1M Likely Won\’t Feature Major Use of Carbon Fiber


Over the last year the 1 Series M Coupe team in charge of development has been getting reacquainted with the E30 M3. Driving it, dissecting it and generally experiencing the car that helped shape the brand. The goal was to take that exposure and help is shape the 1M.

What made the E30 M3 so great wasn ‘t power but feel. The connection with the steering wheel and road are simply riveting at any speed. Then there ‘s the ability of the car to change direction quickly and be light on it ‘s feet. In short it ‘s a car that feels eager.

One of the reasons; weight. In the mid-80 ‘s automotive everything was lighter and it was relatively easy for the M Division to create a car that weighed under 3,000 lbs for the mass market. There was no carbon or aluminum needed. It was simply the side effect of making a simple vehicle.


Fast forward 20+ years and automakers (including BMW) are struggling to build four door sedans under 4,000 lbs. Weight (in the guise of safety features and crash structures) has been mandated into mass market cars at an alarming rate

Rumors have been floating around for over a year now that the 1M was to make heavy use of carbon fiber in an effort to reduce weight. And we believe this was true. Even if you look at the test mule photos over the past year you see various black body panels (sources tell us this often indicates disguised CF) peppered throughout the car.

But carbon fiber is pricey and this car needs to not be. And for once M seems more concerned about price point than even marketing exotic materials. Because of this we believe that the 1M will be devoid of the large carbon fiber components that had been rumored. Specifically that means no CF hood, trunk or roof.


The last part may be hard to stomach for some that had expect a mini version of the E9X M3 but the 1M has different priorities. They ‘re priorities that take it away from the luxury sporting credentials of the M3 and more inline with the fabled E30 M3 than anything BMW has produced in years. And according to the info we ‘re hearing and the position of this car, a carbon fiber roof just didn ‘t make sense. And to put it bluntly, a carbon fiber roof is an especially expensive way to lose 12 lbs (the number it saves on the M3).

Yes the 1M could have weight less (final figures will be available at launch) but that wasn ‘t the core idea behind this car. Like the E30 it comes down to feel.

So what about this being the resurrection of that original M3? M simply cannot make a simple vehicle like the first M3 in this age. Dr. Segler said it best recently when someone at the launch asked him about the first E30. In short he said, ‘if you love the E30 M3, you should buy one ‘. The truth is M can ‘t make a mass market car like that anymore because no one can. Various legislation worldwide precludes that. Instead they ‘re creating something that is as close to possible in feel, plenty of power and with the lowest price possible.


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  • JonPD

    Sad news about the lack of CF, expensive for sure but leaves me more than a little concerned about the weight of the car. Part of the experience of driving a E30 M3 and its wonderful feel is due to its very light footprint. I wonder if my great hopes and expectations for this development are unrealistic. I am also a bit underwhelmed with the info that keeps being stressed that this car is not about power. Stepping slowly away from the “feel” of the MINI GP. I am more than happy with the idea leaving a large amount of the luxury out of the car and concentrating on its sporting side.

    Right now seriously on the fence, i do wish BMW would let out more information to keep the buzz about the car going. I do wonder if in the next few months the fervor that surrounds this car is going to be a fond memory about such potential lost.

  • Sigh… Gabe, what color M3 are you getting? I’m thinking of putting in for an individual color.

  • Drill

    No CF Roof will sting a little but I never expected much (if any) CF anywhere else for the price range. Any idea if this means there will be more aluminum used? (Roof/Hood?)

  • Think about this way – the CF roof cost quite a bit and only saves 12 lbs on the M3.

    Another thing… We sincerely hope were wrong on this one. Personally I love the idea of this car having some naked carbon fiber somewhere. But such a large component just doesn’t see plausible given what were hearing.

  • Sigh… Gabe, what color M3 are you getting? I’m thinking of putting in for an individual color.

    Lol – I’ve known this was likely the case for some time. IMO 12 lbs on the roof changes nothing and the 1M will still be exceptional. We just need to be realistic about what to expect in terms of high priced features.

    This car will be function over form in a lot of ways.

  • You can lose 12 lbs by removing some worthless sound deadening- why spend $3k on a roof?

