- Post is under moderationSteve Wright #BMW-E82 / #BMW-1M / #BMW-1M-E82 / #BMW / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-Coupe / #BMW-1-Series-E82 / #BMW-1-Series-Coupe-E82 / #DMS
Having enjoyed a 135i for a little while, Steve says he recently upgraded to his dream 1M, adding he’s hoping prices stay strong. We don’t think he’s got anything to worry about. He’s over the moon with his machine and while he’s not been too heavy-handed with the modifications he has added some carbon fibre bits and a #DMS-remap , which has taken power up to 425hp, plenty to be getting on with, and he’s considering a mid-pipe modification to add a bit more exhaust volume to proceedings. A recent Euro tour around the Alps allowed him to really stretch the 1M’s legs and it sounds like he had a blast which cemented his love for his dream machine.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSIMPLE PLEASURES Finely-honed 400hp 1M
Man, machine, open roads, fulfilment. That’s pretty much the formula for happiness, is it not? Ah, if only life were so simple… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Peter Wu.
All you really need to know is that the universe is a lot more complicated than you might think, even if you start from a position of thinking it’s pretty damn complicated in the first place.’ So wrote Douglas Adams, and he was a man of sufficient wisdom to have a decent handle on such matters; the world and everything in it (not to mention all the things outside of it) are so mind-numbingly crammed with incomprehensible minutiae that when you start to consider the logic of anything beyond what you’re having for dinner or which Kardashian’s up the duff this week, it can get a little overwhelming. What we need is simplicity. Clarity. Binary black-and-whiteness. And in the case of this crisp and clinical 1M, simplicity is exactly what you get.
It is what it is, and nothing more – no complexity, no ambiguity, just a snapshot… …except, no, that’s not actually the case at all. It’s a cunning illusion, an exercise in smoke-and-mirrors shadow play. “Many people can’t tell what came with the car and what I’ve added,” says owner Manu Sethi.
“I take that as a compliment, because the goal was to always keep the car looking OEM, even after such heavy modifications.” Part of this is thanks to the obscurity of the 1M itself, of course – they’re such a rare sight that most onlookers don’t know what they’re seeing in the first place, let alone that it’s a rambunctiously tweaked example. And this is all just the latest in a long line of BMW affection for Manu. “I’ve had a love for BMWs all my life,” he enthuses. “My first car was an E36 M3 – I had to take two jobs to afford that car, and I was happy to do it. I had a smile on my face every day I drove it! And I’ve gone through a number of BMWs along the way, from 3 Series to 7 Series. I have a deep love for the brand. My next BMW will surely be a European Delivery, it’s been an unfulfilled dream for far too long.”
Manu’s is a bona fide success story, going from those early days of working two jobs to afford the used car he desired to the present day situation that finds him with a gleaming new Lamborghini Huracán on his drive, bullishly flanked by his Audi R8 V10 and his Mercedes E-Class. But while it’s simple enough to stroll into a Lambo dealer and pick up the latest exotic ride, tracking down something as obscure as a 1M isn’t quite so easy…
“I bought the car brand-new in 2011 and, like most 1Ms, it was not an easy find,” he recalls. “I got lucky, really – I drove all the way out to Las Vegas to get mine; the dealer was initially allocated eight cars and ended up only getting two! I was fortunate enough to buy one of them – number 88 out of North America’s allocation of 740. The model was rare to begin with, and its scarcity is only increasing. From day one my car has garnered plenty of attention. Leaving the gym one time, a guy said to me ‘Is that a 1M? How the hell did you get a 1M? You must’ve had to sell your left nut!’ Lucky for me that was not the case!”
Manu’s right when he says that the scarcity of 1Ms is increasing – global economic instability has seen people investing in cars like never before over the last half-decade or so, and anything that fuses quality and desirability with lowvolume obscurity is firmly in the crosshairs of the speculators. More than a few 1Ms have been wrapped up in cotton wool and locked away in private collections, making the disheartening shift from driver’s plaything to investor’s cash cow. Thankfully, however, some people bought them because they actually wanted to use them. And in Manu’s case, that was only the beginning.
“I was excited by the idea of the project,” he says. “I wanted to make a limited car even more limited. But I bided my time to ensure everything was right; I waited two years before I hit the mods hard. The idea was to wait until every aftermarket company released parts for the 1M, and then pick and choose what I thought was the best. As you can see, the build list comprises many different brands. No compromises were made. The BMW Performance seats are a case in point: by the time I was ready to make the purchase, I was notified that they had been discontinued. It was a struggle to locate a brand-new set but the project wouldn’t have been complete without them. After an exhaustive search I got the very last set and they were worth every penny.”
Manu’s approach is founded in a refreshingly honest appraisal of the car, one which may be anathema to some of you but will resonate strongly with the values of others: that the 1 Series isn’t exactly a looker. That’s not to say it’s a fugly mess by any means but it’s arguably not as cohesive as, say, an E9x – the swoop and flow of the bonnet into the wings, the banana-shaped sills, to some eyes it all seems a bit fairground. To others, naturally this suggests brilliant uniqueness and visual drama, and we’re not going to argue with that either. It’s all about perspective.
“The M division definitely helped out with the looks on the 1M, but still there was a lot lacking,” reckons Manu. “In modifying the car, I paid attention to the existing lines and made sure to stay consistent with them. For example, the flat-bottom, half curved headlights were specifically designed with the lines of the car in mind. Similarly, the Revozport bonnet, the radial stripes on the tyres, and the BBS FIs were also chosen to complement the curves on the car.” This is all in-keeping with his optical-illusion approach, he’s basically just toying with people’s perceptions. It works brilliantly.
The game plan wasn’t purely aesthetic, either. Manu was keen to build on the mighty drivetrain of the 1M to create something that’d truly earn its place in his stable of supercars; as such, the feisty N54 now sports freer-flowing Akrapovic pipes, a GruppeM intake, a Forge intercooler, and various other natty little tricks in order to crank that peak performance figure up to something that begins with a four. And while he has almighty respect for the M Division’s chassis-honing abilities, you’ll find a certain forthright reworking underneath the skin too, principally in the form of Öhlins Road & Track coilovers and a Brembo Type III bigbrake upgrade.
“I definitely hit a few hurdles in the course of the build,” Manu admits. “Even though I went with top-notch brands, things still went wrong. You have to expect this when you’re dealing with aftermarket modifications! It’s part of the journey. Through the process I gained a lot of knowledge of the 1M and cars in general; moreover, I forged invaluable relationships along the way. At the end of the day, you’re dealing with people. Sometimes products don’t fit or perform like they should but what makes a company great is the people that stand behind it – that’s what you pay extra for, the service.
“The 1M really is a fun little pocket rocket, but practical at the same time. The rear seats can comfortably fit two and the boot is spacious; I don’t use the car as my daily driver but I certainly don’t baby it either – it goes on the canyons and on the track. It’s a hoot to drive! At times it can be scary, unforgiving even, but it’s always a thrill. It’s the immense amount of torque attached to a short wheelbase that makes it a hooligan!”
Mission accomplished, then – Manu’s created a perky little foil to the biggerbrother supercars, and achieved his goal of tricking the eye of many an onlooker. While the 1M may look relatively stock to the casual observer, the robust spec list certainly suggests otherwise. So where does he go from here? “Oh, one is always tweaking to achieve perfection,” he says, a twinkle in his eye and a mischievous grin curling the corners of the mouth. “I have some plans, just wait and see.” We guess we’ll be needing to keep an eye on his Instagram page (@msethi88). This illusion of simplicity could soon break whole new realms of complexity.
