Next year, BMW will bring out coupe and convertible versions of its compact 1-series. They will join the two-door and four-door hatchbacks already on sale in Europe and will be the first versions of the 1-series to set sail for North America. It's hoped that the two new entries will goose the sales of the model line, which have been tepid so far.
To give the 1-series a further image boost, BMW is considering an M version (the M1). The M1 would launch late next year, which is a viable date considering that the current 1-series will remain in production until 2011. The engine would be the 333-hp, 3.2-liter six from the outgoing M3. It's an expensive engine, and it needs work in the mileage and emissions departments, but it could deliver the goods. According to an internal document, the M1 would accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 5.2 seconds and could reach 175 mph.
Looking further into the future of the 1-series, the next generation of the compact could spawn two particularly intriguing body styles.
One is a no-frills, lightweight roadster that would revive the Z1 nameplate. Designed to be tauter, noisier, and faster than the comparatively plush Z4, the Z1 would be powered exclusively by four-cylinder engines, possibly turbocharged. It would have a manual soft top and manual steering. Air-conditioning, a stereo, and a navigation system would be optional.
The second car is a reincarnation of the 2002tii, complete with a shark-nosed front end, a three-box body design, and "waterline" styling. With BMW's new turbocharged, direct-injection four-cylinder engines able to deliver up to 275 hp, there's no need to install a heavier and thirstier six. The car would be strictly rear-wheel drive and would feature hydraulically actuated rear-wheel steering. It also may get flared wheel arches like those on the Schnitzer/Alpina/Koepchen 2002 racers from the 1970s; round head- and taillights complete the picture.