The M division won't chase AMG and Audi Sport.
With the reveal of every new car, BMW, Audi, and Mercedes are always looking for new ways to outdo each other. Mercedes recently laid down the gauntlet by announcing its new, AMG-tuned 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine for the upcoming A45 and CLA45. The new motor, dubbed the M139, will produce a whopping 416 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. For a hot hatchback, 416 hp is a huge amount of power, even enough to dethrone the mighty 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine in the Audi RS3.
The Bavarian automaker just revealed the new 1 Series hatchback in its M135i guise with 302 hp, so it wouldn't be surprising if BMW decided to reintroduce the 1 Series M, this time in a hatchback body style to compete with the A45 and CLA 45. However, it appears that an even hotter version may already be out of the question.
Speaking with Auto Express, M product boss Carsten Pries said the M brand needs to focus on building products with global appeal. "If you look at the relevance of performance hatchbacks, they are not global things,” Pries explained. The last generation 1 Series hatchback, for example, was never sold in the United States. Too bad, because we would have loved a 335-hp hot hatch with rear-wheel-drive. Even the new 1 Series isn't slated to come to the US, but will instead be repackaged as the 2 Series Gran Coupe.
In M135i form, the new 1 Series hatch is perfectly aligned with the lesser Mercedes A35 and CLA35 models as well as the Audi S3. When asked if BMW could build a hotter version to rival the 45 models and the RS3, Pries said, "If you put something like an ‘M1’ on top of it - working title, of course - you would have to increase the price again because you put more substance into it. But whether this would then be a smart business proposition is not something I would answer with an immediate yes."
Instead of building a hotter hatchback, BMW may have its sights on a much larger M car. "We had a customer from the US [who] I had lunch with recently, and I asked him ‘to your eyes, what is the size of the X7?’ For us, it is huge in Europe. He said ‘it’s normal.' That shows you it is always dependent on the perspective that you look at things from," he explained. BMW recently revealed a more potent X7 M50i variant with 523 hp, so it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility to see a 600-hp X7M in the future.