Not so long ago, the BMW 1M seemed like it’d never be remotely attainable. It was as though prices were on a relentless march north, and it looked to be only a matter of time before the car was the preserve only of well-heeled collectors.
However, the market for these small but muscular coupes seems to have levelled off, and we’re even starting to see leggier models go for just under £30,000. This is in line with the general slow down of the modern classic market, and the fact that BMW didn’t limit production of the M2, the 1M’s successor, is surely a factor.
Speaking of, the M2 Competition has now been around long enough for the earliest cars to cost about the same as a decent 1M. This 2018 M2 Comp with just 11,000 miles on the clock is £37,990, making it the same (well, five quid less) than a 2011 1M with 33k on the clock we’ve dug out of the classifieds. This provides an interesting quandary for anyone in the market for a small but powerful M car, and for any of us fantasizing about choosing between them.
I can imagine a decent chunk of you would go for the limited-run 1M without question - it’s arguably more special, it’s achieved a god-like reverence in the car community, and in the long run it will hold its value better. But not so fast.
Unlike the 1M with its ‘N54’ twin-turbo inline-six found in all sorts of other less interesting BMWs, the M2 Comp has a proper M Division engine in the form of the S55. With 404bhp on tap it’s more powerful, and the M2 C is also a more polished car to drive - the 1M is a lairy thing, being awfully keen on wildly breaking traction when you hit the boosty bit in the middle of the rev range.
The fact that the M2 is seven years the 1M’s junior is painfully obvious inside, and being less than a couple of years old, the newer vehicle is still within warranty. And finally, and rather subjectively, we reckon it’s the best-looking car BMW has made in years - a shining example amidst big-grilled monstrosities that prove Munich can still style something wicked.
See? Not as clear cut as you might imagine, although we must admit the M2 is probably going to be a shorter-term ownership prospect rather than a long-term investment, since it still has a decent chunk of depreciation to do before values level off.
Regardless, it’s not the easiest choice to make. So which way would you go?