BMW rules out M-tuned 1 Series
It's not giving up on the segment, though.
BMW has shot down the rumors claiming it will make a range-topping, high-performance variant of the third-generation 1 Series (pictured) with over 400 horsepower under the hood. The company confirmed it's not planning to follow its rivals into super-hatch territory, but it has something else in mind.
"The M135i is exciting, but there are no plans for a high-performance 1 Series," said Marcus Flasch, the head of BMW's M division, in an interview with Top Gear. The 302-horsepower M135i xDrive he referred to is the line's new flagship.
The 1 Series recently switched to a front-wheel drive platform, and it's powered by transversally-mounted engines, so BMW can't stuff a straight-six under the hatchback's hood. Making a more powerful model would require developing a more powerful turbocharged, four-cylinder engine, which is the route rival Mercedes-AMG has opted to take with its compact models. BMW has ruled out this option, however.
Instead, BMW will direct enthusiasts seeking a compact model tuned by M to the M2. Flasch told Top Gear the next-generation M2 will be made in the same mold as the current model, meaning it will arrive with rear-wheel drive and a turbocharged straight-six engine. Don't expect to see it until the early 2020s, though.