Thursday, September 1, 2011

Quick Takes: Driving the BMW 1M

I was very fortunate to get behind the wheel of a brand new BMW 1M at the last autocross event. A friend had just decided to buy one on a whim (I always look forward to my big birthdays too!) and stopped by a dealer to see if they had any. It turned out that someone had just cancelled an order and a 1M was available to take home same day. He was incredibly gracious to let everyone in sight at our event take the 1M for a drive on the street even though the car had only 200 miles on the odo.

First impressions: looks more muscular than the 135i with its bulging fenders, signature M quad exhaust and M treatment inside and out.

Fires up with a growl and no hesitation. The thicker steering wheel falls nicely into your hands and the steering is very quick and direct with great feedback. The car has a tight and solid feel typical for M cars. Turbo lag is less noticeable compared to the 135i and it revs with urgency even in the left side of the tach (I only revved it to 4,000 RPMs because of the break-in period). It feels very fast once the turbo kicks in. The brakes grab fast with good feedback. The suspension is decidedly stiffer out of the box and there is noticeably less body roll compared to the 135i. I have mixed feelings about the Valencia Orange exterior color but I love the Alcantara interior and especially the orange stitching. There is not a single part of the 1M that is significantly better than the 135i but the sum of all improvements add up to a substantial upgrade. Please lower mine by an inch and sign me up! I would love to find out soon how the 1M's Autocross Results compare to the 135i and other cars.

Signature M quad exhaust

M front spoiler
Thick steering wheel and short shifter. Nice Alcantara interior treatment

The view from the driver seat

2-tone sideview mirror