BMW supercar stopped in its tracks

BMW has decided not to build a successor to its fabled M1 mid-engined supercar of the late '70s and early '80s, according to the M-division product manager of the company’s North American operations.
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High-performance BMWs such as the M3 and M5 will be the German car maker’s only “ultimate driving machines”, at least for now, the car maker’s Matt Russell told motoring website EgmCartech this week.

BMW had already told this author in 2008 that plans for a new supercar to rival the likes of the Audi R8 had been frozen as it focused on other developments, but it seems the red light on the project is now permanent.

The Munich-based manufacturer sparked rumours of a new supercar when it unveiled the stunning, wedge-shaped M1 Homage concept (main picture and above) in April 2008 that paid tribute to the then 30-year-old original.

“We’ve discussed the [mid-engined supercar] possibilities,” Russell told Egmcartech. “But ultimately we didn’t feel the need to make a very exclusive high-end supercar and we still don’t. I already firmly believe that we already produce supercars, except that they’re two in one: an executive car with supercar performance. They are the essence of BMW M-cars.”

BMW was offered vast sums for the M1 Homage concept by well-heeled enthusiasts and has been inundated with questions from buyers about a new supercar since the show car was revealed.

The original M1, powered by a 207kW 3.5-litre inline six-cylinder, achieved legendary status despite being built in limited numbers of only 450, between 1978 and 1981, as part of a homologation program for BMW’s motor racing ambitions.

BMW’s next sports car will be more environmentally focused.

The new i8, due in 2013 (and pictured above), combines a rear-mounted electric motor and a three-cylinder turbo diesel engine to produce sub-5.0-second performance in the 0-100km/h sprint but also low fuel consumption and emissions.