Let’s clear one thing up. The name. Last year BMW launched the 1M Coupe; a fantastic car. The reason that car wasn’t called an M1 Coupe, is because there was a BMW super car launched in 1978 called the M1. We were never sure why they couldn’t just forget about it and use the Coupe as a tribute to the M1. More confusing is why in 2012 it is suddenly perfectly acceptable to re-use the M1 name? Sorry, that was an unintentionally convoluted start to this item.
Not only is this the latest model from BMW’s M Performance division, but the new M1 is also going to be the first 3-door 1 Series from the 2012 range.
BMW made a good job of the 1M Coupe. They proved that the car wasn’t marketing spin, but a true M car. Clearly, the 1M is only a concept for the time being, but be under no illusions, this car will be made. Therefore we can’t take a flippant glance at the sporty styling and assume that the M1 is going to live up to its badge.
One thing about this car’s spec sheet that made me choke on a mouthful of coffee, was the absence of a limited slip differential. This is concerning because it suggests that BMW have held back on the M1, this is also apparent from the styling; it’s sporty, yes but where are the flared wheel arches, huge wheels and gaping mouth for an air intake? That little 8-year-old boy who got all excited inside me when I heard there was going to be an M1 is now slightly sombre.
The 3.0 litre straight six produces 340bhp and will do 0-62 in 4.9 seconds. So the M1 isn't slow, but then neither is a Dodge Viper. An M car has to handle better than any other car in its class, at speed. If the M1 hasn’t been given the full treatment, I suspect it wont live up to expectations, which is shame. It’s also rather daft given that competition in the hot hatch market is so strong. Audi must be breathing a sigh of relief having released their hyper powered A1.
The M1 is expected to launch in September and will set you back around £35,000. Lets hope the M1 has more to offer than its first impression portrays.