Windows down, sun in my face and the lake off to my left. This is how to properly wake an M car from the typical Chicago winter hibernation. Yet there was a problem this year. Winter almost never came. Instead we got a few cold snowy days (during which the 1M was tucked as far back in the garage as possible) and (what I refer to as) a smattering of clean pavement 40+ degree “opportunities “. Those opportunities have allowed me to never be away from the 1M for more than a couple weeks at a time. And they also allowed me to tack on more mileage – now up to 3,500.
One of the realizations that ‘s dawned on me is that the lack of grip that comes in cold weather is hugely entertaining. You can always steer the 1M with the throttle. But in 40 degree temps it becomes a more common practice. I do it one-handed while sipping a coffee, holding a conference call (via bluetooth) or even into my driveway. If the 1M wants to rotate on a hot track, imagine what it ‘s like on cold pavement. And perhaps the best part? It ‘s all with DSC turned on. During our first review of the car we talked about the 1M ‘s MDM mode featuring M ‘s most aggressive programing to date. On the track that means speed and time. But on the road is means tail-out action without the worry of over-committing. The 1M ‘s unique version of MDM lets you almost break the laws of physics before it subtly reins you back. And with the short wheelbase, enormous torque and quick steering ratio, I can ‘t think of a more deserving M car for it.
When I ‘m not exploring the limits of M ‘s programming, I ‘m at the pump. The 1M has some of the biggest attachments of any M car I ‘ve ever driven yet the smallest tank. While the fuel economy isn ‘t as respectable as you ‘d expect with an inline six (I ‘m averaging around 18 mpg in the city) the issue is the size of the fuel tank in the tightly packed E82 chassis. The result is a range of around 225 miles and an intimate knowledge of the neighborhood gas stations. An unfortunate by-product of putting a high performance engine in a small car primarily designed for 120 hp four cylinders.
With winter over, the 1M recently had the ceremonial first hand wash and wax of the season. There is no better way to get to know a car than by gently caressing it ‘s flanks with hand applied Zymol wax. The 19 ” wheels are a chore to clean but well worth the effort. Inside, the alcantara is wearing well considering it ‘s had little to no human contact since rolling off the factory line. The wheel and shifter are just starting to pick-up a hint of patina. For the E46 ZHP derived shift-knob this is a plus. But I ‘ll miss the feel of the buttery smooth virgin leather M steering wheel as it ages.
With 3,500 miles on the odometer my thoughts are slowly turning to a couple of modifications. With the OEM + philosophy I ‘m reluctant to do anything drastic or not inline with the original intentions of the car. That said I ‘ve got my eyes on two mods; adding the N55 mid-pipe (good for more power and better sound) and a software upgrade of some kind. The latter is probably worth holding out for as the aftermarket continues to tune and refine the 1M ‘s code. The mid-pipe however seems like an absolute no-brainer and it ‘ll give me an excuse to get under the car and have a look around.
After six months since taking delivery the 1M has lived up to my own personal massive hype. It ‘s proven itself a worthy daily driver that can inject enormous fun into every situation. It also has been utterly trouble free with not a single rattle or concern. But above all it ‘s still utterly special. Even living in Chicago, seeing another is a rare treat. As someone who waited for years at the top of a very lonely and at times a seemingly pointless wait list, that ‘s pretty heart-warming.