This week, BMW allowed a selected group of journalists to drive once again the upcoming BMW 1 Series M Coupe. The event took place near Munich and almost production-ready prototypes have been handed out for a quick drive.
Here is a short excerpt from MotorTrend:
“BMW has not released many official details about the 1 M (it breaks cover officially in Detroit in January), but during a recent tech-day visit to Munich the engineers let us take a quickie test drive and either admitted to or winked and nudged at the following facts:
Engine: The N54 twin-turbo 3.0-liter six is closely related to the one in the Z4 sDrive35is. Spooling out 11.6 psi (increasing to 14.5 for up to seven seconds of overboost), the turbos help produce roughly 340 peak horsepower, with torque registering near 370 lb-ft. To spare you the math, that’s 74 fewer horses but 75 more pound-feet of twist than the M3’s peaky V-8 makes. With weight said to remain nearly equal to the 135i’s, that should give the 1 M a weight-to-power rating equal to that of the previous M coupes with far better weight-to-torque than even the M3.
Transmission and driveline: A six-speed manual will be the only transmission offering, and we expect its ratios will be shared with those of the M3 stick. The M3’s Variable M Differential lock rearend is also part of the deal.
Chassis: Almost all of the M3 bits have been adapted to the 1’s closely related platform, with only minor tweaking to account for the 1’s nearly 200-pound lighter load. This includes the aluminum suspension links, the big vented and cross-drilled brakes, and the M3 competition package’s 19-inch Y-spoke wheels, shod in Michelin Pilot Sport PS2’s of the same sizes (245/35ZR19 93Y front, 265/35ZR-19 98Y rear, inflated to 44 psi front/35 psi rear on our prototype).
Body: Fender flares widen the car by 3.1 inches to cover the huge tires, and new fascias accommodate the engine’s increased cooling needs in front and the quad exhaust pipes out back. The 135i’s rear lip spoiler is retained, and all bodywork will be steel to keep the cost low. Paint choices will include Alpine White, Jet Black, and Valencia Orange Metallic.
So how does it run? Matching the last-gen M3 Competition coupe’s weight-to-power ratio with more torque than today’s V-8 M3, the 1 M moves out smartly indeed with zero turbo lag and a healthy snarl that’s dominated by mechanical and induction noise. Servotronic steering retuned for the 1 Series M Coupe relays plenty of road feel with ideal levels of effort. The chassis’ broad stance and high level of control permit cornering that seems impossible outside the virtual world of Sony’s Gran Turismo. Those oversized brakes erase big speeds just as smoothly and effortlessly as the twin-turbos produce it. BMW claims its Nurburgring Nordschleife lap time falls just a bit shy of the M3’s, and that seems plausible.”