BMW’s 1 series has always been a car to cause great debate ever since its release in 2004. From criticisms about its small boot, cramped rear legroom and flame surfaced design to it’s almost pseudo BMW facade, i.e. just bought by people who actually couldn’t afford the 3 series. BMW’s smallest model has not had an easy time. However with the release of the coupe version things started to look more promising and reviews became increasingly complimentary. Now with the imminent release of the 1 series M coupe (or M1 Coupe), have BMW turned its baby from the ugly duckling into the greatest M car of the last 25 years? The ultimate turning the frog into the prince fairy tale?
Let’s begin with everyone’s favourite topic, the BMW M1 facts and figures. It has 335bhp, does 0-60 in 4.9secs and has a maximum torque figure of 369lb ft. A figure that could indicate that BMW have shot themselves in the foot, as this car’s big brother the M3 only manages 295lb ft of torque. These numbers are thanks in part to a 3 litre twin turbo charged straight six feeding power naturally to the rear wheels through a 6 speed manual. Yes you read that correctly this new M car actually has a manual, not some flappy paddle nonsense.
The M1 Coupe looks like it means business; it’s all taught, muscular and aggressive. So much so that it looks like it wants to take you outside for a fight. The coupe shape has been significantly widened, firstly to accommodate those wide 19 inchers, and also because it’s got the rear diff and suspension set up stolen straight from the M3 out the back. This coupled with BMW’s already brilliant reputation for making sublime handling cars means it should be pretty handy when you need to change direction. The only criticism of the new car is that it sits quite high, do not get me wrong the car still looks excellent, it could just do with being more hunkered down. Making those wide wheels fill the arches more will add the finishing touch to this cars mean road presence.
The M coupe harks back both in dimensions and appearance to the classic E30 and E36 M3’s of the 80’s and 90’s. The question is whether it will live up to the reputation those cars have among keen drivers and BMW purists alike? Personally I think this cars release will add some much needed credentials and muscle to the 1 series range. However only time will tell if it becomes an iconic M car.