Roadshow Video Reviews
2011 BMW 1 Series M CoupeBuilt from the DNA of BMW's original M3.
-The little 1 Series has to fight this image of being a starter BMW. Adding a twin turbo, 305 horses, and 19s on the help, let's drive the 2011 BMW 1M and check the tech. The modern M3 is about the size of the original 5 and outweighs it by 300 pounds, so there has been some class creep. If you wanna set the clock back to a less ponderous time in BMW history, look at the 1 Series. It fits into clothes the 3 Series hasn't been able to wear in almost 30 years. This M example is called the 1M, not the M1 because that was this car and that's another video. I gotta say getting into a 1 Series especially an M, but anyone is kinda cool and then it takes you back to what the 3 Series used to be. It was a much smaller car, a lighter car, a nimbler car. It's grown up a lot since the early 80s. What we're looking at here is, once again, a small nimble car, feels tighter inside of course, but not dramatically so. Everything's a little bit smaller in scale. You've got a little smaller instrument binnacle. The wheel feels smaller in diameter, although I'm probably imagining that 'cause the damn thing is so thick on this M car. We have a basic head unit here. We don't have the hotted-up one that has the nav screen, the iDrive, and all those features. As a result, you've got a simple, but very effective system. Now, our sources are AM/FM with HD radio that is standard interestingly enough, but bluetooth handsfree is an interesting choice there by BMW, single-slot optical disc. Also optional, right here under the console, we have an AUX jack and a USB paired together which go into a single cable to be an iOS device, very simple interface for getting around, but I've always been a fan of this one. It's really straightforward. You use either the menu or the audio buttons and then the various buttons here become soft buttons to choose in the submenu. Here's what iPod stuff looks like. Again, you don't have a lot of real estates, so how does it handle it? Well, let's take a look. I'll hit albums and I will scroll here. Aside from they're being very little of an aperture you're looking at at once, what it shows is very clear and notice how it reads really quickly. Now, the interior stuff that relates to the drivetrain two-key components and that's critical on an M car. One transmission, one choice only, it's a 6-speed manual. There's no dual-clutch automatic, no automatic-automatic, just this gearbox, very simple, low options on the 1 Series M. And then, there's the M Dynamic's mode button here on the wheel. Now, on other M cars, you can tune that, so that all of the various functions of the car from suspension to DCT behavior are all kind of tailored your way. On this car, it's real simple. You either press the M button to get extremely aggressive throttle mapping or press it again to go back to basically aggressive throttle mapping. -Oh, here's tech for tech's sake. The wireless key FOB has to be in the slot in the dash before you can use the push button starter that's an inch away. Somedays, you'd just kill for a plain old car key. -And, of course, being an M, the real story is under the hood, not really in the cavity. Here is our 3.0-liter in-line six classic BMW stuff, twin-turbos on this guy and it's got direct injection, stepless variable valve timing, all the good stuff BMW knows how to do. It's the engine you might know basically from a 335, but hotted up even more. And twin-turbos, not a two-stage twin scroll single turbo, not in this application. The numbers 335 horsepower, 332 foot-pounds of torque, gets this little 3300-pound car up to 60 in 4.7 seconds and with mpg that's 1926. Once again, thank you 3300-pound curb weight. The power, by the way, goes out of this engine to a dual-disc clutch to handle what's a lot of windup torque and then goes out to a rear-wheel-drive-only configuration which has a locking rear differential. -The 1M comes in just three colors. They had to send us Valencia orange. The others are black and white. -The first thing you get impressed by is how this car feels light on its feet because it's a fairly light car, 3300 pounds. It's not in today's mainstream of what cars are coming in at by several-hundred pounds. More than that, of course, they've sprung it nicely. You've got ample power, but the responsiveness of the power is also coming on right as well. I love second gearing this car. I could do just about anything in this car off the freeway in second gearing. It's happy to play ball. Let's take a hard turn here and just stay on and steer with the throttle, very nice. Oh, by the way, this car has the rear subframe, the rear running gear, rear differential and such and the tires and wheels of an M3 more or less. Nothing like taking a few hundred pounds off a car to make it handle the way you want it to without efforts. Good exhaustion. [unk] much that you can hear. I got the windows up, so our microphones don't get buffeted by too much wind, but it's a nice view to note, but serious-- Oh, check it out. I'll put it in the M Mode now for these next series of curbs. Really kicks up the throttle response. You really notice it when you're in a performance mode and you got the road where you can use it in and around town. It's something but a head bothering. It's a complete pain in the ass for city driving, but it's really nice when you got a little road, you can unwind on without getting ridiculous. Okay, let's spice up 2011 1 Series M. It's often a story of simplicity as we've seen with this model. Base price is $47,000 in any of its simply three colors. I love that. Now, here's where it gets non simple and kind of tricky, it's doing it up and seeing that style. You've gotta grab two chunky packages and one ala carte piece. The first package is the convenience package. That costs 2700 bucks and gets you iDrive, hard drive nav, live traffic, park distance control, keyless access, and an alarm system. Then, you gotta get premium to get iPod, USB, bluetooth handsfree, automatic mirrors, power seats and lumbar support. And then you go ala carte 250 more to get the BMW apps. It's kind of a lot to add on to a car that's trying to beat an affordable M, but the technology is really solid and I definitely want the apps package.