Will There be a M1?

Inside Line has a fascinating interview with Gerhard Richter, vice president of BMW M Gmbh. While quite a few subjects are brought up, perhaps the most interesting to BF readers was the mention of a potential M1. Here ‘s the full excerpt:

Q: The M3 has grown up, both in terms of size and price. Is there room for a smaller, entry-level M car, based around the new 1 Series coupe available in Europe? Theoretically, yes. A 1 Series coupe would be a good base for such a car, but there has been no decision yet.

A: It is true that the M3 has grown over several generations and the latest car is a similar length to an old 5 Series. But we also have the M Coupe for those who want a small car that concentrates on driving fun.

A few weeks back at the M3 US Press launch, I had dinner with the lead engineer on the M3. One of the questions that came up was, what car does the M division not yet make that they should. The first thing I brought up was the 1 Series. He seemed to waiver a bit and then said something to the effect, ‘sometimes an AG car is already fully optimized and it’s not possible for us to do anything within the appropriate price bracket. ‘ Maybe it was a cop-out so he didn ‘t have to answer any further M1 questions. But I can tell you based on his body language and on his tone it was a statement made with some reluctance.

We talked about such concepts as a high-revving four cylinder approach and even shoe-horning the 3.2L inline six that ‘s currently in the M coupe. But despite it all we kept coming back to price and how it would fit into BMW ‘s current range of offerings. And whether or not it would be appreciably better than the already great 135i which sells for under $35k. Needless to say, creating a compelling M1 at a price that made sense seems like too tall an order, even for M Gmbh.

+ The M Power Strikes Back / Inside Line

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  • DCMotoring

    It seems to me that if the 1 Series is aimed at the performance minded BMW enthusiast, and if its purpose is really to create a car that brings BMW back to its roots and not just marketing hype then some sort of special BMW 1 Series should be built. While an M version of the 1 would be great to see, I’d really love it if they built a stripped down version of the 1 with a four cylinder engine. Something basic and cheap that could serve as a true drivers car without all the bells and whistles weighing it down. Unfortunately that’s not very likely as it probably would not sell well nor is it consistent with BMW’s image these days as a premium rather than sportscar brand.

  • cct1

    I agree its not consistent with BMW’s image these days, but neither was the MINI Cooper when BMW brought that back, almost more of a labor of love more than anything else. Maybe BMW will throw us a bone with an M1, as a “back to our roots” type of thing.

    At least we’ve gone from a shaky “no” to a “theoritically yes” on an M1….

  • CiaoBoy

    Well, one thing missing from non-M cars is a limited-slip differential, so adding that to a 135i would be a great start. Probably tweak the suspension and tune it more for sport than comfort, and you’d already be on your way to completing a recipe for an M version of the 1-Series.

    I thought that one of the old philosphy of M cars is that they are supposed to be normally aspirated. I guess that may change, now that today’s turbocharged engines have eliminated turbo lag.

  • Jon

    A very interesting interview in many ways.

    I know there is much talk about the new Z4 and many resources have spoken about a Z2 with minimal weight and cost to pull new drivers. What I would love to see is a Z2 M with about 2k lbs and the 3.2L inline six out of the current M coupe.

    Though I still am waiting and hoping we see the new E89 in a M development with the new M3 V8.

  • eager2own

    Though somewhat disappointing, this is not too surprising after the announcement that there are no plans for a 135tii and the introduction of 1-series performance parts, which seem to indicate a desire to market performance options a la carte (in line with what is being done with the R56 MINI).

    So, I’ll just be building my “M1” from a blank slate.

  • mike

    i seem to remember when the Z4 came out there were no plans for an M version of that car either.

  • I dont really see how you can fit a M1 into the price point. The 135i is already a $35k and loaded after tax, its near $50k. So im not sure where in terms of a price, a M1 would fit because the M3 starts only @ $54k.

  • How hard it it to build an ”M1 at a 45-46k price point. Trust me. There will be an NA performance 1. I can feel it in my bones.

  • But there’s already been an M1. In fact, it may have been the first M car???