• Jan 13, 2011
2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe – Click above for high-res image gallery

The 1 Series M Coupe is a car capable of turbocharging the dreams of many an enthusiast, BMW or otherwise – but the question many have is whether it can it turn the dreams of M3 buyers into something less... dreamy. During this week's Detroit Auto Show press days, we spoke to Dr. Kay Segler, president of BMW M GmbH, about what 1 Series M Coupe means for Bimmer's performance brand and the M3.

Dr. Segler responded to those worried about the 1 Series M Coupe being better than the M3 with "the M3 is the car of M, the icon, playing in another league. The best feeling is still in an M3." So even though BMW's product and technology PR rep Matthew Russell described the 1 Series M as "an M3 in a 1 Series body," the 1 M is distanced from the M3 by its limited options, including the fact that the M button on the steering wheel only adjusts throttle response, nothing else.

On the other hand, when discussing concerns that the 1 M was engineered so as not to step on the M3's toes, Segler said "It was never held back at any stage. It is as good as it can be, this was exactly the car to build." When we asked how much one would have to spend in order to make it better than an M3, we were told that it would make more sense to buy an M3. "It is not a replacement for the M3," he also said. Russell added, "The M3 is in the middle of its life, it has a long way to go."

And finally, our favorite answer came when we asked what is the competition for the 1 Series M Coupe, and Russell amusingly remarked, "A certified pre-owned M3."

What say you? Is BMW just being cocky or does the auto industry offer a true direct competitor for the 1 Series M Coupe?

Click past the break for a comparison chart between the 2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe and the current BMW M3.



Live photos copyright ©2011 Jeremy Korzeniewski / AOL

1 Series M Coupé BMW M3
Engine 3.0-liter twin turbo inline six 4.0-liter V8
Transmission 6-speed manual 6-speed manual
Horsepower 335 hp @5,900 hp 414 hp @8,300 rpm
Torque 369 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm 295 lb-ft @ 3,900 rpm
Redline 8,400 rpm
Front suspension Macpherson struts Macpherson struts
Rear suspension Five-arm multilink Five-arm multilink
Weight 3,462 pounds 3,704 pounds
Weight distribution 51/49
Length 172.4 in 181.8 in
Height 56.1 in 55.8 in
Track F/R 60.7/60.7 60.6/60.6
Wheelbase 104.7 in 108.7 in
0-to-60 4.9 seconds 4.7 seconds
Top speed 155 mph 155 mph
Quarter-mile 12.5 seconds
Price $47,010 $59,775


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 69 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      I like it but I wish it was based on the 3dr body shell with some serious weight reduction and stiffening rather than just a body kit. When the E46 CSL came out, I loved the 'cardboard' boot(trunk) floor and carbon fibre bits. I loved the E30 M3, still the best, with its body mods such as the changes to the back window to improve aerodynamics and simple blistered arches.
      Don't get me wrong I think this is a great car but I want a RWD compact hatchback that go like the clappers, a bit raw and a bit different. The last time a we had mad bad RWD hatchbacks was the late 70's with Lotus Sunbeam and the Vauxhall Chevette HRS.
      Over the years BMW has always made a mad version of each of its cars, 2002 Turbo, E30 M3, Z3 M coupe, E46 CSL to name but a few but how about a mad RWD hatch as an alternative to the under steering FWD hatchbacks we get from everyone else.
      I want my hot hatch to push rather than pull!
      • 3 Years Ago
      who is seriously considering buying this?



      for that price you can get 335i
      or find 06 e46 m3 competition package that is way more appealing then this car ever will be

      • 3 Years Ago
      Break My Wallet.
      • 3 Years Ago
      BMW cars in general are pretty reliable machines, some people just overrate their unreliability since they expect that an expensive car should have no problems. As an owner of 5 BMWs during the past 10 years non of them have ever left me stranded ever!!
      Sure some stuff goes out like window regulators and batteries but that's little stuff. BMWs are great car overall some people whine cause the can't afford one or just don't get it!!
      • 3 Years Ago
      I still don't understand why the 1 series is taller than the 3... =/

      And yeah, BMW's full of it. Competition for the 1M? Mustang GT, but the Mustang GT will probably beat it (while costing a whole lot cheaper).
        • 3 Years Ago
        I honestly doubt anyone would be cross-shopping a BMW and a Mustang..
        • 3 Years Ago
        You'd be surprised actually - people that are looking at 1s are typically not BMW owners, its a way into BMW, but a Mustang GT is a pretty compelling car, believe it or not.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Say

        I'm inclined to agree with what you said, but this isnt a 128i, this is a $50,000 1 series.

