Never mind the interior, though. It's the mechanical package, and in particular the driveline, that will be the real focus when the 1 Series M Coupe reaches North American showrooms next year. Based closely around that already used by the 135i coupe, it runs a heavily tuned version of BMW's N54 engine mounted longitudinally up front and delivering drive to the rear wheels. Details pertaining to the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder direct-injection gasoline unit haven't been made official. However, Inside Line understands it develops close to 350 horsepower — or 44 hp more than the standard engine in the 135i and some 57 hp less than the naturally aspirated 4.0-liter V8-powered M3.
The 1 Series M Coupe also operates on a higher dynamic plane than the 135i coupe.
First impressions once you've slotted the key into the ignition and hit the starter button are more than encouraging. The reworked engine is extraordinarily strong within the lower end of the rev range thanks to its solid reserves of torque. Again, BMW is not prepared to divulge too much prior to its official unveiling, but there are whispers that the 1 Series M Coupe has as much as 350 pound-feet of torque, or significantly more than both the 135i coupe and M3's 294 lb-ft. As the torque is delivered at just 1,400 rpm, the new BMW requires little commitment from the driver to appreciate the added performance.
But while its part-throttle properties are truly impressive, it is under boost, when its two turbochargers are spooling up, where the 1 Series M Coupe really comes alive. Planting your right foot at middling revs unleashes a heady rush of acceleration fully befitting its billing as the spiritual successor to BMW M division's original M3. The reworked engine doesn't mind being worked hard, either; the delivery remains strong all the way to the 7,000-rpm cutout point.