Firsty, this car is going to be excellent simply by glancing at one little fact: it is capable of doing the 0-100km/h sprint in 4.9 seconds yet the package returns an EU test cycle fuel consumption rating of 9.6L/100km. This proves, straight away, that this car is designed with no compromise in mind, either way. It must be fast and it must be efficient. It almost sounds impossible.
Not many other cars currently on the market, apart from some Lotus models and some electric vehicles, are able to return such 'best of both worlds' figures.
The new M Coupe is packed full of technology to help it achieve post-21st century efficiency. One of the main elements to help the car remain so efficient is the inclusion of BMW's Efficient Dynamics system. It comprises of regenerative braking technology, Stop Start, direct-injection and needs-based control of the auxiliary components.
Leading the efficient technology front is the regenerative braking system. In a normal car without regenerative braking, every time you hit the go pedal, some of the engine's power is sapped to turn the alternator to constantly recharge the battery. In this, it works in a way so that the alternator does not put demands on the engine during acceleration, only deceleration. So the alternator recharges, predominately, under braking or at any time the accelerator is relieved. (If the battery is running low, the alternator will engage, obviously, regardless of accelerator position)
The other important factor to this car's efficiency is the 3.0-litre 'TwinPower Turbo' BMW M engine. It outputs 250kW of power and a maximum torque of 500Nm, when the overboost function is initiated (full throttle). As much as 450Nm of torque is almost always available though, from as little as 1500rpm. That amount of torque at such little revs puts this car above most V8s in terms of low-end torque. The engine is also supported by the latest direct-injection technology.
Moving on from the technical aspects aiding efficiency, the car is also relatively lightweight, tipping the scales at 1495kg - as previously predicted. The suspension components, including the front end's double-pivot MacPherson strut and the rear end's five-link independent system, are almost made entirely of aluminium. Other features such as the stabiliser bars and control arms are made from forged aluminium, while the shock absorbers themselves are made also of aluminium.
Out on the road, the 1 Series M Coupe promises to fulfill every enthusiast in terms of performance driving. It features a traditional M differential at the rear, which provides up to 100 percent lock under extreme circumstances. This means acceleration and engine power will never be wasted away by a single-spinning rear wheel; both wheels are variably given power using a number of on-board sensors, and power is directed according to which wheel (left or right) has the most traction. If there is no traction, both wheels lock together, rotating at the same time.
Deceleration is provided by inner-vented 360mm grey cast iron discs at the front and 350mm discs on the back. Both discs are mounted on a floating basis, as per traditional M cars. It basically means heat has a hard time hanging around the braking surfaces and is dissipated quickly and efficiency, thus repeated heavy use of the brakes may be used without hindering stopping performance. The floating setup also helps eliminate the chances of the discs becoming warped under extended use as the disc is literally floating, meaning it can expand and contract freely as surface temperatures change.
Inside the car, it's traditional BMW fare with loads of creature comforts such as an optional wide-screen (8.8 inch) sat-nav and multifunction LCD screen, leather trim and a Harman Kardon surround sound stereo system.
The interior is also accented by discreet M sporty details such as exposed red stitching between the leather, Alcantara-wrapped instrument cluster and a bespoke M steering wheel with the traditional M button. This button sets the car (suspension and engine) up in its most sporty setting in one touch.
So, it looks like the new BMW 1 Series M Coupe truly is a BMW M car in tremendous proportions. Now we just have to wait for the Australian release. CarAdvice spoke with BMW Australia about the local release date, unfortunately the company said it is too early to be specific at this stage but expects it to be around the third quarter of 2011.
Pricing is also yet to be confirmed.