BMW's M division is working on a hot 1-series coupe - on sale 2011 from £38k
6 January 2010

BMW’s M division has started development of an M version of the 1-series coupé, set to be equipped with a twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine producing 350bhp.

The new two-door, details of which were first uncovered by Autocar back in November, has now been added to BMW’s stable of future production models, with right-hand-drive UK sales set to begin in mid-2011.

The decision to put the car into production has been attributed to an “overwhelmingly positive reaction” to recent customer clinics, according to at least one high-ranking BMW official. Aimed at attracting younger customers to BMW’s performance cars, the new coupé is set to become the M division’s most affordable model.

It will slot into the range beneath the M3 coupé, and should cost around £38,000, £8000 more than the 135i Coupé M Sport. That means it will compete directly with Audi’s forthcoming RS3.

Revealing the plans for the new 1-series-based model, M division boss Kay Segler said, “I want to set a clear signal that our products are financially accessible.

“With the modular production processes in place at BMW, it is possible to create performance cars that customers can not only dream about owning but also realistically afford.”

BMW is still deciding whether or not to call the car M1, a name originally used on the firm’s legendary road racer supercar in 1978. Inspiration for the new car comes from BMW’s tii concept, a sporting version of the 1-series coupé that was revealed at the 2007 Tokyo motor show.

While the powerplant in that car was never revealed, the new M car will use a revised version of BMW’s latest turbocharged straight six. In standard guise the 3.0-litre unit, recently unveiled in the 535i GT, uses a twin-scroll turbo aimed at providing a more linear delivery of power and better fuel economy than the earlier twin-turbocharged unit used in the 135i.

For the new M car the engine will re-adopt a twin-turbocharged layout, although the new system is said to differ quite dramatically from that used on the older engine; it’s likely to get a new turbo and a more efficient intercooler arrangement.

The modifications are said to be on a similar level to those seen in the recently introduced X5 M and X6 M, whose 547bhp twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 has big changes compared with the standard V8 versions used in the X5 and X6.

The output of the new M six-pot is expected to climb to around 350bhp, some 48bhp more than the existing 135i M Sport but 70bhp less than the M3’s naturally aspirated 4.0-litre V8. More than outright power, though, it is torque that is likely to play a more significant role in defining the new car’s character.

No figures have been released, but with BMW’s standard turbocharged 3.0-litre six already producing an M3-equalling 295lb ft, the newly developed M version of this engine should be good for at least 310lb ft.

The basis for the new M-car is today’s 1-series coupé. Its driveline is likely to feature a standard six-speed dual-clutch gearbox and an electronically controlled M differential.

With a kerb weight of not much more than 1500kg, its straight-line performance should be close to that of the 1580kg M3. A relatively short 3.15:1 final drive promises a 0-60mph time of around 5.5sec.

Fuel-saving measures such as brake energy regeneration and possibly a stop-start system should also ensure the new M1 is no thirstier than the 135i, which is rated at 30.7mpg in six-speed manual guise.

Underneath, the layout of the 1-series coupé’s MacPherson strut (front) and multi-link (rear) suspension will remain the same. However, BMW’s M division engineers have set about altering the suspension properties, with firmer spring and dampers and a new set of bushes, along with lightweight 18-inch alloy wheels. “We’re aiming to make it a lot more dynamic than the standard 135i,” said Segler.

Setting the M1 apart from the standard 1-series coupé will be a typically subtle M division body kit, including a deeper front spoiler, flared front wheel arches, chunkier sills, a rear deck spoiler and a deeper rear valance with four chromed exhaust pipes.

Assembly of the newest M-car is likely to take place at BMW’s Leipzig factory in Germany. alongside standard versions of the 1-series coupé.

But with 18 months to go until it goes on sale in the UK, Segler is remaining coy about projected volumes. “We’re confident it will draw new customers to the M line-up, but in these difficult economic times it’s impossible to say how it will fare,” he said. “It does, however, reveal where the brand is heading.”

Join the debate


6 January 2010

[quote Autocar]BMW’s M division has started development of an M version of the 1-series coupé, set to be equipped with a twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine producing 350bhp.

The new two-door, details of which were first uncovered by Autocar back in November, has now been added to BMW’s stable of future production models, with right-hand-drive UK sales set to begin in mid-2011.[/quote] Just when I was thinking how to replace my 135i M Sport Coupe we get this super bit of news. If they can sharpen up the stability (ideally to 3 series standards), and keep the CO2 low it'll be just the job. Mind you in this weather the 135 is about as much use as a chocolate fire guard, good job I have a tired Skoda for trips in the snow. By the way this car still looks like Bangle design, even with the bulges. I reckon we will all miss his sculpted styling.

6 January 2010

this car is already hugely over priced for what it is an M1 version will just be mad money! me personally i'd rather have a 3 series coupe rides better interiors better and looks a lot better

6 January 2010

Clever marketing but aint 8k a lot for an extra 48bhp and how much faster would it be in the real world than an already fast car.

Still if thats what lights your fire go and spend your "accessable 38k" . Just go and check my bank for my accessable stacks of 38k that I have laying about like everybody else at the moment .

6 January 2010

A good idea and concept but it really does need to carry the M1 moniker to get taken seriously.

At 38K is is pretty much the same cost as the E46 M3 when it was introduced at with similar power. Is it going to really be worth the extra 8K for 50Bhp and M division tweaks to the suspension over the 135i or even a remapped 135i? If they call it M1 then maybe yes but if not then anyones guess......

It should be M1 but unless they call it the M1 or maybe the Tii it is going to be a bit of a damp Squid if it ends up a 140i or something.

6 January 2010

£8k more for 48 bhp is a lot, but if drives like an E30 M3 could be money well spent.

Personally I'd dump the rear seats and all toys, add carbon fibre roof, boot, doors and bonnet, loose as much weight as possible and make it driver focused, the current 135i is close enough in terms of performance to satisfy those with comfort needs. I'd aim the M1 at a small niche and call it the 135tii not an M1.

Here's to the crazy ones......

6 January 2010

I like the concept of a small powerful RWD car.
It's just a pity that BMW chose to put in a body that has the looks of a worn out shoe.

6 January 2010

[quote JezyG]it is going to be a bit of a damp Squid[/quote]

always thought Bangle's designs looked fishy.


6 January 2010

Sales set to begin mid-2011? Why so long to get it ready for production. The 1-Series coupe isn't exactly a new model anyway. By the time the "M1" hits the road how long a shelf life will it have after someone has shelled out their £40,000-plus for it (including the mandatory raft of optional extras you need on any BMW to be able to get rid of it secondhand).

As for using the "M1" name - it shows how desperate BMW are to get sales at any cost - including the expense of their heritage. This dreadful looking car ain't an M1 proper, that's for sure!

6 January 2010

It's a bit late in the life cycle of the current 1-series to be bringing out an M model, isn't it? Why don't they wait for the next generation?

6 January 2010

[quote icsunonove]It's just a pity that BMW chose to put in a body that has the looks of a worn out shoe. [/quote]

I actually like th look of this car, though I'll allow it's.. er.. quirky.

But I agree with other posters - why bother with the M1 namefor 50 odd bhp more ? Now the really interesting 1 series coupe would be the 135d, with the twin turbo diesel from the 335d...


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