(Updated with Autocar ‘s review) A few days back a few select journalists from the larger auto magazines of the world got a golden ticket from M. They were given a chance to drive the most anticipated M product in years; the 1 Series M Coupe (aka the 1M). We ‘ll be seeing more of these reviews but the first out of the gate is Insideline, Motor Trend and Autocar.
Let ‘s start with an excerpt from MT ‘s review (which unfortunately is limited to a frustrating paragraph):
>So how does it run? Matching the last-gen M3 Competition coupe ‘s weight-to-power ratio with more torque than today ‘s V-8 M3, the 1 M moves out smartly indeed with zero turbo lag and a healthy snarl that ‘s dominated by mechanical and induction noise. Servotronic steering retuned for the 1 Series M Coupe relays plenty of road feel with ideal levels of effort. The chassis ‘ broad stance and high level of control permit cornering that seems impossible outside the virtual world of Sony ‘s Gran Turismo. Those oversized brakes erase big speeds just as smoothly and effortlessly as the twin-turbos produce it. BMW claims its Nurburgring Nordschleife lap time falls just a bit shy of the M3 ‘s, and that seems plausible.
Now let ‘s turn to Insideline:
>The 2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe also operates on a higher dynamic plane than the 135i coupe. From the outset it feels more willing, and as you begin to make demands it becomes clear the heavily reworked chassis is not only more responsive, but capable of handling higher cornering speeds and delivering added levels of grip.
>Changes to the steering make it more direct and imbue it with a slight increase in weight. They add to the overall sense of purpose engineered into the 1 Series M Coupe, particularly its turn-in properties, which are much improved over the 135i. It ‘s just a pity the newly engineered electromechanical system is so short on feel (editor; we ‘re told there is still work to be done on this). There ‘s an inherent firmness to the ride, the result of stiffer springs and dampers as well as those uncompromising tires. But there ‘s sufficient compliance and travel to ensure rapid progress on less-than-smooth roads.
MT estimates the 1M will have 340 hp and 370 lbs of torque. Insideline thinks it ‘ll be closer to 350.MT suggests that 0-60 times should come in around 4.4 seconds and all told they expect the 1M to be right around the M3 ‘s Nurburgring time.
Otherwise review describes pretty much everything we ‘ve already reported. The 1M will feature M3 components throughout and should culiminate with something close to a 3300 lbs (MT suggests 3400 lbs). Also as reported on BF, the engine will be closely related to the mill in the recently released Z4 35is. That means the turbo has 11.6 psi (which goes up to 14.5 for seven seconds on overboost). Yes it ‘s over 60 hp less than the M3 but it ‘s also 75 lbs of torque more than that high revving 4.0 V8.That gives the 1M a power to weight ratio equal to the previous M Coupe and a substantially torque to weight ratio of the E92 M3.
Oh and the transmission. You can have anything you want as long as it ‘s a manual.
Now onto the suspension and Autocar ‘s take:
>There’s a little initial roll, but the lightened body settles quickly to provide a flat cornering stance. And with that trick differential juggling drive between the rear wheels, you can lean on it at the exit without any premature breakaway or activation of the stability control system. The new BMW also rides acceptably, even on the 35-profile rubber fitted to our prototype. It’s firm, but not overly so.
Finally they ask the question many of us are wondering:
>So, for out-an-out performance and pure driving dynamics, the 1-series M Coupé is quite an improvement on the already talented 135i coupé upon which it is heavily based. The question is: will potential buyers be prepared to stump up the extra £10,000 to gain membership to the M division club? On looks alone, it will be worth it.
You can read more about 1 Series M Coupe in our 1M section.
But we want to leave you with one more quote. This time from Insideline ‘s review:
>It ‘s going to take more wheel time than a brief spin up the road in a durability prototype that has over 10,000 miles on the clock to fully appreciate the changes BMW has made to the 135i to create the 2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe. At the moment the signs are extremely positive. It ‘s the sort of car you get out of wishing you could have more time with. On the strength of what we ‘ve seen so far, it fully deserves the M-car billing, even if BMW made the wrong decision by not calling it the M1.