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As impressive as BMW M cars are, ask a Porsche representative what’s missing and they’ll tell you that behind the big engine, updated styling and upgraded components and M5 is still just a 5 Series. Mercedes’ AMG division can now also make the same claim thanks to the SLS, the first ever Mercedes built entirely by the brand’s high-performance arm.
Now BMW is looking to do the same says the automaker’s product development boss. “From an engineering perspective we have the skills and we’d love to do it,” said Albert Biermann in a recent interview.
Unfortunately, Biermann says past efforts to make a business case for such a car have never proved successful. There are no write-offs at BMW, he says. “Everything we do has to make money.”
While not an indication that such a project is currently under development, it is a hint that BMW continues to look at building a complete no-compromises M model.
Speaking with Inside Line, Biermann boasts of BMW’s new turbocharged engines, which he says almost deliver the identical throttle response of a naturally aspirated engine but with significantly reduced fuel economy. He says now is the right time for the technology, and hints that the same could be said in the future for diesel or electric powered M cars.
Denying that there’s any horsepower race with rivals he also says, “M is not selling horsepower; that’s not what we’re about.”
GALLERY: 2012 BMW M5
In case BMW‘s notoriously fickle enthusiasts can’t find the motivation to summon their pitchforks, here’s some news to light a fire under their posteriors: the legendary M division will put a diesel engine under the hood of their next car, a 5-Series.
Say it ain’t so, again! What’s next, a front-wheel drive M? But the next M-diesel won’t be an all-out M car—instead, it will be a companion to the M5, with the clunky badging of 550dM to indicate a diesel 5-Series that’s been breathed on by the sport division. The diesel powertrain will also make it to BMW’s other models such as the X-series of SUVs, which will also feature all-wheel drive.
As for the engine—going by the “more is better” theme, the diesel powerplant will carry three turbochargers to weed out even the suggestion of turbo lag. It will be a 3.0-liter straight-six as used in BMW’s current diesel cars, but with significant differences to the cylinder head. Direct injection and more efficient valve timing will push final horsepower figures to within the M5′s 560 horsepower: somewhere north of 500 will be expected, but with significantly more torque.
How significant? The M5 has 500 lb-ft of torque right now from its gasoline engine, but the diesel M will have more than 650 lb-ft. All-wheel drive will be standard then, according to a BMW official, “otherwise you’ll be spinning your tires all day.”
Diesel has been catching on slowly in the US, which holds stringent regulations on its sulfur levels. A high-performance diesel could light a fire under current sales figures of oil burners, and if BMW readies an M-diesel, it could even beat Audi at its own game. That, more than sales figures, would be the triumph of the day.
[Source: The Detroit Bureau]
The rumor mill from BMW headquarters, according to a company insider, indicates a possibility of a M1-like supercar—but you’ll have to take it with a heaping pile of salt.
Scott27, a relentless forum user and alleged BMW insider, has leaked to the Interwebs that the Bavarian designers are currently considering the idea of a halo M supercar—the spiritual successor to the legendary M1.
“The strategy has just begun and where it is at is a few sketches by the design department and ideas conjured around a conference table,” said Scott27. “We have no production plans yet.”
The potential M-car would be dubbed M-One, a vanguard of new BMWs in the same revolutionary vein as the Neue Klasse 40 years ago. It would feature extensive use of carbon fiber and other lightweight materials, as well as every technological triumph BMW can throw at it.
An internal sketch shows influences from—unsurprisingly—the M1 Homage concept from a few years ago, as well as the Vision ConnectedDrive. After some senior heads noticed, they suggested more production-friendly elements like a roof and a windshield that actually provides visibility, in order to judge internal reactions. If it’s anything like the M1 concept, those reactions will be positive and retro-futuristic.
Ultimately, even if this entire rumor doesn’t turn out to be a load of fetid dingo’s kidneys, the earliest a BMW supercar could be built would be “after 2015,” says the BMW insider. It would clash with Audi’s R8 as a crosstown rival, but BMW is more likely focusing on environmental efficiency—such as the i cars—than fueling the unobtainable supercar battle.
No word on whether Mr. Scott will find himself out on the street (or worse) in exchange for this Prometheus-like exchange of information.
GALLERY: BMW M1 Homage Concept
BMW hasn’t ruled out the option of producing the 1M CSL, according to a UK BMW product manager. The unexpected success of the 1M and low production numbers have driven up the demand for the fast, light BMW.
The UK was only allotted 450 1M cars. 300 of them were already sold prior to its official launch. This is enticing BMW to look at another avenue of production: The CSL.
The current 1M Coupe makes 340-hp and 332 lb-ft of torque from a turbocharged inline-six cylinder engine and gets an extra 37 lb-ft thanks to an overboost function. Paired with a 6-speed manual it can hit 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds. Plus, it weighs 77 lbs less than the factory 135i. A CSL (or perhaps GST) version would likely go further down the road to reduced weight savings.
[Source: BMW Blog]
BMW reportedly considered creating a stripped-out CSL version of its M6 luxury coupe, but ended up axing the project after the company could not justify a business case for the car.
The CSL would have had an active aerodynamics package, 220 lbs stripped from the car and upgraded power levels, but BMW ended up nixing the car, along with a prototype X5M that featured a rear-drive layout, SMG transmission and an unspecified V8 engine. BMW revealed the cars on Monday, as part of a collection of classic M vehicles.
While an M6 CSL sounds great on paper, the M6 was always more of a Grand Tourer, with an emphasis on luxury and rapid pace rather than outright performance. A CSL version would have run counter to the car’s mission, and judging by the amount of convertible M6s in existence, would likely have found few takers.
BMW will take the wraps off the M Division-tuned 1 Series on December 12th, according to a forum post on 1addicts.com
So far, the only news is coming from BMW Belgium, who told one member that December 12th is the official reveal date. At this point, we’re still not sure how much power the car will have, and everything is very much up in the air. But you can be sure that we’ll be up extra early on the 12th to get a first glimpse of BMW’s newest pocket rocket.