It has been three months since I took re-delivery of my BMW 1M after the exciting European Delivery trip. After a short venture with the “baby-M” in New York City, I decided to bring it back home, to the Windy City, and begin my long-term relationship with, not only my first M car, but also one of the most intriguing BMWs I have driven in the past few years.
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As the head of household here at BMWBLOG, I often have the unique privilege to get behind the wheel of all new BMW vehicles that come to market. Most of these models come fully equipped with all the whistles and bells, making the driving experience, usually, a memorable one.
Furthermore, I also had the opportunity to already attend twice the M Performance School in Spartanburg, South Carolina. There, I sat behind the wheel of all M products, from M3 to the E60 M5 and the somewhat controversial M SAVs.
But all of these cars have yet to win my heart as the new 1M did.
Some of you may recall my struggle with the color choice, it was a coin toss between the beautiful, classy Alpine White, and the flashy, show-off Valencia Orange. Well, I went with the unconventional paint job and after a few months of ownership, I can say this was the best decision. The 1M in Valencia Orange doesn’t only stand out from far away, but also draws lots of attention and gives you that warm feeling that you are inside a special car. Sure, some may say it’s ego stroking or even attention craving, but truth is that the unique orange is welcomed in a sea of black and gray painted BMWs seen in the Chicago area.
But is this enough to make the 1M so special? Not really and this is where the BMW engineering kicks in. Living in an area where traffic is labeled as one of the worst in the country, there are very few opportunities to test the capability of the “baby-M”. Luckily, I had the opportunity to do that back in Germany and more recently at the Laguna Seca race track. Nonetheless, from time to time, I find some open roads where quick sprints remind me what this car is made of: aggressive, sporty and eager to please. Sharing some of its parts with the almighty M3 has something to do with “sporty spirit”.
Some may say the 1M is a track-focused automobile, but I will have to disagree. The 1M serves me well as a daily commuter, as well as a car that can transport three or four passenger for short distances, and even a considerable amount of luggage in the back. Unfortunately, the sporty suspensions, low-profile tires and 19″ wheels are constantly reminding me how horrible Chicago roads are, and avoiding potholes is a chore at times.
As one would expect, the 1M gets lots of thumbs up from other BMW drivers, and while I would love to believe that the props come from the BMWBLOG sticker in the rear window, truth is that the wide fenders, low-stance and aggressive fascia, as well as the exhaust note, are the ones that deserve the attention.
So far, I am having a blast with the car, 2,400 miles on the odometer and looking forward to put some more on it before the long Chicago winter kicks in. In the next few 1M episodes, I will cover any potential issues that I encounter, maintenance, as well as fuel economy numbers.
P.S. The one feature that I dearly miss is the parking distance control which unfortunately could not be added as an individual options. The PDC would have certainly make my life easier as I attempt to park in Downtown Chicago. And yes, I am one of these guys that when going to a mall, I choose the furthest parking spot, with no cars around me. Yup, that’s how anal I am about my “baby-M”.