BMW’s M cars are always special, but some are more special than others.
Damien O’Carroll spends some time with the 1 Series M Coupe to see if it is one of the latter.
You have to hand it to BMW – when the engineers make a high-performance version of one of their cars, they don’t mess around – everything gets made angrier.
Take, as an example of this, the 1 Series M Coupe; swoops, bulges and scoops are all over it, and in that wonderful German way that is somehow subtle and in your face all at the same time. You are in no doubt it is a 1 Series, but it just seems slightly mutated and very angry.
The wildly flared wheel arches (to accommodate the widened track) and lowered ride height give it a squat, hunkered-down look that works incredibly well with the 1 Series coupe shape and add to the subtle sense of muted anger that permeates the 1M’s styling.
Inside the 1M doesn’t feel quite so special. Oh sure, it has the nice alcantara trim on the doors and dash and LOTS of orange stitching, but it still looks and feels very much like a 1 Series that someone has gone a bit mental in with a sewing machine and some orange cotton.
The chunky leather steering wheel and incredibly supportive and adjustable leather seats are amazing, and the level of quality is fantastic, but it still somehow doesn’t feel quite special enough for a car that looks so angry on the outside.
Under the bulging nose of the 1M is BMW’s stunning N54 3-litre twin turbo inline six-cylinder engine. With the wick wound up to an astounding 250kW of power and 450Nm of torque, it is a thing of remarkable power and flexibility.
The ballistic engine is hooked up to a wonderfully slick and smooth 6-speed manual transmission that is an utter delight to use, and the wonderfully mechanical feel of changing from one gear to the next has to be one of the world’s most truly satisfying experiences.
Fuel consumption? Who cares. But it is the same with all cars like this – it can be relatively economical if you want it to be, but climb up it and it will drink like the best of them. But again, who cares?
Any doubts about whether or not it is a “proper” M car are obliterated by the utterly sensational noise from the engine and exhaust when you nail the throttle. The savage thrust towards the horizon that accompanies it is equally convincing. Chuck it into a corner for the first time and you are in love.
The poise, balance and grip of the 1M is incredible. Every little adjustment on the steering wheel is translated into a slight movement on the road in a way that is truly visceral. You can feel the road surface through the seat and the savage howl of the engine that overlays it all completes the sensory experience that is driving the 1M hard.
The huge power from the engine, while savage, still comes on in an utterly predictable, progressive way that makes feeding the right amount of power in coming through a corner a true delight.
When you break the $100,000 mark when pricing your car, people rightfully tend to expect a lot for that money. And fortunately the 1M delivers.
From the inside it may not feel that special, but the rest of the package is just so damn spectacular that it simply doesn’t matter. The power and acceleration is addictive and the handling sublime. It looks fantastic, sounds sensational and is an absolute blast to drive.
In short, it is a true M car.
Body type 2-door coupe
Drive Rear wheels
Engine Type 6-cyl petrol twin turbo
Engine Capacity 2979cc
Max power 250kW/5900rpm
Max torque 450 +50Nm/1500-4500rpm
Fuel Consumption 9.6L/100km
C02 emission 224g/km
0 to 100kph 4.9secs
Front suspension Double pivot strut
Rear suspension Five link independent
Roof Rack No
ABS Brakes Yes
Air Bags 6
Air Conditioning Climate
Lap/diagonal belts 5
Satellite Navigation Yes
Electric seats Yes
Burglar Alarm Yes
Panic Button No
Boot release Yes
Cargo Cover N/A
Boot Capacity 370L
Wheel type Alloy
Spare Tyre Runflats