We’ve all seen the spy-shots of a rumored ///M 1 series car, but speculation around its production is making us sea sick. Of course, as enthusiasts, we hope this car will come to fruition, but we have heard a lot of skepticism around the validity of M1 rumors.
First of all, the current 1 series is late in its life cycle, already providing thrills to the driving public for over 6 years. Would the M division really set about developing an M car from an aging chassis? Typically M needs 3 years to develop a production BMW into an ///M car.
The next nail in the M1’s proverbial coffin was its failure to make an appearance in Geneva. This was a surprise to some and a disappointment to many. Again, the life cycle clock is ticking, so if not in Geneva, then when?
Well, if Scott 27 is to be believed, then here are the answers. The M1 (1 Series M car) is still slated for production and the first official details will be released at the end of this year. As for price, it is rumored to ring in around $10,000 Euros more than the 135i, or around 50 to 60,000 USD or 60 to 70,000 CAD (these figures are extremely flimsy – take with a grain of salt). While the 1 Series is “over the hill,” we will still see an ///M car based upon it – such is the enthusiasm of Dr Kay Segler for an attainable ///M variant. Of benefit to the design team is the long established 1 series platform. Engineering costs will be reduced through heavy modification and retooling of an existing BMW engine (we don’t know which one, but we suspect the N55). With the aforementioned cost reductions, more time and attention will be paid to the balance and handling of the M1. A highly tuned chassis will efficiently transfer power from the engine to the road – it is said that the engineers are working to emulate the best qualities of BMW’s beloved E30 and 2002. The M1 will firmly place below the M3 in terms of its performance envelope and stature, but clearly the bar is set very, very high.
A few months after the M1’s release, we will see a cabriolet version for open-air motoring. The M1 will come equipped with a manual transmission or choice of an M-DCT (notice how I listed these in order of importance). When can you write the check? Official release is expected at the end of this year and global sales should begin mid 2011 with M1s rolling off showroom floors. The M1 should see a two-year production run into 2013 when the next generation 1 Series is revealed. Power figures have taken a bump in the right direction, apparently closer to the 370 hp mark. Further weight reduction is rumored, we can only hope.
Speaking of the next generation 1 Series, Scott 27 goes on to offer more information: the 5 door hatch will premier first followed by the 3 door hatch. The coupe and cabrio will follow with production starting in 2013. Really hope the Mayans were wrong about that calendar.