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Sunday, December 12, 2010

BMW 1 M Coupe VS BMW E46 M3

The press has introduced the BMW 1 Series M Coupe as the spiritual successor of the legendary 1988 BMW E30 M3... except the press already miscalculated one detail. Everyone here who knows even a little bit about the original M3 will not fall for the silly marketing hubbub.

We may need a refresher course, so let's review. The original M3 stood at a wheelbase of less than 102 inches, weighed a lithe 2865 pounds, with a punching power of 195 bhp from a 2.3 liter inline-4 engine mated to a 5 speed manual.

In comparison, the BMW 1 series comes in at a surprising almost-as-short wheelbase of 104.7 inches. And although it isn't out until the coming spring 2011, reports have claimed the 1 M Coupe will weigh 3296 pounds (431 lbs heavier than E30), and push out 335hp at 5900rpm, 332 lb-ft from 1500rpm to 4500rpm, thanks to a turbocharged 3 liter inline-6. What's more, surprise surprise especially in this digital day and age, it will come with a solid 6-speed manual.

All the same, although the evolution is clear, I fail to see how all this increase in weight and power can actually harken the past.

Now, don't get me wrong, it's still a solid BMW M car.

Look at its stance!

See how aggressively the tires fill in the wide wheel arches. I don't even remember the current generation M3 coupe having such an aggressive negative camber! (God, I hope that picture isn't a product of Photoshop, because then I've just made an ass of myself.)

But I digress. What I really wanted to do today is to give everyone something to think about, so how about I throw a curve ball?

How much would you be willing to pay for a brand new, never been driven, E46 M3 that's been kept inside a climate controlled garage for the past five years? Produced from 2000-2006, it is just old enough to make the heart grow fonder. Yet pound for pound, it's right there with the new 1 M Coupe.

At 107.5, it has a slightly longer "touring", if you will, wheelbase. It weighs 3415 lbs, or 119 lbs more than the 1 M Coupe. Finally, the E46 squeezes out 333 horsepower at a high revving 7900rpm and 262 lb/ft of torque at 4900rpm. Scroll back and forth if you haven't memorized the 1 M Coupe specs, but I promise you that they're damn close.

What BMW has really given you is a re-introduction of the E46 for the spring of 2011 at $45k with a slightly lower weight, shorter wheelbase, and a turbocharged engine with a slightly higher horsepower, higher torque, and lower redline.
Will you want one now?

What about the vice-versa?  If I told you that anybody could go out and get a used 1 M Coupe today...

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