BimmerCast #49: The 1M Live on the Track (Updated w/Video)


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We have a very special show this week as we take to the track in the much hyped 1M. We ‘ll have a thorough review of the car coming very soon but first we wanted to give you our quick thoughts on the car at the track.

Update: We ‘ve pieced together some video of the lap so you can get a bit of a visual as well. One note – unfortunately I was recording through an iPhone and as I was turning into the second to last corner a call came in which shut off the recording. And no, I didn ‘t take it.

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  • JonPD

    Sounds like a good day for sure and quite a car. Still have to think brake ducts would have helped the squishy brakes.

    Still a little lost as to the upgrades to the motor making a impact. The 35IS being nearly two hundred lbs heavier is rated at 4.8 to 60 while the 1M is 4.7. According to BMWUSA they both have 335hp@5900rpm and 332ftlb of torque from 1500-4500rpm. I know this car is about more than pure speed but it is a part of the sports car equation still to me. Looking forward to the full review Gabe.

    • The brakes were the best I’ve ever felt from a BMW period. And cooling wasn’t really an issue considering the brakes felt hardly any different after forty plus laps. And I attribute that to stock fluid not a lack of cooling.

      BTW according to M they are fed by cool air by the channel under the car.

      • Anonymous

        The brakes are amazing (period). No complaints whatsoever. The purpose of direct cooling ducts has been abolished thanks to wind tunnels and the Bernoulli effect of the air curtains- cool air is directed from under the car through the back of the brakes through the wheel and further pulled away by the air directed to the front side of the wheel by the curtain. Cool and effective stuff.

        I was hard on the brakes on purpose to induce fade and on my final laps there was a tiny bit (after countless laps) but on stock pads and fluid this is to be expected after an afternoon of putting a car through the paces. No chatter or warping-then the cars went straight to the roads with no issues.

        This car is well sorted. We’ll detail the engine etc further but I wanted to be sure there was no mistake that the car performed to M standards in all areas- the temp needle barely budged on a track without a long straight.


        • JonPD

          I have no doubt the brakes are good and makes sense to have some fad under normal pads and fluid. As for the air curtain I doubt there is much cooling effect from them since there is a stable boundary air pocket from the curtain creating a low pressure point at the outside of the well. Since the air pressure on either side of the low pressure wall is the same there will be no flow across the boundary.

          So ///M tuned the engine and yet we see no real performance gain over the 35is?? Rather lost how that works out.

          • I don’t believe there is any cooling effect from the air curtain.

            Regarding the engine… M did some of the initial work on the Z4 35is N54. They then re-engineered portions of it (already covered on BF extensively) and dropped into the 1M. The Z4 35is has (quietly) adopted most of those changes since it’s the same engine.

            Now why do we not see a HP increase? Ask yourself this… Why would BMW officially change the HP specification knowing that it would mandate a pricey new federalization process in many markets when the 1M is such a low volume product?

            To confirm this we’ve heard hints from official sources that the engine has more to give than is on paper.

          • JonPD

            Makes sense Gabe about federalization though I am betting the equation was less about federalization than just the low volume worldwide. All BMWs tend to have more than whats on paper generally speaking. Sorry but the motor still is the weak point of this wonderful car (the motor just doesn’t feel like a ///M product). To me its like taking the v8 out of the M3 and directly plunking it into a non ///M car.

          • Anonymous

            That was a rather dubious conclusion on the aerodynamics, don’t you think? Lets see, on the one hand JonPD dismisses this after his quick assessment, vs the M engineers who were in the wind tunnel with the car?

          • JonPD

            Basic aerodynamics Lav, go out to the web or a basic physics course and you can confirm this if you doubt it. I think ///M said they did this for improved economy by protecting the flow around the wheels from the massive chaos caused by the wheel. While the underbody channels I would believe is helping cool the brakes I don’t see even the talented engineers at ///M breaking the rules of physics. Maybe just me there 😉

          • Anonymous

            I understand aerodynamic concepts, and yes, a strong airflow over the wheels would help smooth the turbulent flow caused by the wheels, but this same high speed curtain of air would make a low pressure zone that would indeed draw air from through the wheel.

            Now you are claiming that this low pressure zone would not be effective because it will draw air from both sides. I don’t think that is true, or an airplane wing would never work because the low pressure zone above the wing created by the airfoil would be negated from above by your reasoning. Clearly that does not happen, and I think you are interpreting the dynamic here incorrectly.

