Can BMW Create a Sequel to the 1M?

The 1M vs the M135i has already played out on this site and others. In short the M135i is a great BMW but the 1M is a great M car. Not surprising given what the M135i was meant to be compared to the outrageous 1M. But the question we ‘ve been wrestling with for awhile now still seems relevant; can BMW truly follow-up the fastest small BMW ever? On the face of it you ‘d expect it would be easy. The 1M was created over late-night beers (or rum depending on who you talk to) and then designed and engineered at break-neck speed outside the norms of the typical BMW M process. The results felt very different than any M car ever created and was nothing less than a revelation to the motoring press.

On the face of it, BMW should have no trouble re-creating that magic formula given they ‘ve done it once and have such cars as the Z3 M Coupe and the E30 M3 under their belts. Furthermore the next 1M (likely called the M2) will surely be a little lighter and more technologically advanced. It may even have similar power with two less cylinders. However there are some crucial differences that hint at a different sort of car.

According to sources it will be created from the out-set as a car to be sold in much higher quantities. That means an optional DCT (along with a manual) as well as a host of options never available on the 1M. It will also likely be saddled equipped with electronic power steering similar to the next generation M3/M4. Finally it will surely follow all the normal testing procedures and development processes that have created all other modern M cars. That last point is a little esoteric but it could be a key difference between the 1M and anything that follows it up.

The 1M was an out-lier as they say. A car created outside the norms that gave us the current M5, M6 and even the E92 M3. All cars technically better than the 1M but cars that also feel substantially different. They have more ability, more grip and more comfort. But ultimately lack a visceral quality that the 1M has in spades.

As we learned over the past two years in talking with sources at BMW M, the people behind the 1M simply created something they wanted to own. That ‘s a very different perspective than someone creating a car that is meant for an executive to drive it from the board meeting to the track (hello M5) or what they think consumer research tells them should be the next M3. Simply put, the spirit behind the 1M came from people who felt it, knew it and wanted it themselves.

Will the typical BMW and M product development process rob the M2 of this? Nevermind that it ‘ll be much more common – that matters little to us. What matters is how it feels. What kind of personality it will have. And will we want to do bad things to get one.

Here ‘s to hoping that the M2 is as much an outlier as the 1M was.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
  • Joe C

    I’m really interested in this question?!! For me, looking to small extremely sporty couples, its down to a M2 / M235i vs 981 Cayman/S. A preowned 1M would be a vaild competitor, but the lack of availability is a limiting factor. I look forward to future developments!

  • Evan

    If the focus is the same- to build a car the //M engineers would love to drive for driving’s sake with excellent performance and handling (stike-out saddled with EPS duly noted)- then I think they can do it and make it in the spirit and hopefully close to the 1M. A little weight loss and more resources should help too. I’d be very excited for an M2 as long as the front end of 1er hatch is sorted for the 2er. But I’d kill for an M2 sedan. Or even better, and M2 Touring…. 🙂

  • johnparke

    Considering the knock out success that the 1M had why doesn’t BMW change how they devolep their other cars.

    • BimmerFile_Michael

      In the grand scheme it really wasn’t that big of a success. It was very low volume, essentially stamped on the step up from prototyping equipment. Could they have sold more? Yes, but it would not have been the wide scale success of say the 3 series in terms of volume and that is what BMW is looking at. The 1M had a small target market, was marketed well to that market and as such sold greater than the original goal- the X6 did something similar. Maybe they use the same formula for the M2 but with the board going to want more volume it will surely be a car that has more market appeal- not saying driving dynamics will change for the worse but you can bet the M2 will be more comfortable and less aggressive.

      • Evan

        Will we ever see an aggressive BMW again? Chasing sales alone doesn’t always work out when you lose sight of your core values and what got you to your current posistion. Building the Ultimate Driving Machine has consistently worked, so build it. Or BMW will become just another car… Please reference the current 5er and its sales. I get survival but I don’t understand sacrifice.

        • Great point.

        • Dylan Bland

          Is the current 5 series not selling well? I love aggressive BMWs (I own a 1M) however I really like the new 5 series design, especially the M5. And obviously the performance is all there. Really surprised to hear that it’s not selling well.

          The 1M must have really helped elevate the BMW brand in the eyes of enthusiasts and a younger audience. Sure, it may not have been a great business success when viewed in isolation, due to the low volume etc, but surely the PR/marketing “win” must have made the project well worth it…you can’t buy coverage/praise like the 1M earned…great for the brand.

      • HERR26

        When you consider the 1M was a low volume car it did fullfil its sales targets by completely selling out its production. But where you can count success is that the car was memorable and it left an overall impression. Especially when you consider the competitors car rushed out to compete in a similar timescale does not even get a look in. A recent interview between the media and Mercedes-Benz’s AMG CEO admitted that the optimum result they are looking for from the A-Klasse AMG is something on the level of the BMW 1er M Coupe. And because your closest rival name-checks that product then it is apparent that the car is admired, memorable and envied. And once again is testament to the creative mindset at Garching that developed this car in a short time frame and limited budget. There were plenty of ideas on the table for the car but it all came down to time and budget constraints. The next generation applies to the “If it is not broke? do not fix” and will follow that same philosophy as the E82 as building a car for the customer on the entry rung of the M ladder. This time there is more time to develop and progress and a considerable budget than before aswell as more flexibility in availability options and technology. Logically because the M3 moves to an in-line six it is a four based on the N20 that is being looked at for the successor. Whilst the same formula will be the same including the cannibalisation of next-gen M3 technology they are looking at a weight reduction to accomodate the same levels of power and feel as the E82. The avenue to progress is also expected as there was little money to follow through with some ideas which became apparent on the BMW 1er M Coupe Safety Car. The 2er is now being taken seriously at BMW especially in regards to the reception of the M135i and of course the implementation of the next 1er becoming FWD. When the 1er goes FWD in a few years there goes with it the well-received M135i. The 2er is now becoming a full-fledged model line to reflect the larger 6er and upcoming 4er. In order to provide customers the most sporting impression of a compact BMW… and for that BMW knows that it has to be RWD as that is what the customer desires. And that car to provide further growth in the compact segment is the 2er to show that BMW still build the best compact RWD cars.