The i8 was cool but this is the real BMW supercar we’ve been waiting for.
Prior to 2013, BMW fans that were subject to estate taxes and the wrath of the Occupy movement were having trouble not straying from the brand to buy a supercar made in other parts of Germany. None of BMW’s M cars were anything you could consider boring, but unlike Audi and Mercedes, BMW didn’t have a supercar. So BMW gave us the techno-bastion of a car in the form of the i8. It didn’t quite compete with the Audi R8 or Mercedes SLS AMG, so its niche appeal didn’t click with the sonorous engine-loving crowd.
But that’s all about to change because BMW has just made the surprise reveal of the decade. Remember the mid-engine M1 supercar? Well it’s back for 2016 and it looks ready to tear the faces off of the Audi R8 and the Mercedes-AMG GT. Like the i8, the new M1 will feature a carbon fiber reinforced plastic passenger cell, form-follows function aerodynamic styling, and the 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 from the M5, except now it makes 600 horsepower that will be sent to the rear tires after passing through a seven-speed double clutch transmission. An ultra-light body was high on the list for BMW, and it pulled this off by making the new M1 200 pounds lighter than the i8 after peeling away the electric motors and lithium-ion batteries.
This allows the car to settle at an even 3,190 pounds, meaning that if BMW has done things right with the chassis, we should have a real supercar beater on our hands. Not only will this BMW hit its German counterparts where it hurts, but it will take the fight right to Ferrari and McLaren's doorstep. BMW's first attempt at a mid-engine supercar didn't go so well, so will the modernized version of it be a success? Given BMW's recent hits like the M2, we think it will. Don’t expect this bundle of motoring purity to come cheap when it debuts late in 2018. A cool $220,000 places this Bimmer straight into Ferrari 488 GTB and McLaren 650 S territory. At least it retains the signature louver engine covers as a shout out to the last M1.