• Mar 31st 2010 at 7:39PM
  • 43
BMW Concept 1 Series Tii – Click above for high-res image gallery

There was a time, not too long ago, when a BMW M-badged vehicle was feared. In the late 1990s, the E36 M3 Coupe was often regarded as the best-handling two-door on the planet and its sibling, the E36 M3 Sedan, was the fastest four-door in showrooms. The droptop M Roadster offered a viable alternative to a Porsche 911 Cabriolet, while the bad-to-the bone E39 M5 ran without peers thanks to its 400-horsepower V8 .

Today's M models offer excellent performance, but the bar has been raised so high that cheaper upstarts like Mitsubishi and Subaru can give them a run for the money on tracks, not to mention surging premium competitors like Audi and arch rival, Mercedes-Benz and their AMG offerings. Kay Segler, the new chief of BMW's performance-oriented M brand, has taken notice. However, instead of pushing the well-respected division to the head of the pack with even greater levels of performance, Segler says it is time to rethink what his division stands for – meaning BMW M may no longer offer the fastest or most powerful cars possible.

"The measurement of 0 to 100 (km/h) isn't as much a thrill anymore," Segler tells TheDetroitBureau.com. He goes on to explain that it's how a car feels via the driver's "butt-o-meter" matters more. Furthermore, he says the performance M brand needs to shift directions. "We want to make M young again." Segler's goal "is to go towards affordability and freshness." Those are big changes considering the current M lineup represents the flagship of each model range – priced accordingly – along with gigantic SUVs like the 5,368-pound X5 M. Undeterred by the news, we are still holding our breath for a production version of the Concept 1 Series Tii.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      When pigs fly!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Best handling two door in the 90's? I think that ignores a bunch of cars, including the one I drove then (MR-2 Supercharged) and the one I drive now (Acura NSX).
      • 5 Years Ago
      I just teared up a little. Consider this, Toyota's FT-86, the new Hyundai's and Fords and it looks like we're entering the new Golden age of motoring. Let's hope it lasts.
      • 5 Years Ago
      After the M versions of X6 and X5, I've lost total respect for M GmbH. Having own (and still own) a Z3 M Coupe, I must say M sold out big time. Want to be fresh and young? Stick to your own slogan and give those designer handbags carrying marketing people the middle finger.
      • 5 Years Ago
      About f%cking time!
      • 5 Years Ago
      they will NEVER make an "affordable" M - anything.......

      even their "stripped down" 3 series thingy takes the saying "less is more" literally, just like Porsche. And that thing is not an "M". Seriously doubt they would ever shift the focus of the M to mean stripped down and more sport oriented.

      M stands for "More", and that is it. More power, and more cost. Simple as that.

      Crap, you cant even get a 1 series with decent options for less than $50k.

      Their "goal" is to go "toward" affordability and freshness......well, they might get more freshness, but the other half of their goal will not be gone "toward".

        • 5 Years Ago
        "A loaded 1 series can top out at $50,000, you're missing a bunch of options not included in packages, like a modern stereo, comfort access, etc."

        Sure, a LOADED 135i can top $50K if you check every box, but that's not what the original poster said. He said "you cant even get a 1 series with DECENT options for less than $50k." Don't take the extreme and suggest it's the normal.

        A 128i or 135i with Premium, Sports and Nav is more than decently configured. It has power everything, leather, a good base stereo, bluetooth, Xenons (on the 135i), moonroom, lots of safety features, 18" rims, sports suspension and seats, etc. Not at all stripped or wanting. You have to add more esoteric option like backup sensors, smartphone integration, active steering, automatic hi beams, etc. to top $50K on a 135i and a 128i can't go that high in coupe form.

        Also, keep in mind that all 2011 1 Series now come with standard leather and iPod/USB adapters, so that cuts the cost down by another ~$1,400.

        You know, a Porsche Boxster (non-S) starts at under $50K, but you can option it up to close to $80K. That doesn't mean you can't get a decently equipped Boxster for under $60K either.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Crap, you cant even get a 1 series with decent options for less than $50k."


        128i with Sports Package, Premium Package and Navigation has an MSRP under $38K and a projected sale cose of $36K (carsdirect.com)

        135i with the same options has an MSRP under $44K and a projected sales cost of $41.5K.

        Check the facts, man.
        • 5 Years Ago
        A loaded 1 series can top out at $50,000, you're missing a bunch of options not included in packages, like a modern stereo, comfort access, etc.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think we should all be thankful that at the very least BMW are getting their heads back on straight.

      Considering that they are now building smaller cars they can at least address the weight issues to an extent. Their future cars are likely never going to be as light as the cars of the past but that's understandable because of all the safety measures and technology that needs to be incorporated these days.

      All you purists can complain about it and talk about wanting a plain-old car with practically nothing in it and almost no safety and convenience features but the fact of the matter is safety standards make these features necessary. If you want to be less safe that's your right - there are plenty of used cars on the market still and you are free to buy those. This is good news and we shouldn't take away from that.

