by Giancarlo Perini ©
The name sounds very familiar and recalls the mid-ship supercar designed by Giugiaro that actually marked the birth of the M (for “Motorsport”) branch of BMW. That was 32 years ago.
Comes January 2011 and a “second generation” M1 Coupé will makes its World premiere at North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.
The return to the future is only in the name though. This time the new “affordable supercar” has its powerful engine in the front, sits 4 instead of two and has quite a large luggage compartment in the back.
The 3.0 litres, six cylinders in line engine, grants 250 kW of power at 5900 rpm and as much as 450 Nm from 1500 to 4500 rpm. This translates in 0-100 times of 4.9 seconds and 0-200 in 17.3 seconds. The top speed is electronically limited to 250 kph as usual.
According to BMW M strategy the M1 is a muscular evolution of the very classic BMW 1 series coupé with its typical notchback architecture. However, whereas the BMW 1 series coupé is just a coupe which style belongs to past decades, the M1 has the soul and nostalgic look of a classic racer that young generation (in the U.S.A. China but Europe as well) may not be familiar with. As such it may be received as a fascinating car and I expert it to be very successful, as the first M3 generation has been for years.
The new M1 coupe has the characteristic proportions of a coupe and the familiar design language of a BMW M car, front section with clear cut air ducting including air curtains, athletic side section with typical M gills, strikingly flared wheel arches, a powerful rear end, dual tailpipes on both sides. And big wheels.
To make the M1 Coupe easily recognised at long distance, BMW M will be available only in a choice of three exterior paint finishes, with interior design based on set configuration and extensive individualisation options available for the BMW 1 Series.
The new M1 coupé will be produced at the Leipzig plant and is to be launched in Germany in May next year at prices starting at € 50.500.