BMW is developing plans for a hot entry-level M model based on a new saloon version of the second-generation 1-series. The compact four-door seeks to offer BMW with a direct rival to the future Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG and Audi S3 saloon. The new BMW is expected to feature a 2.0-litre turbo engine with a minimum of 300bhp.
But due to the heavy engineering workload that faces BMW on current new model development, the compact M Performance saloon won’t probably arrive at the UK until the second half of 2015 at the earliest. A high-ranking BMW source said that they’re “actively considering it.” He added that the company believes that the market would likely grow quickly and that the company would already have started production if it had the capacity.
According to internal BMW studies, there will be high growth in the compact performance saloon segment in the major high-volume markets like China and North America. Since the S3 saloon and CLA45 AMG are expected to arrive before the end of 2013, BMW officials hope to fast-track the new model, probably with contracted engineering, according to sources from automotive component suppliers.
A source said that the decision to create plans for an M Performance saloon that would lead prices. This stems from the incredible success of the limited-run 1-series M Coupé and the praises earned by the 315bhp six-cylinder M135i hatch. A source said that there has been a wholesale shift in the market and that the traditional M models, the M3 and M5, have become much bigger, more powerful, with better equipment and with naturally higher prices throughout the years. They still get solid sales but they’ve decided to focus on the more affordable aspect of the performance range.