The two most recent products launched by BMW’s M division are the 1-Series M and the M5. The M5 is the latest iteration of the super sedan that has been around for years. The 1-Series M, on the other hand, is an all-new product.
Before it landed there was a lot of speculation about what it would be called. BMW once produced the M1 mid-engined sports car, and it didn’t want to use that nameplate for its smallest model. That (smart) decision left the door open for a new M1, possibly based on the M1 Concept from 2008. M division head Albert Biermann spoke to Edmunds Inside Line about his desire for M to have its “own car.” M is a strong brand within itself; it would be able to pull off a dedicated performance model. The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is an example of this; an exotic car developed exclusively under the AMG banner.
Biermann wants it but the logistics just haven’t been able to work out so far: “From an engineering perspective we have the skills and we’d love to do it…we’ve discussed it several times but we’ve never been able to make the business case. Everything we do has to make money.”
That is what corporations are all about, isn’t it? Sometimes a brand makes a calculated decision to make a product as an investment – such as Audi with the R8. It most likely makes money, thanks to parts sharing within the VW Group. Even if it didn’t though, it has served as a valuable image builder.
There is less of an impetus for BMW to do that – M already has a sterling reputation for performance. An M1 would need to have a new mid-engined platform developed to underpin it. Still, we think BMW should do it though – even if for a limited run of vehicles. Its been a long-time since BMW competed in the upper strata of the sports car segment.