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BMW's mini-M3 here in May

2010-12-10 07:49

‘HONEY I SHRUNK THE M3’: BMW’s first forced-induction coupe, the 1M, is for all intents and purposes as quick as an M3.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer BMW
Model 1M
Engine 3l in-line six twin-turbo
Power 250kW @ 5 900r/min
Torque 450Nm (500Nm overboost) @ 1 500r/min
Transmission Six-speed manual
Zero To Hundred 4.9 sec
Top Speed 250km/h
Fuel Consumption 9.6l/100km
Weight 1 495kg
BMW has finally revealed its long awaited 1M after months of agonising (and irritating) teaser clips and thinly disguised images,

As the new buy-in point for M-division enthusiasts, the car is a thoroughly warmed-over 135i and controversially the first M-car to have a series production engine instead of a specially developed M unit.

Unfortunately, yet understandably, BMW’s marketing people were apprehensive about the prospect of the 1M (if suitably configured) possibly cannibalising current M3 sales. So, it's been built to be quick, but not too quick...

TWO TURBOS BETTER

It will be powered by the ‘older’ twin-turbo N54 version of BMW’s much-vaunted three-litre, in-line six that's capable of 250kW and 450Nm, figures similar to the current Z4 sDrive35i.

Most M-car fans had hoped for a peak of 260kW...

Whatever, BMW has added a torque-enhancing overboost function that gets an extra 50Nm off the 1M’s crank during short bursts of demanding acceleration.

Performance figures are hugely impressive for a car of its size and class. The benchmark 0-100km/h sprint is listed as 4.9sec (a tenth slower than M3), which begs the question: Does the 1M really need any more power, considering its traction coefficient?

Enthusiasts will be heartened to know the 1M will initially be marketed with only one transmission option, a six-speed H-gate manual, with the possibility of BMW’s seven-speed DCT joining as a second model later. The Getrag six-speed manual transmission is balanced by a weightier flywheel and features dry-sump cooling to ensure it is suitably configured to withstand track-day abuse.

To ensure dynamic harmony, BMW’s M-division engineers have trimmed the 1M’s mass by 35kg from the 135i, courtesy of a lightweight roof – which removes weight from the car’s highest (and most stability critical) point.

MINI M3?

The 1M is 5mm longer, 53mm wider and (strangely, for a performance derivative) 13mm taller than the 135i – despite a 20mm reduction in ride height.

HERITAGE: BMW would like you to believe its new 1M is a spiritual successor to the seminal M-car, the original E30 M3.

The increased dimensions are largely the result of the car’s surfacing add-ons and larger front air intakes.

Featuring true M-division derived kinematics, geometry and stiffness, all four wheels have been balanced by BMW’s latest M-certified aluminium shock-absorbers and engineers have increased the 1M’s tracking widths by 71mm up front and 53mm at the rear to make the most of its Nordschleife-validated suspension bits.

Factor in 265/35R19 tyres in extended rear wheel arches and an appreciable increase in dynamic verve over its 135i sibling is a given.

In the quest for optimal traction and stability, BMW’s packaged the 1M with a raft of dynamic driver assistance system. Dynamic stability control and an ABS system boosted by an anti-slip control functiob, Dynamic Brake control and cornering brake Control can all be synchronized through the M Dynamic Mode button to provide a very high intervention threshold, thereby providing optimal driver engagement while retaining some margin of safety.

Reining in the 1M’s straight-line performance are 360mm discs behind the front wheels and 350mm at the rear.

For those who believe any and all (non-SUV) M-cars should power slide as a matter of principle, the 1M’s rear axle is secured by BMW’s M differential lock.

Cabin embellishments have, in M-car tradition, been kept to a minimum: only a fatter steering wheel and more body-hugging bucket seats are notable interior upgrades over the 135i.

The 1M will be in SA showrooms in May, 2011.

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