Find of the Week: 2011 BMW 1M

It's one of the rarest BMWs of the 21st Century, and it might be one of the best. It took some of the best parts from around the company and packed them into the smallest car. Then they sold it for just a single model year. It's the 2011 BMW 1M and this one is our Find of the Week.

At the start of this decade, BMWs were growing big. The M3 had gone from being a small and light four-cylinder racer to a 1,700 kg, V8-powered, 414 hp monster. Purists wanted something smaller. So BMW delivered.

The 1 series had been around in Europe since 2004. It was the smallest car BMW offered at the time, with a choice of small gas and diesel engines on offer. It came to Canada in 2008 and offered a vehicle for buyers who didn't quite want the almost 5 series that the 3 series had grown into.

The 1 came with a pair of inline six-cylinder engines, offering up to 302 hp. Impressive numbers, but not quite M-worthy.

So BMW set the M division loose on the 1. They came out with what was just the division's second turbocharged engine. The 3.0L inline six-cylinder turbo that was actually borrowed from the Z4 xDrive35is.

Power was up, to 335 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. Even better, another 37 lb-ft are available for brief periods of overboost.

The car's track was widened, by 7cm in the front and 5cm in the rear. Helping take full advantage of that extra width are 245/35R19 tires in the front and 265/35R19 in the rear. The tires were Michelin PS2s borrowed from the M3, though by now they've probably seen a replacement or two. Especially at the rear.

That width didn't come just from wider wheels, either. The car for special fenders and rear quarter panels to fit the revised parts.

The car got a limited-slip rear differential, along with aluminum suspension components, subframes and bracing to make it stiffer, and even brakes borrowed from the big brother. What it didn't get was the sunroof standard on other 1 Series cars, this shaved 15kg from the highest point of the car. BMW pointed out that it maximised helmet room. And you could get any transmission you wanted, as long as it was a six-speed stick.

All it needed was a name. But unlike the M3, M5, and all the other M-cars, where BMW simply stuck an M in front of the series, BMW had already used the M1 badge on that supercar from the late 1970s.

The fix was easy enough, though. Swap the position of the M and you get the 1M. And then it was off to the pub for the M marketing folks, because with the hardware this car packed it was an easy sell. Though officially, you'll see the car listed as the 1 Series M Coupe. Which doesn't quite roll of the tongue as well.

The 1M was originally intended to be limited to just 2,700 for the globe. That wasn't anywhere close to enough to meet demand, and final production ended up being more like 7,000.

The car was heralded as one of the best M cars made when it launched, highly regarded for the impressive handling that it offered in such a small package.

With that demand, and only around 283 ever sold in Canada, 1Ms like our Find of the Week don't come up for sale that often. So when they do, especially with low miles like this one, they tend to get snapped up quickly.

The car was only available in three paint choices, white, black or orange. This one is in black, with black leather interior with orange contrast stitching.

This one, for sale in Laval, Quebec, doesn't have the optional heated seats, but that's probably the better choice. After all, with under 32,000 km on the odometer, this one's a fair weather car. What it does have is just one owner and a full service history at a BMW dealership.

It's the spiritual successor to the original M3, nearly the same size as that car. But with far more power and more modern amenities. And it can be yours.

M-azing 9/5/2018 11:09:38 AM