The 1 Series M Moves Closer to Production

Here it is. The car that many of us have been waiting for since the 1 Series was first introduced. The M1 (sacrilegious as it might be, that ‘s what we ‘re going to call it until we hear otherwise) is quickly progressing from the early prototype phase to what we se above. The photos come courtesy of our friends at 1addicts and clearly show a car that has all the final bodywork complete with some additional plastic tacked on the front to hidea few final design details. Combine that with the trademark BMW swirls and the car is still relatively camouflaged despite wearing most of its final bodywork.

What ‘s Revealed?

With this latest crop of photos there are a few aspects of the design and engineering that have become more obvious. In fact the only area that is completely hidden from view still is the front. The front valance is completely shrouded by a plastic piece that, while matching the shape and giving us a glimpse and air intakes and brake ducts, gives nothing away in regards to design. The hood is also the standard version on this car. Will there eventually be a unique hood? We ‘ve heard from sources that the hood will be very similar to the current M3 ‘s sans hood bulge. Specifically that means two air intakes (although one will likely be there for symmetry. However it is interesting that this prototype doesn ‘t have any.

The car pictured here wears 18 ” versions of the 19 ” wheels found on the M3 GTS (also found on the M3 with the new Competition Package). Based on source the M1 will be offered with these wheels and another 18 ” model. The car will not be available with 19 ” wheels as the engineers at M found 18 “s to be the optimal size.

One thing you can ‘t miss is the width of the feeder flares. If you thought the standard 1 Series Coupe had flared fenders, the M1 should blow your mind. But there ‘s some reason for this new found aggressiveness beyond looks. For one M wanted to create more stability with the 1 Series platform. But perhaps more importantly they also wanted to leverage as much as the E90 M3 ‘s drivetrain components. That means the rear axle and the M3 ‘s trick mechanical differential will be carried over to a large degree in this car.

Looking around back it would appear that M will be going old-school with a rear/side mounted dual exhaust instead of the more modern quad exhaust seen on the all M cars from the E39 M5 onward. This will not only save weight but also cost and complexity. The 1er doesn ‘t have a lot of room in the rear and adding the M3 ‘s differential takes even more away. To us this is actually a nice step backwards to a simpler (and lighter) era of M engineering.

What ‘s in a Name?

It ‘s quite unclear what BMW will ultimately decided to call the new M model. There are some that are adamant that the M1 name will be resurrected. The argument is that the original M1 was rather removed from BMW products past and present and really has no relevance in regards to the current market (or marketing for that matter). Then there are those that believe we ‘ll see the car be called the 1M a la the X5 and X6 M. This subtle difference would indicate that this is not quite a true full-on M car like the M3 or M5. Finally there is the camp that believes this new model will be disappointingly called the 135is to go a long with all the other iS models recently introduced. The problem of course is that this car will be much more thoroughly reworked than the 335iS and we believe would be a de-service to it.

When Will it be Produced?

We believe the M1 will be introduced this fall at Paris in concept form and will bow in Geneva in final production trim (if not sooner). Production should start in late spring 2011 and reach dealers in the June time-frame.

Multiple sources are telling us that this will be a relatively limited production car for a niche market. In fact one source told us to think of the MINI JCW GP when thinking of this new 1er.

Full Gallery

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All photos courtesy of 1addicts

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  • Herr26

    Strategically this is an important car for BMW. By the end of 2010 we will have seen the demise of four M products what with the M6 and M5 and their relative variants out of production. For the M Brand that leaves The M3 models and the X5 and X6M’s. Which if you add cosmetic packages etc it is not the same as having new product. The new M5 in F10 body style does not arrive until September 2011. The 1M is purely an experiment and some of the thinking with this experiment is to bring a new kind of affordable and youthful factor to the M Brand and when Dr.Kay Segler recently commented on this he was not talking about cheaper M3’s more significantly he was talking about the 1.

    Why so late in the current car’s production? It is something that BMW has done before with the Z4M it came to the market and was discontinued after about 2and a half years. So in BMW terms introducing a car so late on is perfectly logical.

    The 1M is purely brought on by Dr.kay Segler’s experience with MINI , and why cant this not be applied to a BMW? It had to be the right car and the 1 is the car to do that.

    With this the Grand finale to the E82 it also is a teaser for the next generation. In which it will use the lessons learned from this short-life production car. The engine being inserted into the 1M will also form the basis for the next M3 models so the whole programme is cost effective as BMW M are developing two cars off the cost of engine development. Using off the shelf components from the M3 also helps with this car’s costs.

    The Car will film within the Los Angeles area later this summer.

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  • Lee L

    Me likey! Let me know when I can order one in yellow.

  • JonPD

    Still loving this move by BMW, I would love it if they could cut some of the mass still, but think they have a winning formula for this development.

  • G2

    Only current car that I’m interested in. The others are too heavy, too expensive and have forgoten why BMW’s were popular to both the enthusist and mass market.

  • goat

    This is going to be the most desirable M-car since the e30 M3! Love how it is shaping up!

  • chas58

    That is all good about getting a more youthful audience into the M brand (their demographics have to be quite grey these days), but what BMW really needs for the affordable and youthful factor is to go back to the basics. Back to what the 2002 was (in more than just words). A light weight, less expensive, less powerful fun to drive car. Something that weighs around 2750lbs and costs between $25K and $30K. A 4 door year round Miata (ouch!) with BMW style and RWD. I don’t need 300+ HP in a lightweight car.

    Come to think of it, the 123d (or even a Mini) is a pretty good start in that direction, but I know BMW can do better.