New Details Emerge on the 1M After Press Drives

The 1 Series M Coupe. A car that is quickly becoming a lightening rod on BF for both positive and negative comments. In fact few cars have generated as much interest on the site outside of the venerable M3. Today we ‘re going to go in-depth on the 1M and talk about some new details that have emerged via early road tests, new information we ‘ve received from sources and some old details we can finally publish.

1. The Engine & Transmission

Yes the 1M carries a modified N54. In fact it ‘s basically the same unit found in the Z4 35is with some software upgrades. Power will be right around 340 hp (specifically 335 hp from several sources) with 330+ lbs of torque (around 370 lbs with a seven second overboost). Redline is 7000 rpm and power (so we ‘re told) is impressive from the lowest revs all the way up the dial. In fact the engine has so much torque that Autocar reports starting in 6th at 1000 rpm without any driveline shunt.

Yes it ‘s not a “real ” M engine. However, not all is lost according to Automobile Magazine. Here ‘s an excerpt:

I would moan about this not being a “real ” M engine if it weren ‘t so damn good in the first place. The purist in me says that this car, wearing an M badge, should have an 8000-rpm normally aspirated derivative of this motor. The rest of me tells myself to shut up.

Electronically there aren ‘t quite the same M3 level of personalization but there are several level of traction and stability control as well as throttle mapping that can be controlled by the M button the steering wheel.

As we scooped a month and a half ago the 1M will only come a six speed manual transmission. And if you ‘ve been reading BF you ‘ll know that it ‘s the same unit as found in the E9X M3.

The sound at idle is slightly louder than the 135i but doesn ‘t have the same presence of the E9X or even the E46 M3s.

Suspension, Brakes and Handling

Underneath the 1M there ‘s more M3 than you might think. In fact most of the suspension and brake components have come over unaltered and are the main reason for the most aggressive rear fender bulge ever seen on a modern BMW. In fact the only real change to many of them was to optimize everything for a car that will weigh substantially less than a stock E92 M3 (at around 3400 lbs).

However one thing that didn ‘t come over were the adjustable dampers. Yes the 1M will have the fixed steel set-up to save weight and complexity. However if there ‘s one thing that M knows how to do its create a wonderfully predicable and controllable suspension. We have high hopes.

The steering is still a little bit of a mystery with some publications saying there is “plenty ” of road feel and ideal levels of effort contrasted by others that claim vagueness. This is one only a test drive will solve.


The 1 Series coupe refresh will be debuting with the 1M this January at the Detroit Autoshow and will feature very minor cosmetic changes. Most notable will be the front headlights that will add the characteristic BMW eye-brow seen on the new 3 Series. It helps alleviate the bright eyed look that the 1er has often been criticized for and bring it inline with the forthcoming F20 1 Series slated for a 2013 release. (You can see a mock-up of the new headlights above)

Around back the rear lights also ape the 3 Series look with light tubes that turn upwards on the corners.

Finally inside the 1M will feature exclusive black and grey gauges for both the speedometer and the tach.

Pricing and Production

Given what we know about the car and positioning we expect the base price to fall somewhere in the $46-$47K range. Options should be minimal and colors (as reported on BF) will be limited to Valencia Orange, Jet Black and Alpine White.

We ‘ve heard two rumors when it comes to production numbers. Some believe that there will be a production cap on the car at 2700. Then there are those that day M will build as many as they can sell but only for about eight month (until the end of 2011). At that time whatever has been made will be the final production figures. We believe the latter makes more sense given the market but it ‘s still too early to be definitive. Either way the 2700 will probably be close to the final number.

Production should start in March with Late March and Early April Deliveries for Europe. Expect the UK to follow in early May and the US in the May to June time period.

You can read more articles on the 1M (including our hands on with the car) in the 1M category right here on BF.

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  • Jack

    So what’s new here? You just reiterated what the magazines said and was known before. No offense fellas, I like you, but this article sounds more like self-praising rather than reporting.

  • Jack

    and i thought you guys confirmed the 2700 units. a bunch of bs that everyone fell for it. why would bmw do 2700 units only?!

  • JonPD

    Another interesting read Gabe.

    Several things I have read from people that were at the driving event said that the sound was comparable with the stock 135i and that the engine seemed to leave its best range well before the top end and a bit of turbo lag. Still really wishing they would have gotten either you or Michael over there as over the years I have learned to trust your guys insights on cars.

