Modern Classics – BMW 1M Coupe

Modern Classics – BMW 1M Coupe

Greetings, petrolheads, it is time to introduce our new article series named Modern Classics, in which we take a deep look at modern-age cars that are so good that many petrolheads would easily consider them as future classics that the next generation could admire and desire to buy one, and what could be a better car to start off than the BMW 1 Series M Coupe? Let’s dive in and see what makes this compact sports coupe such a desirable addition to BMW’s M family and why BMW made the best move with it.

The Makings of a Little M3

Back in 2007, BMW unveiled the E92 generation BMW M3, which was fitted with a punchy 4.0L V8 engine, making it a German muscle car that has the handling capabilities of a proper sports coupe. However, the lineup lacked a cheaper, lighter model that has nearly equal performance since M3 costed around $70,000, and that is how the BMW M engineers rolled up their sleeves to create a car that offers the same thrills but with simpler principles and a smaller body. Meanwhile, the E87 BMW 1 Series, which was offered with hatchback and coupe variants, was selling like hotcakes thanks to its affordability and practicality coupled with a lineup of efficient engines, so, it was the perfect platform to build their future compact sports coupe on.

The 1 Series tii Concept car was revealed in 2007, which was a spiced up version of a BMW 135i, with slightly more power upgrade and two-tone paintwork. While it was never officially confirmed, it is thought to be a precursor to their future 1M Coupe. Development is speculated to start a year later, with engineers scavenging parts and throwing ideas around. A few years passed by and BMW M division finally unveiled the 1 Series M Coupe in 2011.

The Perfect M is Born

Coated with the glorious Valencia Orange Metallic, the 1M Coupe sought to fill the gap below the M3 and the most powerful 1 Series model, 135is, which was only produced in North America and Canada market. Upon first impression, it’s easy to say that the M Division engineers went all in into the project, as the car is fitted with big, wide body kit making it just as muscular as Z4 M Coupe and M3 models. To walk the talk, it was fitted with a turbocharged 3.0L N54 straight-6 engine, which is also fitted in E89 generation Z4 35iS model, producing 335 HP and 450 nm (500 nm with overboost), almost identical numbers to the Z4 M Coupe. The engine is known for its punchy acceleration and praised for its sound and performance that stand well against its rivals like the Audi S3, and thanks to its 0 to 60 figure of just 4.7 seconds and electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h, it does not fall short against the more expensive options. Who does not like a more responsive M3? Hold the thought, however, as there is more to mention than just performance.

To complete their recipe for sheer driving pleasure, 1M Coupe is fitted with a specifically designed 6-speed manual transmission with a shorter final drive for better acceleration. Carbon fiber and aluminium is used to reduce the kerb weight to 1,495 kg (3,296 lb) and a limited-slip differential is used to offer a greater handling experience. Manufacturers like KW also offered custom aftermarket suspensions to further enhance the driving mechanics. The interior might be as simplistic as an Eastern European apartment, but subtle touches like orange stitching and the big satnav screen save it from being a boring place to sit. It all sounds like the perfect BMW M model, cheaper than the flagship M3 and more aggressive than your ordinary 1 Series Coupe. But how much are you to pay for this madness?

Letting The Numbers Do The Talking

The 1M costed around $50,000 (£40,000) in 2011, which made it around 10-15,000 cheaper than the M3 E92 back in the day. While the price sounds still salty as it’s dangerously close to M3’s price range, the 1M Coupe is also much more exclusive than the M3, as 6,309 units were made compared to 40,092 units of the M3. This factor makes the 1M Coupe a collectors’ item, and proved to be a successful project, so much that BMW decided to continue the model with the BMW M2 in 2015, which is also a successful model that is now widely known as one of the best drivers’ car for BMW enthusiasts.

Considering that BMW M’s planned production was 2,700, the 1 Series M Coupe proved itself as a popular enthusiasts’ car, and we are hoping to test it soon enough and have a proper review for it. Cars like these are the reason why petrolheads enjoy the early 2010’s models that were modern enough to look timeless, but also old enough to have proper focus on driving mechanics.