BMW Confirms “M1” Version of 135i with 350hp Coming in 2011
BMW has finally acknowledged what we have been waiting for with baited breath; there will be an M-tuned 135i offered to the public. And only a few days after we named the 135i one of our Top Sports Cars of 2010, specifically because of its tuning potential. Coincidence? Yeah, probably. But great news nonetheless.
In 2007, BMW showed the world its Tii concept, a worked-over 135i with a slight body kit, tuned suspension and even a racing stripe. That concept sat brewing for a few years and finally has an official green light. The BMW 135i “M1” will go on sale in mid-2011 in the UK, with no word on a U.S. offering just yet. But judging by the success of the 135i, and my country’s love of everything fast and shiny, it will cross the pond swiftly.
BMW has plenty of time to put the finishing touches on the car, no doubt refining the look (which is why there are no pics available), but they have released some specs to inspire you to start saving your pennies. 350hp is the first thing you will want to know, from a tuned version of the 135i’s current twin-turbo powerplant. This engine will keep it at the heels of the almighty M3, but barely. The current 135i hits 60 in 4.7 seconds so expect this to do it in the low 4s. The 6 speed manual remains, but BMW’s brilliant e-differential will be added. The best tweaks will be to the suspension, and “M” people know handling. The car will get new springs, dampers, bushings and sway bars. I predict a great balance of fast turn-in and progressive oversteer. The interior will still be all BMW, making for a comfortable place to sit in traffic on the way to your favorite track.
Exterior “M” treats include new spoilers front and rear, side skirts, and a rear valence. Most exciting though are the flared wheel arches, which are always a good thing. With 18-inch “M” Alloys and 4 chrome exhaust tips out back, it should be clear this is a 135i that went to boot camp. Altogether the BMW M1 will be a formidable opponent to the Audi RS3, Mustang GT and 370z. BMW hopes it will attract younger buyers, thus establishing brand loyalty early on. Trust me BMW, we’re loyal to the letter “M”, a lower price is all we need.
The name, however, has BMW’s brains scratching their heads. Calling it the “M1” would make sense, except BMW already made one in 1978. It had the same number of doors as the 135i, but that’s about the only similarity. The BMW M1 was a mid-engined supercar that made 273hp, and was capable of 160mph. Only 456 M1 cars were made, but they’re all named “M1.” Call it “fiddlesticks” if you want, just bring the BMW 135i “M1” here.