“Ummmm... I think there’s something wrong with the carburetor or something.”
I’m doing it again, and I can’t seem to stop myself. I tried to give up the “driving like an idiot” thing for Lent. I failed. Right now I bet even God is peeved with me.
Then again, I’d like to see Him spend a few hours behind the wheel of the new BMW 1 Series M Coupe, the whole time driving civilly. Not a prayer. As far as I can tell, this car was built for one purpose: Get from point A to point B in as little time possible.
It’s not especially big, nor could it be described as a practical car. It’s not an especially stunning car to look at compared to, say, an X6. It does, however, have an uncanny ability to kick major ass, and therein lies the attraction
This particular model was festooned in BMW’s Valencia Orange, which left it with all the subtlety of an Abrams tank in a supermarket parking lot. Its hue had a magnetic effect on eyes, causing people to stare and drop their groceries on children trapped in car seats. And of course, there was the burble, a demonic rasp spouting from the tailpipes. I think a few old ladies crossed themselves as I drove by.
I remember thinking the 1 M was something of a pointless exercise. For a few grand more you could get a proper M3 and all of its utilitarian goodness. The way I feel right now, I could give a damn about the M3 (and it’s one of my favorite cars ever).
I’m trying to figure out why I like this car so much. I had the same problem with the X6 M, another car that makes little sense and yet manages to throw gasoline on the desire fire.
I could go on about how nice BMWs behave, how well they are assembled, the niceties of a four-year full maintenance package. To be honest, that type of thing is fairly common in the European market. You’re paying a premium price and I suppose it should be expected.
But there’s something extra-special about BMWs, something almost unquantifiable.
My sister-in-law is a partner in a successful medical group. She gets a healthy car allowance (in lieu of healthcare). Whatever. In any case, I let her drive a new X5 with the 4.4-liter V8. She made a whole bunch of weird noises while she was driving it, very sensual noises. It freaked me out.
We got her home and the next day she went off to Crevier BMW (a big BMW dealer in Orange County) and got an X5. She and her BMW could now be alone and woo each other in private.
She came by a few days later. Her car sounded like it was about to throw a rod from the block.
“Ummmm… I think there’s something wrong with the carburetor or something,” she explained.
I tried my best to give her a rundown of modern cars. Her eyes sort of glassed over. Regardless, something was seriously amiss with the X5, something I couldn’t fix with a garage full of Craftsman tools. The BMW was flat-bedded to the dealer and she was given a loaner car in the interim. Three weeks later, the BMW techs still couldn’t figure it out.
Sadly, she had to invoke the Lemon Law and was refunded her money. She went to the nearest Acura dealer and got an MDX. It made me sad.
In less than two weeks she was back at Crevier to trade the MDX for another X5. Yeah, that’s pretty crazy—but so are a lot of women (I’m sorry, people).
“The Acura was a huge letdown after the X5,” she told me. “The MDX did nothing for me. It was boring compared the BMW.”
It’s been more than eight months now and it appears the X5 is behaving beautifully, just like an X5 should.
I guess BMW finally got that “carburetor” thing sorted out.