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      05-30-2012, 06:34 PM   #1
Dirk Van Driver
Private First Class
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Drives: VO1MC
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: UK

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1M seat position too high ? Here's my fix.

I've posted this in a thread over on PistonHeads as the seat height issue was mentioned in athread comparing the 1M with the E46 M3 CSL and the Z4M.
As this forum is more model specific, I thought I'd post my findings on here too.

Please note the seat height/adjustment issue does seem to be a very personal thing. From my perspective it pretty much ruined the experience of driving what is otherwise a fantastic car.
It tainted the experience to such a degree I seriously contemplated selling the car. Not only did it compromise my enjoyment of the car, it made driving it physically painful too.

Here are my findings and the fix for those that might want to tackle the job of lowering their drivers seat

The seats are taken straight from the 3 series coupe, witness the label with "E92 Sport" highlighted in blue.

The seat mounts via the four pivoting points highlighted in yellow, these determine just how low the seat can be mounted. They need to be able to articulate if you wish to retain all the seats adjustment functions (except fore and aft)

Note that none of the modifications made are irreversible, be they to the the seat, the seat base or the cars floorpan.

The process took some seven hours due to the experimental nature of the work involved. A large proportion of that time was used up making up a new seat belt stalk bracket. This was needed as the original wasn't compatible with the Sparco side mounts I'd purchased, and additionally, I didn't want to modify the existing part. The seat belt stalk features a pretensioner (in the form of a pyrotechnic charge highlighted in red)

As this was a safety critical component (as was the mounting of the seat itself) it took a long time to design and fabricate a neat and strong solution to enable the fitment of the pretensioner and the stalk to the Sparco side mounts.

The seat mounts were purchased from Demon Tweeks :

They were chosen after careful measurement and for the fact that the only section needed was the "rail" to mount to the floor, no "side mount" sections were needed as the intention was to lower the seat to the absolute maximum.

The finished article is functional and not up to BMW OE standards aesthetically. As can be seen from the photo, the modification lowers the seat approximately just over two inches) I intend to use these items as the template for some neater and far more bespoke items. If enough interest is shown I'll have several set made up, but please be aware, the seat no longer has ANY fore and aft adjustment apart from that gained by using the height adjustment function (which also moves the seat forwards and backwards as it pivots up and down, but also defeats the object of lowering the seat in the first place . . .)

These two images show the finished install and also indicate that the seat is mounted as low as is physically possible in the car.

The results make for a far superior driving position and in turn make you feel much more "at one" with the car.

Whilst buying the seat mounting brackets from DT, I checked out the Recaro Sportster CS they had in the showroom. Whilst it's a superb seat, I'm not convinced it's actually mounted any lower than the OE seats in the 1M, if anything I suspect they may be higher.

From my admittedly limited research, it would appear that Recaro don't/won't supply 1 series Sportster CS seat mounting brackets/adaptors. Seemingly BMW have an exclusive deal to supply them. My BMW dealer said the brackets were not available separately without the seats either. . . . . .

If I decide to keep the car, I will, as mentioned previously, most likely invest in a pair of Recaro Pole Positions and have them trimmed in black leather and alcantara with orange stitching.

Hope this helps those of you NOT sitting comfortably in your 1Ms !

Last edited by Dirk Van Driver; 03-03-2013 at 03:05 PM..