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Future models - BMW - 1 Series - M Coupe

BMW confirms 1 Series M

Herr it comes: BMW showed this photo of its forthcoming 1 Series M Coupe in track testing.

Baby coupe to get BMW’s potent M treatment – and it is heading to Oz

BMW logo14 Jul 2010

By RON HAMMERTON

BMW has confirmed that its M-rated baby will be born in early 2011 and christened 1 Series M Coupe – because the M1 tag is already taken.

And BMW Australia says it is eyeing the smallest M car for debut Down Under as early as next year, when it will likely beat the new-generation M5 into local showrooms.

Although local pricing has not been set, the good news is that the pocket rocket is likely to slot into the local BMW range at around $100,000, making it about 45 per cent cheaper than the current cheapest M model, the $145,000 M3 Sedan.

Confirmation of the M-version of BMW’s entry-level 1 Series came on the company’s M-Power.com website in an interview with BMW M chief Kay Segler who said a small, affordable M model in the tradition of the first M3 was one of his urgent goals.

“This model will be based on the BMW 1 Series Coupé and also be focused on the essentials – the fascination of driving,” he said. “And it will reflect a love of detail, too.” Mr Segler ruled out the M1 name because that had “powerful historical associations” with the BMW sportscar produced between 1978 and 1981.

“So we have decided to follow our second nomenclature method,” he said.

“In the tradition of the BMW Z4 Roadster and of the current models BMW X5 M and X6 M, we will put our brand identifier at the end of the name, so our new model will be called the BMW 1 Series M Coupé.”

14 center imageLeft: A BMW teaser shot of the 1 Series M Coupe. Below: BMW 1 Series Coupe.

Mr Segler confirmed a first-half 2011 sales launch, adding that more information would be supplied before Christmas.

Unlike the 4.0-litre V8-powered M3, the 1 Series M Coupe is expected to get the twin-turbo 3.0-litre straight six from the Z4 sDrive35iS.

Britain’s Autocar says the car is expected to pack 260kW – about 35kW more than the 135i Sport on which it is based.

Like the 135i Sport, it is expected to be offered with a six-speed manual gearbox and alternative seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Autocar also says the M version will get a lightly tweaked version of the M3’s differential.

Reportedly lighter than the 1485kg 135i, the M-tweaked 1 Series has a 0-100km/h target time of 5.0 seconds – 0.3 seconds faster than the 135i.

BMW has only mentioned a coupe M 1 Series, apparently ruling out convertible or hatch versions, at least in launch phase.

BMW Australia PR and corporate communications manager Piers Scott told GoAuto today that the new model was expected to be launched in Australia.

“We can safely assume it will be coming to Australia,” he said. “We have not had that confirmed, but we are very confident that it will.” Mr Scott said BMW Australia would expect it to arrive some time in 2011, after the European launch, but that was still to be confirmed.

“As we have not even had the model confirmed for Australia, we don’t really have any details on an international launch, let alone an arrival date for Australia,” he said.

If the 1 Series M Coupe has the same 35 per cent price premium over the $77,664 135i Sport as the M3 has over the 335i, the smaller M version should hit the showrooms at a price just north of $100,000.

So far this year, BMW has sold 705 1 Series cars, up 13.3 per cent on the first six months of 2009. Segment leader is Audi’s A3 (1080 units), just ahead of the BMW’s sibling, the Mini Cooper.

The new M5 is not expected to appear in Europe until about mid 2011, with an early 2012 Australia debut on the cards.

Powered by a twin-turbo 408kW/680Nm 4.4-litre V8 engine with fuel-saving direct injection, the M5 dispenses with the V10 of the outgoing model which has just wrapped up production in Europe.

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