This is no ordinary BMW 1 Series. It’s proper ‘M’ kit with all the hallmarks of a car from BMW’s in-house super tuning division.
That said it’s a bit of a Frankenstein project taking parts from both the current M3 and Z4 SDrive 35IS and creating something very special. The in-line six-cylinder with twin turbochargers from the Z4 cranks out a thoroughly satisfying 250 kW and 450 Nm. There’s a wide torque band too, all the way from 1500 rpm to 4500 rpm. It’s gets better. Keep your right foot pinned to the firewall in any forward gear ratio and you’ll get to play with an extra 50 Nm, taking peak torque up to 500 Nm.
You’ve got to remember though, the 1 Series M tips the scales at a modest, if not light, 1495 kilograms. That should be extra fun on track given its relatively short wheelbase of 2660 millimetres and redline sitting at 7200 rpm.
Forget about paddle shifters on the latest ‘M’ car, the only choice in transmission is a new six-speed manual box that should be treat to play with.
With a price tag fractionally under $100,000 entry into BMW’s exclusive ‘M’ club doesn’t come any cheaper than a 1 Series M Coupe, but if you want one, and haven’t registered with your local BMW dealer, then you’ve more than likely missed the boat, at least with the initial allocation of around 200 examples.
It’s selling well too, with 1054 1 Series M Coupes finding new homes between April and July this year. Thankfully and like all other ‘M’ cars in BMW’s garage, the 1 Series M is not a limited production model; the problem for Australian customers will most certainly be with Australia securing enough of the production output over the those folks in the UK who have already snapped up 400 of them.
Styling wise, there’s no mistaking this diminutive Beemer for anything other than a proper ‘M’car. The front apron is aggressive and especially deep, with three massive air intakes to regulate overall cooling of the engine and brakes.
The ‘M’ division have gone all out on the super wide treatment of front and rear wheel arches, and that more than anything, other than the badge and quad tailpipes, says ‘M-Power’.
The 19-inch lightweight alloys are an equally good look and have been lifted straight off the M3 with Competition Pack. They’re also one of the many standard features on the 1 Series M Coupe.
In fact, the inventory of standard kit on board the least expensive ‘M’ car is a pleasant surprise. There are Bi-Xenon headlamps with Adaptive Headlights to a ten-speaker harman/kardon audio system and everything in between. That leaves only a small options list for those with extra cash to spend.
Key performance numbers are 0-100km/h in 4.9 seconds and a top speed of 250km/h. It’s not a world beater on it’s acceleration time alone, but the 1 Series M Coupe is already being hailed as an all-time driver’s car by people in the know. That’s always the way with BMW, especially when talking about the ‘M’ cars. Straight-line speed is only one part of the driving experience; the handling, balance and communication through the steering wheel, throttle and brakes are just as important.
Those that have already driven the car in Europe say that on certain race tracks the 1 Series M Coupe is recording quicker lap times than the M3. That alone should get your undivided attention. It certainly has me smiling.
Stay tuned for a complete review of the 1 Series M Coupe on Thursday with plenty of great images.