2011 BMW 1M Coupe
Courtesy of Bonhams
Developed by BMW Motorsport and announced in December 2010, the 1M coupe used a tuned version of the N54 twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six engine producing 335 hp, which was delivered to the road via a 6-speed manual gearbox and electronic limited-slip differential. With its front-engine/rear-drive layout, traditional sports-car handling and colossal amounts of low-down torque, the 1M was enthusiastically received, particularly by those who felt that BMW’s image had become diluted by too many SUVs; indeed, Richard Hammond of “Top Gear” voted the BMW 1M his “Car of the Year 2011.” Autocar quoted a 0–60 mph time of 4.6 seconds, while the 1M’s top speed was limited to 155 mph. Production ceased at the end of 2012, cementing the 1M’s relative exclusivity and future interest among collectors. This pampered example has covered fewer than 2,000 kilometers in the hands of its sole owner and is presented in pristine condition.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:2011 BMW 1M Coupe
Years Produced:2011–12
Number Produced:983 (U.S. spec), 6,342 (total)
Original List Price:$47,010
SCM Valuation:$61,750
Chassis Number Location:Plate on doorjamb
Engine Number Location:Left side of block, visible below intake manifold runners
Club Info:BMW Car Club of America
Alternatives:2006–18 Porsche Cayman, 2011–12 Audi RS3 Sportback, 2006–08 BMW Z4 M coupe
Investment Grade:C

This car, Lot 38, sold for $67,315, including buyer’s premium, at Bonhams’ Zoute sale in Knokke-Heist, Belgium, on October 6, 2017.

BMW’s series of M-branded performance cars are certainly enthusiast favorites, but that’s different from being collectible. Some Honda Civics are enthusiast cars too, but they’ll never attain collectible status.

We’re already seeing the beginning of the collector consensus on modern BMW models. The first cars to come out of BMW’s M (for Motorsport) subsidiary are firmly established. Hans-Joachim Stuck drove the breathtaking 1973 BMW 3.0 CSL to well-deserved success, and the exotic 1978–81 BMW M1 mid-engine sports car is desirable beyond question.

However, big car companies like BMW always want to spread the glory of their Motorsport divisions onto their volume-selling sedans and, Gott in Himmel!, even onto their SUVs. From a collector’s standpoint, the BMW M brand got a lot murkier starting in the 1990s.

There are some BMW M models that will clearly appreciate and are already popular, such as the 1998–2002 M coupe. Then there are those that might or might not catch on, such as the Z3M roadster of the same period. The M3 coupe produced on the E30 chassis from 1985 to 1992 is collectible, but the E36 M3 produced 1992–99 is distinctly lackluster. Time will tell on other models such as the attractive Z4 M coupe and more recent M-designated cars.

1M, not M1

BMW ran into nomenclature issues in 2011 when it issued the M version of its new compact 1 Series coupe. The tarted-up M version of any BMW numbered series was usually known as an M3, M5 and so on. But that wouldn’t work with the 1 Series because of the sacred status of the original M1. So this hot rod became the 1 Series M coupe, or just the 1M.

The 1M offered a lot of performance in a small package. You got a 335-hp, 332-ft-lb, 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline 6-cylinder engine, with a short-term overboost capability that would give you 370 ft-lb. The 1M was offered only with a 6-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive. The brakes, limited-slip differential, and many suspension components are identical to the parts delivered on the M3 of the same year, and that was a highly developed package made even more effective in the smaller 1 Series platform.

Contemporary tests have the 1M doing 0–60 in 4.2 to 4.6 seconds, and running the more-important 45–65 mph passing test in 1.8 seconds. The 1M will cover the quarter-mile in about 12.8 seconds and deliver 0.98 lateral G on the skid pad.

Gills and doodads

However, the 1M got a mixed reception when it was new, mainly based on the fact that it was cobbled together with M3 parts and the engine was borrowed wholesale from existing BMW models rather than being a true M powertrain.

Reviewers and aficionados found the bodywork polarizing and the interior disappointing. “A festival of gills, slits, and doodads” is how Car & Driver described the 1M. Finally, the 1M was offered in just three colors — predictable black, boring white, and in-your-face Valencia Orange. White was standard, while both black and orange were priced options.

When it was new, the 1M coupe (in white) cost about $48,000 including destination fees. A total of 983 North American-spec cars were produced and imported in 2011. An additional 1,204 right-hand-drive models were made for the U.K. market, and 4,155 left-hand European-spec 1M coupes were made in 2011 and 2012. Our subject car is one of the Euro-spec models.

A virgin M

If you wanted to buy a 1M as close as possible to factory new, the subject car was the one to buy. It’s entirely pristine and well worth the premium the buyer paid in excess of the original MSRP.

Looking around the domestic market, you can buy a well-kept 1M for about the original MSRP. In July, a 1M sold at Silverstone in the U.K. for $56,184, (SCM# 6851312) and that’s the only example in the SCM Platinum Auction Database. This is not unusual for such a new car, and the online auto sales outlets have about 10 U.S.-spec 1M cars for sale, all in the vicinity of the car’s original sales price except for one claimed to be Steve Dinan’s personal 1M. That one is absurdly overpriced at $99,900.

At this point, the 1M is holding its value, and at seven years of age, that’s remarkable. As for the future, chances are better than good that the 1 Series M coupe will be a BMW you’ll want to have in your collection down the road. ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of Bonhams.)

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