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1-series to get M treatment

12-18-2004, 06:34 PM
As reported by Autocar:


Plans for a scorching M version of the BMW 1-series are back on track, after its production was put in jeopardy amid concerns about high development costs and its positioning within the German car makers line-up. According to Munich bosses, the new car, depicted here in our exclusive computer-generated image, has been brought back into BMWs forward model line-up following a resurgence in Europes hot-hatch ranks with cars such as the Volkswagen Golf R32, Alfa Romeo 147 GTA and Ford Focus RS.

The market for high-performance small cars has evolved greatly in recent years. Pricing is not so sensitive and buyers appear prepared to pay more than has been the case up until now, a BMW source said.

Seen as a spiritual successor to the original M3 of 1986, the new junior M car was originally conceived with four-cylinder power. But with the standards raised by rival car makers in recent years, BMW is now looking at an all-new 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder engine. It is tipped to use the same bore-centre measurements and individual cylinder capacity as the potent new 5.0-litre V10 engine and is part of an expanded M-engine line-up.

Further details remain scarce, although Autocar understands BMW is aiming for a red line of 8500rpm and an output around 310bhp 160bhp more than todays petrol range-topper, the 150bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder 120i. With power going to the rear wheels through a seven-speed SMG (Sequential Manual Gearbox) and a likely kerbweight of 1500kg, the baby M-car promises class-leading performance. Estimates put its 0-60mph capability at 5.8sec, with its top speed likely to be limited to 155mph.

Autocar sources say the lightweight engine, running BMWs latest dual-Vanos variable valve timing system and individual throttle butterflies for each cylinder, forms part of a whole range of new high-revving M-division engines. This includes a 400bhp 4.0-litre V8 for the next-generation M3 due in early 2006. The next generation M3 (right) will be launched in both two-door coupe and cabrio, and four-door saloon form. That engine is also pencilled in to power a Z4M, the hot version of the two-seat roadster, although possibly in a detuned form (see gallery).

But Autocar has also unearthed plans for a secret gung-ho 6.0-litre V12 earmarked for a new M7 performance flagship. BMW has always resisted developing an M version of its luxury saloon, but the success of the Mercedes S55 AMG hasnt gone unnoticed in Munich.

The six-cylinder unit from the new 1-series is essentially half of the new V12 powerplant. Both engines will be produced at BMWs specialist engine plant in Munich.

12-19-2004, 12:56 AM
I've got a few questions about this car already. First of all, I hope that that 0-60 time is way off, because 1,500kg is pretty close to say a WRX STi, and this "M1" has more power, yet the BMW only gets 5.8 seconds while the STi gets 4.7 seconds. Granted the STi has AWD, yet the BMW will have the new 7-Speed SMG and therefore the launch control... Im thinking this car should be in at least the low 5 second range. That aside, BMW M Performance in the low $30,000 price range should be amazing.

I've already heard about the E90 M3, but I wasn't sure if they were going to make a saloon. I think its a good move on their part, moving more into S4 and C55 range. In my mind the only advantage those two have over the M3 is the four-doors. A four door M should sell as well or better then its rivals. Soon enough im going to have to question a possible move to the E90 M3 for me; 400bhp is hard to pass up.

12-19-2004, 07:38 AM
The 0-60 time is just Autocar's estimate, i wouldnt really read too much into it. If the M1 (would it be called the M1?) gets 310bhp im sure the 0-60 sprint would be in the low 5's. But as you say, the important thing here is bringing the M experience to new customers.

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