stands for," BMW board member Ian Robertson said.

BMW has introduced its new transverse engine architecture on the X1 SUV, Robertson said that the company is aware that its identity revolves around short front body overhangs, which was a characteristic of its packaging high-output inline six engines mounted longitudinally.

"Even with a transverse layout we've kept our overhangs shorter," Robertson said.

Even with the styling challenge, however, Robertson said the direction of the company is to promote its hybrid and electric technology, which it calls its "i" cars, such as the i3 and i8 electric cars.

"Ultimately, we need more zero emission cars," Robertson said.

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The future plans, he added, include using hybrid technology on even the high-performance "M" models, such as the X4M40i and M2 introduced in Detroit.

Performance of the compact M2 coupe is promised to be about four seconds from zero to 60 mph, which is quick by sports car standards.

The M cars are most popular in the U.S., added Robertson.

"The 02 series in 1975 marked our introduction to the U.S. It put BMW on the map." Last year BMW sold 346,000 cars in the U.S., which leads the premium luxury market here.

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