There are many virtues we could extol here about the BMW 1M, but as this is a buyer's guide let's consider money first. If you were fortunate to be one of the 450 in the UK, or among the 6,339 worldwide, to buy a 1M new, you could enjoy depreciation-proof ownership.
When it was launched in 2011, the 1M cost £39,990 plus whatever options were added. Today, you'll pay around £40,000 for a lightly used 1M in good condition. Find a minter with low miles and competition among collectors is pushing the values of these cars over £60,000 for the very best. All of this means the 1M is a very solid place to put your money, as this model will only gain reputation and status as one of the last fast BMWs with a manual gearbox, hydraulic steering and a slightly edgy handling character.
When new, a 135i was £7,000 cheaper than and almost as good to drive as the 1M, while an M3 with its V8 motor was almost £15,000 more. Pricey 1 Series or bargain M car? The latter has turned out to be the case thanks to the 1M having the pace and handling to match, and even outrun, its M3 sibling.
It helped the 1M borrowed suspension and brakes from the M3, while the N54 twin-turbo six-cylinder engine is much the same as that in a 335i. For this car, BMW gave it 340hp and a six-speed manual gearbox taken from the Z4. This saw the car from rest to 62mph in a claimed 4.9 seconds, though contemporary road tests often bettered this.
Top speed was limited to 155mph as usual, but more importantly the 1M comes with an M button on the steering wheel to sharpen up throttle response. Under full acceleration, an overboost function adds an extra 37lb ft of torque, while the two small turbos provide maximum torque between 1,500 and 4,500rpm to make the 1M very easy to drive quickly or sedately.
There's also an M Dynamic Mode button that raises the limit where DSC traction control intervenes. Combined with the M Variable differential, the car can oversteer but with a safety net. Or you can turn off the traction control completely. That honed hooligan nature is what made the 1M so appealing when new and now...
Bodywork and interior
Make sure the Xenon headlights are working - new ones are £700 per side.
Check for even colour across the body panels as plenty of 1Ms have been repaired after accidents or track damage.
Look into the front wheelarches to make sure the liners are intact and securely attached as they can be damaged when reversing the car on full lock.
Options when new included a Harman Kardon Surround Sound System and Comfort Access. DAB and Bluetooth connection were also optional, so not all cars will have them.
Heated seat elements fail.
Engine and transmission
Carbon deposits will reduce performance. You can opt for a de-carbonising treatment or have the inlet manifold removed and blast-cleaned.
Engine management warning light can be triggered by worn nitrogen oxide sensor that's £400 to replace or a faulty knock sensor. This warning can also be caused by the high pressure fuel pump failing, which costs £265 plus labour.
Wastegate rattle is a common problem due to a failed gasket where the exhaust joins the turbocharger. The gasket is cheap but labour rates can easily exceed £1,000 for this job.
Turbochargers in the 1M are shared with the E9x 335i and it's cheaper to order for this model than a 1M.
The charge pipe can come loose, which results in a popping noise. It can often be fixed by putting the clip back on, but it will probably happen again. An aftermarket replacement will sort this and costs about £120.
A dual-mass flywheel will set you back £1200 and it's unique to the 1M. A single mass flywheel conversion is available from companies such as TTV Racing and Tuning Werk. A new clutch on its own is £440 from a BMW dealer.
Listen for any groans from the limited slip differential in low speed turns that points to heavy track use. This can be solved with a friction modifier booster additive.
Suspension and steering
The good news is the 1M's suspension and hydraulic power steering are rugged and long-lasting.
Birds offers an anti-roll bar upgrade for £818 fitted. Complete suspension kits start at around £2,000.
Wheels, tyres and brakes
19-inch Y-spoke alloy wheels are unique to the 1M and they cost £600 per corner for replacements, so make sure they're in good nick.
New discs all round will cost £750 plus fitting.
Tyres are 245/35 R19 front and 265/35 R19 rear, and a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4s will cost around £800 fitted to the car.
SPECIFICATION - BMW 1M COUPE
Engine: 2,979cc straight-six, twin-turbo
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 340@5,900rpm
Torque (lb ft): 369@1,500-4,500rpm
Price new: £39,990
Price now: £35,000 upwards
1 / 8