Next magazine to review the BMW 1M is UK-based CAR. The North American reviews will start to show up in mid-May, including ours, but our European counterparts managed to get their hands on the “baby-M” before anyone else.
So is this another positive review? Here is the verdict first:
“The 1-series M is a proper M car, no doubt. Sure, it’s different from what’s gone before, but different doesn’t mean it’s not as good. Our first experience of a proper turbocharged M Division machine has unveiled a 1-series with a character all its own. It’s definitely not a hotted-up 135i, and now we’re looking forward to the future of M.”
Has the 1M got the same engine as the 135i?
Nope, the engine’s different too – but not unique to M. Outgoes the newer, single blower 3.0-litre straight six, and in its place is the older, twin-turbo 3.0-litre straight six from the Z4 sDrive 35iS. And it means the 1-series M Coupe is a different sort of M car, one that has low-down, almost-any-gear/any-rev gruns, and one that doesn’t need to be extended to an 8000rpm-plus redline to get the very best from it.
The new forced induction philosophy means it’s much more urgent than an M3 in the bottom half of the rev range. And it sounds good too: way more convincing than a 135i, deep chested and damn mean.
And it’s all controlled via a slick, short-throw six-speed manual. The M3’s dual-clutch M-DCT transmission isn’t an option, but it doesn’t matter – gone is the knuckly shift that’s plagued both BMW and M Division products in the 21st century.
BMW M is steadily improving its steering too. The M3 has taken a step forward since launch in 2007, the helm of the latest Competition Pack cars offering up more clarity to the driver, and the steering of the 1-series M is even crisper.
But without the M3’s adaptive EDC dampers, the firm one-size-fits-all suspension means a fair bit of pitch and enough yaw to deflect you from your chosen path. And that extra low-down oomph means less provocation is needed to send yourself slewing sideways, but despite that M diff it’s a little trickier on the limit that expected.