BMW M1 Procar

40 YEARS OF BMW M1.

A portrait of the BMW M1: the sports car icon that made history.

40 YEARS OF BMW M1.

A portrait of the BMW M1: the sports car icon that made history.

40 years of BMW M1.A portrait of the BMW M1: the sports car icon that made history.

As well as being one of the most famous sports cars of the 1970s, the M1 is a fascinating vehicle that shaped BMW M like no other. Boasting a powerful 6-cylinder in-line engine and a striking name, the BMW M1 became a major player in the automotive world when it debuted in 1978. It can even be said that it exceeded all expectations and became an automotive legend. Four decades ago its timeless design combined with pure racing technology cast a spell upon fans of cars and racing alike and continues to do so to this day.

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5 FACTS ABOUT

THE BMW M1

  • 01 The design is by Giorgio Giugiaro
  • 02 Performance-oriented mid-engine concept
  • 03 Max. output: 277 hp
  • 04 Max. Speed: 265 km/h
  • 05 460 models were built

THE GENESIS.

Right from the start, the M1 was an ambitious project as it was the first vehicle designed by BMW Motorsport GmbH. Originally, the plan was to use the race car in the German Racing Championship. Due to its long and complicated development time and a change to regulations, the BMW M1 finally appeared in the specially-created Procar series and other competitions. A total of 460 BMW M1s were developed based on homologation specifications according to Group 4 regulations for the road and race track. Each model was handmade.

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BMW M1 design sketches

© BMW Group

PIONEERING DESIGN.

The shape of the BMW M1 goes back to the 1972 study of the BMW Turbo designed by Paul Bracq and was created by renowned vehicle designer Giorgio Giugiaro. With the BMW M1, the Italian produced a timeless design, and its dynamic body type helped cement its place in automotive history. Thanks to its striking wedge shape, Giugiaro succeeded in impressively combining sportiness and aesthetics.

 

Among the key characteristics of the M1’s distinctive look are its folding headlights, flat kidney at the front, and black slats over the rear window. Above all, however, is its low height of only 1.14 metres – a fundamental design feature that allowed it to achieve a low centre of gravity for maximum cornering speeds. At first glance, it is clear that pure racing DNA lies underneath this brilliant body.

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BMW M1
BMW M1
Italian lines, Bavarian engine design.

FASCINATING TECHNOLOGY.

The pure performance data of the M1 engine remains evident today. The 6-cylinder in-line petrol engine of the road version delivers 204 kW (277 hp) and generates a maximum torque of 330 Nm. It draws this power from 3.5 litres of displacement. Its four valves per cylinder, which work together with mechanical injection were far ahead of their time, while its impressive top speed of around 265 km/h made the BMW M1 the fastest German road sports car of the era.

Meanwhile, it featured the typical M1 sound of the high-revving in-line 6-cylinder naturally aspirated engine. Thanks to this, owners and racing drivers continue to drive the wedge-shaped BMW with great enthusiasm to this day.

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BMW M1 chassis, drivetrain and engine

© BMW Group. A technological leader in detail: the BMW M1 was ahead of its time in terms of drive and track performance.

LIGHTWEIGHT IS SILVER, BUT HANDLING IS GOLDEN.

The BMW M1’s empty weight was only 1,300 kg, which combined with the ideal weight distribution through the mid-engine concept led to outstanding handling characteristics. The engine of this top athlete – named M88 internally – achieved continued success for a long time: at the beginning of the 1980s, it served as the basis for the engines of the BMW M635i and the very first BMW M5.

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EXCITING SPORTS CAR CHARACTER.

Due to its concept and design, the BMW M1 was optimised for the challenges of the race track. At the same time, this exceptional athlete also master all the requirements required for a road license.

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BMW M1 white
BMW M1 black
BMW M1 red

BMW Pro Car Series - historical shots.

INCREASED PERFORMANCE FOR THE RACE TRACK.

Externally, the Procar version of the M1 differed from the road model thanks to its large rear spoiler, clearly flared mudguards and modified front apron. The engine was based on the production version, but with even more power – 470 hp. The M1 Procar accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds and could hit speeds of up to 310 km/h. Later, when the M1 was built and further developed in accordance with Group 5 regulations, the straight 6-cylinder petrol engine was turbocharged, offering dizzying outputs of between 850 to 950 hp.

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BMW M1 Art Car from Andy Warhol

ANDY WARHOL BMW M1.

A legend becomes Art.

ANDY WARHOL BMW M1.

A legend becomes Art.

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BMW M4 Coupé
Fuel consumption in l/100 km (combined): 10.0 - 9.9 (9.3)

CO2 emissions in g/km (combined): 227 - 225 (213 - 211) 

The figures in brackets refer to the vehicle with seven-speed M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic. Consumption data is determined in accordance to the ECE driving cycle. The models illustrated include equipment

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