Back in June 2011, I took delivery of one of the most sought BMWs in the past 10 years: the 1M. After a one in a lifetime experience in Europe, the 1M crossed the pound to once again connect with its enthusiastic owner and our life together began with a trip from New Jersey to Chicago, IL.
If you live in the Midwest or own a TV, you probably know how dragging the Chicago winters can be, but luckily this year, we were fortunate to have some mild weather with barely any snow. So while the 1M didn’t get its daily walk, I still managed to squeeze in a ride or two during the week.
Fast forward a few months later and now in March we’re getting to enjoy some summer-like weather with temperatures in the low 80s.
First item on the agenda: a good car wash to take out the “evil salt” and give the 1M a nice shine that will enhance the beautiful Valencia Orange paint job. Armed with a DSLR and some GoPros video cameras I headed into the beautiful Downtown Chicago which was heavily celebrating the St. Patty’s Day. With the M button activated and a shinny orange armor, while wearing my M hat and aviator shades (not in a douchey way), I ventured onto the crowded streets of Chicago to see how the 1M behaves when curvy roads and open tracks are a long-time memory.
The 1M with its high-rev 3.0 liter turbo clearly loves the race track more than the bumper-to-bumper traffic, but in a weird way, it doesn’t shy away from the attention is getting. Sprints are still fun, even though they last from one stop light to the next one, and the engine’s growling sound turns many heads. Or could it be the attention-seeking Valencia Orange?
The sportiness and driving dynamics of the 1M come in handy when having to avoid the popular Chicago potholes, and the steering wheel designed by the M engineers make me wish that my other favorite bimmer, the 5 Series, would have received the same treatment. The short shifter continues to amaze me and the M3-imported brakes gives me the confidence to stop just in time before hitting one of the thousands of green travelers that came to celebrate St Patrick’s day.
In a city where BMWs are almost as common as Yellow Cabs, the “baby-M” is one bimmer that gets the most thumbs up. In a weekend of driving over 200 miles of road, the 1M was greeted by many with thumbs up and even by spy photographers using their iPhones to snap a shot of one of the 740 units sold in the United States.
But the 1M is more than just a weekend car. I used the car for various shopping chores, transported some luggage and even two passengers, and never felt the need to go back to my garage and pull out the X3.
The more I spend time with the 1M I realize that the car will go down in the history as a BMW classic and even a future M2 will not take away its prestige and uniqueness, one of the last real driver’s car built by BMW M.
Thanks again to Manny Antunes and JMK BMW for making this dream possible last year.