Through the years many supercars have been forgotten; For many years the Jaguar XJ220 lived in the shadows of the faster McLaren F1. But no supercar was overlooked to the extent of the BMW M1. A design based off the 1972 BMW Turbo concept, BMW approached Lamborghini to pen, engineer and build the final production car, but Lamborghini’s financial situation led to BMW employing Ital Engineering who completed the half-finished development of the M1.
Designed to race in Group 4, the unfortunately lengthy development meant the M1 was no longer eligible to race. This led to the creation of BMW’s Procar Championship, in which 20 of the 457 M1’s raced. Despite the M1’s rather shambolic research and development period, the resulting production car is an absolute gem. The mid mounted 3.5-litre straight-6 produced around 280hp, more than enough to take the M1 to 160mph. The combination of such power, supple handling and BMW build quality and engineering has garnered the M1 the reputation of being the first civilised, usable mid engined supercar; a far cry from a Lamborghini Countach.
BMW M1 Development History – Video (Top Gear)
BMW M1 Gallery