What is it?
Although the M Coupé is based on the recently facelifted 135i Coupé, much has changed in the transformation to M-car – not least the chassis, which is largely taken from the bigger, more expensive M3. And more than anyone else, the likeable German’s reputation is riding on how well it is perceived.
What’s it like?
It’s one of the best-looking M-cars in some time. Much effort has gone into modifying the 1-series coupé’s steel body to accommodate its upgraded chassis and give the M Coupé a much more muscular appearance than the 135i. In the metal, it looks bulldog tough.
On light throttle loads it is extremely tractable and can pull taller gears at moderate speeds. It’s a big departure from the peaky delivery of past M-cars and will give the M Coupé a wider appeal than has previously been the case with BMW’s more extreme performance models. Just don’t expect the sort of heavenly throttle response you get in an M3.
Peak power is put at 335bhp, developed at a low (by M-car standards) 5900rpm. It is sufficient to provide the 1495kg M Coupé with 224bhp per tonne; that’s 38bhp per tonne shy of the 1580kg M3 coupé.
What moulds the new M-car’s solid levels of performance more than anything, though, is its torque – 332lb ft of it from 1500-4500rpm. That compares with 295lb ft at 3900rpm for its long-established normally aspirated V8 sibling.