BMW has introduced the smallest and least expensive M-Series model, but it won't be around long.

If you’re hoping to get your hands on the 335-horsepower version of BMW’s pint-sized 1 Series, better put your $46,135 down fast.  The maker plans to only have the newest offering from its vaunted M division on sale in U.S. showrooms for a matter of months.

In decades past, it wasn’t uncommon for BMW M – or rival Mercedes-Benz, with its AMG division – to offer a limited number of vehicles and make them available for only short runs.  But more recently, the makers have discovered there’s strong enough demand – along with the huge profits – to justify making models like the BMW M3 or Mercedes CLS63 AMG a regular part of the line-up.

But due to a variety of reasons, the 1M, as BMW is calling it, “will be a one-year car,” Matt Russell, the U.S. M brand manager, told

Designated a 2011 model, the 1M is just rolling into showrooms, but it will go out of production no later than December of this year.

The maker hints that a future update may be in the works, but it could be some time before a model dubbed 1M returns to the States because the more conventional 1-Series is about to go through a significant update.  There’s typically a delay of as much as several years before BMW adds a high-performance M edition of its conventional products.

The name of the 1M might confuse BMW fans, as other products produced by the brand-within-a-brand typically carry a designation like M3 or M5.  The problem is that the model name M1 was used for a legendary model rolled out in 1979.  And, like a sports team retiring a special athlete’s jersey, the M1 nameplate has been set aside – at least for now.

Whatever it is called, the new 1M is the lowest-priced model – adjusting for inflation – ever to roll out of the M brand.

Sharing many of its underpinnings with the slightly larger BMW M3, the newer addition features a 3.0-liter, twin-turbo inline-six powertrain that can launch it from 0 to 60 in just 4.7 seconds.  Top speed is electronically limited at 155 mph,

The $46,135 price tag doesn’t include an $875 delivery charge.  “Max-equipped,” said Russell, meaning the addition of every possible accessory, will push the price of the BMW 1M to $54,085 plus that $875 delivery fee.

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