“I wanted to make a limited car even more limited”
“The build list comprises many brands. No compromises were made”
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-1M-Coupé-E82 / #BMW-1M / #BMW / #BMW-E82 / #BMW-1-Series-E82 / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1M-E82 / #N54B30TO / #N54B30 / #N54 / #BMW-N54 / #BMW-1M-Coupé-E82
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six twinturbo N54B30TO, #GruppeM intake, #Forge intercooler, Forge dump valves, #Evolution-Racewerks chargepipe, full stainless steel #Akrapovic exhaust system with cat-less downpipes, BMS oil catch can, #Cobb-V3 with #PTF custom map, six-speed manual gearbox. 400hp
CHASSIS 9.5x19” (front) and 10.5x19” (rear) #BBS / #BBS-FI-R forged alloys with 255/35 (front) and 275/35 (rear) Michelin Pilot Supersport tyres, MRG titanium race studs, M valve caps, Öhlins Road & Track coilovers, Brembo-Type-III-BBK / Brembo
EXTERIOR Revozport carbon fibre bonnet, OSS DTM headlights, lightweight carbon fibre front lip, Dinmann carbonfibre side skirts, Vorsteiner carbon fibre diffuser, BMW carbon fibre spoiler, BMW carbon fibre mirror caps, BMW Blackline tail-lights, Macht Schnell tow straps, XPEL clear wrap protectant film and stripes, WeissLicht LED indicators
INTERIOR #BMW-Performance pedals and footrest, LED interior lights, BMW electronic #Performance-V2 steering wheel, illuminated gear knob, BMW Homelink/Compass rearview mirror, BMW Euro visors, M handbrake handle, BMW Performance seats, Euro foglight switch enabled, carbon fibre centre console, Euro MDMStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationMild-mannered 120d transformed into #V8-powered 1M Monster.
SMASHING! Body shock!
What started out life as a humble #BMW-120d is now unrecognisable following its transformation into an awesome V8-powered 1M, finished in Java green and with an M DCT gearbox. From mild-mannered 120d to hulking V8-powered 1M, this 1 Series has undergone an incredible transformation and the results are astonishingly spectacular. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Woods.
Subtle is fine. Subtle works when you just want to get on with stuff discreetly, blending into the background and going unnoticed and unbothered. But sometimes, you need to be unsubtle. Sometimes you need something to wake you up from the dull, grey drudgery of life. Sometimes you need a Java green V8-powered smack in the mouth. That time is now.
One might argue that Nina Barber’s 1M is subtle; there is, for example, no wild wing, no outrageous wheels, no vents or bulges beyond those which the 1M was created with, and even the exhaust is surprisingly civil. But a 1M finished in shocking green, and it really is very green, with a V8 numberplate is car that wears its heart on its sleeve. And we’re all for that.
Nina is a woman who grew up in an environment filled with people passionate about cars, so it’s easy to how she’s ended up here, talking to us about her V8 1M. “I started to become passionate about cars in my early 20s,” she says. “My uncle races Porsches, my dad has always been into Lamborghinis and American muscle cars, and my mum has always had BMWs – which is what got me into the marque. She had an E30 when I was born followed by some M models. I remember the first time I drove a BMW, her BMW, I felt at home and knew that’s where I belonged. My first BMW was a 130i, which replaced an MX-5. That was a lot of fun to drive but I wanted more power and speed and after driving my mum’s 130i I knew I had to have one. After the 130i I bought a Z4 M, a car I’d always wanted as whilst I was growing up my mum owned a Roadster. It was very nice but compromised. So I started thinking about what to get next?
An S54 Z3 M or E46 M3 CSL? Maybe, but prices were so high and you can’t put miles on those cars without harming their value, and while I’ve always loved the E92 M3 I prefer smaller cars…” We think you can see where this is going.
“I followed Sebastian online. He owned the blue V8 1M that Ashley at Quarry Motors had built and originally owned, and I realised that was the car I wanted. I approached him about buying it and it turned out he was emigrating so it seemed like the perfect opportunity. Unfortunately we didn’t have much time to try and arrange a sale and it fell through but a friend of mine knew the guys at Quarry so approached them on my behalf to see if they’d be willing to build another V8 1M. I travelled up to Sheffield, met Ashley, had a chat and decided on the spot to go ahead with the project.” For this build, Nina was very specific about what she wanted, a fullyloaded car with DCT. The following day, the perfect M3 donor car showed up on Quarry’s doorstep. The planets had aligned…
The car you see before you started out life as a 120d; the original Quarry car was built from a written-off 118d, but Nina wanted hers to be built from a straight car and it was actually sourcing the right 1 Series to build on that took some time. The entire project was handled by Ashley at Quarry from start to finish, leaving Nina to concentrate on working out the particulars.
The most stressful part of the whole build was trying to decide on a colour. “I’ve never been so indecisive about anything in my life!” she exclaims. “I must have changed my mind about 20 times. Initially I considered a Lamborghini colour, then a Porsche colour, but then I decided I wanted a BMW colour. For ages I was set on Taiga green but after seeing James’ Java green M4 at a show I instantly knew that was the colour I wanted.
Taiga is nice but it’s paler and is better suited to a boxy classic car. Java is perfect for a modern shape like the 1 Series and really suits the car.” She’s not wrong, as that intense Java is a full-on smack in the mouth, an eye-widening shot of sheer colour. And in the sunlight it’s even more fantastic, the colour drenching the bodywork and accentuating all of the curves. And there are a lot of those to accentuate on a 1M.
The colour was the inspiration behind the car’s name, by which it is best known on social media. “I wanted to name it and was talking to Ashley about it when he suggested Bruce, as in Bruce Banner, the Hulk’s alter ego. I love this concept, the dichotomy of character, and it ties in with the green colour, so it was perfect.”
While Bruce was being constructed, it also gave Nina the opportunity to finalise her pans for the interior: “I had considered different colours like red and tan, but then I wouldn’t have been able to do the green accent stitching that I’ve got now. It really lifts the interior, as without it I was worried it would all be too dark.” B-Trim in north London handled all the interior work and the end result is fantastic, the black being the perfect partner for that vibrant green, both inside and out, and the colour-coded detailing is the perfect finishing touch. The door panels, instrument binnacle, which houses the E9x M3 dials, and steering wheel have all been wrapped in Alcantara and both the heated front seats, plucked straight from the M3, and rear seats have Alcantara accent strips. The gear selector and start button surrounds have been finished in Java green and so too have the extended aluminium gearshift paddles on the steering wheel and even the seatbelts are green, while the carbon trim echoes the carbon elements on the exterior. “I didn’t want a half-done interior,” says Nina. “I decided to go all-out and do it right first time. It was the same with the whole car. It had to be complete out-of-the-box. I didn’t want people to see a half-finished car so I made sure everything was done in one go.”
Of course it’s the 1M body conversion that really takes centre stage here and you have to appreciate just how much work has gone in to transforming this car from humble 120d to fully-fledged performance monster. “My criteria for the build was that the car had to be executed as if BMW had built it,” Nina explains. “I can’t stand it when people do things by halves. For me it has to be done properly. The rear arches, for example, aren’t welded on; they’re complete new rear quarter sections, which is exactly the way BMW would have built the car and exactly how I wanted it to be built.” Indeed, the quality of Quarry’s work really is exceptional. There is absolutely no way that you’d be able to tell that this car had ever been anything other than a 1M. It really is perfect. The muscular styling is further enhanced by the addition of a BMW M Performance carbon bootlip spoiler and that unmistakable M3 power bulge bonnet. “I knew I had to have the power bulge bonnet,” says Nina. “It changes the whole look of the car for me, so I went for a Seibon carbon one designed specifically for the 1M. It’s fully functional, just like the M3 bonnet would be, so the offside vent is blocked off while the nearside vent connects up to the air box as a secondary cold air feed. The bonnet latches down like the standard one, but the problem is that the carbon is so much more flexible than the steel bonnet. The first time I drove it the bonnet was flexing so much at motorway speeds that I knew immediately I had to add some AeroCatches. Fitting them was tricky as the bonnet is curved and you want them to sit flush rather than sticking up, but they look perfect and really keep the bonnet down. The fitment of the carbon bonnet isn’t perfect, though, and I would love to have a metal one made but it would have to be aluminium. The standard M3 bonnet is steel and I really don’t know why BMW didn’t use a lightweight bonnet; I’ve saved quite bit of weight with the carbon bonnet so I wouldn’t want to go for a steel one, especially as the S65 V8 is just 7kg heavier than the N54 but actually sits lower down and further back in the chassis giving the car better weight distribution.
