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BMW M1 (Apeldoorn, NL).jpg
Also calledBMW E26
453 built
AssemblyGarching, Germany
DesignerGiorgetto Giugiaro
Body and chassis
ClassSports car
Body style2-door coupé
LayoutRear mid-engine, rear-wheel drive
RelatedLamborghini Silhouette
Engine3,453 cc (3.5 L) M88/1 DOHC I6[1]
Transmission5-speed manual
Wheelbase2,600 mm (102.4 in)[1]
Length4,361 mm (171.7 in)[1]
Width1,824 mm (71.8 in)[1]
Height1,140 mm (44.9 in)[1]
Curb weight1,300 kg (2,866 lb)
SuccessorBMW Nazca M12 (spiritual)
BMW Nazca C2 (spiritual)
BMW i8 (spiritual)

The BMW M1 (BMW type code E26) is a sports car produced by German automotive manufacturer BMW from 1978 to 1981. In the late 1970s, Italian manufacturer Lamborghini entered into an agreement with BMW to build a production racing car in sufficient quantity for homologation, but conflicts arose that prompted BMW to produce the car themselves.[2][3] The result was sold to the public, from 1978 to 1981, as the BMW M1.

It is the first mid-engined BMW to be mass-produced, the second is the BMW i8.


M88 engine

The BMW M1 is the first of the M cars and employs a 3,453 cc (3.5 L; 210.7 cu in) M88/1 petrol six-cylinder engine with Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection. A version of this motor was later used in the South African version of the BMW 745i, of which 209 examples were built between 1984 and 1986, as well as the E24 BMW M6/M635CSi and E28 BMW M5. The engine has six separate throttle bodies, twin-cam 4 valves per cylinder producing 277 PS (273 bhp; 204 kW) at 6,500 rpm and 330 N⋅m (243 lbf⋅ft) at 5,000 rpm in the street version, giving a top speed of 260 km/h (162 mph). Turbocharged racing versions are capable of producing around 850 hp (634 kW).

The M1 coupe was hand-built between 1978 and 1981 under the motorsport division of BMW as a homologation special for sports car racing. The body was designed by Giugiaro, taking inspiration from the 1972 BMW Turbo concept car. Originally, BMW commissioned Lamborghini to work out the details of the car's chassis, assemble prototypes and manufacture the vehicles, but Lamborghini's financial position meant that BMW reassumed control over the project in April 1978, after seven prototypes were built. Since the engineering of the car was still incomplete, a group of former Lamborghini engineers that had founded a company named Italengineering offered to complete the car's design. Less than 10 miles away from the Lamborghini shop, the engineering for the M1 was finished. Only 453 production M1s were built, making it one of BMW's rarest models.[4] Of the 453 produced, 20 were race versions created for the BMW M1 Procar Championship.


The M1 had various successes in motorsports. In 2004, Sports Car International placed the car at number ten on their list of top sports cars of the 1970s.

The M1 is not related to BMW's 1-series compact executive car which started production in the 2004 model year, nor is it related to the BMW 1 Series M Coupe which started production in the 2010 model year.

M1 Procar championship[edit]

Nelson Piquet with BMW M1 in 1980 at the Nürburgring

In 1979 the head of BMW Motorsport, Jochen Neerpasch, devised a one-make championship using racing modified M1s. The series was created to aid BMW in building enough M1s to enter the group 4 classification in the World Championship for Makes. The new series, known as the "Procar BMW M1 Championship", served as a support series for Formula One, and included many Formula One drivers in identical cars.

The series ran for two years, with Niki Lauda winning the 1979 season, and Nelson Piquet the 1980 season. After BMW met the standards for group 4, the Procars were used by various teams in the world championship as well as other national series.

M1 Homage concept[edit]

BMW M1 Homage concept at the 2009 Dubai International Motor Show

In April 2008, BMW unveiled the M1 Homage concept, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the M1. The concept vehicle uses a mid-engine layout that borrows styling cues from both the original M1 and the BMW Turbo show car.[5]

The M1 Homage concept was first shown to the public at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este of 2008. The design was created by Giorgio Giugiaro who got his idea from the BMW Turbo concept designed by Paul Bracq. The BMW Turbo had many technical and advanced innovations from BMW that were part of the inspiration of the M1 Homage concept.[6] The front of the car differs the most from the other parts of the car. The front sports double head lights which are not the same as pop-up type that are on the original M1, but the usual trademark of the kidney grilles is present. The M1 Homage also incorporates the double badge on the back of the car like the original M1. There are no photos of the interior of the car or of the car in action, nor have the specifications of the car been released. BMW has confirmed that the M1 Homage will not be produced.

Vision EfficientDynamics concept and the BMW i8[edit]

Vision EfficientDynamics concept at the Johannesburg International Motor Show in 2011
BMW i8 frontal view (production model)

After the M1, BMW designed some mid engined concept cars but none of them inspired a production car until 2013, when the Vision EfficientDynamics concept led to the BMW i8. The BMW i8 is based on the Vision EfficientDynamics concept, which is a plug-in hybrid with a three cylinder turbo-diesel engine.[7] The production car was designed by Benoit Jacob.[8] Series production of customer vehicles began in April 2014.[9] It is also the first mass-produced mid-engined BMW since the M1, which heavily influenced the design.


  1. ^ a b c d e Norbye, Jan P. (1984). "BMW Goes Racing: Motorsport, Engines, Adventures". BMW - Bavaria's Driving Machines. Skokie, IL USA: Publications International. pp. 186–189. ISBN 0-517-42464-9.
  2. ^ New and Used Cars. "BMW M1 (1978-1981) CAR HISTORY". Retrieved 2010-10-03.
  3. ^ "BMW (E26) M1". Archived from the original on 2010-02-28. Retrieved 2010-10-03.
  4. ^ Webster, Larry (June 2014). "BMW M1 Procar". Road & Track. 65 (9): 66–69.
  5. ^ Gluckman, David (April 2008). "2008 BMW M1 Homage Concept". Automobile Magazine. Source Interlink Media, LLC. Archived from the original on 1 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
  6. ^ "Concept Vehicles - M1 Homage Press Release - BMW North America" (Press release). BMW of North America, LLC. 27 April 2008. Archived from the original on 27 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
  7. ^ Abuelsamid, Sam (29 August 2009). "Frankfurt Preview: BMW reveals Vision EfficientDynamics turbodiesel plug-in hybrid concept [w/VIDEO]". Retrieved 2013-08-07.
  8. ^ Boeriu, Horatiu (24 December 2012). "BMWBLOG interviews Benoit Jacob, Head of Design BMW i". BMWBLOG. Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  9. ^ Eric Loveday (2014-03-10). "First BMW i8 Deliveries Scheduled For June – Final Performance / Fuel Consumption Figures Released". Retrieved 2014-03-10.

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