Arguably the BMW 1M is one of the most exciting M cars to emerge from Garching since the early 2000s. The super sporty 1M hasn’t gained a cult cause of its limited run, but mostly because of its story and driving dynamics. The legend says that the 1M was never really on the BMW board’s radar and it was born out of engineers’ desire to create a special “baby-M.” The legend goes even further saying that the codename for the 1M was “Pyrat” since the M engineers loved this special spiced rum with the same name.
When looking at it on a spec sheet, it seems a bit like a Frankenstein car, built from a mishmash of BMW parts-bin bits, so it doesn’t seem like it’d be any good. But it’s brilliant. Yours truly has owned one since 2011 and it’s just as exciting today as it was seven years ago.
Fast forward to 2015 and the 1M’s successor was introduced, under the name M2. While the new “baby-M” was the better car and extremely fun to drive, it was never a one-to-one replacement, but rather another great M model with another character. In 2018, BMW delivered another version of the M2, this time the M2 Competition, a car that uses the heart of the M3/M4, and therefore, increases its driving capabilities and performance.
The choice between the two has always been a tough one, on one hand you’re getting a very limited and raw M car – the 1M – while on the other hand, a more modern automobile with world class performance and driving thrills – the M2 Competition. Price wise, the two are playing on the same field – a used 1M can go above $60,000 mark, while a decently equipped M2 Competition is in the same range as well.
Just this week, Bring-a-Trailer posted a 1M listing with a price of $60,000. The car sold fairly quickly. The 1M was finished in Black Sapphire Metallic with a black Boston leather trim. Under the hood, the 1M had the N54 3.0 liter inline-six TwinTurbo engine paired with the standard 6-speed manual transmission. This car has been equipped with the Dinan Stage 2 ECU upgrade, which is advertised to increase output by as much as 56 horsepower and 73 lb-ft for a total of 391 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque.
The Carfax report indicates that the most recent service was performed in February 2017 at 10,943 miles. The accident-free Carfax report shows registrations in Connecticut and California.
In stock form, the M2 Competition is certainly going to be the faster car of the two. It’s more powerful, making 405 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, and it’s faster, getting to 60 mph in around 4.0 seconds. But with the Dinan power upgrade of the 1M, the performance of the two might be similar.
For must buyers, the choice basically comes down to this — if you’re going to drive this car everyday, go to work in it, pick up groceries in it and maybe even do the school run in it, the BMW M2 Competition is the better car. If you’re going to keep it as a weekend car and track toy, driving it only when you want to properly drive, the the BMW 1 Series M is the car for you.
Regardless of your choice, both cars will put a smile on your face.