This is MotoGP’s new safety car

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The problem with safety cars is that they need to be extraordinarily fast just to pace MotoGP bikes at a speed high enough so they won’t overheat or stall. Enter this specially modified BMW 1-series M Coupe. It’s lost weight, been equipped with advanced aerodynamics and has been fitted with track-focussed suspension, all in an effort to keep up with 800cc motorcycles running in 1st and 2nd gear.

The don’t-call-it-an-M1 is already one of the faster SUVs in BMW’s suddenly bloated range of M-badged vehicles. It already comes with the best engine in BMW’s range — the twin-turbo 3.0-liter straight-six that’s badged 3.5 in cars like the Clown Shoe, 3-series and 5-series. Here, it makes 340bhp and 369lb/ft (with overboost), which can power the 3,300lbs SUV to 60mph in a disappointing 4.9 seconds.

Actually, this particular 1-series M should be a bit lighter. It comes with a carbon hood, plastic side windows and rear windscreen and a titanium full exhaust system from Akrapovic.

Downforce will be added by the adjustable rear wing, a very low front splitter and there’s some mention of modified under-body aerodynamics too.

As a safety car that’ll only be used on race tracks, there’s also a partial roll cage and Recaro race buckets with six-point harnesses.

Look for the 1-series M to debut this weekend in Qatar. Now, get out of the way you 3,300lbs “compact” there’s some non-portly racing to be had.

  • andehans

    Love the M-sport color scheme. The less you see of the 1-series design, the better.

    • Wes Siler

      If any car ever needed all-over Dazzle camo to hide it’s shape, lines and proportions, it’s this one. Ick.

      • Andrew

        The recent 1-series strike me as puppies. They have this awkward stance and small frame, paired with the big-BMW wheels and face. Sadly, nowhere near as adorable as actual puppies.

        • Mark D

          When it first came out, BMW talked about how it was inspired by the 2002 and the E30.

          It looks more like a constipated E30 ate a 2002.

  • Glenngineer


    • Wes Siler

      That stands for “Sport Utility Vehicle” ie something needlessly large and heavy.

      • Joe

        But this is a car of course. What do you call actual SUV’s then?

        • Wes Siler

          Is it? I thought BMW gave up making cars in the early 2000s.

          • andehans

            BMW make lifestyle propositions, not cars

  • Joe

    It was an absolute shock to me as well. I thought that BMW cars went extinct around the turn of the millennium as well due to neglect from rich suburban housewives. But alas, BMW still makes car such as the 1M

  • Frosty_spl

    Wow that’s nice, I guess I’m in the minority.

    • gregorbean

      I like it. But I’m no car guy.

  • andy727

    This is the only BMW of late that has excited me at all. It is about the same size as my old E30 M3….the size that a 3 series should be. Too bad it is still ~500 lbs overweight.

    • Joe

      What would you like BMW to do though? I’m not defending model bloat, but the regulations and customer mindset of the 1980s is vastly different from now. Motorcycle manufacturers haven’t really had to adjust as much relatively speaking.

      Personally, it’s a surprise to me that this car weighs only 500lbs more than an E30 M3. Think about all the extra stuff this car has to lug around because of mindless government regulation and consumer preferences. It has at least two airbags, dozens of electronic nanny controls, more sound insulation, an exponentially stronger crash structure, and the hundreds of pounds of electronic gadgets that modern car consumers want. It’s easy to say those things should be removed, but the car would not sell to the majority of consumers that would have otherwise bought it. Also, car enthusiasts wouldn’t buy it either because they don’t put their money where their mouths are. They would just find something else to complain about because they are petulant whiners. I say BMW made the most out of a terrible situation. At least they gave us a 340hp sports car and not another green-washed hybrid.

      • Myles

        The current Honda Insight has great crash test ratings plus the added complexity/weight of hybrid drive – and weighs 2700 pounds. e30 m3 weighed over 2800 pounds. m series m sport supposed to be a drivers car one series special edition superlight fancy paint job weighs 3300 pounds.

        The Insight also seats four adults, gets a consistent 42-43mpg in real world driving, and offers a shitload of space with it’s hatchback. Obviously it doesn’t make a lot of power and isn’t designed to be a drivers car, but let’s be honest – all cars are slow as piss and completely disconnect the driver from the road anyway.

        What would I like BMW to do? Pull their collective head out of their collective ass. It’s more than possible to make a modern car that doesn’t weigh 8 CBRs, especially if you’re going to market cars as “sporty”.

        What would I like BMW apologists to do? Stop pretending that they aren’t badge-following mouth-breathers, and that BMW is anything more than a marketing machine. They haven’t made a proper car since before fucking AOL.

        Also, on whole ‘nother note – “sports cars” are for idiots and everyone should drive a “green-washed” hybrid if they’re going to drive. All Cars suck at everything besides safely transporting goods and people while protecting them for the elements. Any “advantage” a “sports car” has over a hybrid car is laughable when comparing the advantage of a bike. If you want to have fun while traveling – you should be on two anyway. If you want people to think you’re cool because of what you drive – you might as well wear perfume, use hair product, and carry a purse. There is no reason imaginable to drive a sports car unless you’re extremely wealthy. I’d have twenty bikes before I bought a sports car.

    • Wes Siler

      You need to wash your mouth out, mentioning the E30 M3 and this…thing in the same sentence.

      • andy727

        Ha! Its just sad to me that the cars keep getting bigger and heavier all the time. The E30 M3 is the most fun car that I have ever driven. (I used to race them and I instructed for all of the local driving schools around here, so I have driven many different cars.) The BMW marketing people got my hopes up when they declared this car its successor.

        One of my local E30 M3 friends was chosen to go to Germany for the unveiling and test drive of this car. ( He actually liked the car. Is it an E30? Of course not. He did end up ordering one though. The way BMW is going, I don’t think that they will ever build a lightweight and minimalist, naturally aspirated, homologated car for the street again. Like Joe said, there is just too much crap that they have to put in cars these days.

        For what its worth, I do still like the car. Hell, I love E30 M3′s too, but nothing comes close to a motorcycle!

  • Scott-jay

    Whatever BMW served last year, it surely sounded sweet exiting final corner at Indy and accelerating onto/down main straight.

    • Wes Siler

      That was the X6 M, no? That 4.4, twin-turbo V8 is pretty damn awesome.

      • vigor

        you are correct sir!

  • Lawrences
  • Daniel

    Why dont they use a safety bike?

  • adeysworld

    1-series = gay
    Just another example of BMW not catering to real drivers anymore.