BMW gives 1-series an M label

BMW announces the M version of the 1 series.

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
BMW 1-series M Coupe
BMW tunes up its 135i and increases the track width for an M label. BMW

Today, BMW announced the 1-series M Coupe, a version of its 1-series car given the M sport division treatment. Although this news may sound good to BMW fans, the new M is not radically different from a 135i.

Both the 1-series M and the 135i use BMW's twin turbocharged 3-liter straight six-cylinder engine. For the M version, BMW tuned the engine to produce 340 horsepower. Also, the M version retains the current twin turbocharbed engine, whereas the 2011 135i gets the N55 engine with a single twin scroll turbocharger.

BMW 1-series M Coupe
Does this hot 135i really deserve an M badge? BMW

BMW says the 1-series M will hit 62 mph in 4.9 seconds; specifications for the current 135i show it hitting the same speed in 5.2 seconds. BMW increased the track of the 1-series M over the 135i by over 2 inches to help cornering.

The most M-like characteristic of the new car is the M program for its road-holding systems. A button puts it into M Dynamic Mode, changing the characteristics of traction and stability control to allow more slip.

BMW's announcement referred to the car as the 1-series M Coupe, a very strained model name. But unlike the M3 or M5, BMW probably does not want to call the new car an M1, as that name was used for a very different car, a collaboration between Lamborghini and BMW, produced from 1978 to 1981.