The German tuner has brought out the vicious side of the revered sports coupe

The BMW 1 Series M Coupe is one of those cars that will last the test of time. I’m calling it as early as now, even though it’s only been four years since BMW stopped production of the car in 2012. In total, only 6,309 units of the 1 Series M Coupe were made and despite having exited from our lives, the sports car is still revered as one of the finest works to come out of BMW.

Proof of that lies in the number of aftermarket programs that are still being made for it. Yes, it’s 2016 and yet, there are still tuners like Alpha-N Performance that are taking the time to build kits specifically for the car. That tells you all you need to know about the stature of the 1 Series M Coupe.

Alpha-N Performance’s program for the sports coupe is a real treat considering the length by which the tuner developed that engine mod. The tuner did so in lieu of making any exterior and interior changes, but what it was able to bring out of the car’s 3.0-liter twin turbo straight-six engine is utterly impressive. I’m not going to spoil the actual number Alpha-N managed to get out of that N54 engine, but I will say that it well exceeds the output of some of today’s sports cars. In other words, it’s beyond ridiculous and is fitting, I might add, of a car that’s been described in the exact same words.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW 1 Series M Coupe By Alpha-N Performance.

  • 2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe By Alpha-N Performance
  • Year:
    2012
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-6
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    564
  • Torque @ RPM:
    541
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe By Alpha-N Performance High Resolution Exterior
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There are no notable exterior upgrades on the 1 Series M Coupe other than the front splitter and rear spoiler lip that are actually BMW Performance parts. With those two components already in the mix and helping improve downforce on both ends of the car, Alpha-N Performance ultimately decided to leave the exterior of the coupe alone, adopting what I presume to be the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” strategy.

Interior

2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe By Alpha-N Performance High Resolution Interior
- image 663402

Similar to the lack of any notable upgrades on the exterior, the cabin of the 1 Series M Coupe was largely kept in stock configuration. Alpha-N Performance did note that the car’s hard, shell-backed sport seats and the sports steering wheel were perfectly suited for the image that the tuner wanted to bring out of the “little M that could”.

Drivetrain

2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe By Alpha-N Performance High Resolution Drivetrain
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Before we dive into the nitty gritty of Alpha-N Performance’s engine program for the 1 Series M Coupe, it’s important to remember that the sports car came with BMW’s 3.0-liter, twin-turbo, straight-six engine that produced a stock 340 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque.

From the 340-horsepower and 330-pound-feet-of-torque numbers of the standard straight-six engine, the German tuner can squeeze out an impressive 564 horsepower and 541 pound-feet of torque.

Using those numbers as a baseline, Alpha-N Performance went to work with upgrades on the turbocharger. First up is the installation of a larger compressor and turbine wheels in a modified housing. The tuner also has a Wagner Tuning EVO3 intercooler to help keep the air temperature at appropriate levels and a larger Charge-pipe system with a forged blow-off valve to improve airflow. To accommodate these changes, Alpha-N offers complete upgrades on the fuel pump, spark plugs, and ignition coils.

From there, the tuner has what it calls the Snow Stage 3 water-methanol injection system, essentially calibrating the ratio of distilled water and ethanol to create an equal mixture of both. This tweak in the injection helps the engine during its own combustion process, thus increasing the output of the N54B30 drivetrain. With all the hardware upgrades in place, Alpha-N Performance concluded the engine modification by performing an ECU remap of the fuel, spark and boost pressure parameters, resulting in a staggering increase in power. From the 340-horsepower and 330-pound-feet-of-torque numbers of the standard straight-six engine, the German tuner can squeeze out an impressive 564 horsepower and 541 pound-feet of torque. Do the math and that equates to a 224-horsepower and 211 pound-feet-of-torque improvement for the 1 Series M Coupe.

Safety

2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe By Alpha-N Performance High Resolution Exterior
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With such a significant increase in power, Alpha-N Performance is also offering a corresponding upgrade on the chassis. For this task, the tuner enlisted the help of tech partner Öhlins to provide a fully adjustable coil-over suspension that can either be set up for road or track purposes.

Prices

No mention was made on how much the whole kit costs. I reached out to Alpha-N Performance to get a price quote, but so far, the tuner has yet to respond. If you’re in a rush, you can do the same and contact the tuner directly.

Competition

Porsche Cayman by Techart

2014 Porsche Cayman by TechArt High Resolution Exterior
- image 503469

Production of the BMW 1 Series M Coupe ended back in 2012 so finding a current sports car than can line up against the 1 Series M Coupe is going to be especially tricky. Fortunately, the market hasn’t dried up for such cars and there are still a lot of them on the road these days. One of the more prominent of these sports cars is the Porsche Cayman.

Granted, this particular kit for the Cayman that TechArt worked on was released in 2013. But, even if it’s a little dated, it’s still one of the most rounded performance programs for the entry-level Porsche sports coupe. It had exterior upgrades in the form of an aggressive body kit that includes a new carbon-fiber hood, front spoiler, rear bumper, rear diffuser, and fixed rear wing. Moving inside, SpeedArt also dressed up the Cayman’s interior with its own leather and Alcantara elements.