            In any case, no matter how well we think we understand the dynamic here there are a lot of variables that make the results hard to predict. On the other hand the engineers at M have had in-situ experience in wind tunnel tuning the effects of these elements. What am I to make of you with a hunch that you understand what is going on there better than they do?

            Sorry. M – 1, JonPD – 0.

          • JonPD

            Lav, an airfoil works by having a wing structure that forces the air to take unequal paths in order to produce a stablized pocket of low pressure air above the wing.. The opening and exit for the air curtain is very simular on both sides in size, so would have a limit acceleration over the rest of the air coming past the vehicle at the same speed. The stated purpose of the air curtain has been to smooth the flow around the body past the wheels.

            Think of it this way, if you have a pocket of low pressure with equal pressure air masses on either side of it air will move to the low pressure pocket equally. I would tend to believe that BMW is using this to run a curtain of stablized air over the wheel and would not design a pocket of much lower pressure as it would lose a portion of the stable air flow they are achieving by it. I do appreciate the design they came up with, just has very little to do with cooling the brakes.

          • Anonymous

            Jon, there is no difference between the low pressure zone above an airfoil, and the low pressure zone created by this air curtain moving across the wheel. The wing’s shape as you say causes a longer path for the air flowing over the wing, forcing it to move at higher speed, creating a low pressure zone and hence lift. The air-curtain directed by the vents on the front of the car moves across the surface of the wheel in the same manner creating a low pressure zone. A complex wing on an aircraft will often contain slats and mid airfoil passages that allow the low pressure zone on top to draw air flow through the wing to alter the lift characteristics. Flaps, slats, and other devices used at landing and take-off. The same way that low pressure zone draws air through the wing from the higher pressure zone below the wing is the same as with the wheel. There is a higher pressure zone in the center of the wheel and into the wheel well, also being force fed by the channels under the car. That pressure differential will move air through the well, through the wheel, past the brakes. I’m sure its doing precisely what it was designed to do.

        • JonPD

          I have no doubt the brakes are good and makes sense to have some fad under normal pads and fluid. As for the air curtain I doubt there is much cooling effect from them since there is a stable boundary air pocket from the curtain creating a low pressure point at the outside of the well. Since the air pressure on either side of the low pressure wall is the same there will be no flow across the boundary.

          So ///M tuned the engine and yet we see no real performance gain over the 35is?? Rather lost how that works out.

  • Dylan Bland

    Great to hear your initial thoughts – clearly you like the car – although I must say, you seem slightly less excited than in some of your podcasts in the months leading up to seeing the car for the first time etc. Has it lived up to your expectations? Was the anticipation leading up to the launch half the fun?

  • 03Beastcharmer

    Can’t wait for the full review and Podcast. Gabe – that helmet does not fit you at all.

  • Anonymous

    Just curious where these testing 1Ms go after you guys were done thrashing them? With the limited numbers it seems odd they would have a dozen to spare.

    • Anonymous

      There were not many cars at all.

    • I think there were around six cars total. They will be turned into corporate and press cars

      • Anonymous

        So, if anyone wants to buy a used one (someday) do a car fax on your car, and be careful if the car was used as a corporate fleet vehicle by BMW. Especially if the car is only 3-6 months old. J

        • I wouldn’t ve too worried. All had 1200 miles on them and the proper break-in procedure.

      • Anonymous

        Ok. I saw 5 orange ones, and at least one white and one black – that’s seven. I assumed there were more of the black and white.

  • goat

    Great little track vid… will be good to hear it in full song when recorded better… or even better in person should I encounter one locally.

    As for the turbo-six motor, from what I have seen this will not be as much a weak point of the car as some of us thought in past (and I am a fan of NA motors)… if anything the charged motor may turn out to be one of its trump cards in an already very good hand: super flexible for daily driving, a great top end (based on initial owner’s impressions) atypical for turbo motors, a smooth but engaging sound with the bonus of turbo inhaling/exhaling sounds, power that is likely a good 20hp more than what BMW is admitting to on the spec sheet, and – mark my words – tuning potential for more either officially via BMWPerf / M or from the aftermarket.

    It seems this little “mongrel of an M” will be the car that restores major performance credibility to the M brand and to BMW as a whole. The size and scrappiness of it reminds me of the excitement of seeing / hearing the E30 M storming by on a Canadian freeway through Toronto… an indelible memory I’ve carried with me a long time now. 🙂 Keep up the good reporting guys!

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