Prior to the actual launch of the BMW 1 Series M, enthusiasts were bemoaning its use of a turbocharged engine, which in itself was heresy for an M car, and an engine that wasn’t a bespoke M engine. In fact, on paper, the 1M is sort of a parts-bin special, seemingly made up of bits the M Division had lying around. However, once enthusiasts started driving it, they realized just how special it was and still is.
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In this new Rise & Drive video from Piston Heads, we take a look at the 1 Series M on some twisty, scenic British roads. It’s a car that is looked at very differently now than it was when it first debuted.
Even though it was a bit of a surprise when it first debuted, it still wasn’t as appreciated as it is today. When you compare its steering, suspension, shift quality and engine to performance cars today, it feels like a pure, unfiltered driving experience. Its steering was slightly knocked back when it was new for being a bit numb compared to its predecessors. However, compared to modern cars, especially modern M cars, it feels positively telepathic.
And sure, its engine isn’t a bespoke M engine, instead its a modified N55 engine, but it’s brilliantly suited to the car. Because the car is a bit of a punchy little hooligan, that turbocharged wallop of power really fits the nature of the car, allowing it to step its tail out with just a squeeze of the throttle. Sure, there’s a bit of lag but once the turbos are on boil, power is delivered like a boxing glove to the face. And that’s sort of the fun of the 1M.
If you want a BMW 1 Series M today, at least one that’s in good shape, you’re going to spend above retail price. Since the 1M is a rare and desirable, it’s actually appreciated since new and it’s likely going to continue to do so. Considering M cars are going to becoming more and more electronic in the future, it might make sense to get one now, while prices are still semi-reasonable. Especially when videos like this start increasing enthusiast desire.