The BimmerFile 2011 BMW of the Year

2011 saw us in everything from a 1973 3.0 CSL to the 2013 F10 M5. Thousands of horsepower, countless black tire marks and a mountain of miles ticked off of odometers meant 2011 was a great year. Our favorite reviews and drives? For me it had to be a combination of the 1973 CSL, 2011 1 Series M Coupe and the surprising 2012 650i. Surely Michael would likely have to hold up the M5 launch in Spain (among others). Which ever was the best drive, we at BF agree on one thing. Even with all the great BMWs released this year, there was a clear winner.

And due to it ‘s voluptuous hips, brash attitude and it ‘s embrace of the future while looking to the past, it was an easy choice. (drum roll please)

The 1 Series M Coupe

From our first drive at Monticello Countryclub to putting 3,000 clicks on the odometer of one, we ‘ve had a spectacular year with M ‘s smallest offering in 30 years.

But we ‘ll let our first review speak for itself:

While the 1M can dance on the track it’s nothing less than sublime on a good road. Driving through the switch-backs of New York State it simply felt like the 1M was breathing in the road at every corner. The suspension is surprisingly compliant with none of the wallow that the 135i. There’s no sense of the 3300 + lbs that the 1M carries around thanks to the suspension work done by M. It feels as light as agile as you’d hope around hairpin corners and sweepers alike allowing for easy modulation of the steering and throttle.

More than any M car since the Z3 M Coupe the 1M exudes emotion and attitude on the street. And its this brashness than charms you corner after corner. The sum of the steering feel, turn-in and the mountain of torque gives the 1M an old-school point and shoot feel. I’d say it’s closer to the E30 M3 but (again) the 1M is dramatically faster in every way.

The more I think about the 1M the more I realize there is simply nothing to compare it to in the history of the M range. It’s between the E30 and E36 in size and near the E46 M3 in horsepower. But thanks to the torque it’s clearly faster than the first three generations of M3 and arguably faster than the E92 on the right track. Now add in the short wheelbase (the Z3 and Z4 are the only M cars that have a shorter one), the quick steering ratio and you have a car that stands on it’s own in M history.

And where does that leave us? There isn’t a car that I’ve driven that I want more than the 1M. Simply put, I loved this car today. I loved it on the track as well as the road. It’s an M car that I could live with day to day but is special and rare enough to be revered for years to come.

Dr. Kay Segler’s promise has clearly been fulfilled with the 1M. It feels young and full of the kind of enthusiasm that is infectious. It’s exactly the kind of thing I want in my life and in my garage.

More importantly the 1M signals that M GmbH still knows how to make a great back to basics enthusiast car. In fact after my initial drive, I think they may have just made one the best ever.

Great year and a great car. Next year should prove equally interesting with the M5 and the new F30 in the running (along with a few surprises). But until then you can check our 2011 reviews in their entirety below.

2011 Reviews

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