January 10, 2011
BMW is also bringing its M performance to the compact segment, with the arrival of the first 1 Series M Coupe for the 2011 model year, inspired by the original 1998 M3. It will come with a six-cylinder inline engine with the throaty M TwinPower Turbo, heard through four exhaust pipes, a six-speed manual with a chassis derived directly from motor sports. It has a high-strength, steel unibody with widened fenders and rear quarter panels to house a wider track than the regular 1 Series. The aluminum suspension was originally developed for the current-generation M3, but tuned for this new model.
The engine produces 335 horsepower and 0-to-60 mph in 4.7 seconds. Like its bigger sibling, the new 650i Convertible, the top speed will be 155 miles per hour.
The automaker said the new two-door, four-passenger M car will be available with a limited range of options in limited quantities this spring. The car is 172 inches long, just a little over an inch longer than its 1988 M3 predecessor, and 71 inches wide- 4.8 inches wider than the ‘88 M3.
The 1 Series M Coupe is targeted lure younger buyers to BMW’s performance brand. The car will be priced around $45,000, not including navigation and entertainment packages. Compare this to the $60,000+ M3 and it actually starts sounding like a good deal.
JEAN HALLIDAY is a seasoned journalist with the nation’s longest consecutive run covering auto advertising. Her years in the trenches include stints at Automotive News, Adweek and Advertising Age. The native New Yorker now lives outside the Motor City. You can read Jean’s blog at AutoAdOpolis.wordpress.com.