If I had to describe the looks of the M1 I would have to call it Delorean/Pantera space ship with louvers. It certainly was designed to look futuristic. I think it not only looks futuristic, but timeless as well. This car has what it takes to be an iconic mid-engine sports car.
It features a longitudinally mid-mounted 273 HP 3.5 liter straight six with individual throttle bodies and Kugelfischer injection. It’s over-square design was meant for high rpm. I found that I bounced off the rev limiter at about 6800 rpm and the engine was still willing to rev. This engine makes its torque pretty high up in the rpm band so low end torque is not that great. However, once you get rolling the gearbox is well matched to the engine.
As I climb into the car I notice that it is not for tall people. Unfortunate, because I really like this car. I would estimate that this car would be best suited for people who are less than six feet tall. I am 6 feet, 1 and 1/2 inches and due to the seat design there was a couple inches between my lower back and the seat. This could be really uncomfortable on long trips.
Once in, seating position is good. I had to back this car out, so it’s large mirrors proved their value. Visibility is actually not as bad as most mid-engine cars. The controls for the mirrors are laid out a bit funny, but easy to operate once you get used to them.
Once started, the engine settles down to a pretty smooth hum right behind your head. As you pull away you’ll notice the clutch is light and easy to modulate thanks to it’s dual disk design. 1st gear is down and to the left which leaves 2nd and 3rd straight across from each other. This works out well to my advantage because on the roads I drive in, these are the gear I will most likely be in and it makes shifting a breeze. The pedals are nicely laid out and were at a good height. Blipping the throttle under hard braking was easy and made for smooth downshifts. This is one of the traits I’ve always admired of BMW. Brakes modulate well.
This could be a really nice car for someone who fits in it right. I’m not even sure if that’s just a short person or someone who’s body is different than mine. I don’t feel like my head was hitting the roof as in the case of a Lamborghini Countach, but felt cramped. Maybe it was just the way I had the seat adjusted? I don’t know. I will be driving the car again so I’ll be sure to get comfortable.
I have spent considerable seat time in this car and fell in love with it. The engine is smooth and responsive with its Kugelfischer injection and makes great sound when revving it up to 7000 RPM. I finally found my seating position so I could be decently comfortable on trips. I wouldn’t want to drive SF to LA in it, but a 100 mile trip is certainly not out of the question.
We are shipping this car to its owner on Monday. I’m going to miss it. Maybe it’s time to pull our ’79 M1 AHG for a complete restoration!