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2011 BMW 1 Series Coupe - First Look

2011 BMW 1 Series Coupe  (select to view enlarged photo)
2011 BMW 1 Series Coupe

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By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
Amsterdam Bureau
The Auto Channel

AMSTERDAM, Here it is: the new BMW 1 Series M Coupe! At this very moment, the long awaited details and pictures have been released. It is part of the planned warm up, that began in spring, when a disguised 1 Series was spotted testing at the Nürburgring, Germany and scoop photos started circulating on the internet. They generated lots of stweets and speculations, but BMW kept mum about its plans.

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In August, during the 25th anniversary celebrationsof the M3 at the Ascari Raceresort in Spain, we were presented the disguised prototype and offered a ride with M GmbH’s development chief Albert Biermann.

In the beginning of October, I could drive myself. But is was still with a black painted prototype covered with the white circles that are used nowadays by the Bavarians to cover up a lot and give away that something new is in the pipeline. See Story HERE

Today, it is time for phase 4 of the launch, the last one before the world premiere of the 2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe on January 10, at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

First compact M

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It is the first time that BMW M GmbH comes up with an M-variant in the compact 2-door segment. The 1 Series M Coupe is based on the 135i-model and brings racing oriented performance in a car that has been developed for daily driving. It was BMW’s goal to reach younger customers, interested in driving an M car that is affordable. Many people will soon call this model an M1, but that is not the intention of its creators. That name will be reserved for the only mid-engine BMW, the one that was built between 1979 and 1981. And, who knows, for a future real M-version of the 1-Series Coupe.

In August, I had a discussion with some colleagues about the price of the fast 1 Series and we came to the conclusion that the price of the fast 1 Series should not exceed 52,000 euros, or about 10,000 euros more than the most expensive version, the 135i with M sport package. Together with the pictures and details, BMW also released the price of the entry level M-model for the German market: 50,500 euros, inclusive tax. No bad surprise here! What the 1 M Coupe will cost on other markets has not been announced yet. We may expect that in Detroit, or closer to the market launch in the respective countries.

Light weight components

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The pictures of the red 1 Series M Coupe show that the flared wheel wells that we saw on the prototype have not been changed. They look bold indeed and they house the 19 inch wheels with 245/35 ZR19 tires up front and 265/35 ZR 19 in the rear.

The new model is both the shortest and lowest in the M range (length 172.4 inches, height 55.9 in.). With 71 in. it is also over 2 inches wider than the BMW 135i Coupé to accommodate a wider track.

The 1 Series got an M-chassis with light weight components, many of which have the same design as those in the M3, but were modified for the 1 Coupe.

The front axle is almost entirely of aluminum, and has a special support. The aluminum five-link rear axle is fitted with tubular stabilizers. Further weight is saved by applying forged aluminum axle links and aluminum shock absorbers.

The car also gets a variable M differential lock, a super duty brake system, which principle is derived from motor racing, as well as an ESP system, that of course, includes M Dynamic Mode (MDM).

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The dual exhaust pipes are in true M-style, like other design details such as the air ducts including air curtains in the front, the typical M gills looks of the M Coupe.
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In the cockpit, we see also M-details, such as four sport seats with contrast stitching, different strips, door panels and the M button on the steering wheel. The odometer goes to 300 km/h (186 mph), so expect naughty boys to go there, after they have worked away the speed limiter that is.


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As I already announced in October, the new M Coupe gets the in-line 6 cylinder of the z4sDrive35. The 3-liter power plant is assisted by M TwinPower Turbo technology and has a power output of 250 kW/340 hp, coming close to that of the third generation M3. The engine’s torque is 332 lb-ft (+ 36.8 lb-ft. with over boost) at 1500-4500 rpm. With its weight of 3296 lbs, the 1 Series M Coupe has a power-to-weight ratio of 9.7 lbs. per bhp.

No doubt M-lovers will be eager to hear the performance figures: acceleration from 0-62 mph takes only 4.9 seconds, 0-124 mph goes in 17.3 s, while the electronically limited top speed is 155 mph.

Let’s not forget to mention the fuel efficiency, since that figure will be more and more important these days: it is 9.6 liters per 100 km in the European cycle (converted, that is 24.4 mpg).

Since I already got my warm up session with a prototype of the youngest M variant in October, I am now looking forward to driving the 2011 model of the 1-Series M Coupe. Even though no race series is planned (yet), the first driving event will undoubtedly take place at a race track. Stay tuned please!