BMW 1M: A High-Performance Icon – Specs, Features, and More

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The BMW E92 M3 is often hailed as ‘the epitome of M,’ embodying the core values of the M Division even more so than the M5. Many believed the M3 was the ultimate and didn’t require a successor. The challenge BMW’s famous Motorsport division has faced since the departure of the purebred racer from the 1990s, the M3, is how to replace the legendary car. 

While subsequent versions of the flagship 3 Series have been faster and more capable than their predecessor, they have also lost the raw charm and excitement that made the first-generation M3 one of the most excellent cars ever. However, BMW seems to have returned with its latest offering: the 1M Coupé. Based on the entry-level 1 Series, this newcomer combines a robust 335bhp straight-six engine, improved suspension, and compact dimensions, promising an exhilarating driving experience for enthusiasts.

A Parts Bin Special

As the 1M was based on an entry-level model, BMW chose to adopt components from other models to maintain cost-effectiveness. Enthusiasts of the M Series prepared for this development, but their concerns proved unwarranted. The 1M incorporated elements from the E92 M3, a renowned V8 powerhouse, and the legend itself.

Among the borrowed components from the M3 were the rear suspensions, the limited-slip differential, the brakes, the aluminum dampers, and the rear subframe. However, the engine was sourced from a Z4 sDrive 35iS. Interestingly, the 1M was one of the early adopters of turbocharging in BMW M cars, a development that raised eyebrows among purists, as traditionally, BMW M cars were associated with naturally aspirated engines. In an era marked by increasingly stricter emissions regulations, the adoption of turbocharging was inevitable, and its incorporation into the 1M has proven to be a positive attribute by giving the car a more playful and punchy character.

High-Performance Driving

The N54 powers the BMW 1M twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine. BMW introduced changes to the turbocharger, exhaust system, and ECU specifically for the 1M, resulting in an output of 335 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. However, the over-boost mode offers temporary access to as much as 369 pound-feet of torque. The BMW 1 Series M Coupé boasts remarkable performance, achieving a swift acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.9 seconds, and it takes a mere 13.7 seconds to get to 200 km/h. If you desire more speed, it can keep accelerating until it reaches its top speed of 250 km/h. This power is transmitted through a six-speed manual transmission, allowing the driver to engage gears through a particularly short M shift lever swiftly. Regarding the fuel economy, BMW claims it will return 29.4mpg, but it was observed to return 23mpg on average.

BMW 1M Exterior: Sleek Design and Performance Enhancements

The 1 Series M Coupé offers a choice of three colors: Alpine White, Sapphire Black, and Valencia Orange. It features the wheel arches’ signature M wing mirrors and chrome grill elements. The enhanced performance is also evident in the specially crafted front apron, featuring three large air inlets for better engine air intake. At the same time, pronounced wheel arches contribute to a muscular appearance. Furthermore, the wider wheelbase enables higher cornering speeds. Air curtains are introduced in a serial production vehicle to optimize aerodynamics, reducing turbulent airflow around the wheel arches. Moving to the rear, the two-door model stands out with an integrated spoiler lip on the trunk lid and prominently displayed quad exhaust pipes. These leave a lasting impression and provide essential downforce on the racetrack.

BMW 1M Interior: Luxury, Comfort, and Cutting-Edge Technology

The interior design seamlessly complements the exterior design and ensures that the driver remains at the heart of the driving experience. The driver is greeted by a robust three-spoke leather steering wheel and grey-backed dials, while the leather-trimmed seats stand out with unique orange stitching. Within the interior, a sports car-inspired dark color scheme predominates, with the contrasting seams on the sports seats being a distinctive feature exclusive to the BMW 1 Series M Coupé. The remainder of the cabin retains the standard 1 Series layout, offering a logically laid out dashboard, good build quality, and a comfortable, low-seated driving position.

BMW 1M Pricing: Discover the Cost of Luxury and Performance

The BMW 1 Series M Coupe had a limited production run, primarily registered in 2011, with a few extending into 2012. Six thousand three hundred thirty-one units were distributed across Europe and America, including just 450 right-hand drive models allocated to the UK. The sales performance of the 1M Coupe exceeded BMW’s expectations, defying initial projections. At its launch in 2011, the car was priced at around £40,000. However, its value has remained stable or appreciated over time instead of depreciating. 

If you’re considering purchasing a BMW 1M, you’ll find limited availability, but they typically command an average price of £50,000, with exceptionally low-mileage examples fetching prices as high as £80,000. Such is the widespread admiration for the Coupe that even Top Gear presenter Chris Harris couldn’t resist paying a substantial sum to acquire 1M in 2017.

Journalist’s Review

In 2017, Chris Harris, the renowned Top Gear presenter, acquired a BMW 1 Series M Coupe and declared it the finest M car he had ever experienced. This response was directed at M purists who had reservations about the 1M’s M-car status, citing the engine’s origins from a 135i and emphasizing the significance of a distinctive, high-revving motor as the core of any M vehicle. He believes that the turbocharging engine represents progress, as modern electronics enabled these turbochargers to perform and produce power we wouldn’t have thought possible back then. He believes that a car initially built with shared and inherited components has ultimately established a more distinct identity than some of the more special machines previously used to argue against its worthiness of carrying an M badge. Chris particularly liked the 1M’s punchy character, unique name, heavy steering feel, and responsiveness when navigating damp roads.


The BMW 1M is a compact coupe with a unique style and powerful performance. It creates its own identity with a turbocharged engine delivering magnificent power. It creates its own identity through its exhilarating turbocharged engine. It has excellent value but comes with limited availability. Its striking exterior and performance have earned car enthusiasts and experts much praise.

Written by: Motorcardata

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