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      03-01-2024, 09:19 PM   #1
414bhp
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Reviews by Mike

Hi M3post,

I’m starting a single thread to share my car reviews and test drives. (Props to DRLane for the idea.)

Who am I? I’m Mike/414bhp, a driving enthusiast with a love for sporty cars with excellent steering feedback. I owned an E90 M3 for six years, but have since moved on to a CTS-V wagon and AMG GT S coupe.

As a hobby, I’ve been blogging car reviews on Mike's Steering Column for years. But it’s lonely on the blog—I never hear back from readers—so I’ve taken to cross posting on car forums. Forums like shorter posts than blogs, so I trim down my reviews when reposting them here.

I hope you enjoy some of my writing or pictures, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on what I drove!

Best,
Mike
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      03-01-2024, 09:23 PM   #2
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1M vs CTS-V

Hi!

I had a chance to do a back-to-back drive with the BMW 1M and CTS-V wagon. These two cars aren't super comparable, but they do both fit the rare, stick shift, semi-precious, never depreciated, enthusiast-gold category. They also both seem to trade for about $60k.

So, which is the best? Obviously, it depends on how you want to use the car.

For my daily life, the CTS-V wagon is better. It has a much smoother ride thanks to the magnetic ride suspension, it's easier to load with people and goods, and I love ogling it in parking lots.

The 1M is also a great daily if you like the sports coupe form factor. The drivetrain is tractable in town, you can haul lots of groceries or a few people in the back seats, and while it's got a firm ride, the incredibly supportive and comfy seats keep your back happy.

In the canyons, the 1M is a little animal. It has one of the best—most grippy and responsive—front ends of any FR car I've driven. It is a true joy to huck through the corners!

There is so much steering feel and feedback, too. I love steering feel, and after driving the 1M, I can't see myself buying an M2, as I'd be foregoing that beautiful feedback.

The CTS-V wagon holds its own in the canyons thanks to its incredible shocks, feelsome steering (it's just as good as the 1M’s), and monstrous torque. Matting the throttle in the CTS-V releases an avalanche of supercharged V8 fury. The torque is everywhere and all encompassing. (Though admittedly less impressive now that EVs have made torque commonplace.) The CTS-V has surprising balance and rewarding handling, but the 4400-pound wagon feels ponderous if you drive it back-to-back with the 3300-pound 1M.

My biggest complaint with the 1M is that the N54 engine just isn't as special as the chassis. The 1M makes good use of the twin-turbo torque, but there is lag and the sound and throttle response aren't as thrilling as the S65 or even the B58. With a knockout engine, the 1M would be my perfect sports coupe.

The CTS-V’s engine isn't perfect either. It's slow revving, coarse near its 6200 rpm redline, and shamefully thirsty. But the 6.2L supercharged V8 does make the big-muscle character for the wagon.

Ultimately, the CTS-V wagon is my favorite of the pair, mostly because I want an engaging family car rather than a hair-on-fire sports coupe. Nevertheless, the day sparked my love for the 1M and I completely get the community’s infatuation with the littlest M!

Best,
Mike

(As always, the lengthy review of the two cars is on my blog.)





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      03-01-2024, 09:27 PM   #3
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      03-21-2024, 03:58 AM   #4
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That sounds like a fair & practical review of both these cars..
I remember sitting at my BMW dealer back in 2011 ordering a 328i when the sales advisor told me that they have an allocation available for the 1M, but as I was considering moving from a 3 series to 5 series for more comfort/space, never gave it a second thought.. who knew!
The N54 engine itself is reliable but parts bolting to it just keep breaking down, Iíve had 2 N54 based 335is & both kept needing repairs. While N55 is more reliable, the N54 for has more character but still doesnít feel special as you mentioned!
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      03-25-2024, 08:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BimmerMan33 View Post
That sounds like a fair & practical review of both these cars..
I remember sitting at my BMW dealer back in 2011 ordering a 328i when the sales advisor told me that they have an allocation available for the 1M, but as I was considering moving from a 3 series to 5 series for more comfort/space, never gave it a second thought.. who knew!
The N54 engine itself is reliable but parts bolting to it just keep breaking down, Iíve had 2 N54 based 335is & both kept needing repairs. While N55 is more reliable, the N54 for has more character but still doesnít feel special as you mentioned!
Yeah, it took until the B58 for me to really love a non-M turbo I6 from BMW.

Crazy to think you would have saved money in the long run on the 1M over the 328i.
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