Get ready for a boom in M cars. The boss of BMW’s M Division, Dr Friedrich Nitschke, has confirmed that a raft of new models wearing the famous badge is on the way – with the M2 to be joined by a powerful M3 and a successor to the M1 supercar.
“Our pace of development must accelerate,” he told Auto Express in an exclusive interview. “We can build more cars, and we can build a wider range of cars.”
The new flagship 3 Series is due in 2014, and will feature a fresh 3.3-litre six-cylinder engine. This is set to get three turbos – one powered by electricity, rather than the exhaust gases – and is rumoured to offer 450bhp. A mix of steel and ultra-light carbon fibre-reinforced plastic in the body will help deliver huge pace.
But as Nitschke revealed, the car will also be efficient. “There will be a bigger focus on very low fuel consumption,” he said. “The new M3 will prove this.” However, this more eco-friendly approach won’t dilute the M Division’s high-performance appeal – as a replacement for the M1 supercar is finally coming close to reality.
This has been on the drawing board for more than 11 years, but only now does technology allow it to deliver the pace drivers would demand. “We have a fantastic history with the M1,” Dr Nitschke said. “The decision on developing this car is open. We’d love to do it.”
There’s no word on engines – but it would need a V10 or V12 to compete with rivals from Aston Martin, Lamborghini and Ferrari. If the project gets the green light, it’s unlikely to arrive before 2016.
The company is also looking at a successor to the ‘breadvan’ – the Nineties Z3M Coupe. “There’s no decision on an M version of the Z4,” added Dr Nitschke, “but this is something we could do easily.”
In addition, he spelled out a keenness for the M Division to “increase the speed with which we launch new models”. A lighter ‘CSL’ version of the new 1 Series M Coupe is on the cards, which could take cues from 2007’s tii concept.