Last but certainly not least was the engine upgrade on the Cayman S’s 3.4-liter flat-six engine. At that time, SpeedArt actually offered three different engine upgrades that can bring the Cayman’s output up to either 345, 360 or 400 horsepower. They’re not exactly on the level of what Alpha-N Performance was able to coax out of the 1 Series M Coupe’s smaller straight-six engine, but even if the performance numbers on the Cayman aren’t where it needs to be to compete against the BMW, it still gives the coupe a pretty significant power bump.

Read our full review here.

Mercedes A 45 AMG by Vath

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class by Vath High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 528629

Sure, the Mercedes A 45 AMG is offered as a hatchback instead of a coupe, but you can’t argue that it would’ve been fun to see the A 45 AMG line up against the BMW 1 Series M Coupe. One of the more impressive tuning kits for the A 45 AMG was released back in 2014 by Vath.

The German tuner knows a thing or two about extensive aftermarket programs and what it had for the A 45 AMG was no different. It had aerodynamic upgrades like an aggressive front bumper and a large rear spoiler. Wheel choices were also offered, ranging from 19- to 20-inch multi-spoke options. Last, but certainly not least, is an engine upgrade that was achieved using a combination of engine augmentation and optimized engine electronics. With those changes, the A 45 AMG’s 2.0-liter inline-four output increased from the standard 360-horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque all the way up to 425 horsepower and 387 pound-feet of torque.

With these changes in tow, the Vath-tuned A45 AMG was able to hit a top speed of 174 mph, almost 20 mph faster than the stock model. In other words, that should make for a great race with the Alpha-N Performance-tuned BMW 1 Series M Coupe.

Read our full review here.

Conclusion

2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe By Alpha-N Performance High Resolution Exterior
- image 663395

Owners of the BMW 1 Series M Coupe should be ecstatic to know that, despite BMW having stopped its production for four years now, there are still tuning firms like Alpha-N Performance that continue to build aftermarket programs for the sports car. These kits should help the 1 Series M Coupe remain relevant, even as the current crop of sports cars are becoming more evolved and technologically superior than the 1 M. That’s not to say that the 1 Series M Coupe is past its time because the car continues to be a hot item to the point that it’s hard to get one, even in the used-car market. Some have even predicted that the car will go down as one of BMW’s modern-day classics, so the appeal of having one is still there. If you’re a proud owner of a 1 Series M Coupe, you can give your baby a modern-day tuning upgrade courtesy of Alpha-N Performance. With the program in tow, the 1 Series M Coupe should be able to give these current whippersnappers a serious run for their money.

  • Leave it
    • * Pricing could be tricky
    • * No impressionable exterior and interior upgrades
    • * If you don’t have one, it’s tough to find a 1 Series M Coupe these days

Press Release

The BMW 1 Series M Coupé has become something of a legend in its own time, and as an M car, it carries the ‘right stuff’ that allows it to rise to even greater challenges.

2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe By Alpha-N Performance High Resolution Exterior
- image 663394

Capitalising on this inherent performance DNA, upgrade specialists Alpha-N set about grooming the 340 hp TwinPower Turbo N54B30 straight-six engine for life with a horsepower number starting with ‘5’.

As such a heady output was clearly beyond the remit of a mere software remap, the engineers went back to basics by first addressing the flow capacity of the engine’s forced aspirated breathing apparatus.

Responsibility for the big leap in power is basically down to the in-house turbocharger upgrade, which uses larger compressor and turbine wheels in a modified housing. To improve efficiency, charge air temperature is reduced using a Wagner Tuning EVO3 intercooler, while a larger Charge-pipe system with Forge Blow-Off Valve helps to increase airflow velocity and volume. The fuel pump, spark plugs and ignition coil packs are also uprated to match.

On the other side of the motor exhaust backpressure is reduced using Wagner downpipes, and a free-flow middle silencer in the ‘Race’ version, feeding the standard rear silencer box.

2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe By Alpha-N Performance High Resolution Exterior
- image 663395

The icing on the cake of Alpha-N’s bespoke conversion is the Snow Stage 3 water-methanol injection system, calibrated for a 50/50 mixture of distilled water and ethanol. This cools the top-end of the engine during the combustion process, considerably increasing output. The 9.5-liter tank and its bespoke pump are neatly installed in the boot.

A comprehensive ECU remap of the fuel, spark and boost pressure parameters makes full use of all the hardware upgrades. When the final calibration work was done, the BMW M TwinPower Turbo engine showed a sensational 564 hp, accompanied by an equally impressive peak torque of 734 Nm.

The task of transferring this newfound power to the drivetrain falls to a competition grade clutch mated to a proprietary single-mass flywheel manufactured from high-grade steel.

Getting this substantial increase in output to the tarmac was the next challenge, and here Alpha-N’s chassis technology partner Öhlins stepped in with a fully adjustable coil-over suspension that can be set up for road or track use.

2012 BMW 1 Series M Coupe By Alpha-N Performance High Resolution Interior
- image 663396

In the cabin, the hard shell backed sport seats and sports steering wheel with LED upshift indicator and central display window are crucial aids to driver focus when using this cars mighty performance.

The BMW Performance front splitter and rear spoiler lip from the factory programme reduce lift at both ends and give the car a more purposeful look. But as they are relatively subtle they leave the Alpha-N 1 Series M Coupe a real wolf in sheep’s clothing.

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