The BMW 1 Series M Coupe has become a legend of the automotive world – a limited edition classic that will be hard to replicate in the future by BMW. Its performance and raw driving characteristics has built a cult around the 1M, and it’s often reference as one of the finest automobiles one can drive.
Capitalizing on this inherent performance DNA, upgrade specialists Alpha-N set on a journey to increase the standard 340 hp from the TwinPower Turbo N54B30 straight-six engine. And such task was beyond the remit of a mere software remap, therefore the engineers went back to basics by first addressing the flow capacity of the engine’s forced aspirated breathing apparatus.
Responsibility for the big leap in power is basically down to the in-house turbocharger upgrade, which uses a larger compressor and turbine wheels in a modified housing. To improve efficiency, the charge air temperature is reduced using a Wagner Tuning EVO3 intercooler, while a larger Charge-pipe system with Forge Blow-Off Valve helps to increase airflow velocity and volume. The fuel pump, spark plugs and ignition coil packs are also uprated to match.
On the other side of the motor, the exhaust backpressure is reduced using Wagner downpipes, and a free-flow middle silencer in the ‘Race’ version, feeding the standard rear silencer box.
The icing on the cake of Alpha-N’s bespoke conversion is the Snow Stage 3 water-methanol injection system, calibrated for a 50/50 mixture of distilled water and ethanol. This cools the top-end of the engine during the combustion process, considerably increasing output. The 9.5-liter tank and its bespoke pump are neatly installed in the boot.
A comprehensive ECU remap of the fuel, spark and boost pressure parameters makes full use of all the hardware upgrades. When the final calibration work was done, the BMW M TwinPower Turbo engine showed a sensational 564 hp, accompanied by an equally impressive peak torque of 734 Nm.
The task of transferring this newfound power to the drivetrain falls on a competition grade clutch mated to a proprietary single-mass flywheel manufactured from high-grade steel.
Getting this substantial increase in output to the tarmac was the next challenge, and here Alpha-N’s chassis technology partner Öhlins stepped in with a fully adjustable coil-over suspension that can be set up for road or track use.
In the cabin, the hard shell backed sport seats and sports steering wheel with LED upshift indicator and central display window are crucial aids to driver focus when using this cars mighty performance.
The BMW Performance front splitter and rear spoiler lip from the factory program reduce lift at both ends and give the car a more purposeful look.
But as they are relatively subtle they leave the Alpha-N 1 Series M Coupe a real wolf in sheep’s clothing.