BMW is planning a massive shake-up of its M Division lineup, including plans for an A45-rivalling 1 Series that produces 300kW.
International reports today suggest plans have been approved for a new go-fast 1 Series, with an M-stamped model with AWD and 300kW of power designed to take the fight to the Audi RS3 and A45 AMG.
This new model is not to be confused with the BMW M135i xDrive, which will feature a lower-output engine aimed squarely at the A35 AMG.
The last true M-fettled 1 Series arrived in 2012, wearing the convoluted nomenclature of the BMW 1 Series M Coupe, and a price tag of $99,900. That car was powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre, six-cylinder engine good for 250kW and up to 500Nm.
But Mercedes will change the hot hatch game with its upcoming A45 hatch, with the "world's most powerful four-cylinder engine" producing a staggering 310kW and 500Nm in top-spec S trim.
And it would seem the fanfare surrounding that new model has not been lost on the folks at BMW, who - despite previously suggesting the 1 Series wouldn't be in line for the M treatment - now appear to be working on a hot hatch capable of rattling the AMG.
The 1 Series might be the smallest new M model, but it won't be the only one, with UK publication AutoCar reporting the brand's R&D boss, Klaus Fröhlich, is planning an all-out assault on the performance market.
That strategy is spearheaded by new M3 and M4 models due next year, as well as a new M2 CS. The brand will reportedly also focus on a range of bespoke M models (cars not born of an existing product) inspired by the brand's M Vision Next concept - a carbon-tubbed PHEV producing 441kW, and that will rocket to 100km/h in three seconds.
Other new product reported includes a bahn-storming M version of the upcoming X8 SUV, which could produce as much as 450kW.
And in great news for Australian shoppers, the brand's local arm is taking an 'if they build them, we'll take them' approach to future product, pointing to our love of performance vehicles and our high proportion of M sales as motivation to unleash the full go-fast range here.
"You only need look at our share of M vehicle sales in Australia. Of course we'd look at future performance vehicles," a BMW Australia spokesperson told CarsGuide.
Do you want to see the 1M Coupe make a comeback? Tell us in the comments below.