“When it came to the wheels I did consider a few different designs but the Style 359 is my favourite BMW wheel, so that’s what I went with. I think this style of wheel looks fantastic on a modern car and really finishes it off, so the wheels are definitely staying for now,” she says. “I might change the colour as I’m not sure about the black but it does look good against the green and ties in nicely with the black accents on the body. I’ve currently got the standard size tyres, 245/35 and 265/35 Toyo R888s, but I’d like to go to a 265/295 front/rear setup as they’ll really fill the arches out and I don’t want to use spacers to achieve that.”
If you own a V8 it’s pretty much the law that you have to fit a performance exhaust because it’s an engine that never sounds anything less than fantastic. And Nina’s 1M definitely doesn’t disappoint on the aural stimulation front. “I didn’t want to go all-out with an off-the-shelf exhaust as I’d like a custom system at some point, but I still wanted something that sounded good,” says Nina. “At the moment it’s running a Milltek 1M rear silencer, which has been designed for a turbocharged engine rather than a naturally aspirated V8, along with some M3 sections and a bit of custom pipework to connect it all together. I did have it fully de-catted at one point and I loved how obnoxiously loud it was, but it absolutely stank of fuel and after every drive the exhaust tips were black. I got fed up with it and had the cats put back in; while it’s definitely quieter the tone is nicer now and I prefer the way it sounds. I would still like a full system at some point but I’m content for the time being.” It does sound absolutely fantastic, with a boisterous cold idle that is guaranteed to slap a grin on your face, but delivers a surprisingly civilised soundtrack once it’s warmed-up. Of course, at full chat it delivers exactly the sort of spine-tingling, high-revving V8 howl that you want, overlaid with numerous pops and crackles. It’s Mozart for the motorhead.
Even now, nine years on since its debut in the E9x M3, the S65 V8 is still an absolute masterpiece of an engine. “I love the power delivery,” grins Nina as we indulge in a long chat about V8s. “It really does pull like a train. I love the way the power delivery is so linear and the way the power just keeps on coming once you’re at the top end of the rev range. Mine is very healthy. I’ve heard that a lot of M3s don’t even make 400hp on the dyno but mine made 426hp without the cats, so it’s probably around the 420 mark now.
As far as the gearbox is concerned, I’ve always been a manual enthusiast but I decided to drive both a manual and DCT M3 to see what the engine and gearbox combination felt like and I have to say that the manual car did nothing for me. The way the engine delivers its power means that the DCT ’box just feels so much better suited to it. I’m so glad I went for the DCT, I absolutely love the gearbox and the combination with the S65 is just perfect.”
To you or us the car might look as complete as can be but for Nina this is only the beginning of her 1M adventure. “It was a year long journey to get to the car built,” she says, “and I finished in January of this year.
However, for the last six months I’ve been refining and tweaking it and there’s still lots more I want to do. I’m planning to add a carbon race diffuser and front lip as well as a carbon roof, which I feel the factory 1M should have come with, like the M3. The suspension isn’t finished at the moment; it’s currently on M3 EDC shocks with Eibach springs. I like how it sits but I would like coilovers at some stage. I’m not sure what to go for, though, and I don’t want to just buy something that might not be right for it. I’m going to spend the coming months, the whole year even, learning the car, educating myself on what it wants before buying anything so I know I’ll be fitting the right parts when the time comes. I also love motorsport and while the car has started its journey like this it will evolve as time goes on, so I might well strip it and put a cage in it at some point. I’ll probably add a wing then as well. I would also really like to supercharge it at some point but at the same time I want to refine it first, make it the best it can be in its current form before I start doing any power upgrades. I do love the fact that the car will continue to evolve. That keeps me enthusiastic about it and ensures it doesn’t get stale.”
Which brings us neatly to the question of how long Nina thinks this relationship will last, though we feel bad asking the question seeing as the car’s such a recent build. “At the moment it really does feel like it’s a forever car,” she says. “I have so much time, effort, and emotion invested in it that I can’t ever imagine selling it. I don’t even want to think about that. From the moment the car was finished people started getting in touch asking if I would sell it. I’ve had so many people asking me about buying it that I’ve lost count. Initially I was a bit offended; I couldn’t believe that people would think I’d want to sell a car I’d just finished.”
While there might be lots more to come, there’s plenty to enjoy right now and that’s exactly what this car was built for. “This car was all about doing something purely for my own enjoyment. I didn’t want to worry about mileage, money or depreciation, I just wanted to build a car that I could go and enjoy driving. And that’s exactly what I’ve got. I do drive it based on the weather as I don’t want to take it out in the rain. So it’s a fair weather weekend toy for me and as it’s just been finished I am precious over it. I hate getting stone chips on it, though the whole front end has been covered in Suntek paint protection film so it’s not too bad. I guess it’s just inevitable. I have lots of plans, too. I want to take it to Europe. I’m currently looking for places to go and enjoy driving it,” grins Nina. That’s really what it’s all about. You don’t build a car like this to only hide it away or simply park it up at shows for other people to enjoy. You build it to enjoy driving it and there are few machines out there capable of delivering greater driving pleasure than a V8 1M.
DATA FILE #V8 #BMW-1M / #BMW / #BMW-E82 / #BMW-1-Series-E82 / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1M-E82 / #BMW-E82-S65B40 / #BMW-1M-S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 / #BMW-E82-V8 / #BMW-Style-359-Competition / #BMW-1M-M-DCT / #BMW-120d-E82 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre V8 #S65B40 from E92 M3, 1M #Milltek back box, part custom and part OEM M3 exhaust system, seven-speed #M-DCT gearbox from E92 M3
CHASSIS 9x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear) #BMW-Style-359 Competition alloys with 245/35 (front) and 265/35 (rear) Toyo R888 tyres, E92 M3 brakes with Java green calipers (front and rear), E92 M3 EDC with #Eibach springs
EXTERIOR Full OEM 1M conversion, full bare shell respray in Individual Java green metallic, gloss black trim, Seibon carbon fibre bonnet with AeroCatches, BMW M Performance carbon fibre bootlip spoiler, Blackline rear lights, Suntek paint protection film
INTERIOR Full retrim consisting of extended black Nappa leather with green stitching and Alcantara accents, Alcantara gear selector, handbrake gaiters and door cards, steering wheel retrimmed in Alcantara with Motorsport stiching and green 12 o’clock centre stripe, extended aluminium paddles in Java green metallic with illuminated plus and minus signs, Java green start button bezel, #Java-green #DCT gear selector surround, heated E92 M3 front seats, BMW Performance carbon fibre trim, #BMW-Individual audio with #Harman-Kardon speakers
THANKS A massive thank you to Quarry Motors, especially Ashley and Lee for agreeing to take on this project with me. Ashley is responsible for building me a spectacular, unique car that has been executed as if #BMW itself built it. Sam for initially sowing the seed and getting the ball rolling. To my biggest support, I must extend huge gratitude to Nick who has been my anchor throughout this journey. My mum who gracefully endured my countless indecisions. To all my great friends who have offered their support and advice, I thank you; Silas ‘Mr B’, Vaughan the Prawn, Richard and Sebastian with Bruce’s twin ‘the blue car’, Steven ‘Horney’, Paul ‘Mumbers’, Kos, Mason, Marsel and the rest of my big BMW family. B-Trim, Elite Car Care, Evolve Automotive, Mox3d, Mumbray Motorsport, Munich Evolution, Munich Legends, Olgun Kordal – The Car Photographer, Pukar Designs, Royal Steering Wheels, Secure My Car and SMV Repairs, Taylor Made Decals
Java green is stunning and really suits the perfectlyexecuted 1M conversion, while the glorious #S65-V8 is the icing on the cake.
