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.