The smallest BMW sold in the U.S. is nearing the end of its lifecycle, but to send the current generation of the 1-Series off with a bang, BMW has let loose a special, limited-edition, high-performance version via its M Division. The 2011 BMW 1-Series M is everything a BMW should be and almost nothing it shouldn't, and it's the main driver for MotorAuthority's rating of 9 for the lineup.
The 1-Series M Coupe isn't the only thing the 2011 1-Series range has going for it, though. The 135i's 300-hp twin-scroll turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six is silky smooth, powerful, and efficient. The naturally-aspirated 3.0-liter six in the 128i is fun to drive, too, even though it rates a comparatively small 230 horsepower. But the twin-turbocharged 335-hp, 369 lb-ft N54 engine in the 1-Series M Coupe really sings.
The 1-Series M Coupe also brings a loaded deck to the handling game, borrowing parts straight off the M3, including the wheels, tires, suspension, and limited-slip differential. A wider track accomodated by aggressive flared fenders helps cornering even more, while the 1M's short wheelbase makes it quicker to rotate than any other M car. Steering isn't brilliant, but it's certainly good, and BMW's highly-tuned M Dynamic Mode stability control lets you play with an unobtrusive safety net.
All of the 1-Series cars share in the 1M's good handling to a degree, offering BMW-tuned dynamics, but tuned more for comfort on the street than performance on the track.
Ride and handling of the entire 1-Series range, including the 1-Series M, is very good, however. There's a bit of tire noise, but overall the cabin offers a quiet, composed, if somewhat tight environment. The front seats are very comfortable, but the back seat is best left to small children and luggage.
For a complete look at all of the 2011 BMW 1-Series' features and facts, read the full review at TheCarConnection
. For a more in-depth look specifically at the 1-Series M Coupe, read our first drive report