Wildcat Canyon in the Berkeley Hills of Northern California is a winding ribbon of a road that meanders around sweeping curves, whips around tight hairpins and runs down short straights bordered by thick, dense trees. It’s dark here all day long, and the shadows can hide wet spots in the road.
Wildcat Canyon is equal parts exhilarating and terrifying, especially from behind the wheel of Alekshop’s pumped up 1 Series M Coupe. The narrow ribbon of asphalt is illustrating just how bonkers fast this modified 1M really is.
Bursting out of corners on a rush of turbocharged power, the BMW’s back tires slither back and forth as they struggle for traction on the narrow road, the trees blurring as the car rockets forward, exhaust howling. It’s enough to frighten every squirrel within earshot, not to mention all of the spandex-clad bicyclists on the road.
With its boosty power deliver and propensity for oversteer, even a stock 1M Coupe is among the more intense products to be realized by the mad scientists in Garching; add in some well-chosen upgrades and you end up with one insane little Bimmer. If the Tasmanian Devil had a car, it would be something like this 1M.
First step: Make it stiffer!
The car I’m driving was cooked up by Alekshop, a tuning firm in Fremont, California, southeast of San Francisco. Owner by Alek Dovbnya has experience with a wide range of cars, from Nissan GT-Rs to several generations of BMW M3, and he knew the 1M Coupe was something special the moment he heard about it.
“With all the information that was available prior to the release of the 1M, we knew this would be a very special car,” Dovbnya says. “Of course, these cars run exceptionally well as stock cars, but most enthusiasts always want more.”