BMW originally planned to make only 2,700 examples of the 1M but it ended up producing 6,309 units. That’s still a relatively low number for what has become one of the most desirable modern cars from the Munich-based marque. Being a pure driver’s car offered in limited quantities, it doesn’t come as a surprise it has shot up in value in recent years.

We are pleasantly surprised to see the 1M in action during drag and rolling races rather than being pampered in a climate-controlled garage. Finished in the then-exclusive Valencia Orange, the ultimate E87 fights a newer M235i from the F22 generation. We’ll remind you the 1M used the N54 engine, a turbocharged inline-six with a 3.0-liter displacement producing 335 horsepower and 500 Newton-meters (369 pound-feet) of torque.

The first-generation M235i got the N55 with 322 hp and 450 Nm (332 lb-ft). Both tipped the scales at under 1,500 kilograms (3,306 pounds), thus making them over 200 kg (440 lbs) lighter than the M2 G87. The drag race isn’t exactly fair since the 1M has a six-speed manual gearbox whereas the M235i features an eight-speed automatic, but still an interesting and rare comparison.

The two high-performance compact BMWs fought in three drag races, which were all effortlessly won by the 1M. In the subsequent rolling race from 60 km/h (37 mph) in second gear, the gap between the two was narrower, but the 1M triumphed yet again. The M235i did manage to grab a consolation prize by winning the brake test from 160 km/h (100 mph).

The recently unveiled second-generation M2 is their spiritual successor, but it’s much bigger and heavier. To compensate for the extra bulk, it has a lot more power by packing 453 hp, and we’re already hearing rumors of a slightly more potent version coming later in the G87’s life cycle. While a 1M is unlikely to happen ever again, BMW is still selling an M235i in 2023, but it’s a front-wheel-drive-based sedan sold exclusively with an automatic gearbox and AWD.

Source: Federico Leo / YouTube