  • MinusG40

    Removing 12lb on the roof isn’t comparable have removing seat or thing like that because your lower the gravity center of the car …

    I hope they will still do the carbon roof on the car because that the M signature since the M3 E92 for the small M Coupe version.

  • The center of gravity stuff is marketing hype in my opinion, instead of jacking the car up 1/4 inch lower it a 1/4 and that helps with gravity a heck of a lot more than 12 lbs in the roof- better yet take out the sunroof the 135 is standard with and you save 40+ lbs which is more significant than 12 if you ask me.

    The E9 and E92 have identical performance and the E90 has no CF roof so what does that say?


  • 02Fireman

    Funny thing is SCOTT26 mentioned on one of the renderings put up on 1addicts to “put a CF roof on it” as one of the hints.????????

  • JonPD

    Its true Michael that CF bits are not going to make or break the car. Rather I think the big issue is just how earnest is BMW going to be in making this car lighter than the 135i series. As you pointed out there are items that saves weight, I have to say things like the E92 roof just makes a broad statement about the car and what it stands for. I would be just as happy with an aluminum roof however.

  • Funny thing is SCOTT26 mentioned on one of the renderings put up on 1addicts to “put a CF roof on it” as one of the hints.????????

    We love Scott and his info but sometimes things change from when he sees the proposal and it actually gets produced. We went against his rumor of the N55 and the DCT on the 1M with the same type of info as we have here.

    But let me say this; I will be the first to say we’re wrong if we hear otherwise. In fact I hope that is the case. But everything we’re hearing and seeing supports the above story.

    And don’t get hung up on a CF roof. This car is about getting the basics right. Everyhing we’re hearing indicates this will be something in similar to the M Coupe or E30 in principle.

  • Jonathan

    He never said N55, but more like a hybrid N54/N55. So is this confirmed that it won’t feature major CF parts?Or just a speculation?

  • MinusG40

    The center of gravity stuff is marketing hype in my opinion, instead of jacking the car up 1/4 inch lower it a 1/4 and that helps with gravity a heck of a lot more than 12 lbs in the roof- better yet take out the sunroof the 135 is standard with and you save 40+ lbs which is more significant than 12 if you ask me.

    The E9 and E92 have identical performance and the E90 has no CF roof so what does that say?


    Hello Mike,

    actually there is a difference between for example on the short loop of Hockenheim the CF version is 1.3s ahead …

    If you apply your lowering with a CF roof then it we still much better than a steel roof.

  • adc

    It’s actually not true that legislations worldwide preclude manufacturers from making lightweight performance cars.

    Porsche and Lotus especially would disagree.

    If an amateur can strip 200lbs from a modern BMW (brakes, wheels, front seats, sound insulation, trunk and exhaust) – then so should BMW. Keep all the body panels intact if you must, so you don’t have to recertify, but simplify the interior and put the lightest possible components around the car.

  • Porsche and Lotus especially would disagree.

    They’re not making four seat two doors sedans. Watch ALMS when the M3 GT2 is next to a 911 and you’ll know what I mean. Additionally look at the weight creep over the years on the 911 in terms of %.

    Lightweight has to happen from the outset and until M makes a dedicated car with a dedicated platform it’ll be hard to achieve something Lotus like. Would we love to see it? Yes! Are there real reasons why it’s difficult for BMW to achieve it? More than a few. However we expect M to get serious about weight savings in the years ahead.

    He never said N55, but more like a hybrid N54/N55. So is this confirmed that it won’t feature major CF parts?Or just a speculation?

    He said N55 for awhile. Don’t have time to look for the posts (here and elsewhere) but here’s one clearly referencing it.

  • Micah

    This is not a deal breaker for me. As others have said a CF roof would be nice, but I for example certainly would not want a carbon front spoiler lip, which compared to plastic for example would be prohibitively expensive to repair/replace.

    In regards to overall weight of cars, if Lotus can make a federalized car that weighs under 2000 lbs. & MINI makes one in the 2600 lb. range (for $20-30K), why can’t BMW trim some fat from the 1M and get it down to around 3000-3200 lbs vs. its likely 3400?

