The 1M: Everything We Need & Nothing We Don\’t

Last week we told you what the 1M wasn ‘t. Now it ‘s time to talk about what it is.

On the eve of the 1M reveal (or partial reveal) we published an article arguing that the 1M may have reached un-warranted mythical status. We posed the question; has all the hype turned a good car into an undeserving great car? Now we want to present the other end of the opinion spectrum.

Numbers, technology and bespoke parts mean nothing if there isn ‘t feel and emotion. Much like the MINI JCW GP, the 1M was put together in short order by a dedicated team of individuals bound together to do one thing; create a car (above all else) that brings fun back to the M Division.

And interestingly much like the GP ‘s early days, there ‘s been much debate on this site and forums about the would be success of the 1M.

The 1M was created as an entry point for the M brand. A back to basics car with a manual transmission, high output engine and a wicked differential to apply all the power. It ‘s the M brand distilled down to it ‘s vintage core. And the truth is we love every bit of it. No we haven ‘t driven the 1M but the principles that created the car are the same ones that inspired us to create this site.

The 1M will not be a technological tour de force that some had expected. It will not be the stripped down 2800 lbs rocketship that some had hoped for. Instead it will be nothing short than an M3 killer in a smaller, cheaper package. Much like the Z3 and Z4 M Coupe, sources are telling us that the 1M will be a car built strictly for enthusiasts. Being offered only with a manual transmission means the 1M is only as good as you are. If you ‘re crap, the car is crap. On the other hand, if you ‘re smooth and fast, the 1M will likely be sublime in a way that few cars are. There will be no pretense.

The 1M likely won ‘t be subjected to the same soccer mom abuse that M3s have to deal with. This will be a limited car with a limited audience. As BMW enthusiasts we should all rejoice, this is a car specifically for us. Years from now when we see a first generation 1M pull up to a light, we ‘ll know the driver and the car are serious and pure.

So why are so many disappointed about the details of the 1M? We think it comes down to fact that the 1M has a very focused audience. If you don ‘t like it, you ‘re simply not the one being catered to. And that ‘s the beauty of the 1M.

Focused on a core audience who require a purity of concept and (above all else) a car with soul. It sounds the perfect concept to us.

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  • JonPD

    Great write up Gabe!

    I have my criticisms of the 1M but there really hasn’t been anything produced by ///M lately that has me longing for the car. I adore the E86 but in a great many ways the 1M really just has captured my interest.

  • Elegiac

    I have been eagerly awaiting this car because I too hope it will be a distillation of what an M car should be.

    However, I am worried about the limited production numbers. Reading on this website that only 500 units will be sold in the U.S. is truly dispiriting. Limited availability will lock out a lot of buyers and contradict the whole idea of introducing M to a new generation of enthusiasts.

  • Andrew

    The Z3 & Z4 M’s were pure performance machines. Not the fastest or most attractive(Z3 coupe’) but they were all about driving. Not convertible cruisers and not people haulers, just cars for driving.

  • Dylan Bland

    That’s a good point. What is the thinking behind the limited numbers combined with a low price? Why not try and meet what demand there is for the car at the price point decided? Or are the so called limited numbers a marketing trick to fuel demand? I’m not fussed this car is amazing either way. Do want

  • Could not have said it better.

  • Micah

    Word. Proof will come in BMW’s actual execution of these ideas, i.e. how the 1M feels & drives, which no one other than a couple select BMW M team members have done so far.

  • Managing one’s expectations is critical given the constraints of this project. With that said, it’s going to come down to price for me at this point. I was expecting more, and thus, I was willing to pay more. Given the lack of a bespoke engine, marginally changed interior, non carbon roof, and relatively high weight, this car is not worth more than $44K USD to me. I’ll have had my 135i (Feb/2008) for 3 years by the time this car hits our shores, and I’m sick of the interior quality, exhaust note, and general lack of spirit or x-factor of the car. I’m confident that ///M will fix the later on the 1M, but is the rest of the car going to be enough for me? Will it have enough feel and be fun to drive to the point that I overlook the aging platform and dated interior? Maybe, but only for so much money…

  • 1Mc

    I doubt there are any surprises left with this car. Sure a few more details will leak out, but I think at this stage we all just have to wait for the first reviews on how it drives.

