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