In the December issue of the magazine, EVO delivers an interesting comparison between the BMW 1M and a sleigh of competitors: Porsche Cayman R, Audi TT RS and Nissan 370Z. “THAT this has been one of the most enjoyable group tests I can remember speaks volumes for the quality of the cars in the test. All are so different in concept and character, yet they’ve all proved close in terms of point-to-point pace, with each delivering memorable moments in the process,” says Richard Meaden of EVO.
Let’s have a look at an excerpt from the extensive review, but here is a hint: the 1M won’t EVER leave BMWBLOG’s garage.
“Plenty of things strike you about the baby M-car. Perhaps the most crucial of these is the fact it feels small. Like properly hot-hatch compact. Given that the current E92 M3 can feel too bulky on give-and-take roads, this downsizing is smart and welcome. The fat steering wheel, stubby gearlever and plumply supportive seats emphasise the 1M’s sporting intent and give it a special air of expensive purpose. It’s easy to get yourself comfortable and you soon feel plugged into the action.
The 335bhp twin-turbo straight-six starts with a pleasing growl and settles into a rumblelicious idle – good news given the fears that blowers would deny this new breed of M-car a memorable voice. The gearshift is short and snickety, the clutch light and smooth to engage. The throttle has a slightly contrived and non-linear feel whether you opt for regular or Sport mode: the former gives you a disproportionately late surge of acceleration towards the end of the throttle travel, the latter an early slug of response. Neither is disastrous, but they could be better.
The 1M doesn’t have switchable dampers to play with, just an MDM (M Dynamic Mode) button to partially or fully disengage the stability/traction control system and an M button on the steering wheel to alter the accelerator response (unlike other M-cars, this button is non-programmable and doesn’t alter any other aspects of the car’s dynamic behaviour). The downside is that the 1M’s damping feels busy and a little muscle-bound at low speed, but the upside is you’re not forever toggling between modes. That said, it quickly becomes apparent that you need to slacken the stability control a notch, because in its default setting the little yellow light flashes more frequently than you might expect on anything but a smooth stretch of road.
There’s no doubt this is in part due to the 1M’s impressively potent engine. With an abundance of low and mid-range torque, it really shoves the little coupe down the road. An overboost function provides an extra 37lb ft for limited bursts, lifting peak torque to 369lb ft. That’s serious grunt, especially in something this size, and it makes its presence felt good and early. Make no mistake, this is a quick road car.
Turbos might upset the M purists, and there’s no doubt the twin-turbocharged straight-six doesn’t have the high-rev effervescence of the old E46 M3 motor, nor the banzai top-end rush of the current E92’s V8, but it makes the 1M a consummate overtaker. This muscular immediacy is addictive and enormously impressive, endowing the 1M with big-league pace and a huge margin of safety when dispatching slower traffic.”