BMW has revealed its fastest and most extreme series production 1-series yet: the 335bhp M coupe. It will go on sale in the UK in May after a debut at today’s Detroit motor show and will be priced at around £38,000, £13,000 cheaper than an M3.
The entry-level M division model will be every bit as fast as the larger and more expensive M3 in standing start acceleration, with a 0-62mph time of just 4.9sec, just 0.1sec slower than the M3. BMW also says the 1-series M coupe will hit 124mph in 17.3sec, on its way to a limited 155mph top speed.
The 1-series M coupé uses the same twin-turbo six-cylinder engine M54 engine, which is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, as the recently introduced Z4sDrive35iS – making it the first model from BMW’s M division to boast a standard production powerplant.
While subtle changes to the six-pot’s exhaust system were expected to deliver an increase in power, BMW’s official figures suggest it delivers the same 335bhp at 5900rpm and 332lb ft at 1500rpm as it does in the Z4sDrive35iS.
An overboost function boosts torque for short periods of full throttle acceleration to 369lb ft. By comparison, the M3’s naturally aspirated 4.0-litre V8 kicks out 414bhp and 295lb ft.
With a claimed kerb weight of 1495kg, the 1-series M coupe will have a power-to-weight ratio of 224bhp per tonne – some 34bhp per tonne less than the 1605kg M3 but 14bhp per tonne more than the 135i coupe.
Also included as part of an enhanced driveline is BMW M division’s electronically operated M differential.
The 1-series M coupe’s chassis has been significantly upgraded from the standard 135i’s, including a 71mm wider track at the front to 1541mm. There is a 46mm increase in track at the rear, up to 1541mm. The ride height has been lowered by 20mm to give the new M-car a more ground-hugging stance.
The brakes have been borrowed from the M3, with 360mm vented and drilled discs up front and 350mm vented and drilled discs at the rear.
The changes to the chassis have necessitated some obvious modifications to the standard 135i’s body, with heavily flared wheel arches. The 1-series M coupé also sports a deep new front bumper with an enlarged centre air intake and what BMW calls air curtains - vertical ducts on the outer edges that help to channel airflow around the front wheel arches and reduce aerodynamic drag.
There are also new air ducts incorporated into the front wings; they are used to extract hot air while reducing air pressure in the engine bay at sustained high speeds. Other changes include unique side sills, new exterior mirror housings, a subtle boot lid spoiler and new rear bumper.
Just three paint colours will be available: Alpine White non-metallic, Sapphire Black metallic and Valencia orange.
Inside the upgrades are subtler, with a set of sports seats, a thick-grip three-spoke M division steering wheel, reworked instrument graphics and a liberal covering of Alcantara.