Spied: 2011 BMW 1-Series M


A pirate is someone who undertakes war-like attacks without government assent. "Pyrat," on the other hand, is the latest buzzword at M GmbH—more on that in a second.

M GmbH, of course, is BMW's high-performance division, headed since last May by BMW executive Kay Segler. We've met Segler many times and can attest to the fact that he did good things at Mini, where he worked prior to taking the reins at M. Segler got off to an excellent start with the Euro-only limited-edition M3 GTS and now he will make a permanent mark on every enthusiast's map with a planned 1-series variant. While we’re still expecting to see a 135is offered with a higher-output turbocharged inline-six—like in the 335is—our sources confirm that Segler’s division is crafting an M version of the compact 1-series coupe. It’s code-named project "Pyrat.”

There’s been some recent skepticism about the growth of the M division with such behemoths as the X5/X6 M, which not only contradict the division's lightweight philosophy but also mark a switch to turbocharging and a resultant loss of engine response at the limit. But the M version of the 1-series should do absolutely everything right. This prototype caught by our photographers reveals the business-like approach of the car: a wide front air intake with no fog lights, a wider track with large fenders covering cross-drilled brake rotors and big wheels with meaty tires, and a purposeful rear spoiler instead of an overwrought wing. The mule sports just two exhaust pipes, but the final product could sprout a couple more.

We like what we see, but we like even more what we can’t yet see. The 1er M will be powered by a high-revving, naturally aspirated straight-six producing about 340 hp—and, we are told, a very remarkable exhaust note. Think last-generation M3, and you’re close. Just when we thought exclusive engines were dead, we’re told there will be few ingredients from the corporate parts bin used on the 1-series M.

So what will this M be called? Well, we know that Segler appreciates the iconic nature of the M1 moniker and we predict he won't apply it to this car. Likely front-runners are 1-series M or 1M, but we’ll know for sure towards the end of this year when we get the first official glimpse of the car. Meanwhile, the competition should be on high alert. With this "Pyrat" around, the seas won't quite be the same.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

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