The M1 was the first car produced by BMW Motorsport. Originally released in 1978, the M1 experienced production and homologation problems that kept it from international competition until the car was no longer competitive. First shown at the Paris Motor Show, the M1 was discontinued in 1981.

  • 1978 - 1981 BMW M1
  • Year:
    1978- 1981
  • Make:
  • 0-60 time:
    5.6 sec.
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Back in the late 70’s BMW was having a hard time in group four touring car racing. The 3.0CSL was getting old and a replacement was needed to show the Porshce 935 who was boss. It was thus decided to build the M1 using styling queues from the 1972 Turbo concept car. The M1 was always a heavy car and was sadly never very competitive, its looks go a long way to making up for this as a road car though.

 The BMW M1 is a supercar automobile, and was the first and only mid-engined BMW.

This rarest of modern BMWs was manufactured from 1978-81.

The Giugiaro-designed M1 was to be assembled by Lamborghini, but Lamborghini’s poor financial situation and assembly delays caused BMW to move assembly to Baur, the German convertible builders. 

 By the time production resumed, the homologation rules for international Group 5 racing had been changed. Since BMW had not met the required sales figures, the M1 went to the new Procar series instead.

 By the time BMW had sold enough cars, the M1 was no longer competitive for Group 5 racing. In 1981, David Coward and Kenper Miller won the IMSA GTO category.

Only one road going version of the M1 was produced. Several racing versions exist with power outputs of up to 850bhp.All of the 456 M1’s built were left hand drive except two. One RHD model recently turned up at Munich Legends with only 8000 miles.

 With a 24-valve cylinder head, the engine had 277 hp at 6500 rpm and develops 239 ft/lb of torque at 5000 rpm. Several racing versions exist with power outputs of up to 850hp.

 The M1 was all Italian in look and feel, but had a big BMW engine wailing from the back. As one writer puts it, "the sensation of having that twin-cam six just behind your head is hard to describe-it’s like extra bass, but without the 12-inch woofers." Only a handful of road versions of the M1 exist.

Though the car never saw a great deal of racing success, the M1 is remembered as a refined and civilized supercar in the true BMW tradition, with great handling and stellar build quality. In 2004, Sports Car International named the car number ten on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1970s.

 M1 Road Car
Cylinders: 6 in-line, mid mounted
Capacity: 3453cc
Power: 277hp @ 6500rpm
Torque: 243lb @ 5000rpm
Weight: 3175lb
Max Speed: 162mph
Acceleration: 0-100kmh(62mph) in 5.6sec
Fuel Consuption: 14.4mpg
Front Wheels/Tires: Alloy 7x16 205/55 VR16
Rear Wheels/Tires: Alloy 8x16 225/50 VR 16
Engine Mangement System: Kugelfischer-Bosh Mechanical injection

Blas Nicusor
About the author
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: