Despite BMW not having built a true supercar for 30 years since its original, limited-edition M1 model, a "high ranking insider" at the firm insists management is trying to reinvent its performance image with a new 'green' supercar combining the best elements of last year’s wild M1 Homage and the latest Vision EfficientDynamics concept cars.
BMW is reportedly studying the viability of the project, with the ultimate goal to create a two-seater sports car that showcases all of firm’s most sophisticated environmental technology. A limited production run would be timed for release at the end of 2012.
The insider said that "the idea is to take the supercar to a whole new level of environmental compatibility using technology and materials already in wide use today", presumably referring to lightweight materials and BMW's already in-use technologies such as stop-start systems, regenerative braking systems and direct injection, as well as other possible technologies such as cylinder deactivation.
Rumors of a possible return of the M1 supercar have been coming since November last year, and bringing a flagship sports model to market will help BMW compete against the likes of the Audi R8 and upcoming Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.
While the R8 and SLS AMG rely on big cube displacement, the insider stated that BMW may be more inclined to use a tweaked version of the twin-turbo 3.0-liter straight-six currently found in the 335i, or possibly an even smaller unit like the 1.5-liter hybrid powertrain revealed in the Vision EfficientDynamics.
Peak output will be somewhere around the 350 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque vicinity. To save fuel, top speed will remain electronically limited to around 155 mph but performance will still be scintillating, with the 0-60 mph dash expected to take less than five seconds.
Developing an environmentally friendly supercar is not BMW's number one priority right now, but reportedly the project is moving at a reasonable pace--hopefully confirmation production will be forthcoming in the next few months.