BMW 1M was a thing of beauty, an utter performance-oriented small coupe that rocked our world when it was unveiled in 2011. It has been regarded as one of the BMW M cars ever built and to this date, it commends a premium price on the used car market. BMW has yet to officially announce its successor, the M2, which just like the 1M, it builds atop a compact coupe while inheriting some technology from its bigger brother, the M4. By moving up in class, the M2 leaves room for a smaller, fun M car in the existing 1 Series hatchback family.
Yes, BMW is already making a half-M car in that segment, the M135i, which packs a nice punch, looks great and offers unmistakable performance levels in its segment. But, it’s simply not crazy enough.
In recent years, we’ve seen some pretty remarkable hatchbacks coming to market. For example, Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG is a performance model aiming at a younger demographic, filled with aggressive design lines and nifty performance; the sales numbers say it’s a pretty popular Benz these days. Then we have the Audi RS3 which has always been a thorn in BMW’s foot, with its all-wheel Quattro drive, highly tuned turbo engines and plenty of performance to go along with that. The recent reveal of the Volkswagen Golf R and the Ford Focus RS, brings power, performance and visual appeal in a single package, showing that the market is is hot for “a hot hatch” – no pun intended.
All these reasons make for a valid case for the return of a BMW 1M in a different body style.
We’ve come up with eight reasons why BMW should return the 1M to its lineup, considering what the current BMW M135i lacks.
1. BMW M Engine
The engine in the BMW M135i is the N55 turbocharged direct injection straight-6 DOHC piston engine which has been in production since 2009, being initially launched in the BMW 535i Gran Turismo (F07). The engine delivers 326 horsepower and lots of cornering performance that comes with it. But it is not an M engine. BMW currently offers a “pure M engine” in the new M3/M4 and it’s rumored to do the same in the M2. Fitting a six-cylinder engine in the new 1M hatch would be overkill though, so we believe a four-cylinder, highly tuned to around 320-340 horsepower would make for a fantastic car. It would be lighter, packing the same power while offering sharper throttle response. .
2. An M bodykit
A new BMW 1M needs to look the part. The beefier and more aggressive body parts is what’s missing on the current M135i and that’s what we’d like to see incorporated. The flared wheel arches, larger front bumper, a set of side skirts and a rear diffuser, all wrapped up with a decklid spoiler and generous use of CFRP (Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic) is what this car needs. BMW M Performance upgrades would really put this car over the top.
3. A Proper LSD (Limited Slip Differential)
This goes without saying – the BMW 1M needs a proper, mechanical LSD (Limited Slip Differential) to provide the much needed grip and cornering performance. Coupled with a powerful BMW TwinPower Turbo engine, delivering plenty of power and torque, the BMW 1M would greatly benefit from a track-focused setup. Combine that with a low weight, near perfect weight distribution, amazing agility and this would definitely be a fun car to toss around.
4. BMW M Suspension
The BMW 1M was always praised for its great handling and cornering performance overall, but very few people know that its suspension came from the E92 M3. The BMW M135i, albeit a great and fun car as well, doesn’t provide the crisp and direct cornering the 1M does. A proper M suspension would go a long way in a new 1M hatch, giving its smaller size and compact body. Talk about a fun day at the track!
5. M Interior
The BMW M135i has a great interior. The only upgrade compared to the potential 1M is the introduction of bucket seats. Something we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in the other M cars. These seats would provide ample support in high cornering speeds and would be cool to look at also.
6. High Performance Hatchback
Either BMW accepts it or not, but the truth is they need a high-performance hatch. It won’t be an expensive development and it would fit just right in the lineup. If the M235i can coexist with the M2, so the M135i and 1M. With the introduction of the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG, we have seen a healthy increase in sales for that segment. People simply love the high-performance hatchback idea and historically the car market has always accepted such models.