      If a car is just as fun and enjoyable to drive as its predecessor while being just as economical and more powerful, then who cares if it's a few hundred pounds heavier than the original?

      You guys are always free to offset that weight by going on a diet... : )
        • 5 Years Ago
        If you're getting t-boned by a 80,000 GWT semi barreling down at 60 mph, you oughta check the news, because basic physics says that no amount of airbag is going to save you.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And what if a semi crashed into the side of your car at a junction? You wouldn't be able to avoid it then would you, and in a much lighter car and less safety features like previously you'd likely be killed. My two cents.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'd feel safer driving a lighter car with sharp brakes and nimble steering than a heavier car with a million airbags that takes longer to change direction. I'd use the brakes and steering to AVOID the accident in the first place. Moreover, I've read accounts of people rolling over in 3200 lb E36 Bimmers and getting out of the car, just walking around. It proves that light cars can be and were engineered to top safety specs. Nearly 20 years ago. My two cents.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Doesn't have to be 60mph...doesn't even have to be a semi. It could be an SUV or a car. The point is that more safety features and more airbags would increase the survival rate. More mass or at least more strengthening of the structure (which adds weight) would also likely help.

        And i'm not making the argument about compacts vs. SUVs but rather safety features vs. more stripped out cars in general across the range.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wish BMW made the M cars like the first M3 and M5, that were lightweight, but it seems BMW has gone SUV mad.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Honestly, I don't care what M division does with SUVs as long as the M3 can bring the goods on a road course.

      It would suck if (with drivers of similar skill) the next M3 can't pass a car that costs half the price like the STi/EVO, 370Z or Mustang GT at the track.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Make it less than 3,100lbs and no more than $45,000 and I'd possibly want one.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's a BMW so it'll start at $40000 but cost $50000 with turn signals.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The days of ~3,000 lb cars are disappearing. Not just because customers generally demand (and manufacturers happily make) larger and larger cars, but mostly because of all the 'stuff' that is now required in cars. Even my Boxster is over 3k and it is one of the lightest nimblest cars around.

        Every car these days needs many air bags, side impact beams in the doors, greenhouses that are basically strong enough to be rollover cages. The seats have to be strong enough to not fold in an impact, etc. etc.

        Purists (and I count myself among them) like to pick on power windows, locks, seats; air conditioning; radios; etc. for making cars heavier, but it all contributes and the safety stuff is not optional these days and I think it is a larger share. Same story to a lesser extent with emissions equipment and now hybrid drive trains -- all will make cars heavier. Look at the 'light' versions of all sorts of cars that come out these days and even they are only a couple hundred pounds lighter than the original version.

        Maybe the light cars will come back as carbon fiber and plastics become cheaper and stronger, but until then, I am happy if they keep the weights below 4k!
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Boxster is actually under 3000lbs.
        • 5 Years Ago

        Seems kind of foolish to say that 3000 lb cars are still here when the only one that comes to mind is a 300,000 dollar super car that only 0.001% of the population will buy.

        Of course, there are sub 3k econoboxes and the occasional sports car like an s2k (now discontinued).
        • 5 Years Ago

        The upcoming Polo GTI (2011) model, is 7.5% lighter than the previous generation Polo GTI.

        This is all while shifting from a manual to 7speed Dual Clutch Transmission
        And packing features like SatNav standard.

        Trust me bro. Weight savings can be made. BMW just doesn't care.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hmm... M3, or Mustang GT and ~$15K in cash still in pocket? Methinks the Ford will win this comparison--at least for me, as I could give a hoot about badge prestige.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Considering the recent review that Autoblog did on the 2011 GT and GT500, I would have to agree with you(Samurai Jack). If I can get a Mustang GT with a carbon fiber roof option, coilovers, and short shifter from the dealer, I'm sold. The new 5.0 doesn't suffer from Vanos failure, does it?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeahh... but they're two different cars. One handles allright and has an interior many people complain about, and probably shoddy build quality in some places... the other handles like it's on rails and is luxe all across the board.

        All depends on what you're looking for..

        Me, i'll take a Hyundai Genesis with the updated 2.0 turbo if i were shopping for a muscle car ;)
        • 5 Years Ago
        It'd be great if they redid the Genesis Coupe with the new 2.0T, and it'd be a fantastic car. But I think if it increases the price it'll actually hurt sales more than it helps them. I don't think the Genesis Coupe has broken out into the market they wanted to and so the actual customers are very price sensitive.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They haven't announced availability of the updated 2.0T in the Genesis Coupe, have they?
      • 5 Years Ago
      They've talked the talk. Let's see if they walk the walk. I just don't see it. It'd be nice if the next M3 was more Elise and less luxo-barge but luxo-barges are what sell, at least here in America. BMW isn't going to hurt their bottom line for the sake of being true to the original M theme.
        • 5 Years Ago
        BMW can still sell larger / big cars - that's what the 5s and 7s are for, not to mention the idea of 9.
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