BF Overview & Analysis: the 1 Series M Coupe

This is the one we ‘ve been waiting. Yes we have much love for M ‘s current range of products but it ‘s been hard to hide our excitement for this car. The 1 Series M Coupe (as it ‘s officially known) is inspired by the car that many of us look at as the ultimate M car – the E30 M3. The 1M (yes that ‘s our BF approved abbreviation) has been made possible by leveraging the proven components of the current M3 ‘s drivetrain. It has allowed M to create a plausible business case for the new model and thus keep the price reasonable. So let ‘s go over what we know about the car:

Performance:

  • Modified and twin turbo-charged N55 engine with anywhere between 335-350 hp with similar torque figures.
  • The M3 ‘s trick differential (LSD).
  • M3 derived 6 speed manual (there will be no DCT option). (EDITOR: Sources indicate that the M DCT will be optional as it is the buyers preference)
  • While the car will feature weight savings techniques, the final figure may not be lower than the 135i due to the extra performance equipment.
  • Quad exhaust.
  • M Aerokit.
  • Upgraded 135i brakes (with functioning air ducts).

Exterior:

  • It will have a thorough personalization program similar to what MINI offers.
  • Rumors persist that there should be some use of carbon fiber on the exterior – See the fender/A-pillar junction.
  • M stripes are likely to be a signature look.
  • 18 ” Competition wheels will be available in two finishes (as seen above).
  • There will be no chrome trim on the exterior of the car.
  • Matte paint will be an option in some markets.
  • M will likely bring back retro BMW and M colors such as Inka Orange.

Interior:

  • Seats available in full and half-leather using M tri-color pattern on center of seats (like E30 / M3 Evo).
  • M tricolor pattern on door panels (like E30 / M3 Evo).
  • Carbon fiber dashboard panels / Aluminum panel options.
  • Titanium and body color matched pieces extending to the door handles and gear shift surround trim.
  • Alacantra seat fabric and roof headliner.

According to sources the Tii concept foreshadowed much of what we’ll see with this new 1M. Furthermore BMW is looking to take what they’ve learned from MINI and translate that into the 1M. BMW is well aware that people are modifying their cars (especially M3s and MINIs) to make their own personal statements. They want to create that experience from the factory and (naturally) profit from it instead of aftermarket companies.

One thing you can’t miss is the width of the fender flares. If you thought the standard 1 Series Coupe had flared fenders, the 1M will blow your mind.As you can see from the provided images, the texture of the unpainted fender material exposed above the camo-vinyl approaching the A-pillar validates the suspected use of thermoplastic fenders. Of course there’s a reason for this new found aggressiveness beyond looks. For one M wanted to create more stability with the 1 Series platform. But perhaps more importantly they also wanted to leverage as much as the E90 M3’s drivetrain components. That means the rear axle and the M3’s trick mechanical differential will be carried over in this car.

What does all this mean? You ‘re looking at an E92 M3 with less weight, a little less power but with all the ingredients that make that car so special. It may not have the flowing lines of the E92, but it has a purity in the entire package that the M3 may have a hard time matching.

Of course that last sentence deserves a big asterisk until the moment we drive it early next year. A test drive we ‘re definitely looking forward to.

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  • Drill

    Gabe, will the engine be a modified N54 or modified N55?

  • Mark

    I am soooo looking forward to this. I absolutely love the 1 series, and can’t wait to see he finished product.

  • Dylan

    I love this car. I want this car. Am I wrong in saying though that it still wont be “affordable” in the same sense that the E30 M3 was affordable? In many markets the 135i is not an affordable car..it’s premium…luxury… and it makes me sad that the BMW M products are still out of reach for so many enthusiasts who just want a cool looking car that goes fast. The E30 M3 seemed like a stripped out racer for the road…a race car that M developed in a hurry because they had to…and I think the price reflected that? Better start saving..must own this 1 Series M Coupe 🙂

  • Chris

    I was really hoping they would SIMPLIFY the 135 rather than make it MORE complicated… yes this will be a beast of a machine, but we are looking at what, $45K pretty easy here? I don’t care who you are, that is NOT affordable. $35K is even tough for most car enthusiasts to swallow.

    I would have much prefered a simple LSD rear, lightweight simple interior and a NA, high revving, straight six with ~250-300hp. //M is about driving, and driver involvement is a key issue with that. BMW keeps pushing more and more tech down the line when they could capture MANY more hearts with something simpler. At this pricepoint they are going to have a hard time attracting a wider audience… I can get a lot of exciting cars in the $45K pricerange, many of which are faster than this will be.

  • Fillip

    I’m very intrigued by this car. I hope it can fill the void left behind when I got rid of my MZ4.

    Regarding “affordable”…. well, it is an M car, so they probably won’t make it too cheap. Based on 135 pricing, 335is pricing, M3 pricing…. I think estimates of a base price around $45k are probably realistic.

    @Dylan… the E30 M3 was over $30k new in 1988-1991. Based on inflation rates in the past 20 years, that is the equivalent of well over $50k today.

  • mellowmcs

    No DCT option = no longer an option for me 🙁 oh well. I guess I’ll have to go see the MINI dealer for a 2011 model S now.

