Better Buy: Pre-Owned BMW 1 Series M or BMW M2 CS?

BMW 1M, BMW M2, News | December 19th, 2019 by 13
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What a great predicament to be in; which superb, special edition BMW should I buy? As much of a champagne-problem as that choice might be, with the upcoming BMW M2 CS on the way, it’s one that several customers will face. When the newly announced M2 CS hits the market, it will do so carrying a price tag north of $80,000. That’s a lot of money for a 2 Series, no matter how you slice it. Though, when it does put rubber to road, it won’t be the only special edition BMW coupe for around that money. It will have some company in the BMW 1 Series M.

The BMW M2 CS makes a strong case for itself. It might be based on the M2 Competition but it’s much more than just an M2 with some angry aero. It has more power, 444 hp to be exact, its suspension is now adjustable, its brakes are bigger and better, it has a carbon fiber roof and hood and a lightweight interior. So it’s a serious driver’s car and a comprehensive upgrade over the M2 Competition on which it’s based. However, it’s still going to have a hard time compelling a buyer to choose it over its ancestor.

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As cool as the BMW M2 CS is, the 1 Series M is a bit of a modern legend. Considered one of the last truly analog M cars — possibly the very last analog M car — the 1M is a superb machine. It’s smaller than the M2 CS, tighter than it and more connected to the road, thanks to a more communicative chassis and old-school hydraulic steering. Those who’ve driven the 1 Series M will tell you that there’s nothing in the modern BMW lineup that can even compare to its level of communication, feedback and driver enjoyment.

Of course, the M2 CS will blow the doors off a 1M, in terms of outright performance. With its 444 hp 3.0 liter twin-turbocharged I6, the BMW M2 is much more powerful than the much older 3.0 liter twin-turbo I6, which makes a comparatively measly 335 hp. The BMW M2 CS also has far more torque, with 406 lb-ft, compared to 332 lb-ft. Also, the new go-fast M2 uses a genuine M Division engine, whereas the 1 Series M has to make do with a borrowed Z4 engine. The performance issue is exacerbated if the M2 CS is equipped with its dual-clutch gearbox.

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However, none of that should matter. Limited-Edition go-fast BMWs should be judged by how much fun they deliver to the driver. It seems as if the BMW 1 Series M is that car.

Now, due to appreciation, a really nice 1 Series M could set you back close to $70,000 or more. That’s getting very close to M2 CS-money for a car that’s already almost nine years old. And the BMW M2 CS could appreciate as well, considering it’s also a low-volume, limited-run, special-edition model. So for similar money, do you want the older, more special car with some miles on it and no warranty or do you want the newer, faster, more capable car with no miles and a brand-new warranty?

If it’s my money, I’m taking the 1 Series M. It’s just such a special car that will continue to be revered for decades to come. The BMW M2 CS might be a great car but I have a feeling it will wind up being another flavor-of-the-month like the M4 GTS. The 1M will live on forever.

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