Spy shots, rumors, reports and speculation have followed the development of the 1-Series M car. This week, we get further confirmation from BMW M Division boss Kay Segler that the car will in fact be built, and that it will be intended as a low-price entry point to the M range. Also confirmed: the next M5 will get a twin-turbo V-8 to replace its high-revving V-10.
The 1-Series M car's confirmation is no surprise, nor is the fact that it won't bear the M1 name--we brought you a similar report from Mr. Segler's own words back in January. The legacy of the mid-engine M1 that essentially founded BMW's M Division is too great to sully with an entry-level M car. That's not to say the 135i M won't be a potent vehicle, but that it has been designed from the outset to sit at the bottom of the M range.
Fortunately, that also means it will be at the bottom of the range in pricing, likely putting the starting point for the 135i M in the upper/mid-$40,000 range, straddling the difference between the $36,000 135i Coupe and the $58,000 M3 Coupe.
Having driven the 2011 135i with the dual-clutch transmission back-to-back with the 2011 M3, we can say that while the 135i platform lacks the sharpness and focus of the M3, it is still a more than capable performer, and can alread nip at the heels of the larger car at certain points on a track. With the addition of the M treatment, the 135i M should be a formidable force indeed, especially considering the price point.
As for the upcoming 2011 M5, again nothing earth-shaking, but to have the word straight from Segler adds a level of certainty to the expectations: the V-10 will be ditched, to be replaced by a twin-turbo V-8 like that found in the X5/6 M vehicles. Power for the M5 could be even higher, however, cranked up to as much as 600 horsepower. Despite the increase in power, the addition of direct injection and turbochargers means the new engine could improve fuel economy and emissions by up to 25 percent.
Expect to see these new vehicles arrive on dealer floors over the next year.