  • mellowmcs

    @Chris – BMW has made such a car. S52 M Coupe 1999-2000. 3100lbs full wet with 160lb driver. Simple LSD, 3.2L inline 6 with 240hp (crank) that often dynoed at 215-222hp at the rear wheel. My own M Coupe dynoed at 220hp several times. I ripped out the super heavy stock seats and put in Recaro SRD.

    I was hoping the 1 series M Coupe would be a good companion but with no DCT option I can’t spend the money. It would have been my primary fun/autox and commute car and due to my handicap a DCT is a must.

  • goat

    IDEALLY, I would rather have seen the car trimmed to ~2100lb and the motor kept NA but bumped to 300hp. (The 3.0L I6 in the EU-market 130i puts out ~270hp as it is so 300hp is not that impossible to hope for.) But I’m not going to bellyache, with the turbo motor and even with no significant drop in weight this will be a helluva car to aspire to… the trim size in particular makes it unique among today’s uber-performance coupes. Can’t wait to see the review on BF!

  • Micah

    Promising for sure! Any speculation about price range?

  • Eliot

    In theory, this car would be really great. But, honestly, a modified N54/55 just doesn’t do it for me in this type of car. In an everyday sports coupe like the 335i and 135i, it’s a great powerplant. But in a focused sports car, I’d much rather save a little bit more cash to get an E92 M3 and its naturally aspirated V8 than get the cheaper 1 M Coupe with its less interesting N54/55.

  • Chris Brake

    Definitely cheap for an M car, but not “cheap” in general terms. On top of that you’d probably be lucky to get one for MSRP, and with options these things will be flying low to middle 50’s.

    Exciting prospect, but one I’ll be watching from afar.

  • Dylan

    I don’t mean to hijack this thread, but if you look at how much New Zealanders have to pay for BMWs I hope you guys in America will see what I’m saying when it’s not “affordable”.

    The 135i with no options is NZ$84,000 which converts to US$59,631

    The M3 with no options is NZ$152,900 which converts to US$108,532

    I paid NZ$54,000 for my lightly spec’d R56 MINI which converts to US$38,300

    So not really “affordable” in our market. But I guess if Dr Kay means “more affordable” than an M3 then yeah, it will be more affordable!

    Still want one tho.

  • Ben

    It looks mean! I like.

  • Micah

    I dig the looks and spec, especially if it’s available in a couple non-metallic colors and with few options — no nav, minimal stereo. Will seriously consider the 1M as a car to replace my MINI GP. Just wish it did not weigh so much…

    As asked previously on BF, in this price range it’s a tough choice between a new 1M and something like a used 997 Carrera S.

  • Catalin

    Some observations:

    • There is already a naturally aspirated 1-series with 272hp – the 130i. Slap on a Quaife LSD and you have 90% of what you want.

    • The next era belongs to turbocharged (and more efficient) cars. Every M will be turbocharged, and I kept wishing for naturally aspirated engines until I drove the 335i. Now I will never buy a N/A car again.

    • Quit dreaming: The 1M will cost significantly more than the 135i. Probably 10k+ more.

    • Did they went all the way to modify the N55 engine in order to have 2 turbochargers (instead of the single twin-scroll), and not using the N54 from the Z4 35is which already has 340hp ? I find it hard to believe…

  • I want to add that Albert Biermann is one of the original people that gave us enthusiasts the E30 ///M3 along with many of the earlier M products. If sources are to be believed he had a huge role in development of this car and he like our good friend Martin Birkmann is a true enthusiast. If he was able to convince the marketing folks to build even half the car he wanted this thing is going to ROCK!

    ALSO- I have been hearing that the M DCT will be optional remember, outside the US they love DCTs, SMGs et al.

    -M

  • Roy

    It’s looking like a really good entry M car. As a 135i owner and autocrosser and previous M car owner it will surely be better for auto-x than my stock car with the wider track and LSD. Will I buy one? Not likely, as a few well thought out mods and M suspenion bits will get me close enough for a lot less money than a new 1 Series M Coupe.

  • Mason

    “What does all this mean? You’re looking at an E92 M3 with less weight, a little less power but with all the ingredients that make that car so special. It may not have the flowing lines of the E92, but it has a purity in the entire package that the M3 may have a hard time matching.”

    Keep in mind that the m3 has more power at sea level, but in Denver, the cars will be pretty close in power. Also, I just bought my first car, a 1995 BMW 318ti clubsport.

  • Capital

    I can’t tell, might this be a better or worse M car than my e46 M3? Roughly same size, weight, suspension, diff, HP (though more torque), but no S54 engine!

  • chas58

    I have to agree with Chris and all those who are looking for something more in spirit of the BMWs core values.

    Give me a car with similar weight and performance specs to the e30 ///M3 in a modern package and an affordable price (no, it doesn’t need a hand built engine). A 130i club sport, ZSP, tti, or whatever. ///M cars are wonderful, but at my budget I’m working on a base 328 with my own upgrades and mods. Yes, BMW could sell me a car like this from the factory and keep the profit themselves – they already make most of the parts I need