A BMW 1 Series Coupe, tweaked by the company's M-Technik division, is reportedly under development for UK release in mid-2011. Destined to slot beneath the M3 Coupe, the smaller 1 Series Coupe is said to feature a modified twin-turbocharged six-cylinder packing 350 horsepower. The aluminum engine will be mated to a standard six-speed dual-clutch gearbox with an electronically-controlled rear M differential. With a curb weight of just over 3,300 pounds and easily making more than 310 lb-ft of torque, the newest M-car will breeze past 60 mph in well under five seconds without breaking a sweat (for comparison's sake, BMW claims the 135i takes 5.2 seconds but publications like Car and Driver have hit 60 mph in the 4.7-second range)
The 1 Series Motorsport variant will reportedly retain the current car's standard MacPherson struts up front and the multi-link rear configuration, but the division's engineers have fitted firmer springs and dampers (and new bushings) to improve handling. Lightweight 18-inch alloy wheels complete the hardware package. Cosmetically, the so-called "M1" will wear an M division body kit with a new front spoiler, flared wheel arches, larger side sills, a rear spoiler and an aggressive rear valance with four M-signature chrome exhaust tips.
The name is still not finalized. Understandably, BMW is hesitant to quickly slap the "M1" label on the rear decklid as that name originally adorned the company's legendary road supercar in the late 1970s. Destined to become the M division's most affordable model, we really don't care what BMW calls it... just send it to our shores.
[Sources: Autocar; Car and Driver]