BMW and Maserati
BMW has chosen Italy's Villa D'Este Concours event to unveil its homage to the M1 supercar
The flowing lines are pure concept car fantasy, making the modern-day M-car one of the most successful BMW designs of the noughties.
It's wider, taller and wilder than the original, but sat alongside the original, some similarities are clear the slats over the rear window and the front grille, in particular although BMW has played down the M1 Concept's importance, claiming it's a design exercise celebrating the 30th anniversary of the first M1 hitting the roads.
But with the Audi R8 taking on the fast car establishment (and winning), a Bavarian rival seems certain as the German brands try to match each other's model ranges and crazy niches.
Mercedes-Benz already has a new gullwing supercar in the pipeline, so it's unlikely BMW would miss the party.
BMW sponsors the Concorso D'Eleganza Villa D'Este and has debuted several high-profile concepts there in the past, including the Rolls-Royce 101EX. That made it into production only marginally diluted as the Phantom Coupe, so fingers are well and truly crossed that the M1 Concept avoids too much meddling should it end up hitting the roads.
The event at Lake Como brings together classic Italian sports cars alongside studies from the major design houses, and several other cars have shared attention with the M1 this year.
As well as an estate version of the Quattroporte, the Bellagio Fastback, there was another Maserati concept on show the A8GCS Berlinetta.
Produced by Carrozzeria Touring, there will be a handful built and sold to those affluent enough to add one to their garage, and despite looking like a reworked GranTurismo it is practically all new, with only the engine and transmission shared with the GT.
The A8GCS isn't just a styling study either, with Obody on frame¹ mechanicals instead of a run-of-the-mill monocoque build. As well as making the Berlinetta that bit more exclusive, it means the car weighs little more than a supermini at around 1200kg, boosting performance, and all important in the current climate cutting emissions and fuel sipping. It seems like a rather beautiful way to save the world.
It comes on the back of rumours that Maserati is planning a downsized coupe to bridge the gap between high-end Alfa Breras and the GranTurismo. So, around £50-60,000S about the price of a Porsche 911, in fact. Funny, that.