Today, boys and girls, I am mostly over-excited about the release of this, the BMW 1 Series M Coupe. I do so try to remain unbiased and view new cars in a balanced light, but as a clear fan of BMWs, little excites me more than the prospect of a sub-1500kg mini M-car. Indeed, just last week I was lamenting the virtues of the Z3 M Coupe, and how niche BMW M cars are to some like bibs are to babies: full of dribble.
It's not to say that the M3 and M5 are becoming less desirable, but if you wander along to a BMW fan convention, I would confidently put money on the fact that the one option most keen drivers would like to see is a smaller, lighter variant in this overweight world. I'm not going to make E30 M3 comparisons here as times have changed, but if there is even a hint of that original formula present then BMW must be along the right lines.
Behind the 1M's 334bhp straight-six engine sits a six-speed, manual gearbox. No paddles, no electronics and no hydraulics, just the plain old drivers' favourite gate. The internet tells me that the correct saying to describe this is 'WIN.' Of course, the box channels the drive to a Variable M locking differential at the rear, as (let's be honest), travelling sideways is almost an M car's signature. Much like its bigger bruiser brothers, the 1 Series M features an 'M Dynamic Mode' button, a feature which sharpens the characteristics of the chassis and throttle so that not only does it befit the car with an acutely focused nature, but also allows for a softer option in everyday use; a task that is well within the reach of the Coupe.
The sprint to 62mph takes just 4.9 seconds due to a turbocharged straight-six producing a meaty 369lb-ft. This forced nature has been of prime concern to many, as natural aspiration has for so long been in the M Division's morning pep talk until just recently. Be assured though, this is no tarted up 135i, and the forced air is more through a need to adhere to ever-tightening compliances. They might have changed the power delivery, but this looks to be every inch the perfect M car for 2011, I cannot wait.
Yesterday, the excitement was further cemented in two ways. Firstly the news broke that BMW were 'refusing to rule out a CSL version of the 1M,' and then on the way back from a first drive of my own E30 in six months, there was a white 1M sat behind me in stationary traffic. After bouncing up and down in the seat like a baby, I gestured the confused driver to pass so that I could ogle the finned diff cooler underneath. It looked good, if a teensy bit over-wheeled and 'Tonka' from some angles.
Of course, you really just want to see it going sideways though don't you?
More info on the car can be found here.