Sam Philip09 July 2010

BMW confirms new ‘1-Series M’

Original M3 to be reborn as hotter new 1-Series M Coupe. Prepare to get excited

E30 BMW M3

If you're a fan of the original E30 BMW M3 - and if you're not, you really should be - this will come as very good news.

BMW has confirmed that it will build a ‘M' version of the 1-Series coupe. We'd call it an M1, but then it might get confused with the mid-engined supercar of the late 70s. Let's go with 1-Series M Coupe.

Speaking in an official BMW interview, M Division boss Kay Segler said: "It is one of my most urgent goals to offer a small, affordable M model in the tradition of the very first BMW M3.

"This model will be based on the BMW 1Series Coupe and also be focused on the essentials, the fascination of driving."

The M3 reference is a vital one. The current M3, which produces 414bhp from its 4.0-litre V8 and weighs in at nearly 1,700kg, is a world away from the 1986 original, which had a four-cylinder engine producing just under 200bhp but tipped the scales at just 1,200kg.

A lighter, zippier 1-Series M Coupe could be a mighty thing. BMW hasn't hinted at any technical details, but it's interesting to consider how it'll fit in alongside the current 135i Coupe, which develops 302bhp from its twin-turbo straight-six.

Chasing any more power than that would seem to go against Segler's ‘small, affordable... and in the tradition of the very first BMW M3' philosophy - so could BMW opt for less power and less weight than the 135i?

Imagine a lightened, back-to-basics 1-Series Coupe, producing, say, 250bhp from a four-cylinder or naturally aspirated six. Not madly fast, but a pure, rear-drive sports car. Tempting, innit?

We'll bring you more details as soon as we've got ‘em, but for now: if you were, by some terrible freak of chance, put in charge of the M Division tomorrow, how would your 1-Series M Coupe look?

Sam Philip

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