It’s time for BMW to respond to the R8, SLS and 911 supercars topping the respective ranges Audi, Merc and Porsche. The August 2012 issue of CAR Magazine reveals how BMW is planning to revive the M1 supercar some time around 2016.
The new BMW M1 will be considerably lighter, more powerful and more efficient than its current rivals, thanks to a combination of new tech and old-school low mass. Read on for the details of the first true BMW supercar in a quarter of a century.
Why is BMW resurrecting an old supercar?
The original M1 of 1978-81 was sadly quite a debacle (Lamborghini failed to supply the cars it was contracted to build, then the rules for the racing series it was designed for changed, leaving the M1 in no-mans-land.) BMW eventually built 460 of the wedgy, 277bhp two-seaters, powered by a 3.5-litre in-line six which of course went on to see duty in the E28 M5, albeit slightly modified for its supersaloon application.
As BMW’s first (and only) mass-produced mid-engined car, and arguably the first truly user-friendly supercar, the M1 has acquired cult status as the grandfather of the M-badged motors. Quite a legacy then, for the 2016 M1 to live up to.
The 2016 BMW M1: the spec
BMW is using carbonfibre and exotic metals to target a 1250kg kerbweight for the M1, ambitiously 200kg lighter than a Porsche 991 or McLaren 12C. Like the current M5 and next M3, it’ll shun natural aspiration for bi-turbo power. A 4.0-litre V8 is tipped to produce 600-650bhp, making for a 3.0sec 0-62mph dash and around 206mph flat out.
Unlike the hybrid BMW i8, the M1 is tipped to be the world’s greenest sports car, rather than the world’s sportiest green car. The low weight will be teamed with an eight- or nine-speed dual-clutch gearbox for maximum ‘EfficientDynamics’, plus the engine will be able to meter out its fuel injection when not under load. An advanced V8 was chosen over a straight-six for the double whammies of being more compact and more powerful.
But will the car look like an M1?
Most likely – there’s going to be a lot of inspiration from 2008’s M1 Hommage concept (pictured). LED lamps replace pop-up headlights, but louvred air intakes and a double BMW-roundelled rump return. See our artist's impression in the August 2012 issue of CAR.
Following on from the M1 coupe, there’ll be a drop-top aimed at the US market, where open-top supercars outsell fixed-head versions by two-to-one. Prices for the new 2016 BMW M1 will be upwards of £200,000, right in 458, 12C and even Aventador territory – and their respective successors. Who said the supercar was dead?