“I love the power delivery. It really does pull like a train. I love the way it is so linear and the power just keeps on coming”
“My criteria for the build was that the car had to be executed as if BMW had built it”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation4.6 V8 1 SERIES Totally transformed 135i
SLAKE THE INTERNET
What started out life as an unassuming 135i is now a fire-breathing, 1M-kitted, 4.6 #V8-powered beast.
It’s an inescapable fact of modern modifying that if your car becomes known online, everyone will have an opinion on it. But this is a good thing – use the love as inspiration, use the hate as fuel, and keep pushing forward… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Courtney Cutchen.
“People have very interesting reactions to my car, it sparks a lot of discussion,” says Marco Svizzero, the chap standing proudly beside this rather perky little 1 Series. “It’s an entirely modified bastard, and yet it still seems to appeal to the purists…”
This is a pretty punchy way to set out your stall – after all, that quasi-mythical entity of ‘the purists’ is a notoriously hard bunch to please (although goodness knows why you’d want to try), so to shoo away the perennial spectre of internet hate by appealing to the very people you expect to annoy is something of a fortuitous crapshoot.
Still, objectively – at least, objectively from a PBMW point of view – there’s nothing not to love about this car, given that it’s effectively an M3 stuffed inside a #BMW-1M-Coupé-E82 to create the ballistic #V8-1-Series that BMW didn’t think to experiment with. That’s a great way to get into our good books. “This was really my first big car build, and I never intended for the project to go so far,” Marco ponders with the measured consideration of somebody who’s been on a lengthy adventure and is struggling to come to terms with the notion of being home again. “It just snowballed, and once the project got some traction on the forums and partners like Revozport and Performance Technic got involved, it all went to another level.”
This, of course, is the price of notoriety. Once news of your project starts to spread, and the myriad chattering keyboards of the internet start to throw a few opinions around, there really is only one way forward: go big. The ‘go home’ alternative just isn’t an option at this point; the world is watching, you’ve committed to something, you have to see it through. Your audience insists. You’ve got new fans now, they need to be appeased. And the haters? Oh, there’ll always be haters. They need to be figuratively smacked down with the iron fist of decisive action.
“I chose a 135i as the base for my project as I really like the size of it,” Marco explains, “and I love how tunable the N54 engines are. It’s so easy to get reliable horsepower out of those motors with simple modifications.”
You’ll have spotted, however, that the N54 straight-six is no longer in residence. That’s sort of the point of this car now. So what gives, why did Marco change his mind? “Well, as I was taking the car on track more and more, I started to run into heat issues,” he says, “so I decided to swap a V8 motor and M3 chassis into the car.”
Okay. We’ll just let that sink in for a moment, shall we? It really is a masterstroke of lateral thinking, taking such a decision and following it through, and he’s earned the right to be charmingly self-effacing about it. Most people in this situation would have thought along the lines of ‘alright, we have some cooling issues, let’s look into revising the coolant system, maybe upgrade the radiator and intercooler and open up some more vents,’ but not Marco. Oh no. One suspects that he wanted to shoehorn an M3 inside his #BMW-135i-Coupe all along.
“I wanted the instant throttle response of a naturally aspirated engine, as well as robust cooling and an 8600rpm redline,” he says matter-of-factly. Well, yeah, swapping in an E9x M3 under the skin is the obvious solution, isn’t it? It was foolish of us to even question it. Carry on, Marco…
“The swap is so much more than just the motor,” he elaborates, as if trying to justify it to an irate spouse or suspicious bank manager. “It’s the M3 steering, the complete front and rear subframes including the suspension and axles, the diff, the brakes, and cool features like M Dynamic Mode.”
And there, as the Bard might say, is the rub. If you were skimming through a forum post and looking at photos of Marco’s car, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the story here centred around a non-M 1 Series that had been converted to 1M aesthetics. And to a degree, you’d be right, as that is what has happened – what started as a stock 2008 135i bought from Craigslist soon ballooned into a broad and angry 1M clone, its strong look accentuated by the exemplary body addenda on sale from Revozport, its Raze series offering a lightweight bonnet, bootlid, carbon fibre roof (which neatly deletes the 135i’s sunroof), splitter, diffuser and GTS wing. But the body, as we know, is only half the story.
The fun of building something like this, particularly something that’s so keenly observed online, is that there will always be ill-informed haters to bait. ‘It’s not a proper #BMW-1M ,’ they’ll say. ‘Why spend all that money on making a fake 1M when you could just buy a real one? Why pretend, why lie?’
Marco takes all of this in his stride, with a wry smile and an eye perennially on the next phase of development. “No, it’s not a 1M, and it will never be one,” he says. “The only way to get a real one is to buy one. My car will not bear an M badge on the trunk!
Besides, by crunching numbers for a partout and sale of my car and using those funds toward purchasing a 1M, I would have to add a lot of money on top for a very similar car.” But forget mathematics, that’s not why we build project cars. A car is just a big hole to throw money into, we don’t modify them because it’s sensible. No, the unspoken truth here is that Marco’s car isn’t a 1M because, well, it’s an M3. It just looks like a 1M…
“When we started looking into donor M3s, they were still expensive here in the States so I actually ended up buying a car in the UK, which was dismantled and sent to me in pieces,” Marco recalls. “Once everything was sent over, Performance Technic began the build. The most difficult part was the wiring; Performance Technic has two BMW Master Techs – Matt Medeiros and Wing Phung – who tackled the project, and once the car was built we brought it to Mike Benvo of BPM Sport. Benvo cleaned up, coded and tuned the car – he is another very valuable partner in the entire project. His knowledge in coding is unmatched! These guys were extremely focused on making everything look and operate like a factory car, and I applaud them that they pulled it off.”
As well as being OEM-quality in terms of all the buttons and gizmos, and thus eminently streetable, Marco was certainly having a lot of fun with his transformed 135i, with its 4.0-litre S65 under the bonnet and M3 underpinnings. Let’s not forget that this V8 isn’t a lazy rumbler like those of his domestic heritage; while Detroit thuds, Bavaria howls, and this engine is a proper screamer. “It really was just like a smaller, lighter E9x M3 – the naturally aspirated 1M I wanted to make all along,” Marco grins.
Wait… “was”? “Yeah, I decided to go a bit over-the-top,” he laughs. “The S65 only weighs 15lb more than the N54 so the factory balance was still spot-on, but after a little while I swapped the motor out for a Dinan 4.6-litre stroker motor.” Well, you know what they say about how power corrupts. And absolute power corrupts absolutely. Marco seems to be pretty happy about that.
“It really is my perfect BMW and I couldn’t be happier,” he beams. “I enjoy the car at the track, taking it to the major BMW West Coast events, rallies, and simply staring at it in my garage! It’s a car that when people see it at events, they stop and look at it – often for a long period of time. Even with the old-skool purists; I’ve received a lot of compliments from the older, more traditional BMW crowd.” This makes sense really, as it is a pure BMW at heart: a focused driver’s machine, and with nearenough undiluted factory DNA under the skin. It just happens to be suffering a smidge of body dysmorphia, that’s all.
