BMW M1: The Only Supercar BMW Ever Made
BMW M1: The Only Supercar BMW Ever Made
7:25

BMW M1: The Only Supercar BMW Ever Made

Auto Tech
-[unk] -Did you know BMW once made a supercar? Its engine is in the middle. It was designed to go racing and it very nearly didn't happen. It's a piece of automotive legend and its name is the BMW M1. The M1 only lasted four years, from 1978 until 1981. It was BMW's first, and thus far, only attempted as a proper supercar. Its development, though, was an interesting one, but also rather tragic. You see, BMW wanted to enter the various GT Championships around Europe, but to do that, you need a car. So, they got in touch with Lamborghini, the experts at making mid-engined GT supercars of the era. Lamborghini naturally said, "Yes, we'd love to do it" and took all of BMW's money. However, shortly afterwards, they got themselves into some serious financial difficultly and BMW had to get all these things back. The result, well, is pretty spectacular, a 3.5-liter mid-mounted straight-6 supercar. It would do 160 miles an hour, and apparently, will do now to 60 in just 5.6 seconds. The M1 is based on 1972's turbo concept which debuted at the Munich Olympic Games. It was designed by Giugiaro and it's covered an incredible detail. First and foremost, take a look at all the vents. It's got some here, some here, some here, lots on the back, some here. It's just awesome to look at. Then, there's the sheer size of the thing. It's just giant. It's the kind of car you'd draw when you're a schoolboy. And then you look at the wheels. It's like something a Martian would eat his dinner off. The coolest thing on this car, they bore the two BMW badges on the boot, is the kidney grille. It's that one piece of BMW design language. It's been on every single car the company has made and that detail, having very small front was also continued on the 8 Series from the '90s. But one thing talking about how pretty it looks and another thing, how's the driving. The interior of the M1 is-- well, it's very dark and very, very '70s. Everything is in German. Most of the switches are understandable, but lots of them are really odd. There's excessive amounts of tweak. It's got some lever which is all very noisy. I bet that you notice Michael Jackson's leather jackets from the '80s. It's just-- It's well designed, but it's still really comfy, which I wasn't expecting. I was expecting a horrible driving, lots of pain and backache, and anger and shouting and all that kind of thing, but actually, it's all right. Performance-wise, well, the old girl still got it. You can put your foot down and it will just fly, but there are a couple of other caveats to that. The throttle, well, is kind of like a creme brulee experience, like you tap through the hard shell before you get to the creamy deliciousness. Well, it's kind of like that. It's kind of hard to push down after 31 years, but when you do, you start going quite quickly. The engine noise, well, I like the engine noise. I kind of like that. One of testaments to BMW's engineers that's held up for so long. Also, the gear box, the dog leg one, ideal for racing, so the thing is the M1 was designed to race in GT Championships, but the problem is, just before it was launched, well, they changed the rules. So, the M1 couldn't endure anything which is why BMW creates the Procar, which is basically a one-make M1 Racing series. Eventually, the Sports Car Championship rules were changed and BMW could take the M1 Racing for real. Procar itself is pretty cool and this is [unk] standard, but the Procars with added giant turbo, they had 850. That's quite scary because this thing shits. Alarmingly well for something of its age, size, and weight. M1s, well, they're basically [unk] to BMW [unk]. They kind of like unicorns to, you know, people that like fairy tales and they're incredibly valuable. One just sold in the states for about $400,000 and that was pristine. That's a lot of money for a 30-year-old jewel car that isn't a Ferrari. It's quite incredible to [unk] these things have. Having driven it, having experienced it, having felt what it's like, still even now, it holds up really well and it's been an absolute privilege to be able to pilot it. So, that was the BMW M1, the only true supercar BMW has ever made. It's also the only opportunity you'll ever get to own that badge on a supercar. It's also worth noticing that this is the only car that has ever borne the M1 badge. It's kind of sacred in BMW look. This is the kind of car that'd adorn the schoolboy's bedroom walls to show their mate that it's not only the Italians that can make fast, glamorous, exciting cars. And also, even though its life was short and its development was interesting, well, it did find its way into two other very, very famous M cars, the original 635CSi and the first-ever M5. Both have modified versions of the M1's 3.5 L hard. [unk] go, the M1 ain't bad.

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