1M Pre-Driver Talks About the Experience

One of the problems BMW faces with allowing 12 seemingly random people to drive the 1M is the uneven responses to the car and the imperfectly articulated opinions. However as you ‘d expect there are a couple from the group that can string together a few sentences and form some respectable thoughts. The first one (that matches all the above) has posted his thoughts on the biggest 1 Series forums site 1addicts. The best part? He ‘s also a 135i owners. Here ‘s an excerpt:

Personally, obviously I am not a professional road-tester and nor am I even a weekend track warrior, but I think this car is going to be great. It won’t be for that vocal minority looking for a stripped-out screamer, but the rest of us will I suspect think it is fantastic, rather as Chris Harris appears to. It feels much more different from the 135i than you’d expect and actually a bit more like an E92 M3. In fact, I’d guess that BMW had the E46 M3 in mind when developing this car. Part of this is down to the revised quad exhaust system, which provides a bassy, almost hollow, soundtrack that is noticeably more complex and potent-sounding than my 135i (which is fitted with a Performance Exhaust), even if it is perhaps a touch quieter than the racket the Performance Exhaust makes. Definitely provides plenty of aural pleasure though.

The car comes with an “M” button on the steering wheel similar to that found on the E92 M3. Personally, once I’d found it, I left it permanently on for the improved throttle response. As standard, the 1M has a sharper, more responsive feel than the 135i, but engaging the M button definitely gives the car a welcome further dose of alacrity when you brush the accelerator. And brushing the accelerator reveals that this car feels much more eager than the 135i and is genuinely rapid. It may not be very much quicker in absolute terms, but it certainly feels it – on the autobahn you are doing 120mph+ before you can bat an eyelid. And that was with three people on board and in absolutely bucketing rain. The engine is astonishingly flexible with bags of torque to spare, so even at motorway speeds, strong effortless acceleration is available without shifting down from sixth. But when shifting is this slick, that would be a pity, especially given the engine’s epic mid-range punch. The gearshift’s throw has been shortened and the box on the car I tried was largely slick and intuitive – you can lightly flick it between gears with speed and precision. Only a couple of power downshifts from third to second on the circuit session were a bit baulky and required a firm hand (but that may be me!). The clutch is perhaps heavier but not noticeably so. The steering actually feels lighter but, as ever, doesn’t provide a whole heap of feel through the typically plump steering wheel rim.

Does it rev like an M3? No, of course not – this is the N54 after all. But it nevertheless runs very vigorously to the redline – I didn’t feel the need to shift up short of 6,500 revs. And when you run out of space, the brakes are very strong – the 135i already has six-pot calipers and the 1M adds huge cross-drilled discs to the mix fore and aft which (I gathered from one of the M guys riding with me) are sourced from the M3. Despite the huge and fat 19” alloys (which look superb), the ride is also rather better than the standard cars thanks to non-runflat tyres in the true M tradition. We drove through a cobbled East German town centre at one point and the ride was noticeably more fluid and comfortable than my 135i is on my cobbled mews street at home.

So, apart from the driving, what gives? Appearance-wise, non-petrolheads may not notice this is much different from a 135i MSport although they are likely to notice that it has a very muscular planted stance and is clearly a performance car. Enthusiasts will have no trouble, especially in a light colour. The front and rear bumpers are quite different compared to the 135i, with bigger intakes, extra vents and a rear diffuser framing the quad pipes. There are new front and rear light graphics. The arches are flared front and rear and really improve the side view and sill line. This makes the car look infinitely better than the standard coupe, which looks a bit portly and underwheeled by comparison. There are also new M3-style wing-mirrors which look spot-on and are a big improvement on the Dumbo ears fitted to other 1 series these days. Generally, in my view this is one 1-series which finally you can actually call attractive – as a package it looks classically M without scaring the taste police.

Based on what we saw, the interior looks like it will be pretty much as per the normal M-Sport but with all stitching in orange and with liberal lashings of tactile black alcantara trim on the cars we saw. Oh and there are bespoke M dials. This doesn ‘t sound like a whole heap of very much, but actually it does feel rather more special than the normal versions – the orange stitching is a classy touch. It’s a shame there aren’t bespoke seats but it’s not the end of the world. I gather they tried fitting the M3 seats but I think they said they found they were less comfortable.

So, overall, I can hand on heart say that I loved it. It’s going to be an expensive little thing though, and I expect that will be many people’s biggest beef with it – but then it does feel classy, well-made, well-engineered and generally expensive. And it really does seat four normal sized-people which is rare and useful in this performance and size bracket.

You can read the entire review here.

A couple things to note that are new. The orange stitching matches what we know about the car. However now seems like the right time to mention some news we ‘ve heard from a few sources: the 1M will only be available with a black interior with orange stitching. Yes that means no interior color options. Furthermore the unique M trim will also the only choice inside.

Otherwise sign me up. I haven ‘t been shy in mentioning I ‘ve been waiting for this car since the day the 1 Series was rumored in the late 90 ‘s. And yes I ‘ve had money down on the first at my dealer for a very long time. While I still am ready to walk away if necessary, it certainly sounds like I won ‘t have many reasons to.

Update: another good account of the car has been posted here.

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  • Hector M,

    Hi Gabe,

    From the sound of it you won’t walk away from the you 1M order. Are you going to sell you ZHP because I will be interested. Good luck with the 1M Cheers.

    Hector

  • andy

    I just need to know if I can afford this car so HOW MUCH? I’ve heard numbers in the 40s and 50s so what is it going to be. If BMW could assure me now that it will be in the mid 40s then I would walk to the dealer today with my deposit. Over 50k and I’ll pass.

  • lava

    I also saw a report from an Asian participant posted on the home page.

  • Marcus

    ” Furthermore the unique M trim will also the only choice inside.”

    And that trim will be…??

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