The M1 Homage show car will headline for the German brand at the Melbourne Motor Show from the end of February.
The original M1 broke the mould for BMW when it was launched in the late 1970s, as it was a mid-engined supercar unlike anything in the company’s new-car showrooms.
And the same is true for the M1 Homage, which was created last year to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original.
“For BMW, heritage is always also a living heritage. Drawing inspiration from your own past and thereby reinventing yourself – that is exactly what the BMW M1 Homage demonstrates in impressive style,” says Dr Klaus Draeger, head of development at BMW.
The M1 made its name in Formula One, as a string of big-name drivers in the early eighties – including Australia’s Alan Jones and triple world champion Niki Lauda – took guest drives in the ultimate one-make series for the cars. They delighted in flinging the car, which was powered by a 630 kiloWatt turbocharged engine, around the same tracks where they raced their grand prix cars.
The Procar series created some torrid racing and another piece of history when famous pop art painter, Andy Warhol, created one of BMW’s first moving ‘Art Car’ masterpieces.
The original M1 was a limited-edition supercar but the Homage is even more exclusive, as there is only one.
It is described by BMW as a ‘design study’, which means – despite enthusiasm from many M1 fans – it will never become a production car.
The design of the new coupe has strong links to the original M1 in everything from air vents in the bonnet, louvers on the rear screen and the black cut line that divides the roofline from the rear section of the body.
It is driveable and that means its Liquid Orange paintwork has made a splash on some of Europe’s most scenic roads when it has not been starring at motor shows.
Confirmation of the Homage’s appearance in Melbourne comes as carmakers are getting to grips with the news that there will only be one major Australian motor show in 2009. The traditional Sydney show in October has been cancelled as organisers work on a single national show from 2010.
The one-show move means more brands are expected to go big in Melbourne from February 27, even though there was a widespread boycott of the Sydney show last year by prestige carmakers and some companies are winding back their spending as they face tough times through 2009.
“We are delighted to be able to announce the BMW M1 Homage show car will be arriving in Australia for the Melbourne International Motor Show,” says Guenther Seemann, managing director of BMW Group Australia.
And it will not be alone.
BMW will also use the show to preview its latest flagship, the all-new 7 Series, which will be making its Australian debut. The $200,000-plus luxury limousine has an all-new look for 2009 with a return to the driver-focussed design and drive which had been a benchmark until the just-superseded Seven.
The show will also see the first public appearance of BMW’s high-performance X6, the xDrive50i, which is powered by the same twin-turbo V8 engine as the new Seven.
– Herald Sun