The affordable (we hope) entry-level M car—to be called the 1 Series M Coupe—now promises to become reality, available sometime in the second quarter of 2011.
Dr. Kay Segler, BMW Motorsports Division chief, talked about goose pimples and automotive dreams in an interview about the car and its M3 heritage. He calls it “M-pure” in a video we’ll show you after the break.
Power will likely come from an upgraded N54 twin-turbo engine (formerly used in the 135i) producing anywhere from 335 to 350 hp (reports vary). With a six-speed manual, you can expect mid-4-second 0-60 mph times.
Car and Driver’s Jens Meiners got a ride as passenger on the test track and reported:
Getting the small M into a slight drift seemed as effortless as recovery, and the kick provided by the uprated engine represents a major step above the 135i. Turbo lag is slight and doesn’t significantly detract from the experience. Compared to the M3, you sit lower to the ground, the cabin is more compact, and thus you get a much better sense of speed than in the bigger car.
Meiners mentions an anticipated price of “around $45,000, which seems a bit steep for a suspension, some interior upgrades, and a chip-able 35 more horsepower.” For about $11 grand more you can get an entry-level M3 with a 4-liter V8.
But the 1 Series M should be much more like the original E30 M3 that appeared in 1985: nimble, fairly light and tossable. If it turns out that way, we will love it. And if it comes in at less than $45K, we’ll love it even more.
Sports cars—the successful ones—inevitably take on weight, more power and more “stuff” as they age. We like ‘em lean and mean. Do you agree?