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.