  • Herr26

    Using the N55 was originally the proposal. But the time factor was very much an issue. The car was only green-lighted last summer. The N55 forms the basis of the next generation M3.

    The new engine is not a straight forward N54 transplant it is more of a “Skunkworks” area of development. The whole idea behind it is based on this philosophy , using what is readily available , BMW had to be convinced that this project was worth it especially when the Coupe dies in around two years but we had done it before with the Z4M Coupe so in the end we knew it was possible. Also BMW changed the test programme eDrive 1er to the Coupe to prolong the Coupe to accomodate the 1M.

    As for the Carbon Fibre Reinforced roof , every M in the design studio which is where I see it first is designed using every M appendage , I have seen the 1M with a Carbon Fibre Reinforced roof aswell as a sunroof (which is what US customers prefer?)

    Everything mentioned previously such as personalisation will be carried over to the next generation 1M which will arrive in 2014 and switch to four cylinders as we have more time and budget to accomodate the next generation model rather than the year and limited resources we had with the E82.

    Although a 1M was initially part of the strategy when the E82 was being conceived but rejected because of the proximity to the M3 and other engineering solutions that did not work out the way BMW expected.

  • JonPD

    That is great news for the future Gabe about ///M working on the generally bloated cars today. Next huge step for me for the future is the seemingly never ending size creep from BMW. With these two directions will we see a lightweight boat from ///M in the future. Weight issues plague a large portion of manufactures. Actually the significant weight gain is mostly because of the attempt to keep the costs down. Safety does not have to add a lot of mass but usually is extraordinary expensive.

    Having said that I would love this car if the could keep the weight to 3000-3200lbs also Micah.

  • Micah

    Herr26 I promise you that potential 1M owners would much prefer a carbon roof to a sunroof!

  • Facinating stuff – thanks Herr. I love the idea of the F20 1M being four cylinders and making the two generations distinctly different.

  • Micah

    Yes, the F20 1M sounds more like the spiritual offspring of the E30 M3 given its engine & reduced mass relative to E82 1M.

  • JonPD

    I agree in a great many ways the F20 1M is sounding like the car the wait for.

  • chas58

    Yes, the regulations add weight, but several auto manufacturers are still targeting lighter cars to increase performance and economy.

    Audi did the 2880 lb A4 experiment (losing 500 lbs). Apparently they liked the result so much, that the next generation car will lose 300lbs. Not bad, Audi. http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/car/10q1/lightweight_audi_a5_2.0t_concept-prototype_drive

    A 2800lb 3 series (or even 1 series) would be a nice drive. I know people in the US like their toys, but a properly optioned 328 weighs about the same as a GTI with a passenger.

    Ball is in your court, BMW…

  • For me, it’s not just beecause it looks pretty, but the following: 1) It reduces ~50lbs from the highest point of an already tall and porky sports car. Weight is weight. 2)It’s distinctively ///M and helps seperate the 1M visually from the look of the standard 135i. 3)It also allows for more headroom (helmet) without the sunroof. Many of us would have chosen a sunroof delete on our 135i’s if we could’ve.

  • One thing I feel is very important to keep in mind, particularly given the criticisms levied at BMW and M, is that, having personally met the men behind the M brand and product in NA, is that these men are enthusiastic gear-heads first. They didn’t come to BMW from Whirlpool to manage “just another company,” see the big 2.5. These men live and breathe BMW’s and M and Motorsport and are every bit as enthusiastic about cars in general as the BimmerFile readership, and it’s occurred to me that they fully embrace their stewardship of the core values these brands represent.

    The landscape for vehicle production has changed dramatically since the days of our beloved E30’s and E28’s. There are onerous continuously variable regulations about everything from emissions to crash structures, considering the necessity of ultimate endorsement of the buyer by opening the checkbook, it’s my opinion that these men are giving us exactly what they can given the real constraints under which they operate. They’re heavier cars because they have to be. If they gave us CF and aluminum body panels and doors, consistent with current safety regs, on an almost bespoke basis for such a small quantity of cars, the costs to the buyer would be such that we either wouldn’t, or couldn’t buy it.