Again, this can be the price of notoriety. Marco’s car has always enjoyed the internet spotlight, from its early PR tie-in with Revozport to those fledgling days on the show scene before the hungry swarm of smartphone lenses, to Performance Technic’s high-profile endeavours to make the first V8-powered E82 in the USA. Then there was its triumphant Bimmerfest showcase on the Toyo stand, the countless online profiles, the numerous show awards, the online video reviews espousing its virtues as ‘the best BMW you could possibly build at any price’, the Time Attack entries, the world-first stroked S65 conversion… this car lives in a fishbowl, its every move observed and analysed. And every barbed comment that curveballs toward it gets knocked out of the park.
We’ll leave the final thought to Performance Technic founder Joey Gaffey: “This car is a project that we all kinda fell in love with. It’s a project we thought was probably something the engineers at BMW Motorsport thought of themselves…” And that, in essence, is the thinking behind Marco’s original idea for the madcap swap, and also why the purists love this impure creation. It’s a car that #BMW should have built. Thanks to the ingenuity of these fellas, it now actually exists, albeit as a one-off. The internet demanded results, and it got ’em. What a time to be alive.
I enjoy the car at the track, taking it to events and simply staring at it in my garage!
DATA FILE 4.6 #V8 #BMW-135i / #BMW-135i-E82 / #BMW-E82 / #BMW-135i-V8-E82 / #BMW-135i-V8 / #BMW-135i-S65 / #BMW-135i-Dinan / #BMW-135i-Dinan-S65 / #BMW-135i-Dinan-S65-E82 / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-E82 / #BMW-E82-Dinan / #BMW / #CAE-Ultra / #VAC-Motorsports /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION Dinan 4.6-litre stroker #S65 / #BMW-S65 / #S65B46 #V8 / #S65-Dinan / , #BPM-Sport custom tune with 8600rpm redline, #iND custom plenum, Dinan intake, Dinan pulley, VAC-Motorsports baffled sump, #Black-Forest engine mounts, #Akrapovic axle-back exhaust, custom X pipe, #Braille 21lb battery, CAE Ultra shifter, OEM M3 differential
CHASSIS 10x18” (front) and 10.5x18” (rear) ET25 HRE 43 wheels with 265/35 (front) and 275/35 (rear) Toyo R888 tyres, M3 front and rear subframes including suspension and axles, #PSi-Öhlins Raceline coilovers, #Racing-Dynamics anti-roll bars, #Dinan-Monoball kit for front control arms, #Bimmerworld rear wishbones, Dinan adjustable toe arms, Turner MS transmission bushings, #Turner-MS aluminium subframe and diff bushings, Dinan carbon fibre strut braces, #Stoptech-Trophy-BBK with 380mm (front) and 355mm (rear) discs, OEM GT4 brake ducts
EXTERIOR Full 1M body conversion, Revozport 1M Raze bonnet, boot and lip, carbon fibre roof, splitter with APR splitter supports, diffuser and GTS wing, Macht Schnell tow straps
INTERIOR #BMW-Performance V1 steering wheel, gaiters and carbon fibre trim, #BMW-1M-E82 armrest delete, #Recaro-Profi-SPA seats, #Revozport #BMW-1M Raze doorcards with Alcantara inserts, P3 vent gauge, OEM 1M Anthracite headlining and pillars (for sunroof delete), #TC-Design harness bar, #Schroth six-point harnesses, #VAC hardware and floor mounts, Alumalite rear close-off panel
THANKS Joey Gaffey, Matt Medeiros, Wing Phung and the rest of the team at #Performance-Technic , Charles Wan at Revozport, Mike Benvo at BPM Sport, Stan Chen at ToyoTires, Jason Overell at Targa Trophy, DTM Autobody and Sam at AutoTalentStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationPOWER OF ONE
The 1M is great, but there’s always room for improvement. A 1M in Valencia orange is as subtle as a house brick to the head, and with a few restrained but well-chosen tweaks, the madness can be harnessed and further exploited… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Chris Teagles.
Brand tie-ins in the automotive sphere don’t always work the way the marketing men hope they might. A few years ago, Fiat employed fashion house Diesel to apply a new styling pack to the 500, but it didn’t occur to anybody in the product planning meetings that writing ‘Diesel’ on a car might make people think it had a diesel engine. In the 1990s, VW stickered up a load of Mk3 Golfs with the logos of various bands; namely Bon Jovi, Pink Floyd, and The Rolling Stones. It wasn’t obvious why, and didn’t demonstrate any market research into customer demographics. Then we have the broader appropriation of aspirational names – look how Ford took the historic and revered name of the Ghia carrozzeria and turned it into nothing more than a spec level on its everyday hatchbacks (it’s doing it again right now with Vignale, for shame…).
The route to success in this area is for automotive marques to tie-in with one another. History is studded with such successful collaborations – the recent Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZ, for example, showed two manufacturers working together with a clear common goal. We’ll ignore the Alfa Romeo Arna, though – also badged as the Nissan Cherry Europe, it featured Japanese design and Italian engineering which is surely the wrong way round?
Now, BMW has form with supplying engines for some pretty spicy machinery – there’s the McLaren F1, of course, and all those oddball Wiesmann roadsters and Morgans, and if you cut any modern Rolls- Royce in half you’ll find Bavarian propellers spilling out of the wounds. And back in the late 1970s, BMW had a naughty little dalliance with Lamborghini…
The story goes that the two companies entered into an agreement for the Sant’Agata firm to build a BMW-badged production race car plus its necessary homologation road models, but the deal was mired in disputes and BMW ended up building it itself. Named the ‘M1’, it was the firm’s first mid-engined production car, featuring an M88 motor, ohso- Seventies wedge styling and, for some reason, two BMW badges on the back… Long story short, the point of all this is that the M1 name was taken. So when we fast-forward to 2004 and the advent of the fresh new 1 Series, there were presumably one or two scratched heads in the product planning meetings. There were clearly many forms to fill out and pencils to sharpen and what-have-you, but by 2010 BMW was ready to announce a bona fide M-developed variant of the 1 Series, which would go by the natty name ‘1 Series M Coupé’. Tricky, as it didn’t quite fit in with the M3/M5/etc structure, but it couldn’t have people confusing it with a 1970s supercar, could it…?
Don’t lose any sleep over it though, as everyone just calls it ‘1M’ now, which is much simpler. So, what exactly is the 1M? Well, it’s a car that was originally supposed to be limited to a global production run of 2700 units, but people seemed to quite like it, so by the time production ended in 2012 they’d sold 6309 of them. The principle was simple: take an E82 coupé shell and significantly widen the track. Bulk out the wings to match, and shove on a set of wide 19” wheels. Throw in a tweaked version of the proven N54 twin-turbo motor (okay, an M car would normally have a bespoke engine rather than a reworked unit from elsewhere in the model range, but let’s not split hairs), and bolt it to the only true transmission to appeal to the discerning petrolhead: a sixspeed manual with an LSD out back. Paint it in a lurid shade and the job’s a good ’un.
The plan worked too, as the 1M has become a genuinely sought-after, aspirational model, its limited-run status – there were just 450 built for the UK market – meaning that as many are being bought for investment purposes as are out having their necks wrung on road and track. Its £40k retail price made it expensive for a 1 Series, but really quite cheap compared to a Porsche Cayman S, which it could happily run rings around in the right hands. 335hp was pretty handy in a car that weighed just 1495kg, allowing it to hit 60 in 4.8 seconds, and you got all sorts of fun toys like the MDM button (for the stability and traction systems) and the M button (for throttle response). Gamified, next-gen stuff.
How does one improve upon perceived perfection, then? Don’t fiddle with it too much, that’s the answer. “I bought this car as an investment,” says Ben Mason, owner of Deutsch Tech in Milton Keynes. “This is a future collectors’ item, and the values are already rising.” That doesn’t mean he’s been able to restrain himself from tinkering it with a bit. It’s hard to stop yourself, isn’t it? The urge to personalise, customise, hone and refine is just too strong.
