Every new BMW M car forms part of a very special family tree that can trace a lineage of iconic performance road cars back to the legendary BMW M1 from the 1970s. The latest car to feature the letter M comes with stunning performance from a race-bred powertrain, a controllable, agile and exploitable chassis, the finest materials and components, and an attractive, sporty design to ensure it takes a deserved place among these icons.
The new BMW 1 Series M Coupé heralds the introduction of a high performance sports car into a compact design that extends the BMW M portfolio and paves the way for a wider audience to appreciate M car ownership.
An M car has to have sublime driving characteristics first and foremost, but it must look stunning too, and the BMW 1 Series M Coupé does not deviate from this formula. The new entry point to M car ownership, the BMW 1 Series M Coupé’s dynamic looks also have a role to play.
The sporty character of the BMW 1 Series M Coupé is expressed by a dramatic exterior design, with widened wheel arches, exclusive 19-inch Y-spoke M alloy wheels, and dual chrome tailpipes. A discreet spoiler lip generating additional downforce and a rear apron with side openings echoing the look of the front air intakes ensure the look of sporting intent matches the model’s sporting ability. L-shaped rear light clusters with two light banks fed by LED units complete the M car look. Exterior paint finishes are Alpine White non-metallic, Black Sapphire metallic and the exclusive Valencia Orange metalic.
The BMW 1 Series M Coupé is fitted as standard with twin corona bi-xenon headlamps, and LED-fed positioning lights. A hallmark M-branded feature is the elongated chrome gill element on the front wheel arch, while the door mirrors are from the BMW M3, but tuned for the specific aerodynamic characteristics.
The standard sports seats in Boston leather feature Kyalami orange stitching and offer both driver and front passenger excellent lateral hold. The interior is exclusively modelled for the BMW 1 Series M Coupé, with an M leather steering wheel and the use of Alcantara with Kyalami orange contrast stitching on the door trim, door inserts, handbrake and gear lever gaiter and instrument binnacle cove. The M logo is also embossed in the front of the headrests.
The new BMW 1 Series M Coupé has at its heart a high revving, in-line six-cylinder engine with twin turbocharger, direct injection technology and double VANOS variable valve timing to develop a maximum output of 340hp. Such performance equates to a highly desirable car that takes just 4.9 seconds to accelerate from zero to 62mph. The BMW M tuned twin-turbocharger technology used consists of two relatively small turbos which, because of their low inertia characteristics, are active even at low engine speeds, ensuring no turbo lag, yet a peak power output which is achieved at 5,900rpm.
The great flexibility of the 2,979cc engine means that maximum torque of 450Nm is produced from as little as 1,500rpm. A flat torque curve for swift in gear acceleration sees peak torque maintained up to 4,500 rpm. This figure can be increased by another 50Nm when the car is under full throttle by means of an overboost function. With this performance the BMW 1 Series M Coupé will blast to 62mph from standstill to an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph. In fact, such is its stunning performance and handling, it is expected to be significantly faster around the Nürburgring Nordschleife than the previous generation E46 BMW M3.
The engine control system of the car allows two differing performance curves: in standard mode the BMW 1 Series M Coupé offers a more torque-orientated, flexible character to the engine’s performance delivery, while in M Dynamic Mode (MDM), activated by a button on the steering wheel, engine speeds rocket instantly, accessing the highest power levels as quickly as possible.
The cooling system of the BMW 1 Series M Coupé has been designed for constant high load, high speed track driving, through the use of an additional separate radiator and a specific air duct to deal with the increased thermal stress which can occur when driving in a particularly sporty style on the race track.
The efforts made in optimising performance and efficiency are also reflected in a newly developed dual-mass flywheel. Its lightweight construction benefits the engine’s efficiency and it also has an increased solidity which is able to cope with the six-cylinder engine’s high level of torque.
In addition, EfficientDynamics measures such as brake energy regeneration and needs-based control of auxiliary units ensure that recorded combined fuel consumption is 29.4mpg and CO2 emissions are 224g/km.
The BMW 1 Series M Coupé is only offered with a six-speed manual transmission, specially designed to work with high-torque engines. This newly developed transmission is operated using a very short-shift M gearshift lever.
The chassis of the BMW 1 Series M Coupé has been tested using BMW M GmbH’s racing-oriented development process, and uses numerous key components, originally conceived for the BMW M3, have been modified for use in this car.
Light weight is of course vital and the latest M car tips the scales at 1,495kgs courtesy of the extensive use of aluminium. The double pivot front axle and the five-link rear axle are made almost entirely of aluminium. Tubular stabilisers, axle links made of forged aluminium and aluminium shock absorbers round off the lightweight construction concept. With chassis technology derived directly from motor racing, a power-to-weight ratio of 227hp/tonne has been achieved. The footprint of the car is bigger than a standard BMW 1 Series Coupé with it being 55mm wider than the BMW 135i Coupé. The width of 1,803 mm is the result of optimisation of the front and rear axle to enhance driving dynamics.
As standard, BMW 1 Series M Coupé comes with Variable M differential lock, compound brakes, DSC with MDM and M Servotronic. The Variable M differential lock responds to differences in rotational speeds in the rear wheels, redirecting torque within a fraction of a second for optimum traction and maximum thrust on slippery surfaces and when accelerating out of bends.
The M-specific compound high-performance brake system of the BMW 1 Series M Coupé uses inner-vented and perforated discs with a diameter of 360mm at the front and 350mm at the rear, providing impressive stability even under extreme stress, as well as being extremely light.
Rack-and-pinion steering is fitted with Servotronic hydraulic power steering while the Dynamic Stability Control system that includes elements such as an anti-slip control function (ASC), the brake assistant Dynamic Brake Control (DBC), a drive-off assistant, Cornering Brake Control (CBC), an anti-fading function and a dry brake function is also standard. The driver can activate M Dynamic Mode (MDM) on the instrument panel, raising the point at which the driving stability control system intervenes.
The BMW 1 Series M Coupé comes with an extensive range of standard equipment, including 19-inch Y-Spoke alloy wheels, two-zone air-conditioning, cruise control, BMW Radio Business with MP3-capable CD player and six speakers. It also has a Boston leather interior with Alcantara trim with Kyalami orange stitching in the cabin.
Optional extras include Comfort Access, Harman Kardon Surround Sound System, Professional Navigation system with hard drive storage, Adaptive Headlights and High beam Assistant.
The BMW 1 Series M Coupé goes on sale in May 2011 priced at £39,990 OTR, with the first customer deliveries expected in May.