BMW 1 Series M Coupe confirmed -- and coming here in 2011
While still not ready to show it without disguise or spill much in the way of the mechanical modifications this latest and most affordable addition to the M stables will be blessed with, the automaker did choose to release a teaser video of its upcoming BMW 1 Series M Coupe in action, complete with tantalizing observations by BMW M GmbH's CEO, Dr. Kay Segler, about what we can expect when the car starts prowling the streets next year. While on sale in Europe early next year, a BMW source in the U.S. told KBB.com that it won't arrive here until sometime in the second quarter.
Intended to offer M-level excitement on par with the original "M30" BMW M3, the BMW 1 Series M Coupe will be powered by a modified version of the firm's 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six. It's expected to make between 335-350 horsepower and drive the rear wheels via a conventional six-speed manual transmission rather than a dual-clutch sequential box and be matched with an M-spec torque-vectoring differential.
Albert Biermann, development chief of BMW M GmbH confirmed that the basic structure of the 1 Series will be left unchanged, but that the M Squad does plan to work its total performance magic on all other aspects of the BMW 1 Series M Coupe package. If so, expect to see a full M-style body kit plus comprehensive tweaking of the suspension, upgraded brakes and the fitment of M3-spec 19-inch wheels and tires -- with 245/35 rubber up front and 265/35 on the rear -- one design element which Biermann did confirm. The M treatment will extend to the interior as well, although there's no word yet on how extensively it will be made over.
In creating the new BMW 1 Series M Coupe, Segler envisioned a car that would embody the size, character and dynamic feel of the original M3 but also remain within reach of a greater number of enthusiasts, and particularly younger buyers. To do so, it will be priced significantly below any existing M cars, a figure likely to start around $45,000. While that would put it about $15,000 under the current M3, Segler is confident the new BMW 1 Series M Coupe will have no problem delivering on its promise. "It's M pure, I guarantee that."
So why not just call this feisty newcomer an M1? Segler admitted that BMW execs considered the possibility, but in the end, chose to reserve that revered name for the firm's original M1 supercar -- a mid-engine exotic designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and produced by M from 1978-1981. More detailed information on the new BMW 1 Series M Coupe will be released prior to Christmas, in the meantime, visit www.m-power.com for the latest updates.