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In-depth reviews

BMW 1 Series M coupe (2011-2012)

"The 1 Series M Coupe is designed to provide maximum driver thrills for less than the price of an M3"

Carbuyer Rating

4.1 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Pros

  • Excellent fun to drive
  • Exciting looks
  • Exclusivity

Cons

  • Road noise
  • Expensive to buy
  • Cramped rear seats

Flared wheelarches, angular air intakes, wide wheels and four exhaust pipes make the M Coupe really stand out. It's an impressive makeover from the standard car and certainly draws admiring glances. Current competition comes from Audi's RS3, offering a four wheel drive, five door hatchback for similar money. Inside, the BMW interior is more subtle, featuring the usual M Sport seats, dials, gearknob and steering wheel found in the M3, kit levels are good too. Priced at £40,020 it's the cheapest M car available and is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight six-cylinder engine taken from the 135i, albeit tweaked to produce a mighty 335bhp. The combination of low kerb weight and serious power means the M Coupe is very quick, easily capable of completing the sprint from 0-62mph in under 5 seconds and going on to an electronically limited top speed of 155mph.

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This model has now been replaced. You can read our full review of the latest BMW M2 here

MPG, running costs & CO2

Powerful engine becomes thirsty when pushed

With a combined mpg figure of 29.4 the 1 Series M Coupe is definitely not as fuel efficient as it's diesel engined brothers and sisters and with heavy use of the throttle, this figure will drop further still. On the motorway however, kept in a high gear the flagship coupe will return respectable fuel consumption for a car that provides this many thrills behind the wheel. The annual tax disc will cost owners £260 per year.

Engines, drive & performance

Fans of old performance cars will enjoy the 1 Series M Coupe

It's one of the most exciting cars BMW sell and as a result is best enjoyed from the driver's seat. From the hair-raising soundtrack to the way it dives into corners with total confidence, the M Coupe shines on twisty, open roads. It actually uses many chassis parts from the current M3 including wheels, brakes and rear suspension. In wet weather care must be taken when exiting roundabouts and on greasy patches of tarmac as even with the traction control switched on the potent little BMW demands concentration from the driver. All the effort is worth it however and with no automatic transmission offered, owners are left to enjoy a simple six-speed manaul gearbox that suits the car perfectly. Capable of 0-62mph in just 4.9 seconds, the M Coupe is thrilling and capable without being too harsh for everyday use.

Interior & comfort

Very impressive over long distances and rough surfaces

Supportive seats and a high quality finish ensure occupants are well looked after inside the M Coupe, it's much more comfortable than it looks from the outside. The ride over large bumps in the road rarely goes unoticed but the chassis deals with them well, not upsetting the handling or alarming passengers. Road noise is noticeable at higher cruising speeds due to the large tyres and some wind noise blights the long distance ability but overall, driven sensibly it's easy to forget your in a high performance sports car.

Practicality & boot space

Impressive for a coupe, the rear seats fold down to make more room

The huge alloy wheels are prone to damage on high curbs when parking, but otherwise it's the same story as the standard 1 Series Coupe, meaning relatively comfortable rear seats, a surprisingly practical boot (bigger than the hatchback) and a well designed dashboard and front cabin. As it's only a two door, access to the rear seats can be tight for taller passengers however and legroom is far from class-leading.

Reliability & safety

BMW's reputation for build quality is justified in the M Coupe

Other models in the 1 Series range have faced criticism in the past due to slightly poor cabin quality but this is not apparent in the M Coupe. We can't find any other reason to worry about reliability or safety as the standard hatchback scored the full five stars in EURO NCAP crash tests, proving the model's strength. The M Coupe is a very desirable car and owner satifaction is almost guaranteed.

Price, value for money & options

Cheaper than an M3 and more fun to drive, BMW options are expensive however

Adorned with all the usual M Sport extras including sports seats and a chunky multi-function steering wheel, the cabin is also well-equipped with climate control and cruise control thrown in- rightly so with an asking price of over £40,000. Opt for sat-nav though and prepare to add another £2,000. Metallic paint costs an extra £515, electric front seats an extra £1,155. The price of options soon mount up.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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