“Sure, I’ve made a few changes, but I only use bolt-on parts and keep all the originals safely tucked away to be reinstalled in the future if need be,” he explains. Very sensible approach, that. After all, a collectable driver’s car is still a driver’s car. It’d be a shame to wrap it in cotton wool and mothball it for future profit; the way to score a win-win is to enjoy driving the hell out of the thing, then sell it to a collector in the future. Logical, no?
Ben is a man whose credentials in the BMW tuning scene are strong. Having established Deutsch Tech along with a business partner, Lenny, around four years ago, the company has today developed into a full-house institution for performance upgrades, engine building, custom parts, you name it. The 1M is Ben’s own car, and between them, he and Lenny can count an F10 M5, a GT2 RS-converted Porsche 911, the fabled DT550 (that’s the company demonstrator) and an E46 M3 with a whacking great supercharger, humungous roll-cage and super-intelligent chassis among their examples. The fellas can often be spotted at the Nürburgring in the DT550, and this in some way informs the usage of the minty-fresh 1M.
“Of course I’ve taken the 1M to the ’Ring,” Ben laughs. “It’s an investment, sure, but it’s a driver’s car first and foremost. I fitted the aftermarket suspension mainly for its ride height benefits, although I must admit I’ve been very impressed with the manner in which it’s transformed the car’s handling.”
The suspension in question is a set of KW coilovers – but not just any old set. No, this is its fancy new DDC system; standing for Dynamic Damping Control, this is a gizmo that allows the driver to adjust the stiffness of the dampers via an iPhone app. There’s also a retrofit button that you can see subtly fitted to the interior – push to make it glow blue and you’re in ‘comfort’, push again and it turns purple for ‘sport’, and push once more for the red light that indicates ‘sport plus’. “It’s a nice feature,” Ben grins, rather downplaying the awesomeness of it all. And yes, it can all be unplugged and swapped out for the stock 1M setup that’s packaged up in neat bubble wrap in the loft. Future speculators may sleep easy.
Ben’s also decided to run a Forge intercooler, which the company claims has the twin benefits of reducing temperatures by up to 30 degrees centigrade while also being an easy-fitment part that you can install at home in under an hour. This was a no-brainer for Ben as it all hooks up to the original pipework. Where’s the OEM intercooler?
That’s right, packaged up alongside the factory suspension. And soon to join that growing pile of standard parts is the entire exhaust system. “We’re currently developing our 1M downpipes and full stainless exhaust, which will be fitted to this car as a branded Deutsch Tech system,” he explains.
The final piece of the puzzle is the aesthetics, which, of course, #BMW has already got spot-on – the wide track, those broad, staggered 19s, the bulging arches, the copious vents, it looks utterly superb as-is.
But given Ben’s keenness for performance, the odd carbon fibre addition wouldn’t go amiss, eh? “The car’s wearing our own Deutsch Tech carbon front splitter,” he says, and it seems to have given him a bit of taste for such things. “There’s a few other bits on order too – carbon mirror caps, rear diffuser, rear lip spoiler…” See, this is why it’s fun to let the investment cars go to petrolheads instead of dry, stuffy accountant-collectors – they can’t stop mucking about with them, it’s an irresistible compulsion. They also can’t help driving them. “The car gets out and about to a lot of shows and events, where it always generates a fair amount of attention,” says Ben. “I think that comes down to the colour, and how rare it is.”
A further benefit is the fact that it rolled out of the factory pre-modified – with the M eggheads having stirred every conceivable desirable ingredient into this rich stew, there’s not a lot that really needs to be added in order to improve the flavour. But rest assured, Ben’s analytical eye and fervour for the aftermarket will ensure that he keeps picking away at it, making it better. And sure, he’ll make a killing when he ultimately sells it to a moneyed collector… but in the meantime, he’s just enjoying the car as much as he can. Sideways. Very quickly. Because that’s what it’s for.
DATA FILE #Deutsch-Tech / #BMW-1M-E82 / #BMW-1M / #BMW-1M-E82 / #BMW-1M-Deutsch-Tech-E82 / #BMW-E82 / #BMW-E82-Deutsch-Tech / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW / #BMW-1-Series-M-Coupé / #BMW-1M-Coupé-E82
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six twin-turbo #N54B30TO / #N54 / #BMW-N54 , #Forge-intercooler , six-speed manual, LSD
CHASSIS 9x19” (front) and 10x19” (rear) OEM 1M wheels with 245/35 (f) and 265/35 (r) Michelin Pilot Sport tyres, #KW-DDC coilovers with iPhone adjustment control
EXTERIOR Valencia orange, Deutsch Tech carbon fibre front splitter
INTERIOR Stock 1M, DDC control buttonStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationThe Turbo Age #BMW-2002-Turbo vs #BMW-1M-E82 /// #BMW-1M-Coupé-E82 /// #BMW-E82
We pitch a 2002 Turbo up against a #BMW-1M to trace the history of BMW’s turbo technology. We step back 40 years into the annals of history and take a look at the early days at the M Division and its ground-breaking #BMW-2002 Turbo then leap forward four decades to one of the first bona fide turbocharged M cars, the 1M Words: Johann Venter /// Photography: Oliver Hirtenfelder
We’ve been trying to get this feature off the ground for a while now but finally we’re here at the Zwartkops race track and sitting bathed in sunshine are the stunning 2002 Turbo and one of M’s later concoctions, the wild 1M. I know what you are thinking: why the hell are we comparing the Turbo to the 1M and not the M235i? Well, technically, the 1M is the previous 2M if you catch my drift, and secondly we wanted to get the range-topper, which is the outright M car (the M235i is just the antecedent), to go head-to-head with the ultimate 2002 of its time, the Turbo.
But before we get into the driver’s seat let’s dive into the archive to find out what made these cars such trailblazers. Admittedly the Turbo has got somewhat of a longer history. As with the E30 M3, the 2002 Turbo was partly developed for homologation purposes so that BMW could go racing and secondly, as a halo car to boost sales of the 2002 range as it reached the end of the productionline. Although not badged as an M2 the development of the Turbo is firmly rooted in motorsport history. In order to remain competitive, retain the title and fight off Porsche and the like in the 1969 Group 5 European Touring Car Championship, the head of motor racing at BMW, von Falkenhausen ‘Lord of the Blue and White’ developed the #BMW-2002TIK (K for Kompressor) with his small team of race engineers which included Paul Rosche, his protégée. The Turbo used the same #M10 engine with the #Kugelfischer manual injection system (which would be later introduced on the #BMW-2002tii ). It produced up to 290hp and could reach speeds of 155mph. This was enough for BMW to secure a consecutive constructors’ title in ETCC in Division Three beating Porsche by half a point. Fourteen years later BMW would secure its first F1 title as an engine supplier and partner to the Brabham team which used the same M10 engine block, albeit with a much more powerful turbo.
Hot on the success of the 2002TIK, BMW wanted to demonstrate what it could do with turbo power in a road car and show off some of the other technological advances it was making – hence the 1972 BMW Turbo concept car was born. Since I can remember I’ve had a nearly all-consuming undying passion for BMW cars and no car has captivated me more that the Paul Bracq BMW Turbo. It is the one car that I absolutely wanted BMW to build and still do. Even today it does not look dated and could definitely take on fellow German rivals, at least in the looks department. Launched at the 1972 Paris Motor Show, the Turbo caused quite a stir with its impressive wedge-shaped design and gullwing doors. It had a mid-mounted 2.0-litre M10 turbocharged engine said to develop up to 280hp sitting on a modified 2002 chassis. The prototypes were built by Michelotti and the Turbo was awarded ‘Concept Car of the Year’ by the Revue Automobile Suisse in 1972. The Turbo was definitely ahead of its time with a collapsible steering column, ABS anti-lock braking system and a radar-based brake distance warning system. Other safety features included side impact beams, an integrated roll-cage and deformable front and rear bumpers. The driverfocused cockpit which became a ubiquitous feature on BMWs going forward was deemed futuristic at the time. The Turbo unfortunately never made it to the production-line but did give inspiration to the M1 and influenced certain design cues on the Z1 and 8 Series.
