Has BMW redeemed itself with this new model?
Ask the enthusiast and BMW has watered down their M car brand to the point where the much of the aspirational quality has been lost. I remember when an M badge was the pinnacle of attainable road-going performance. Then BMW started placing them on 316’s with nice wheels and it’s been diluted ever since. Don’t get me wrong, the M3 is as it always has been, utterly maginificent, but an X6M? I mean, honestly.
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, BMW has revealed the 1 series M coupe…and totally redeemed themselves!
OK, technically, this is just more proliferation of the M badging, but thankfully in the best possible way. An obviously muscular sedan that’s smaller (therefore more nimble), lighter with rear wheel drive and plenty of power, just like the original M3…that’s much better.
Underneath, the M Coupe’s chassis has been run through BMW M GmbH's racing-oriented development process. Numerous key components were originally conceived for the BMW M3 and are now to be found in the compact high-performance coupe in modified form, specifically adapted to the new model. Like any proper sports car these days, the interaction of the engine, chassis and body was optimised at the Nürburgring again to create a characteristic, consistent overall set of properties taking into account the low vehicle weight of 1495 kilograms.
That low weight is achieved with extensive use of lightweight materials; both the double pivot front axle and the five-link rear axle of the BMW 1 Series M Coupe are made almost entirely of aluminium.
The engine is a twin turbo six cylinder, thanks to the smaller compressor size and low inertia moment, the turbos are active even at low engine speeds, each providing three cylinders with compressed air. This affords the engine 250kW and up to a massive 500 newton metres (during overboost function) with peak torque of 450Nm available from just 1500rpm. The BMW 1 Series M Coupe takes 4.9 seconds to reach 100 km/h, and is electronically limited to 250km/h.
Naturally there’s all the M branded trimming that’s crept its way into mainstream models, but most importantly the M leather steering wheel has the characteristic M button on the right steering wheel spoke enabling the driver to switch spontaneously to a sports-style vehicle set-up.
So, the BMW 1 series M coupe. Not just another prostitution of the M car history; forget the X5 and X6Ms and all the M-branded dealer up sell opportunities. This is refreshingly different. Almost matching the performance characteristics of the previous six-cylinder M3 identically, but set to slot nicely somewhere between premium hot hatch money and the current M3 in terms of price. Expect it here Q4 of 2011.