    Lots to love about this car however I have three major points of concern as it stands today. Steering feel, engine performance at the bottom and top end, and finally the sound. I would have hoped for more than a slight change to the Z4 35is. I don’t want to come down to hard on the 1M before I can lay hands on one but right now I am feeling this car is about 50% ///M for what I personally consider to be a true ///M car. Final choice to pick one up will likely wait until I hear the final production car and see what the final stats are. I am truly on the fence if this really is the car for me still.

  • jayparry

    Missing a duck-tail spoiler and carbon roof are what bugs me. Even an optional carbon roof and a painted BMW perf. spoiler would be good.

    That said, people have to keep up with progress tho and not kvetch about engine/driveline. Its a amazing car whatever you want to call it. (personally i would have gone with 135 tii but there are no shortage of opinions.)

    BMW has given you the smaller, tighter, widebody M car you have all asked for!!! Everyone will lament what it doesn’t have but come to love everything that it does.

  • and i thought you guys confirmed the 2700 units.

    Several public sources have mentioned it and it’s been forums all over the web. So because of that we’ve mentioned it as a possibility. But there has never been a 100% confirmation.

    So what’s new here?

    Quite a bit along with many new details that we’ve either not been able to say or that weren’t known until recently.

  • What I await is knowing whether the M3 steering was used or if the 1 Series system was tweaked. If it is the latter the short wheel base should help this thing have fantastic turn in and be point and shoot more than even the E46 M3.

    The way I have been reading the engine info is that like the IS motors (which were parallel projects with all 3 teams talking rather than 1 project) the small stock turbos run out of steam in the high revs- the thing is if you look at the curves there is no need to rev it out like that. Driving it to its strengths rather than what you want it to be will yield the best results and I am sure it rocks like that.

    There is NO way the exhaust sounds only a litlle better as the BMW performance system is fantastic! I await a drive of this thing at some point- I may have the most seat time in the current M3 out there as 50k is just ahead. So I think I might be a good judge of the 1M, but that is my opinion.


  • JonPD

    Yep I look forward to both of your guys getting some seat time.

    To me the 1M’s basically stock motor is a huge departure for ///M. Even a mild tune job would have been better than just a software upgrade. While its true ///M is known for world class suspensions they are equally all about bespoke engines. Heck, the jcw MINI even got more loving under the hood than the 1M. A lot of my major disappointments with the jcw brand can be echoed here. I have little love for partially developed cars that leave glaring spots open.

    Still looking forward to seeing more reviews and laying hands on one of these cars.

  • GaryS

    Seven second overboost? Seriously? That is an M?

    Everything else I’ve heard sounds okay. But seven second overboost is a joke.

  • Micah

    I would argue that the character & feel of the M car engine is as important as the outright power. Will be disappointing if it does not pull all the way to 7K & suffers the power falloff of the other N54 variants. I am not interested in buying a 1M for battling fanboyz in stoplight wars, & do not want 300+ ft lbs of torque at 1500RPM. Would much prefer the power up high in the rev range…and turbo motors can certainly be developed to respond as such.

    Reports have varied so far, so lets hope it pulls through redline, & also has outstanding steering/road feel. Have yet to meet an electric steering system I yet like, so hope the M division has worked some magic on the 1M’s steering system.

  • Ben

    So the engine is more or less the same as the Z4 is and the 335 is (give or take a few horses between the three iterations) but BMW calls its an M car for this one and not the other two?

    I have to say I am just quite diappointed. It can’t even match the output of rival Audi’s S4. I should probably rephrase – BMW choose to produce a less powerful car than it is capable of doing.

    The styling is so boring (with or without the silly covers). I can’t think of any suprise that is underneath that can get me excited.

  • Steve

    Definitely looking forward to an official review from Gabe/Michael although I was hoping for a more “raw” options for the 1M like the Mini GP…

    Too many people are getting caught up in horsepower numbers. M cars are so much more than hp. M cars are defined by the total driving experience: handling, brakes, steering feel, seats, etc. M cars are among the few cars that you can be driving 25mph and still get excited…

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  • JonPD

    Agreed Steve that ///M is about a well rounded car. However engine performance and sound are also a part of the experience. I was driving home yesterday after work and had the windows down. I pulled up to beside a Z4 35is and accelerated with him away from the light with a bit of eagerness. Next to the sound of my GP the Z4 is largely lifeless. I keep my rpms low at the next light as he blasted away from the light.Bleh the engine note and exhaust note is one of the worst sounding things I’ve heard from BMW for decades. It has decent performance but seriously lacks a sporty sound. Since basically the exact same engine in the 1M I have some rather serious doubts about going after the 1M if this sounds as anemic.

  • S.G

    I’m sad production figures are going to be so small…