In my opinion the 1972 Turbo is the closest BMW has come to building a supercar, definitely in the looks department. Compared to its closest rivals the M1 is the last halo car to come from the Bavarian stable, the i8 is a technological tour de force but I am not sure if it qualifies as a halo car for such a prestigious marque.
The 2002 Turbo was initially shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1973, based on the success of the 2002TIK in the ETCC. By developing a road-going version of the 2002TIK, BMW could homologate the turbocharged engine enabling it to compete in the 2.0-litre class in the ETCC. It would also give BMW a distinct advantage over competitors by launching the first production road-going turbocharged car outside of the United States. General Motors, in fact, launched the first two turbocharged production cars in 1962 with the Oldsmobile Jetfire and the Chevrolet Corvair Monza; the Monza also managed to beat Porsche to the punch by producing the first rear-engine turbocharged car.
The Turbo was the bad-boy-racer of the ‘70s overtly wearing its war paint – comprising a deep front shovel spoiler, flared arches, boot spoiler and tri-colour stripes on the front spoiler and running down the sides. Early versions had 2002 and Turbo in reverse script on the front spoiler, making it clear to other drivers to get out of the way. Shortly after the launch the world was hit by an oil crisis brought on by the Yom Kippur war in the Middle East.
The press responded rather negatively deeming the Turbo too aggressive and irresponsible in a time of motoring austerity. If that wasn’t enough a safety and speed campaign was underway, driven by an influential lobby group (the Greenies of the day) which garnered substantial support from the German government. Who would have thought that the Germans with their Autobahns would shy away from speed? The Turbo was politically incorrect for its time; production was therefore short-lived with only 1672 cars including 12 pre-production mules built from July to December 1973. Formal production started in January 1974 and ended in July 1975. Officially the Turbo was only produced in two colours of which 1049 were in Chamonix white and 615 in Polaris silver. However, eight exceptions were made.
The Turbo was largely based on the 2002tii and by the time it was being developed von Falkenhausen and his team had officially become the motorsport division within BMW and were responsible for bringing the car to market. The most significant difference between the tii and the Turbo was the substantial increase in power of 40hp. The Turbo used a somewhat fettled M10 1990cc engine with a lower compression ratio of 6.9:1, Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection (Schafer PL 04) and KKK (Kuhnle, Kopp and Kausch) turbocharger. Turbo technology in road cars was really in its infancy; this initial attempt by BMW came without an intercooler. To compensate for the additional heat generated, an oil cooler and bigger radiator were fitted.
The biggest drawback with this pioneering technology was the massive turbo lag partially brought on by the distance between the turbo and the inlet manifold. Nothing really happened until 4000rpm and by 6500rpm the fireworks were over. The Turbo was however good for 130mph at the top end and reached 62mph in just 6.9 seconds, remarkable for the day providing you were going in a straight-line with plenty of road ahead. It achieved this through a maximum power output of 170hp at 5800rpm and a torque figure of 177lb ft at 4000rpm. The gush of power at 4000rpm when the KKK blower kicked in was not for the faint-hearted, almost uncontrollable in the wet, tricky through tight bends and a bit of a nightmare in traffic.
The brakes were uprated – 10.8-inch ventilated disc brakes with four-piston callipers at the front (from the 3.0 CS Coupé) and 9.8-inch Simplex drum brakes at the rear. The suspension was tweaked comprising MacPherson struts in the front and semi-trailing arms in the back. Standard 2002 springs were used in the front with a 20mm anti-roll bar. The rear was fitted with springs uniquely developed for the Turbo with three different ride height settings and a 16mm rear anti-roll bar. The floor plan above the rear axle was strengthened. Boge dampers rounded off the package. The running-gear came standard with a four-speed strengthened Getrag gearbox with a 40 per cent limited-slip diff. The five-speed dog-leg was an option but was the same used in other ‘02s.
The inside was standard 2002 except for a reddish instrument surround with a speedometer indicating a top speed of 240km/h (150mph), a centre cowling housing the VDO boost gauge and clock. Vinyl Rentrop Hubbert and Wagner (who owned one third of Recaro at the time) sports seats with perforated centre sections, three-spoke sports steering covered in leather, very similar to that found in the M1. 34 years later, BMW unveiled the 1 Series tii Concept at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, which developed into the 135i. The tii moniker harked back to one of the company’s most successful models – the 2002 – known primarily for its performance and agility. But a couple of years later BMW made its intentions clear that it would build a leaner, meaner, more hardcore version in the 1M.
It is alleged that the formal design concept and engineering of the 1M took place in only two weeks. While the head of the M division, Dr Kay Segler was away, M staffers put together the 1M in secret from parts that were readily available from the parts bin. Starting with the twin-turbo 3.0-litre straight-six engine from theZ4 sDrive35iS, coupled to suspension and brakes from the E92 M3. On his return Dr Segler was presented with a near road-going prototype which he got the BMW board to green light.
Segler explained prior to the final unveiling in December 2010 that the 1M was a more driverfocused car and it was deemed a spiritual successor to the E30 M3, emulating the driving experience of the E30 M3 as closely as possible within the parameters of safety and emissions regulations. This would be the smallest, most affordable M model of its time, aimed at reaching a wider, younger audience. Under Segler’s insistence the Valencia orange became an official, ‘poster boy’ colour for the 1M.
The recipe for creating this M car was slightly different. Instead of building an engine from the ground up it used an existing engine – BMW’s awardwinning twin-turbo inline-six engine (N54B30T0) which received unique engine software for the 1M. Most significantly this engine came with a twin-turbo, making the 1M the first full-on (non-SUV) M car after the Turbo to use forced induction.
The headline figures stack up as follows: maximum power output of 340hp reached at 5900rpm and maximum torque of 332lb ft reached from as low as 1500rpm. The redline is reached at 7000rpm but the 1M has an ace up its sleeve, an overboost function that briefly increases torque by another 37lb ft, rounding up the torque figure to 369lb, giving the car a substantial increase in acceleration. The 1M will complete the 62mph sprint in just 4.9 seconds with a top speed that is limited electronically to 155mph.
The suspension geometry is virtually lifted from the E92 M3, the M3 parts bin was further raided to provide the 1M with brakes, M variable differential and those signature Y-Spoke 19-inch alloy wheels first seen on the M3 CSL. The 1M was only offered with a six-speed close-ratio manual ‘box with a unique oil cooling system. In order to accommodate the wider suspension and wheels from the M3, the front fenders and rear quarter were significantly widened, giving rise to that caricature look that is straight out of a Marvel comic book. I could definitely see Batman’s sidekick Robin behind the wheel of a stealth black 1M. The exterior is rounded off with the signature M quad pipes and the aerodynamically shaped door mirrors again borrowed from the M3. The 1M’s war paint definitely screams boy racer. Wonder what the ‘70s Greenies that all but banned the Turbo would make of it?
The cockpit is fitted with leather M Sport seats, chunky M3 leather steering wheel, and smatterings of Alcantara trim – on the instrument binnacle, centre inlay across the dash, gearshift cover, handbrake on the doors and rear passenger side panel all with contrasting orange stitching, the cabin is rounded off with an Anthracite headliner. The 1M is also equipped with the M Drive button on the steering which activates a quicker throttle response.
