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      10-13-2010, 01:27 PM   #1
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Post Road and Track 1M Coupe Impressions

2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe - Driving Impressions

BMW’s new rocket-powered rollerskate.

By Jonathan Elfalan
October 12, 2010

Scheyern, Germany—The price of admission into BMW’s M performance division has just been reduced with the introduction of the 2012 1 Series M Coupe. A fact you might already know—the 1 Series M Coupe is powered by the N54 twin-turbo inline-6, massaged to produce power akin to that of the 335is and Z4 sDrive35is. This means the car will have around 335 bhp and 332 lb.-ft. of torque, more than enough to point and shoot this pint-sized package at will.

With psychedelic camouflage in place, it’s a little difficult to capture the full effect of the 1 Series M’s new fascias and flared fenders. The front fascia gains more prominent side vents that feed an assortment of added radiators, while the rear fascia makes room for the new quad-tip exhaust. BMW engineers say they have widened the current 135i by 80 mm (3.1 in.), which makes the 1 Series M about half an inch wider than the current E92 M3. It’s not just for show, as the fenders were needed to clear what is essentially the suspension transplanted from an M3 Coupe . Huge cross-drilled 14.2-in. front brake rotors and 13.8-in. rears are at work inside the 19-in. Competition Package wheels, which are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 rubber, size 245/35ZR-19 in front and 265/35ZR-19 in back. That’s 30 mm wider than stock in front, and 20 mm wider in back.

The suspension, although not available with the BMW’s Dynamic Damper Control, is significantly improved. Where the 1 Series eschewed any semblance of oversteer, the M delivers far greater balance with the added benefit of the Variable M Differential Lock (LSD) which is what gives the M3 such incredibly friendly drift control.

Get on the throttle hard and the acceleration of this 1 Series M Coupe is a touch more aggressive than the 135i’s already impressive thrust. It won’t wow you like the M3’s racy V-8, but disappoint you it won’t either. The easy-shifting 6-speed manual is standard 1 Series equipment, and it’s the only gearbox offered (no DCT) in all markets.

Although our prototype car wasn’t 100 percent representative of the production 1 Series M Coupe, BMW says there will be an M-specific interior trim along with an “M Drive” button (somewhere) in the cabin that alters the throttle for sportier response. I’d vote for exhaust cutouts of some sort, too (come on BMW, there’s still time!). I’d also like a more guttural exhaust note in the final tune, something closer to that of the 335is.

When the BMW 1 Series M Coupe arrives in the spring of 2011, it will be priced at around $45,000, or halfway between a 135i and an M3.
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