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Old 09-12-2011, 09:08 AM
motordavid's Avatar
RetiredBum & Semi-RenaissanceMan
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Mtns of Western NC, & SW FLA
Posts: 16,780
motordavid will become famous soon enoughmotordavid will become famous soon enough
Another M1 Review...

Again, not the car mags, but a decent read from the NewYawkTimes car guy, with some comparo to the M3. I like the car alot; just don't 'need' one, or have room for it, or wanna spend the dough on a 4th car. They are scarce, I suppose...
And, dear readers, here is your 'word for today': it appears in the 2nd to last paragraph...calumny
GL, mD

Behind the Wheel | 2011 Bmw 1 Series M

A Rowdy New Addition to the BMW M Family

POISED The M version of the 1 Series Coupe is distinguished by its enormous wheels and a linebacker's stance. More Photos


Published: September 9, 2011

AMONG the ranks of BMW fundamentalists, one nightmare incites the deepest primal fears: an unrelenting attack by a vampire army of thirsty, darkly complicated Bimmers.


Slide Show
A Bimmer for the Purists

Confronted by shape-shifting BMW bodies stuffed with unholy gadgetry, the brand’s loyalists reach for the nearest wooden stake, garlic clove or, in truly dire moments, their owner’s manual.

Like other automotive traditionalists — Porsche disciples, you know who we mean — BMW’s true believers are known to pine for the sunny days when their favorite cars were lighter and simpler.

Even the compact M3, perennially short-listed among the world’s best all-around performance cars, has grown 10 inches and packed on about 850 pounds since that first lovable, wing-sprouting version arrived in America in 1988. Its engine has roughly doubled in power, size and cylinders, from the original’s 193-horsepower 2.3-liter 4-cylinder to the 414-horsepower 4-liter V-8 in today’s coupe, sedan and convertible versions.

And like every model that wears the badge of BMW’s high-performance M division, the M3 has become steadily more extravagant. The 2011 M3 coupe starts above $60,000, including a $1,300 gas-guzzler tax, and shoots toward $70,000 with options.

That makes the new 1 Series M Coupe, aside from its marble-mouthed name, a brilliant addition to the BMW line. This brawnier version of the standard 1 Series is as quick as the larger M3 coupe, handles almost as well, drinks far less fuel and at $47,010 to start, costs some $13,000 less.
BMW calls its 1 Series M the spiritual successor to the original M3, and there’s little reason to argue: it is a relatively compact coupe, available only with a stick shift, and a reminder of the times before the M line included 2.5-ton crossovers and NASA-level limousines.

What the company doesn’t call it is the M1, a name already taken by BMW’s rare midengine supercar of the late ’70s.

The manual-shift-only approach is a strong statement, given that BMW sells the majority of its M cars and S.U.V.’s with automatic transmissions.

But it illustrates this car’s purer heart, as do a somewhat spartan interior, the absence of an iDrive infotainment system and a choice of just three exterior colors: black, white and a signature Valencia orange metallic.

This sprightly coupe is nearly 10 inches shorter than the 2011 M3 and at 3,362 pounds, weighs about 350 pounds less. But the 1 Series duplicates the wide stance of the M3, with front and rear axles spanning a respective 2.8 and 1.8 inches more than the standard 1 Series.

The broader footprint and hot-tempered body contours toughen up the M when compared with the standard 1 Series. Still, there are lingering issues with the car’s basic shape, especially its cigar-stub profile and the guppy belly that spills from the sides.

It’s possible to simultaneously covet and snicker at the expansive wheel arches curling over equally bulging 19-inch rims. I can’t recall a car this small with such huge factory rubber, specifically the tremendous Michelin Pilot Sport 2 summer tires from the M3.

Up front, the new M thrusts its air inlets directly in your face, while serving the needs of engine and brake cooling. They are complemented by BMW’s Air Curtain. Seen earlier on the Efficient Dynamics show car, these slotted ducts in the lower front bumper discharge air around the rotating tires, wrapping them in a “curtain” to reduce aerodynamic turbulence and drag.

The interior is pleasingly minimal and dark, yet the cabin avoids the dungeon look with soft textures and contrasts, including white-lighted M gauges. The predictably terrific M steering wheel, with its small diameter and fat grips, carries an M button that amps up the throttle response. But the old-school audio system is a reminder that this BMW isn’t about luxury dazzle.

Ensconced in the well-bolstered sport seats, drivers will notice the long stretch needed to grab the seat belt, a familiar compromise in coupes. If the back seat is tight for adults, the weekend-ready trunk, which swallowed more than its official 10-cubic-foot capacity would suggest, remains a big practical advantage.

