Just a few months ago, my dear friend Syed wrote an emotional article on his relationship with the BMW 1M. While I’ve owned my 1M since day one, Syed had to go the extra mile to pick-up a pre-owned 1M, and he’s making the best of it: 130 miles round trip to his workplace. Syed also doesn’t believe in driving a beater every day and his motto is to enjoy life early on; probably the sincerest and best advice one can give. He simply loves driving and the 1M is THE car that puts a smile on his face, and makes his commute faster and more enjoyable.
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As much as I agree with his philosophy on life and cars, I actually took an opposite stance. I love my 1M, but I simply can’t see it getting beaten up in this whole mess called “Chicago 24/7 traffic”. My relationship with my “baby-M” started in 2011 when I went to Munich for a special delivery inside the beautiful BMW Welt. Just a few days after, post a quick Nurburgring trip, I realized that the 1M is the car I’ve always wanted and the car that will not leave my garage no matter what. It’s the type of car that you pass on to your kids and you try to take care of it the best you can. Some may call that even obsessive behavior.
Four years in and my 1M has just ran out of its original factory warranty (4 yrs, 50k miles), yet my odometer shows half that mileage. But those four years have been more stressful than I’ve ever anticipated. Driving the 1M through the potholes and madness that Chicago brings to the streets is a nauseating and stressful experience. Instead of enjoying your bimmer at its fullest, you’re constantly avoiding the craters in the road or even worse, irresponsible drivers that are always within an inch of running into you. I spend my time behind the wheel assessing the traffic conditions ahead and around me, predicting others’ irrational behaviors and being on the lookout for the next greatest pothole. All things a good driver should do regardless, just not with that level of intensity.
In a little bit over four years, my 1M went to the shop for six wheel alignments and two dents. That’s more than all my other BMWs have seen in 10 years. Combined. Half way into 2015 and I’m already up two alignments, or about $350 out of my pocket. I also don’t speed (last speeding ticket was in 2011) and I watch the road, yet for some reason, my wheels always takes the hit.
I’m also the type of guy who goes to the store and finds the furthest possible parking spot from the entrance, yet somehow, I still managed to get dinged twice. Not a big repair and easily fixable, but an annoyance that you don’t want your “baby” to experience. Bumper scratches? Checked. Windshield crack? Checked. Again, small repair jobs that don’t take a toll on the car, but rather adds to your stress level.
Valet parking? No way! I trust my mom more with my car than I would trust an overzealous valet. And my mom is not the best driver on the block. (Sorry, mom)
So in the last year or so, I decided to keep my 1M mostly parked in the indoor garage and really just use it for longer trips or when looking to show off in a night out in the town. I’m also extremely fortunate that I get to test drive the latest and greatest BMWs every month, so my insatiable hunger for sporty and cool cars is easily satisfied a few times a month. (Thanks, BMW of North America). Earlier this year I took a step into the future: I leased a BMW i3. As much as I love electric cars and wanted to fully experience electro-mobility, a big factor in my purchase was the desire to bench my 1M during those harsh winter months. The single-pedal fun driving, the fact that I can always get another i3, and the cool factor of the car have made me regret less not driving the 1M every day. My quality of life while driving has improved (if that’s even a thing) and I spend more time enjoying a conversation in the car or listening to music than to be on my track-driving mode all the time.
Again, I love my 1M, but just not in combination with living in a metropolitan area like Chicago. Now if I lived in California or Florida, my story would be different, but I guess this is why I appreciate Syed’s courage to daily drive his 1M in New York City.
Kudos to you, my friend, but my “baby-M” wants to live forever.