Big engine, small car: It's a classic recipe that's produced some of the coolest cars in history. Yet nowadays it's all about downsizing, with the next M3 returning to a six-cylinder after its foray into V8 muscle.
And while big motors are fun, who would deny that when BMW decided to give "M" aficionados a 1 Series deserving of the tricolor badge, a look under the hood at its N54 3.0L straight-six and pair of turbos confirmed it was just about the perfect combination for the 1 Series M Coupe. After all, 335bhp and 332 lb-ft in the small coupe bodyshell was sufficient to satisfy even the most ardent enthusiast.
However, tuners often like to pick up the baton and run from the point where car manufacturers stop. And where most companies would begin by massaging the ECU and increasing the boost, German tuner G-Power chose to do things differently. Very differently indeed.
For their interpretation of the BMW 1M, the straight-six biturbo was junked in favor of the S65 4.0L V8 from the E9X M3. And while even this would be enough for most people, G-Power fitted an ASA T1-523 supercharger for good measure.
With the power up to 600hp, this is the automotive equivalent of strapping a missile to its back and blasting into outer space.
G-Power's new supercar was appropriately named the G1 V8 Hurricane RS and we were granted an audience with the very first example. Since it was highly bespoke, the exact price was hard to pin down but don't budget for less than $200k if you'd like to own something like this.
Being handed the keys to such a powerful and expensive supercar was rather daunting, but opportunities like this don't come every day...
We searched for the perfect roads to take advantage of what the Hurricane had to offer, and it didn't take long to find a quiet stretch of pavement. It was here that we examined the effect of stuffing a supercharged V8 under the hood of the 1 Series Coupe.
We probably don't need to confirm that it's fast. 600hp at 7800rpm and 430 lb-ft at 3900rpm in a 3500 lb two-door was always a recipe for straight-line fireworks; but this was just the stepping off point - G-Powers has a close relationship with supercharger manufacturer ASA, allowing for the tantalizing possibility of future evolutions with even more power...
Married to the seven-speed dual-clutch DCT transmission, the Frankenstein 1M appears to compress time and distance like no other. You can melt the tires all day long if you like, but hook everything up, find the grip, and the acceleration is utterly brutal.
Wheelspin is easily provoked with the traction control turned off, but its traction is actually quite good, once it's been discovered. As a result, the supercharged V8 does most damage once the rear wheels have full purchase on the tarmac: at around 40mph in the dry. If the road is wet, leave the Hurricane in the garage!
Supercharging has become a hallmark of G-Power. And where the stock 1M delivered its torque in a wave of low-revs thrust, the V8 RS builds power in a linear fashion. So the faster the engine spins, the more power you get. As a result, the characteristic high-RPM lunge for the redline made by the M3's S65 V8 is present and correct, but ramped up about 50%. And behind the wheel of a 1 Series, it's both thrilling and faintly absurd.
We weren't able to record performance figures but the tuner claims 0-62mph in 4.4sec, 0-125mph under 12.7sec and a top speed of 205mph. In fact, G-Power has a reputation for demonstrating top speed publicly (search G-Power on YouTube) so they should soon be able to verify the numbers.
Supercharging pays dividends in other areas, too. The smooth, linear power delivery, for example, compares favorably to the thump of torque typical of turbocharged engines. It also makes the BMW easier to drive up to and beyond the limit of its grip. And once at the limit, the G1 RS was very easy to balance on the throttle.
Of course, 600hp demands respect, but it was simple to meter the power, reaching the point where the rear wheels were rotating a little faster than the road speed. The glorious result was a car that could be balanced on the throttle all day long. It was also reassuring to find a grippy and precise front-end to rely on. And although the steering wasn't the last word in road feel, every element of the 1M's fantastic chassis balance could be exploited.
Inevitably, the Hurricane is a drift champion. Sharper body control, thanks to its tailored KW suspension, played its part, as well as the DCT transmission that allowed the driver to focus on braking and turn-in. Fortunately, the huge Mov'It brakes were more than a match for the outrageous performance, with the pedal remaining firm no matter how hard we drove.
In addition to its ASA blower, the V8 engine received a cast aluminum air box with eight induction pipes to balance throttle response. It also got a large front-mounted water-to-air intercooler plus a stainless steel exhaust system that provides a vicious bark to the V8 rumble.
The chassis sports the aforementioned KW Clubsport coilovers and Mov'It brakes that utilize six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers with 396mm carbon-ceramic rotors all round. These fit under 20x9" front and x10" rear G-Power Silverstone Diamond wheels with 255/30 and 295/25 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, respectively.
The brakes are said to be 50% lighter than the stock parts, and G-Power added to the savings with a carbon hood and trunk - the hood possessing an M3-style power bulge and vents.
Despite being a ripped musclecar, the G1 RS is remarkably civilized inside. Rather than the customary stripped-out, roll-caged track refugee, the cabin received a full retrim in white leather with brown alcantara highlights.
It created a stunning environment to cosset you from the commotion outside. Even the exhaust was quiet when unprovoked, and the DCT allowed effortless paddle-shifts. Naturally, you could specify any exterior or interior color combination, but this exquisite combination seemed very calming.
When the car was conceived, the brief was to create the most extreme 1 Series Coupe possible, while retaining daily usability. And with the G1 V8 Hurricane RS, G-Power hit the nail on the head. So while 600bhp in a compact coupe might have been a nightmare a few years ago, lurching at low speed, burning through clutches and with an overheated cabins, what we have here is a 1M able to outrun most supercars, deliver huge grins and transport you 500 miles without stress. It's another awesome display of the tuner's art and became an instant classic as soon as the wheels first turned.
2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe - G-Power G1 V8 Hurricane RS
Engine 4.0L S65 V8 with ASA T1-523 supercharger, cast aluminum air box, individual induction pipe, water-to-air front-mount intercooler, stainless steel exhaust
Drivetrain seven-speed M-DCT dual-clutch transmission
Brakes Mov'It six-piston calipers f, four-piston r, 396mm carbon-ceramic rotors
Suspension KW Clubsport coilovers
Wheels & Tires 20x9" f, 20x10" r G-Power Silverstone Diamond wheels, 255/30 R20 f, 295/25 R20 r Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires
Exterior G-Power carbon fiber hood and trunk
Interior white leather, brown alcantara upholstery