May 13, 2011

BMW 1 M Coupe, the hooning review.

Because we know what you really want to know about the BMW 1 M Coupe and you can read specs and regurgitated press releases anywhere....

What you want to know is, does it kick ass? Well, perhaps we'll let pictures do the talking as the Freep and I had a bit of fun with the Baby M's today, check it out after the jump

Is it good? Yes, very.
Does it go? It's got loads of thrust as turbos do.
Does it grip? Quite a lot and you can really feel the M Diff doing its thing.
Does it slide? Well, yes but it takes some firm provocation.
Does it stop? Better than the M3.
Is it a good street car? A great one, agile, quick and frugal too.
Does it sound good? it's a turbo...
How's the gearbox? Slick, literally. BMW put many low friction parts in this 1M specific box and even clutchless downshifts are a breeze.

1m 17

But as promised let me try and answer some of your specific questions from Facebook and twitter:

@nkavassalis: "General driving feel, modern BMW M-cars all feel too disconnected to be as enjoyable as your e36 M coupe ever was."

I felt very much at home in the 1M, it's like the stock Z3MC except way better dynamically. Both "part bin" cars, both legends.

@Robboso " is it throttle steerable? Is it a real M?"

Yes and Yes

@mistic192 "how well it swings out the back-end in corners of course"

See attached video...

1m 4

@AndyTaylor_isme "Does it feel as heavy as the stats suggest that it is?"

It does have some heft but it masks it well, short wheelbase, wide track, big tires help. Anyway, it's lighter than the e46 M3 but with more power.

@Nivola "Compare & contrast its flickability to your Z3 M coupe. Also, like to hear your opinion on its diff."

Nothing is as flickable as my MCoupe now but the 1M is LOADS better than the stock Z3M ever hoped to be. The diff is the M Diff, it works great.

1m 1

@CG "drive it really hard and see if it overheats? 5 consecutive laps at full throttle in reverse?"

Yeah, I tried asking about the reverse laps.... It does run hotter than the S54 but Friday was a cool day and they did not make it so you could run consecutive hot laps. None of the cars seemed to get heat soaked or brake faded. By contrast, the M3 Sedan's brake pedal seemed a bit long.

@blotto649 "Re. the 1M, curious about clutch pedal travel/feel - 335 feels too light/long. I'm hoping it's like my R53 Cooper S"

That's hard for me to say, had no issues with it seemed standard BMW M material.

Philip Stuhpid "is it really a proper successor of the e30 m3 and how´s the sound?"

The e30 M3 is a legend and has a racing pedigree likely never to be matched, that said the 1M would destroy a stock e30M3 at the track.

1m 53

Michael Valdez "Is it worth the price? And why should one choose that car over the ///M3?"

What else RWD can you buy in that price range, a Mustang? a 370Z? Nobody will choose it over the M3, the M3 is a very different beast. Both fun but in different ways but the 1M will be much more rare than the M3.

Jean-Noel Moyne "I'm very jealous. The question for them is why are they making so few of them (and will I get one and if so when? ;))."

Many want to know, but from what I understand it boild down to production capacity and the position of the car in the 1 series life cycle. There is a possibility that the 1M will be a 1 model year car!
Joe Hudson "How good is the ///M dynamic mode of the stability control? Does the car rotate well on throttle lift?"

M is very proud of their MDM, I feel bad because I shut it off after two laps, It's actually not very intrusive and as an instructor I would endorse using it 100% as a built it teaching tool. I'm sure it's great in the rain.
The car responds to mid corner throttle lifts in a very balanced and neutral way.

And finally...Dale:

Dale Lomas "How does it handle jumps? How many jelly beans can you fit in the door pockets? How easy is to drive no-handed? What's the top-speed of reverse gear?"

It's well dampened but somewhat soft, it will be good at the ring... Jelly beans are frowned upon if you want to keep things lightweight and, fast enough for a bootlegger.

More question? use comments

Thanks to BMW for including Axis in their 1M press drive, Much appreciated and Axis approved!
1m 14


  1. nice review, totally approve of the tail out style, I mean you ARE the axis of oversteer
    - mxstyles

  2. Is the chassis made of jelly ? Because the windscreen seems to be broken !

  3. On the way up to the track a stone hit the windshield and chipped it, being Friday the 13th it immediately started to crack. Chassis feel quite rigid in fact.

  4. Fantastic review, glad BMW has perhaps actually produced an enjoyable enthusiast car, maybe all hope is not lost.

  5. Did you get time to test the M button?? I hear it sharpens the throttle, but does
    It actually improve speed, also I hear overboost only lasts for 5 seconds, so can it be used in a similar way as a launch control???

  6. compared to your z3m coupe modded (i own an s50b32 euro whit similar mods of your an bit item more),can remain an similar beast to drive for emotion ?
    For track use,in stock condition is same level of an z3m whit an good suspension setup?

  7. @SidewaysSammy M button is simply a throttle pedal remap. From what I understood, the overboost is for low rpm/high load situations, think you're cruising along in 5th or 6th and you want to make a pass, full throttle will engage overboost. Full throttle is needed so I doubt you could use it off the line.

    @fastdrive it's really quite different from the z3m, the seating position, where you are in the car relative to the wheels, it really is more like the e30.
    It's a road car and I think the suspension setup for that is absolutely fantastic, it felt great on the road, just as you read in most reviews this is a car you can drive very fast very easily and in comfort.

    AT the track, if you did it occasionally and on street tires, you will potentially embarrass many cars as is out of the box :) When you put r-comps on you will want less body roll and especially you will crave for less slippery seats! Brakes will probably be fine with the correct track pads....just use them less, they just slow you down anyway :)

  8. Great review. Love the sideways action! That's diff and controllable power is what makes a proper fun street car. CG approved! Cant wait to go all hooligan once I get mine.

  9. The E90 and 1 series chassis variants have huge front frame rails and an aluminum subframe that spreads the load out over a larger area. They are vastly stiffer than the E30/36/46 designs that are all almost identical. The rear subframe and multilink suspensions are also a big step forward. It's a much more solid car than previous generations.


nRelate Posts Only