We ‘ve shown you the photos, video and offered you some bits if information. Now we ‘d like to take a step back and talk about all we know on the 1M. First let ‘s go back to the event itself. BMW NA graciously invited us to Road America and BMWCCA ‘s Oktoberfest to not only get a sneak pique at the new 1M but also to experience the reveal through the eyes of the largest BMW owners event in the world. It turned out to be a brilliant move. The energy inside the large tent at the introduction was electric and the car (or what was shown of it) couldn ‘t have been received better.
After our interview with Dr. Kay Segler we were invited to head over to a deserted part of the Road America infield to get our first glimpse of the new 1M. The process to move the car off the enclosed trailer was actually a highlight for me as it was the only time that day the engine was actually fired. That ‘s when I knew two things. Yes this is a modified N54 and wow was the sound muted. Surely there ‘s work to be done in regards to electronics but there ‘s no question the sound wasn ‘t near as interesting as the V8 or the inline six in the last two generations of M3. While I ‘m sure M will make sure there ‘s ultimately some aural satisfaction from the exhaust and engine, I couldn ‘t help but be reminded of the X5M. And for those of you curious, yes I did record video but I was asked not to share it at this time.
According to several sources the color will be called Valencia Orange. Given the shade and M ‘s propensity to name colors after cities around the world, it makes a lot of sense. Name aside I have to admit to being disappointed upon seeing the metallic flake in the orange paint. Based on what we heard at launch, this is simply the GTS color with metallic flake embedded. Does it work? Surprisingly I think so. It ‘s a very rich and deep orange that looks as great in direct sun as well as under the lights. I can only imagine how good that orange looks draped over those wide rear fenders.
Based on the principle of limited production we ‘re guessing that M will likely offer the 1M in just a few colors. In fact this whole project has the feel of the MINI JCW GP which was produced with one color and no ability to customize your car with options. While we seriously doubt the 1M will be available in one color, we could see the range being very limited to Valencia Orange and a few classic M colors like Alpine White and perhaps the M exclusive Jerez Black. Of course that ‘s just informed speculation on our part but we ‘d be more than surprised to see a full palette offered.
So far I can sum up the 1M in one word; aggressive. From what we have seen (admittedly not a lot) and know, it would appear that the designers at M have created something decidedly naughty looking. They ‘ve taken the M3 ‘s design language and pushed it even further. It was especially evident at the BMWCCA dinner under the lights (when Dr. Segler was rolled in the 1M for the official reveal).
M had to go beyond the already aggressive M Sport kit on the 135i and the classically proportioned BMW Performance kit available at dealers. While we can ‘t see much, what we can see clearly shows an aggressive design that combines the best attributes of both body kits to create something unique within BMW and M.
That ‘s what we can tell you based off of the pictures you see here. However we got to spend a good bit of time climbing around the car taking photos and noticed a few bulges that didn ‘t necessarily come through in the photos. On the sides it seems as if the new body kit takes the flares as seen on the E9X M3 and translates them into the smaller package of the 1er. The side mirrors are clearly taken straight from the M3 (one was slightly exposed for a very brief time in our pre-reveal that afternoon).
Around back the rear bumper clearly features the same corner inlet that the front does along with some type of aggressive flaring around the exhausts.
The rear spoiler doesn ‘t seem as aggressive as the BMW Performance carbon fiber accessory and actually looked more inline with the stock unit on the 135i.
And what about the lights? One thing that has continued to confuse us is the E82 life-cycle. Because the E82 Coupe came about after the 3-5 five door hatchback got it ‘s LCI (mid life-cycle refresh) we ‘ve always wondered of the E82 was eventually due for it ‘s own refresh. Considering the off-set in the two body styles life-spans we believe there will be some type of very subtle LCI given the E82 and thus the 1M before it launches next year. With this update we expect the front and rear lighting to change but to occupy the same exact footprint on the car. In other words the shape front and back will not change (since M has already shown us the front bumper with the old headlights) but we expect updated LED lighting in the rear and potentially LED corona rings upfront. Worst case we ‘ll see an update similar to the E90 sedan with standard corona rings and LED front turn signals.
Inside we ‘re guessing changes will be very minimal along the lines of the E90 interior LCI – maybe even less. We know there will be new gauges (with grey faces) but beyond that we don ‘t expect much (if any) visual change.
Pricing and Options
It may seem crazy given the technology in this car but we expect the 1M to sticker between $45-$47,000. Given the man at the top of M and his experience at MINI over the years, we expect more than passing similarity to the JCW GP program that MINI launched in 2006. The GP was produced in a quantity of 2000 worldwide (with 414 going to the US market). We wouldn ‘t be surprised to see numbers similar to this for the 1M.
And what about options? The GP had one color and no options available. We expect a few more for the 1M, but just a few. So given the limited product run, colors and options will likely be limited. In fact another example of options and color on a similar product would be the M3 CSL. The CSL was available in two colors and had just a couple of options. Yes we expect more in the way of options (and definitely accessories) but we wouldn ‘t be surprised to see color choices limited in a similar way.
Valencia Orange is a guarantee obviously. Other than that look for the classic M colors to also show up. Alpine White would be our first guess and perhaps M ‘s latest metallic black – Jerez. Beyond that we have no idea what if anything might be on the options list.
We expect the full reveal early in 2011 at the Detroit auto show (but look for M to continue to strip tease from now until then). With the US likely being the largest market for the car, we fully expect M to save the full reveal for the North American soil. Look for production to start in Q1 (February is likely) and deliveries to start in March of 2011 with the US getting their first cars in April. However this is still a moving target.