The BMW 1 Series M that went on sale in 2011 was a vehicle that needed more time in development, the engineer behind the car has revealed.
Speaking at the launch of the all-new BMW M2, Frank Isenberg – the chief engineer behind both the 1 Series M Coupe and the new M2 – said he felt that there were some elements of the existing model he would have liked more time to iron out.
“That tricky behaviour at the limit,” Isenberg said was the thing he didn’t want to replicate with the new M2.
“We were not really happy with it, but I think it just happened,” he said.
“We had a very short development time. It was the first time that we used the turbocharged engine with a lot of torque. All this to put together maybe could have used a year more development I think,” Isenberg said.
The 1 Series M Coupe was widely criticised for being a handful to handle at speed, a vehicle that seemed to want to push you off the track. Isenberg indicated that while that may not have been to all tastes, it was a trait that some admired.
“On the other hand, this created a very special character,” he said.
“People are happy to drive the 1 Series M Coupe. The stability control system was not that sophisticated… it was not really refined,” he said.
“It is a big step ahead now,” Isenberg stated, with the new model introducing a far more advanced traction control system including a multimode drive system with Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes, while the fidgety MDM buttons have been removed.
Isenberg said that in Sport+ mode “you can have a nice slide, a small slide, which is fast”, and that if you want to “go really sideways” you can simply turn the traction control off – as pictured above.
Isenberg went on to explain that the “puristic” nature of the 1 Series M was something that the new M2 needed.
“Looking back to the success of the 1 Series M Coupe, we kept it easy, simple – a puristic car,” he said. “The differentiation is [between the old model and new M2], I think, right,” he said. “It really fits into the middle of the M235i and M4.”