SEMA eNews Vol. 10, No. 27, July 5, 2007

BMW 1 SERIES HAS APPEAL OF M3

BMW has denied any concrete plan to build an M version of the entry-level 1 Series. But according to AutoWeek, the versions of the 1 Series that will be available resurrect the spirit of the original M3. The 1 Series is expected to debut at September’s Frankfurt motor show.

Sales for the 1 Series should begin in October of this year. There will be two versions—a 128i and 135i.  The 128i will be powered by a 3.0L inline six, producing 230 hp and 200 lb.-ft. of torque. The 135i, which may suppress any need for an M version, will be fitted with BMW’s twin turbocharged 3.0L inline six and will boast 300 hp at 5,800 rpm. In other words, it will have over 100 hp per liter, which is a long-standing M tradition. The 135i will also have a standard six-speed manual gearbox and 3.08:1 final drive.  As BMW die-hard enthusiasts will tell you, it will be the driving experience which will ultimately determine if the 135i will assume the celebrated role as the spiritual successor to the first-generation M3.

BMW says the 1 Series will have a 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution, and that the coupe adheres closely to the 1 Series hatchback with heavy convex and concave surfacing along with unusual shut-line architecture and sharp detailing. The coupe and hatchback will have the same wheelbase of 104 inches, but the coupe’s longer rear overhang will extend the length of the vehicle five inches.

According to BMW, the 135i will reach 62 mph from a standstill in 5.3 seconds, and will have a top-end speed of 155 mph. The 50–75 mph split is 5.0 seconds in fourth gear. The 1 Series will share the same rear-wheel-drive platform and aluminum intensive suspension. The 135i will feature a MacPherson front strut and five-link rear arrangement in combination with speed-sensitive electro-hydraulic steering. Wheels will be standard 18-inch, with 215/40, 7.5-inch wide front tires and 245/35 8.5-inch wide rear tires. No pricing for this vehicle has yet been released.

Source: Kable, Greg. (June 28, 2007). “2008 BMW 1 Series Coupe: Hot, New 300-hp 135i Resurrects Spirit of Original M3.” AutoWeek. Retrieved June 28, 2007, from www.autoweek.com.