When less is more

Pardon the pun, but this 1 Series M Coupe owned by MORR Wheels’ Sebastian Ramirez proves the old adage correct, retaining the essence of a stock BMW even while performance is upgraded by a wide margin.

July 12, 2013
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Sebastian Ramirez spent a considerable chunk of his childhood riding in the back seat of his father’s BMWs, and the early imprinting left an indelible impression. Without knowing anything about 50/50 weight distribution or pitch or yaw, Ramirez’ internal g-meter was formed in the back of some the world’s best sport sedans. He knows when it feels right, and owning first a 330i followed by a 335i and now a 2011 M3 along with the 1 Series M Coupe featured here helped solidify that intangible sense of feel.

Unfortunately, one of the first changes he made to his Valencia Orange 1M was to swap the stock shocks and springs for a set of KW Clubsport coilovers, some of the first aftermarket shocks and springs to come onto the market for that car. They dropped the car to give it that coveted stance, but Ramirez felt that something was lost in the process.

“It didn’t feel like a BMW,” Ramirez dismayed.

Noting that he’ll certainly catch some flak for that assessment, and that many Bimmer staffers and readers would disagree, Ramirez elaborated.

“There’s a certain dance that goes on when cornering with a stock BMW, one that is unique to the brand,” he said. The KWs had improved cornering precision by lowering the car and stiffening the damping, but Ramirez felt that “dance” was gone.

“That very slight room for error that BMW leaves is missing. So, for me, the feeling’s not the same. Add to that the constant headache of watching for curbs and speed bumps—I think I got too old for that.”

Ramirez’ experience also raises the question of whether all-out tuning is the most sensible option for real-world driving conditions. [Probably not, but it sure does result in some awfully cool cars!—Ed.] There’s almost always a trade-off when it comes to ride versus handling, and, as Ramirez alluded, preferences may change with age.

Also from Issue 117

  • Mike Burger's Bronzit E28 535i
  • F06 M6 Gran Coupé track test
  • E88 135is Convertible road test
  • Buyer’s Guide: Z3 & Z4
  • Interview: Bobby Rahal
  • Mike Burroughs' Stanceworks truck
  • Luke Benner's E36 M3
  • John Barlow's S14 2000 CS
  • Ex- AFP Fane 328
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