M Sport Trim Does Not Equal M1

January 5th, 2009

The BMW 1-Series has been on sale in the U.S. for more than a year. It got great reviews here and elsewhere, and by all accounts would probably be selling like msillsbmphotcakes if we didn’t have a financial meltdown on the menu.

Now, to get you to eat more, the company has put out a sport trim package for the coupe and the convertible, available in 128i and 135i cars. This is the “flash” package, to be distinguished from the standard sport package, and at all costs to be distinguished from the M-Series cars (M3, M5, etc.) which are hotted-up sports versions, à la AMG cars from Benz.

Here’s what 135i buyers get for an additional $1,300 bucks (for the 135i coupe, $1,200 for the convertible):

  • M door sills
  • M footrest
  • M gearshift lever
  • M steering wheel
  • M wheels
  • Available with an M exterior color
  • Anthracite Headliner (not available for convertibles)
  • Aerodynamic package

Aw, come on, I want the anthracite headliner in my convertible. Then, if you’ve got more money to spend, you can get these options:mwheel

  • Anthracite Headliner (coupe only, but I thought you listed it as included in the above package??)
  • Shadowline Trim
  • Sport Seats
  • 18″ M Wheels Style 261 M, as illustrated here:

The M sport package has been available to European buyers since mid-2007, but now, sports fans, you can get the M look on the 135i and 5-Series beginning with January production. In 2009, apparently all the other models will get the M treatment (if you pay for the privilege).

If I understand all this correctly, your M-money buys you a café racer package which will do absolutely nothing to improve your car’s performance, but will badge it as an ersatz-M vehicle. The sports seats and 18” wheels, which will indeed help you drive better, presumably cost a bundle more.

BMW has gone the typical route of inviting you to tart up your new car and in the process confused its own branding with the M-Series. This seems to me an especially dumb move, since they produced something very worthwhile in the 1-Series. It can and should appear without the lip gloss.

Should BMW build us a new M1 (not the old 1970s version by that name) and stop confusing the issue? I think so – what do you think?

—jgoods

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  1. Colin
    | #1

    Don’t like it. Give it the extra look without putting the M badge on it. Customers pay a premium for that M badge on the back and will most likely not like that a regular version can now sport the M logo.

  2. jgoods
    | #2

    Colin is right. There’s no excuse for aggravating the M-owners, the company’s most fervid fans. There are rumors of an M-car to come for the 1 series, but the company claims it won’t be labeled M1; that handle is already taken. BUT, now the company is talking about a new M1 concept car: see http://www.coolhunting.com/archives/2008/04/bmw_m1.php. Do you think these guys have a problem with nomenclature?

  3. Justin
    | #3

    No excuse for aggravating M-owners you say? If anything BMW is slapping M-owners in the face by cancelling the M3 CSL in favor of the X6M and X5M, BMW should have started a land-rover esque company for SUVs rather than diluting their sense of handling and performance by building 2 tonne + boats.

    In regards to the 1 series it is a spiritual successor to the 2002 so naming the high end version the tii would fit nicely. Anyways BMW makes M packages for their other vehicles in standard trim so why can’t the 1 series get the same treatment?

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