In fact, not since the limited production M1 wrapped up in 1981 has BMW had something special to affix M badges to - although as witnessed in the M1 Homage concept of 2008 (shown above), the idea still burns brightly at BMW
Now it appears that instead of going it alone, BMW will develop a new mid-engine supercar with the help of British supercar firm, McLaren
As revealed by UK publication Car, Klaus Fröhlich, a member of BMW’s board of management has been in discussions with McLaren Automotive since January this year.
Steering and suspension will also likely be twinned with the McLaren models, but expect BMW to fine-tune the settings for a more unique feel.
BMW is also expected to fit its own interior, and hang onto items like iDrive for a more familiar feel inside the cabin.
Thanks to the non-structural exterior panels attached to the carbon fibre monocoque tub, BMW will also be able to assign a unique exterior style of its own, instead of simply rebadging the McLaren.
Unlike the previous M1, the new supercar will run a V8 in place of a high-output in-line six-cylinder. This new BMW engine will run quad turbos, two exhaust driven, and two electric, and is expected to generate as much as 560kW.
A mild-hybrid power boost has also been mooted, but is a less likely option. BMW’s green-tinged i8 plug-in hybrid already caters to that need and BMW will be keen to offer some distinction between the two.
McLaren and BMW’s collaboration history also marks a pivotal moment in supercar lore, with BMW providing the naturally aspirated V12 engine that powered the McLaren F1, built between 1992 and 1998.
This time around though, McLaren won’t be using the BMW engine in its own cars, instead sticking to a development of the current 3.8 litre twin turbo powering its range.
A potential road-block to the joint venture could be McLaren's limited production capacity. The current production facility in Woking, in the UK is capped at around 4500 cars per year, and McLaren has forecast that it will meet that target in the near future.
If enough production capacity can be found and BMW's new supercar does get the green-light expect a coupe arrive first, from 2019, with a roadster version set to follow some time after that.