  • JonPD

    I am not attacking anybody at either BMW or ///M, they have a huge number or great people and general car nuts. I however do have my criticisms about the overly heavy and large things wearing the roundel these days, not to mention the items they attach ///M badges to.

    No secret here but I firmly believe the greatest performance gains in the future are not with massive HP alone. I feel weight reduction is the most important. Having said that I would expect for basically a stock 135i engine for them to try to gain the extra performance with weigh reduction.

  • I agree in a great many ways the F20 1M is sounding like the car the wait for.

    Based everything I’ve seen and learned I think it’ll be the opposite.

  • AJH

    If this is going to be a low volume car like the mini GP, how about they lose the pointless rear seats? It would cost next to nothing and save about 60 pounds.

  • Micah

    Instead of making excuses for BMW, how about looking at some practical, effective weight savings measures that BMW could incorporate into this version of the 1M?

    -loss of sunroof: 40-50 lbs. saved from top of car -CF roof: additional 12 lbs. saved -minimal sport seats with all manual adjustments & no heat: 50-60 lbs. saved -minimal stereo with fewer speakers/wires/no nav: 10-20 lbs saved -remove (but not eliminate) sound insulation: 50 lbs. saved?

    There’s an easy 150 lbs., with more to be had with additional use of aluminium in body & suspension pieces. I honestly do not believe buyers would not open their checkbook because of no heated/power seats for example. In fact I believe such spec would attract buyers who are sick of too much extraneous BS in & on our cars.

    Respectfully submitted.

  • Micah

    Proper formatting did not come through in my post above, but it’s still readable. Sorry.

  • JonPD

    I agree on all points Micah.

    As a GP owner – removal of the backseat

    Would also love to see something like the fabric door pulls.

    I don’t know Gabe, I go back and forth. In many ways the F20 sounds like it will be a full ///M development, so I would imagine that since the F20 is supposed to be lighter and I would imagine versus the N54 the next engine will be a bespoke build. I still have massive interest in this car and money down on one, I will be watching it closely to see if I should direct the funds elsewhere.

  • I just hope we get the option of hand stitched cartoon tigers on our headrests…

  • You can lose 12 lbs by removing some worthless sound deadening- why spend $3k on a roof?

    Good point. As another one mentioned, losing the sun roof saves more weight and costs virtually nothing. Speaking of costs, the M3’s CF roof adds about $1k over the sun roof. This might be too much for a car that’s not meant to be too ‘pricey’. From a marketing point of view, I wouldn’t want to risk leaving out another (albeit newer) M trademark feature because of 2 percent of the car’s price, though.

  • 1978.530i

    Could a CF roof be offered as an option, or is that not workable from a manufacturing perspective?

  • South- good points just remember that the sunroof is an adder too!

  • Evan

    I’d personally like to see the backseats stay. They are small, but work for kids and the occassional rider. I could never consider the excellent GP because of the lack of seats. I’m also someone who is sad that there won’t be a next gen 4 door M3.

    I say cut weight where able, keep it a true daily driver and increase the feel. The engine sounds like it’ll be excellent. A little less unsprung weight in the corners, minimal options and I’ll be happy.

    Can I replace the E90 with just this… probably not from a baby perspective. And I’ll never part with the MINI. I have already asked my wife how we can get this car when it’s out. Those arches, the pricepoint, the promise of an M-tuned 1er…. BRING IT!

  • Micah

    Good point re: unsprung weight Evan. In addition to the weight saving items discussed above, let see some lightweight 18s for wheels too.

    And in regards to fully manual lightweight bolstered sport seats, if Porsche can offer them in the Boxster, Cayman, and all iterations of the 911, BMW you can offer them for the 1M too. Even if they are an upcharge I would do it…the weight savings & added functionality are significant.

  • I’m also hoping for lightweight 18″ wheels, but hope they’ll offer the M3 seats in manual and cloth. Leave the M3 to be the luxurious one. I want a hooligan.

  • nickminir56

    Keep the price low is the goal of this M. Why a 1M buyer should pay extra $5-7K for extra 10-20 lbs weight saving and potentially huge repair cost? Most of us can do that by joining a decent GYM for less than $500.

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