It’s a BMW M car revolution! We’re kicking off our special issue with the news every fan of the performance arm will want to hear: that it’s gearing up to rival the Porsche Cayman and Audi TT RS with a new M2 coupe.
Auto Express spoke exclusively to the M Division’s new managing director, Dr Friedrich Nitschke, and he revealed the car was key to his plans. Plus, it’s only the start.
A revolutionary new M3 is also in the pipeline, and there are discussions over a Lamborghini Aventador-rivalling supercar. The ambitious plans will help BMW take the fight to the quattro GmbH performance arm which makes S and RS-badged Audis, plus the R8.
The M2 will be based on the firm’s F21 platform – also set to underpin the 2 Series, due early in 2014 – and has a front-mounted engine driving the rear wheels. One BMW insider has told us the newcomer, a direct descendent of the 1 Series Coupe, will be instantly recognisable from the entry-level car with its bold look.
Our source also explained that BMW will not copy Audi’s “sausage factory” approach to design. This means the racy new 2 Series will get unique front and rear end styling, as our exclusive images reveal.
The new 2 badge will also help BMW manage its model range, since the 1 Series family has expanded to include hatch, coupe, cabriolet and crossover models. Plus, it will overcome the problem of using M branding in conjunction with the 1 Series nameplate.
The company is currently testing two engines. The first – a 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo – offers around 350bhp and is very similar to that in the 1M Coupe (tested on Page 56). The second is an innovative tri-turbo, giving similar performance but better fuel economy. This will debut in a new X3M at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
Power will be fed through BMW’s all-new DCT semi-automatic transmission, while the brakes will be taken from the current M3. To keep the newcomer’s weight to a minimum, the firm is expected to make extensive use of the advanced carbon fibre-reinforced plastics it has developed for its Project i cars.
This material, which was first adopted on the E46 M3 CSL, is stronger than steel and yet extremely light. What’s more, it is much easier to repair than carbon fibre.
Nitschke told us: “In the 1M Coupe, we have a starter car for the M Division, and we are continuing to develop this project. Such models must be sporty, and offer extraordinarily low fuel consumption. This is something we could achieve with the M2. I think the 1M Coupe proves there is room for an M2, a coupe.”
The all-new two-door is expected to arrive here in 2015 – and if demand for the 1M Coupe is anything to go by, it’s set to be a huge showroom success. BMW reports that only 30 of the 450 right-hand-drive versions of the two-door 1 Series it has built remain unsold.