I ‘ve known about this comparo for a few weeks now and have had some time to let it gel in my brain a bit. I learned of these results at a recent event where one of Motor Trend ‘s regulars was in attendance (great guy). This nameless individual was discussing how both Pobst and Bell came away unhappy with the 1M on the track. He continued on that they BOTH said the brakes in the 1M were horrible and how they warped the rotors. They also BOTH said the car was understeering enormously and wouldn ‘t turn in. Me being me, I called this out as this differed significantly from my experiences, I tend to express my take on things and opinion quite often (for better or worse).
As I talked with this individual it became very very obvious to me that I couldn ‘t honestly look at this comparison as something I would put much weight behind in any way.From the description I was presented, in my opinion they didn ‘t warp the rotors, they glazed them with burned/melted stock pads which happens when you are brake happy. The brakes in the 1M are one of it ‘s best traits in my opinion, but if tracking regularly you obviously should use better pads. While the 1M is not as neutral as the M3, Pobst also complained the M3 understeered which is hard to understand, it can easily be adapted to by throttle steering and then it is a fly by the seat of your pants beast. Those two points alone didn ‘t add up- especially the apparent issue with the brakes.
I also learned these guys were mic ‘d during their testing. After Pobst went through his paces the possibility Bell had heard everything already, including his debrief is a strong possibility (which another journalist in our group also called foul on). It is just tough to digest two people getting into a car and coming away with the same exact view if the vast majority of auto journalists came away with a completely different view. Check out Tiff ‘s review over at 5th Gear for one and what the vast majority in the industry feel is accurate (below). Bell also seemed to be in the position of getting, for lack of a better term, sloppy seconds. Pobst pushed these cars quite hard out on the track and after he was done with his take it was Bell ‘s turn- not a great spot to be in when you are getting what ‘s left in a car and tough to make an accurate review on.
I recently learned a few interesting factoids about Motor Trend in General. These guys are paid by Motor Trend to come in under testing comparisons only and they are prepped on the cars by staff members in cars prepared by staff members, what happens to them prior is the driver ‘s guess. Motor Trend relies heavily on advertisers to support their enterprise (as do most auto entities including us here) and you will now learn that BMW does not currently advertise in Motor Trend, while many others in the shootout that did well do. Does that impact reviews and comparisons? We have no idea but we ‘d hope not, so let ‘s just say it plays no role but the fact that BMW is not an advertiser is still a fact that needs to be out there.
There is some history with BMW not doing as well as others in these sort of comparisons. The most recent time BMW didn ‘t do as well as they could have was not that long ago. If you look back at the August issue where the X5M lost out to the Cayenne Turbo you ‘ll see that the performance was similar but the X5M is $28K cheaper. Seems like a better pick to me as with $28K you could buy a boat load of other stuff (E46 Race car?) and still have a beast of vehicle that performs just as well as the Porsche equivalent. What was the reason for this- exhaust note?
I may be wrong, but to me some things are just not adding up. I am not trying to be a BMW apologist or defame these guys or the magazine at all, that ‘s not my point. In fact I ‘d go so as to say they ‘re great in their own right as drivers and I read the magazine regularly. The issue I really had was that I am not in agreement when it comes to their general views with the car, who wins and loses I couldn ‘t care less about. I don ‘t understand what is going on with this comparison and I have a personal issue with knowing my view differs on a car so significantly when compared to the big names in the industry.
I ‘ve driven the 1M a fair amount and I can ‘t seem to put my finger on what may have happened to get such differing views. Like in my other profession I take pride in what I do. I need to be sure I am as accurate as possible and that I am doing things the best I can. Sometimes things like this happen and I do some investigating to make sure I was not in the wrong (learning should never stop). I ‘m not so sure what happened here, but one thing I do know is that we at BimmerFile do not agree with their take on the 1M and stand by our original take on the car. What your opinion on the Motor Trend article is and what to take from it is entirely up to you.