Practicality was of little concern at the Monticello Motor Club, the upstate New York road course where, at a press introduction earlier this year, BMW turned writers loose in the 1 Series M and the M3.

While most little brothers hate hand-me-downs, the 1 Series M gets the auto equivalent of Armani couture. Wheels and tires, aluminum suspension bits and the M limited-slip differential are among the gear adopted from the M3 or its $2,500 Competition Package. The 1-Series does forgo the M3’s electronic dampers for mechanical shocks.

If you already adore the Volkswagen GTI or Subaru WRX, driving the BMW is like stepping into a fairy tale, a zone where the nimbleness of small cars has been buffed to a high-budget gloss.

It’s all here: mathematically precise handling, impossible levels of tire grip, the ability to hammer your way over any road surface. Ride quality remains firm but livable, in typical M style. The 6-speed gearbox offers the familiar BMW lesson in lightness and precision.

Bowing to regulatory realities, the most recent M models have moved away from high-revving naturally aspirated engines. The 1 Series M signals the new downsized regime: a twin-turbocharged 335-horsepower in-line 6 whose power output reaches its peak at 5,900 r.p.m.

Yes, it’s hard to beat the visceral appeal of the M3’s shrieking 8,400-r.p.m. V-8. But this sweet 6 — not a bespoke M creation, it’s essentially the same engine used in the 335is and Z4 sDrive 35i — offers a good measure of consolation.

Those two turbochargers help the BMW develop 332 pound-feet of torque, fully available between 1,500 and 4,500 r.p.m. But they’re just getting started.

Floor the gas and an overboost function prods the output to 370 pound-feet for up to seven seconds. That’s 75 more pound-feet than the M3’s V-8. With that thrust immediately available at low engine speeds, the 1 Series M and the M3, BMW says, run a dead heat to 60 m.p.h., both cars managing 4.7 seconds.

Jumping from one seat to another remains a telling way to compare cars, as fast laps at the Monticello track demonstrated. The 1 Series displayed virtually no body roll or brake dive. Toggling up the M Dynamic mode, a special setting for the stability control, allowed a generous amount of wheelspin and drift before the computer intervened.

Yet the 1 Series isn’t as saber-toothed aggressive as the M3. The M3 corners with a bit more precision, and is easier to adjust in the middle of turns; occasionally, the abruptness of the 1 Series’ turbocharged power will throw the chassis off its game. And while the 1 Series M’s 6-cylinder engine offers its own appealing whoosh-and-rasp, it can’t match the pure lung power of the M3.

But that’s all on the track, where it’s easier to keep the M3’s engine in its high-r.p.m. sweet spot. On public roads, the 1 Series’ right-now torque offers advantages in performance and drivability, letting you cruise in higher gears and still pull away without hesitation. Even at 2,000 r.p.m. in 6th gear, where the M3 and other high-strung cars would bog down, the overboost function assures that the littlest M will squirt away without delay.

How deeply you won’t have to dig at the gas pump is another notable edge for the turbo 6, with the 1 Series rated by the E.P.A. at a relatively impressive 19 m.p.g. in town and 26 on the highway, compared with the less judicious rating of 14 city and 20 highway for the M3. On a long Interstate run to Massachusetts in the 1 Series M, I got 25 m.p.g.

In a typical BMW review, this is where I’d note the familiar downside of a price that’s typically thousands more than cars of similar specification. But with a few options, my test BMW came to $50,460 — certainly, that is expensive, but no more than a loaded Infiniti G37 and thousands less than an Audi S5, to name two luxury coupes that the BMW outperforms. Those models, admittedly, are more luxuriously equipped than the BMW.

The 1 Series has spawned vocal detractors, especially in the blogosphere. Their calumny often includes claims that there’s not enough of a price spread between various iterations of the 1 and 3 Series. This top-shelf 1 Series M leaves that argument for dead: enthusiasts can easily ascertain, and appreciate, the difference between this $50,000 car and a $65,000 M3, especially when these BMWs will run nose-to-tail in virtually any situation.

Instead, availability may be the clincher: only about 800 to 900 1 Series M’s will be shipped here from the plant in Leipzig, Germany. BMW, which needs space there to build new models (including the European-market X1 crossover) has said it may pull the plug on the car, at least for 2012, after the current model-year run.

INSIDE TRACK: Bavarian thrills at a price that’s empathetic, not M-pathetic.

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