    And compares to the TTRS and Cayman S!

    rubs hands

  • Status Kill
  • Status Kill

    Nope none at all…. put lipstick on a pig and it’s still a pig

  • 1Mc

    The 1er is no pig however. I can’t wait for this thing.

    Roll on January!

  • JonPD

    Sorry to say guys but all the hate being directed at the 1M just comes off like a current 3 driver realizing they are about to be spanked by a lowly 1 series. No doubt that is a simplification however.

    The Bimmerpost article was interesting to read however more than a couple of glaring errors on it.

  • cct1

    If this car is “the M brand distilled down to it’s vintage core,” why is it so heavy? Usually, if you distill something, it becomes lighter. And that’s why this isn’t doing it for me. It’s too damned heavy.

    If this is truly aimed at the hardcore, and soccer moms need not apply (as they do in disturbingly high numbers for the M3), they should strip this down and lose some pork. Then this car would TRULY be special.

    As it is now, it’s more of the BMW M and Mercedes AMG philosophy of HP first, handling second.

  • I agree but there are two things to remember. First off we don’t know the weight yet. I’m guessing it’ll be around the 135i figures but it’s still unknown at this point. Secondly the E30 M3 was almost 2900 lbs without any options. Not exactly a lightweight in its day.

  • cct1

    Yeah, the E30 M3 is heavy–and it’s why I can’t get into it. Just personal preference; that car is amazing on the track with a good driver, but it just doesn’t feel nimble.

    I was hoping that the 1M package would have more of the tii concept feel to it–if you’re going hardcore, why not REALLY do it right? At this price point (It’s pricey enough that I don’t see it as a “poor mans M; people who want something fast and luxurious are probably going to be looking at something like the 330i or possibly even an M3), I suspect that the majority of people who are going to be attracted to this car would appreciate the weight savings, and the cost of the a few creature comforts and sound deadening won’t matter to these people in the first place. This looks to be a track oriented type of car–and what better way to improve all around performance then by shedding weight?

    BMW could have it both ways; they could make a “Laguna Seca” type package for the 1M like Ford is doing with the Boss 302 Mustang…

    We’ll have to see what the final weight comes in as, maybe it won’t be as bad as it looks.

  • Micah

    Agree with cct1 here, and as mentioned in last week’s comments regarding lack of CF bits in the 1M, there are still a number of fairly simple steps BMW could take to reduce the weight by 150-200 lbs beyond the porky 3400 lb. 135, including:

    -fully manual, non heated, more minimal bolstered sport seats like those available in all of Porsche’s sports car offerings

    -minimal stereo system with fewer speakers/wires

    -no sunroof + a CF roof similar to E90 M3

    -lightweight 18” wheels w/ non-runflat tires

    -remove excessive sound insulation

    -additional use of aluminium on body & suspension

  • goat

    Excellent opinion piece Gabe… well thought and well written! Looking forward to seeing the 1M and hope the return to form for BMW is catching across their model lineup at least as a special “tii” type variant that will offer an alternative to today’s “do everything for everyone” M cars.

  • 1Mc

    They’re probably hugely aware of the desire the 1M speculators have on a low weight daily driver sports car. Outside the Cayman S, which doesn’t have rear seats, what is there really? Lotus? Not practical for many of us.

    I think they’ll introduce the 1M to us, establish their place in the segment, and get to work on a lighter even better, more refined version in 2014.

    Even though this 1M is a stepping stone in my eyes, it might feel more fun to drive than what will come in 2014. This could be the real gem.

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