BMW 1 Series Tii Concept - click above for high-res image gallery
Audi has the mid-engined R8 (now available with a 525-horsepower V10). Mercedes-Benz now has the AMG SLS (with more power than the R8 – 563 horses). BMW has... a 500-horsepower V10 in a 4,000 pounds M6. Not exactly competitive in the supercar department these days. Well, according to everyone's favorite British Buff Book (EVO), BMW will be releasing a new supercar. Probably something resembling a mashup between the M1 Homage Concept and the Vision EfficientDynamics Hybrid Concept. However, it might not be called M1. Or, it might be.
Here's the thing – BMW is also believed to be working on a buffed out, super version of the 135i (based on the Tii Concept) that semi-logically could be called the M1. Check out the supposed stats on this little puppy: a reworked twin-turbo 3.0-liter motor good for 400 hp and 370 lb-ft of torque, a 150 pound weight reduction, seven-speed dual-clutch tranny, the M3's suspension and torque-vectoring rear end. Where do we sign up?
The issue is that some people within BMW feel the semi-sacred M1 moniker should be reserved only for a car that replaces the 1978 M1, the first car BMW's Motorsports Division ever made (even if Lamborghini played a roll). They do have a point, as among us gearhead types the M1 is a pretty reverential piece of machinery. However, what would you call an M-caliber 1 Series?
Autoblog's advice is this: nothing's sacred. Call the hopped-up 135i the M1. No one cares except for a few old timers within BMW and a few fanatics on the outside. Besides, the aforementioned old timers have sat idly by as the fabled M Division has arguably diluted its once lofty rep by releasing the X5 M and X6 M. It's all water (and money) under the bridge anyhow. And by freeing themselves from this false dilemma (because really, who cares?), BMW is free to name the new supercar the M8.
Failing that, just name the mighty 1 Series the Tii (confusing almost everyone) and reserve M1 for a proper supercar. We don't really mind, as long as both cars go on sale. And no matter the name, it sounds like the range-topping 1 Series should see the light of day in 2011 and the new supercar – which will pair BMW's 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 with two electric motors – should come online around 2012. Color us excited.