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First look: BMW revives M1

Wedgy: Like the original, the M1 Homage has Lamborghini overtones.

BMW dusts off its hallowed M1 nameplate, and pays homage to its '70s supercar

28 Apr 2008

BMW has revealed a stunning concept car that harks back to its M1 supercar.

Presented at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on the banks of Lake Como in Italy, the M1 Homage is a modern-day interpretation of the landmark BMW model that turns 30 this year.

The company says that at this stage the M1 Homage remains a tribute to the original supercar and that there are no plans to build a new-age version.

Of course, if the concept causes a stir there is a fair chance the company would re-examine this position.

The original M1, a mid-engined vehicle designed for the racetrack, was designed by Giorgio Giugiaro, who took his inspiration from the BMW Turbo concept by Paul Bracq.

14 center imageAround 450 road-going versions of the car were sold from 1978 to 1981 in order to achieve the homoligation needed for it to qualify for racing.

Lamborghini was engaged to help with the development and production of M1 prototypes, but BMW took over control of the project.

While BMW says the M1 Homage is mid-engined, there is no discussion as to what type of engine may be sitting behind the driver and passenger in the new car.

The company says the M1 Homage has similar dimensions to the original model except that its passenger cell is slightly larger.

The new model also adopts many of the M1’s original design themes, including the long wedge nose, low roofline, classic coupe outline and the very wide body.

It remains, like the original, the closest thing to a Lamborghini to wear a BMW badge. Unlike the original M1, the new car has regular headlights instead of the pop-up versions.

While BMW claims there are no plans for the car to go into production, it has shaped the car with a level of practicality in mind, including the more spacious cabin and a focus on aerodynamics.

There are air-vents below the roofline, in the black recessed cut-line of the vehicle behind the side windows, with small flaps that guide air into the engine compartment.

The concept car’s kidney-shaped grille guides air through to the engine while also forming the front section of the crash box, which BMW says is similar to that of the monocoque chassis in a Formula One car.

BMW design director, Adrian van Hooydonk, said the M1 Homage was a showcase of BMW’s design capability.

“The BMW M1 Homage clearly manifests the creativity and potential of the BMW Design team. A project such as this is a valuable source of inspiration for our day-to-day work,” he said.

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