        Gonna venture a guess and say that people looking at such things don't have words like "value" or "economy" in their heads.
        • 3 Years Ago
        The fact that we can even bring up a Mustang in conversation (and one that's $12,000 cheaper as well as quicker) just shows how much they've dropped the ball in recent years in my opinion. They love making comparisons to the E30 M3, but the E30 was made to homolgate it for racing, whereas this car seems to be made to just make a buck off people swooned by the M badging. At least the E92 M3 has a snazzy light-weight V8, the drivetrain in this 1M is basically a tarted up N54 similar to the 135i.

        $49k for a tall, cramped, heavy and kinda goofy-looking car just isn't appealing.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Gotta agree with thecomedian on this one.

        Every time I see a comparison between a the Ford and a BMW, I can't help but think how most every person I've know who's owned a BMW M-anything wouldn't be caught dead in a Mustang
      • 3 Years Ago
      In the same way the competition for a Maserati is a used Ferrari and a Camaro is a used Corvette...
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'd rather a new Better car over a used car thats heavier and less powerfull. The only thing the M3 had on the current 1 series was suspension. That now has changed. For the price I see a main competitor would be a used Corvette Z06.
      • 3 Years Ago
      It seems that just about every couple weeks AOL runs a "story" bashing BMW. In this case they couldn't really bash the product so they just made up a headline. It's a problem that you have two different high quality cars that appeal to different buyer demographics? It's a problem that BMW has decided to make a more economical though slightly less aggressive alternative to the M3 - the best sports sedan line in history? We should all have problams like that.
      • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hey, everybody! Look! Over here! An enthusiast who actually owns a 1 series is going to talk about it!

      I currently have a 135 for which I traded a Lotus Elise. BLASPHEMY, you say? Granted, I miss the Lotus a bunch, but as a father of two young children, I was putting very few miles on it since I couldn't take anyone with me. It was strictly a fair-weather toy that I could use only when the family had nothing going on, which is, like, always. In five years, I put only 10k miles on it. The 135, although it is too heavy, fits my life perfectly. Decent back seat for the kids (much better than a 911's), nice interior (head and shoulders above our Subie, not to mention the Lotus), traditional six-speed tranny with a nice shifter, and I didn't have to get iDrive. It cost 10k less than a 335 would have, and it fits in my garage (the 335 would not, due to my excessive collection of two wheelers). I love it. And the 1M looks great to my eye--I'm a sucker for flared fenders. Will I trade up for it? Probably not, but if it had been around last year, I probably would have gotten it instead.

      With regards to the Mustang? All I can say is that I REALLY want to test drive one. I'm intrigued. Probably won't get one, again because of the damned motorbikes taking up all the space in the front of the garage.

      All I'm saying is that the 1 series isn't a pointless car. There's got to be, what, a dozen other guys just like me in America who think the same way?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Looks to me like the 1M is the much better buy.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Hector,

        It's too bad you're so caught up in stereotyping and image conciousness not to recognize the simple truth: a 1 Series is simply a smaller, lighter 3 Series with a little cost cutting applied here and there and (from what most people say) lesser styling. The drivetrains are the same on the 128i/328i and 135i/335i, but each 1 Series model cost roughly $5K less than it's 3 Series brother.

        If you don't see how that can be considered a good deal, you're blind.
        • 3 Years Ago
        An E46 M3 is a much better looker, and probably well depreciated by now.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Only because that M3 probably got beat to hell by the previous owner...
        • 3 Years Ago
        Plus it doesn't look like a bloated inflated dead pig.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Sorry dude but the only people that even think the 1 series is a good buy are sorority girls and metrosexuals. Let's not even get on the subject of a $50K 1 series. While the 3 series has become very commonplace - and are also driven by the same sorority girls and metrosexuals - at least it retains a measure of respectability. I will take the used M3 any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
      • 3 Years Ago
      There's no contest here. The M3 is a bespoke model with a specifically developed engine that is not available in the regular 3-series. Same goes for the transmission. Obviously there are other differences but these are two KEY differences that are not translated over to the 1M's philosophy. It has the same 6-speed transmission found in the 135i and the same N54 engine without additional or improved cooling parts. That's a pretty huge distinction. The 1M is really just a 135i with a bodykit, LSD, and M3 suspension, with a mild tune and lighter flywheel.

      IMO a lightly used (maybe even bmw executive driven) M3 is a much better buy.
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