The 1 Series M Coupe prototype we drove last year proved to us that BMW hadn’t lost its performance mojo. German enthusiast mag, Sport Auto, has echoed that sentiment, as it recently pitted the 1M against its larger sibling, the M3. Pushing both cars to their limits at Germany’s Hockenheimring circuit, the magazine’s tests show that the 1M is faster than its big brother around the track.
Sport Auto paired a stock 1 Series M Coupe against a current-generation (E92) M3 with ZCP competition package and dual-clutch transmission; the 1M is available only with a six-speed manual transmission. Running each car separately on the track, the time for the 1M was a 1:14.1, while the M3 clocked a 1:14.2. While a tenth of a second isn’t a huge gap, it’s impressive considering the M3’s horsepower advantage with its 414-horsepower, 4.0-liter V-8 engine and the mere 378-pound weight difference between the two cars. While no slouch, the 1 Series M Coupe is powered by a 3.0-liter, turbocharged inline-six producing 335 horsepower.
To put the 1M’s lap time into perspective, the German magazine lists the times it recorded for a few other cars it tested: an Audi TT-RS and a manual-transmission- equipped E92 M3 both recorded times of 1:14.3, with the Audi RS5 coming in a full second behind at 1:15.3. At just a hair faster than the 1M, the Porsche Cayman S with a six-speed manual laid down a 1:14 flat, while the same car with the dual-clutch transmission logged an even quicker 1:13.9. Needless to say, the 1M is among some pretty lofty company when it comes to its lap times.
Although the data speaks to the 1M’s sheer speed, Sport Auto also believes that the car brings the fun back to the BMW marque. Claiming a tail-happy nature with the traction control off, Sport Auto is pleased that the 1M retains some of the oversteering qualities inherent in some of BMW’s past models. BMW itself wants to remind us of the 1M’s sporting heritage, as the company had a vintage E30 M3 on hand for direct comparison at last year’s press event. Until we can line up our own tests for BMW’s new Baby M car, we’ll continue to fantasize about the 1M and its track potential.