There was a time not too long ago that BMW was emphatic that no model bearing the M badge would ever employ turbocharging. That all went out the window with the X5 M and X6 M, which pack a twin-turbo V8. Oops.
No matter, the faithful opined, since colossal garbage scows don't really count as M vehicles.
But now there's this 2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe, which is decidedly not a blight on the M tradition. It's kind of the opposite, actually. And it, too, is turbocharged.
The 1 Series M Coupe is a return to the M Division's roots while looking to the future. It is the car of now. Accordingly, today we dyno-tested it.
Equipped with the company's N54 twin-turbo 3.0-liter direct injected inline-6, the 1 Series M Coupe is rated by the factory (that is, at the flywheel) at 335 hp at 5,800 rpm and 332 lb-ft from 1,500-4,500 rpm.
Peak torque rises to 370 lb-ft during an overboost period, the command for which is not driver-activated. That little "M" button on the steering wheel sharpens the throttle response, and nothing more.
We'll assume the overboost function was live because, well, just have a look below at the result from the Dynojet chassis dyno:
Whoa! Now that's some torque. From 2,500-4,500 rpm, there's more than 350 lb-ft on tap, and then it rolls off linearly between 5,100 and 6,700 rpm. It's pretty much done at that point, and the fuel cut arrives at 7,000 rpm. Peak power of 331 hp arrives at 5,150 rpm.
Torque peaks at 362 lb-ft and hits early in the rev range. As explained in a previous post, it's nigh unto impossible to replicate on a chassis dyno the drawn-with-a-laser-level torque plateaus that manufacturers provide for their turbo cars.
While BMW says it reaches peak torque at 1,500 rpm, you'll never achieve that result in the real world unless you wood it at 1,000 rpm in 5th or 6th while climbing a hill. No matter, since only a complete toolshed would drive an M car -- or any car -- that way. Downshifting. Learn it.
So, no, the 1 Series M Coupe definitely doesn't provide the power delivery characteristic we're used to seeing in M cars. Revving it to red doesn't provide the rush it once did. This one's all about midrange. But, man, there is an awful lot of grunt here.
This was no fluke outlier of a dyno run, either. Check out all six pulls here. They're all pretty tightly clustered, and there was no discernible trend of heat soak or degradation as the runs progressed. All the variation you see was random.
Speaking of heat, it is part of the reason the torque noses over around 5,200 rpm on these engines. The mixture is richened up and boost ramped out in order to keep exhaust gas temperatures at a level that will keep the catalytic converters and turbine componentry alive for the duration of the 150k mile life required by EPA.
BMW tends to rate its turbo sixes pretty conservatively, as we've seen similarly robust results like this on previous dyno tests of the 335i and 135i. It's likely that BMW employs a very conservative (read: hot) intercooler temperature when performing the power certification test. This would tend to de-rate the output claimed by the manfacturer.
Waitasec, the 135i has a turbo N54 and so does this thing. Beyond the peak numbers, what's the difference in sauce delivery?
Glad you asked. Here's the 1 Series M Coupe dyno result overlaid with our old 2008 BMW 135i long-termer that we tested on this very dyno a while back.
The 1 Series M Coupe just smacks down the 135i everywhere in the rev range. In particular, though, look at that additional meat slab of torque that the 1 Series M Coupe provides between 2,500 and 5,200 rpm.
So what do you say, fair IL reader? Is a small M car with boost the kind of car for which you hunger? Not that you really have a choice, as they're all headed this direction. In fact, contrary to what you've heard recently, we've got it on good authority that the next M3 is getting a hotted-up version of the N55...