BMW only intended to sell a limited number of 2700 1Ms but as with the E30 M3 demand exceeded supply and approximately 6340 vehicles left the production line in three specific colours: Valencia orange, Sapphire black and Alpine white. Surprisingly the Alpine white out-sold the Valencia orange by 70 units, who would have thought? Now that we have a sense of what we are dealing with let’s have a closer look at these two fine examples. First up is the 2002 Turbo and just look at it… utter perfection, from the stance to the M tricolours perfectly reflected from the Chamonix white body. This was, however, not always the case as this car is one of the eight exceptions that were not finished in white or silver. Nicky Oppenheimer ordered this car through Park Lane (one of the BMW concessionaires at the time in the UK) with specific instructions that it be Golf yellow and fitted with electric windows as well as an electric sunroof.
Jack Kaplan, being the BMW enthusiast and collector that he is (see the March issue of BMW Car where his E30 M3 and E30 325iS Evolution are featured), saw it 15 years ago with only 49,700 miles (80,000km) on the clock and just had to have it. And who can blame him? This is the only running example on the African continent. However, according to Robert Gruenberger (who researched BMW’s records) of the 2002 Turbo Club in Germany, four cars were shipped to Angola. Jack explains that by the time he got the car an extensive restoration had already been undertaken and that it had been converted to Chamonix white. But Jack being Jack decided to further enhance the Turbo. The first thing you will notice is the updated inlet manifold which was used on M10 motors fitted to E12s, E21s and early E30s. The manifold, valve cover and intercooler have been finished with a black crackle effect – think Alpina and you get the picture. This is definitely one of the neatest engine bays I’ve seen, fitted throughout with Russell braided fuel lines, adaptors, hoses, hose ends and tube nuts. To ensure that all is tied down nicely, Raceware aerospace quality engine fasteners have been used. The KKK blower, known for its enormous turbo lag and fish tailing effect, has been replaced with a Turbonetics turbo with 0.62bar (8.9psi) of boost.
To cope with the extra heat a purpose-built intercooler has also been added. An Electromotive, direct ignition system has been fitted too, the cylinder head gas-flowed, a custom-built Sports exhaust installed and the compression ratio has been upped to 7.2:1. The car still has the original gearbox and differential but has been fitted with more effective Bilstein dampers and a front custom-made strutbrace. Front brakes consist of 305mm ventilated cross-drilled Wilwood discs with matching Superlight four-pot callipers, the rear has 255mm drums.
The rear bumper has been blacked out, giving it that E9 CSL feel and the tailpipe protrudes from the centre of the rear valance, though some Turbos have the tailpipe on the side. The fuel filler cap is that of a Superbike, how appropriate, and matches the rest of the bright work quite nicely. Fittingly the Turbo sports a set of staggered BBS RS split-rims – 7Jx16 inch in the front and 8Jx16 inch at the rear running on Bridgestone RE71 rubber, 195/50/16 and 225/45/16, respectively.
The cabin has that glass house feel (offset by the black roof lining) that is so reminiscent of BMWs of this era. Step inside and you are treated to Rentrop Hubbert and Wagner Sports seats that have been recovered in leather by BMW SA with M tri-colour inserts. Inside you notice that Jack has once again added his own personal touch by installing the centre console from the E30 which houses the buttons for the electric windows, gauges for the new turbocharger and the gearshift from the 325iS. To steer you have a Momo Sports wheel and racing pedals to induce momentum and retardation.
Turn the key and the motor barks into life, the idle is erratic, it definitely does not sound like a four-pot, more like a tuned big block six-cylinder. The motor never settles into an even idle, only on pull away does the exhaust note smooth out and then builds into a crescendo as the accelerator is driven into the horizontal position. The Turbonetics turbo comes online with a whine that is faintly audible above the engine and exhaust note. When it is comes on song, it sounds very much like the electric motor found in a RC car. There is virtually no evidence of turbo lag and the power builds in quite a linear fashion – it is rather smooth and progressive largely due to the fact that the turbo can be finely tuned (from the controls also found in the centre console), coupled with the updated direct ignition system. Jack is eager to show what the Turbo is made of on this short 1.5 miles (2.4km) circuit made up of eight corners including a 180-degree hairpin. The Turbo easily turns into the corners with very little need for braking, Jack instead snap-changes the cogs up and down the ratios to manoeuvre through the bends.
This chassis is very well sorted and I suspect that it might also have stiffer and shorter springs with high performance bushes where it counts. There is no power steering but the weighting on higher speeds is spot on. I’ve been in the passenger seat before with Jack at the wheel, in his E30 M3. He is a very competent steer and he really pushes the Turbo but it does not behave like a 40 year old car, it is rather compliant and extremely capable. Like most of Jack’s other cars the Turbo runs on 102 Avgas jet fuel and manages to push out 265hp at 6000rpm and musters 212lb ft of torque at 4200rpm with a top speed of 155mph. It is hard to believe then that in the 15 years that Jack has had the Turbo he has only managed to put on an additional 8000 miles.
The 1M definitely looks the business with the carbon fibre aero kit which has recently been fitted by Ernest Smith’s BMW dealer, Vaalridge Auto. The kit comprises a front splitter, rear diffuser and a thin lip spoiler that fits nicely on to the existing ducktail boot spoiler – the Alpine white accentuating the carbon fibre accents. Ernest is the second owner; he got the car in October 2013 with merely 10,190 miles (16,400km) on the clock. Lucky guy – this is one of approximately 80 that were brought to South Africa. Ernest gets behind the wheel, turns off all the safety nannies, and engages the Dynamic and M buttons. Through the three fast corners Ernest is able to set the rear rubber alight and kick out the back end.
Once Ernest has had his kicks he hands me the key, the driving position is spot on and the Sports seats offer perfect support. The 1M pulls away smoothly and keeps on pulling until I hit the first corner, the steering (although assisted) is well weighted and turn-in is sharp and the chassis is dynamic allowing for plenty of acceleration through the bends. The brakes feel sharp with the brake pedal allowing for just enough travel. It might only have one piston but it was enough to allow me to keep my nose clean while on the track.
This is a short track and during my time on it I definitely did not experience any turbo lag, instead a rather linear power delivery. Going with the manual only option was definitely the right decision, the shortshift gearbox makes the car more drivable and is undeniably one of the biggest highlights for me – it also reminds me of my time behind the wheel of a South African icon, the E30 325iS.
The 1M is without a doubt going to be a future classic not only because it was produced in such limited numbers but because it is such fun both to look at and more so to drive. #BMW threw caution to the wind and built a car in the spirit of the E30 M3, and did a phenomenal job having to comply with modern safety and emissions regulations. BMW will never be able to build another E30 M3 but the 1M is a true driver’s car for today’s generation of enthusiasts. If I had to choose though, I would go with the Turbo; I am probably what you would call yesterday’s enthusiast. The erratic idle makes it sound completely untamed but in reality it is quite drivable with the boost being perfectly set up. I like the fact that it has been upgraded with more modern equipment but has kept enough originality to still be considered a classic. So you get the best of both worlds, or ‘classicreimagined’ which is the latest term that has been coined for this type of restoration; 15 years ago there was no term but Jack did it anyway. Today companies such as Eagle are restoring E-Types to better-than-new, thanks to the modern components fitted, Singer does the same for early air-cooled 911s, and Mechatronik will virtually do any classic Mercedes.
The purists will not agree with me and will probably burn Jack at the stake for the enhancements that he’s brought about, but I salute him as this is a classic that you can virtually drive all day and have fun with on the track when the opportunity beckons.
Special thanks to Ron Silke. Thanks also to Zwartkops Raceway for the use of the track (www.zwartkops.co.za)
The 2002 Turbo has been treated to carefully selected additions but it still retains its retro look.
1M cabin has aged well and the extra detailing still makes it feel like a special place to be.
The 1M is standard underneath but has been recently fitted with a subtle carbon bodykit.
2002’s engine has been treated to some upgrades for improved performance and drivability.
BMW wanted to demonstrate what it could do with turbo power in a road car.
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