I am really at a loss for words with this one. When Tom Stamp (Apex Media) first bought this Car I honestly thought ''here we go, another Expat has turned up with a BMW to stand out like an eyesore in the Touristenfahrten Car Park.
How wrong was I..
Tom has literally transformed what looked like a really boring E46 into my FAVOURITE Right Hand Drive TF/Daily at the Nürburgring! If you are reading this I would advise using a Desktop PC/Laptop so you can follow the images that are on the right hand side as you scroll down. For those using Mobile devices you will see the additional photos at the end of the Review.
I very excitedly accepted Tom's offer to drive and give my opinion of his freshly built Car, after seeing Tim Morley (Apex Taxi Driver) working on it and doing some suspension fiddling a few weeks ago. The first thing that caught my attention was the Wiechers Roll Cage!
This Bolt-In Wiechers Cage clearly had EVERY box ticked. Please remember that this is a purpose built Daily plus Touristenfahrten Car and was put together with a budget that wouldn't break the bank. Tom specifically wanted daily comfort mixed with enough features to get out on Track and get the best out of the Nordschleife whenever he frequents the Circuit.
Immediately as I drove along Hauptstraße from Apex HQ towards the Nordschleife Zufahrt (Entrance), my first question was ''What Suspension is this?'' because it felt perfect! Tom explained that it is a KW Suspension Kit but not the full Coilovers. This is called KW 'ST' and I have found the packages online which are either a set of Dampers or Dampers with the Lowering Springs. I can't believe it only costs 519€ for the Golf 7 GTi, and it is something I may consider for Season 2020.
The Car sits so well, and feels just as nice as the KW 'CS' Suspension that I drive quite often in the Rent4Ring BMW 125i Race Car! I strongly believe in KW and think they might be the best manufacturer when it comes to making the Nordschleife feel so good when driving a Lap!
After the first roundabout I was convinced because I didn't need to brake, and the Car would not tilt - even with an aggressive steering input! I really like this ;-)
We drove down to Adenau, then back up past Sport am Ring towards Hohe Acht. I always take this Road because there is space to stretch its legs and see how each Car performs on long, windy bends.
I didn't want to get out! This Car is sick! Because of the superior Suspension I was able to corner a lot faster than in my personal Car, and it just grips, and grips, and grips! With no sign of letting go. For those who want to modify their Car for the Nordschleife with simple but effective modifications please click the following Link -> http://www.on-cars.com/tuning-and-suspension <- as you may want to try one of the options available from this Website! Considering how good the KW 'ST' kits are, I will also be adding them to the Tuning and Suspension page in due course.
Before I bore everybody to death - lets crack on with the Review!
The BMW E46 was never my favourite chassis, once described by a Remapping customer as a 'Boat with no direction'. After learning about the Rear Subframe issues and general misuse by owners in the UK it was hard to love these Cars as I usually only ever saw or drove them in bad condition. This BMW 325ci is nothing like that.
It feels tight! It feels to me like a brand new Car and with the interior weight reduction it is sprightly and incredibly agile when driving. Last week I cursed my Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres but they have been a lot better since the temperature has risen! For reference, Tom and I both run the same Tyres and neither of us are having issues on Track. Tim Morley also said the Michelin PS4 being a great tyre for the Nordschleife and GP Track because they can be used in all weather conditions. I recently considered Cup 2's or Pilot Super Sport but actually don't think it is needed - driver style also plays a major role when tackling the World's most Dangerous Racing Circuit!
Imola Red - what more can I say? It is a beautiful looking Car with classic BMW lines. I was an instant fan of the E46 M3, and any M 'sport' or similar model will have the same great look that isn't going out of fashion any time soon.
I think it looks great, and the Black Kidney Grills were the last Mod that really made me want to get in this thing and see what it was really like. Image wise it is 100% perfect for daily and car park 'posing', but Tom doesn't ever do that because he has a job and a life.
Nice! This is a completely standard Car with a stock ECU. I will be looking at the Software on it at some point. Throttle response is sharp and gives instant pickup. Personally I would tune the ECU for some additional Torque - something Tom will be doing (he has no choice) so I will read the Software when we are both next free then have a fettle!
The Exhaust System on this Car is still 100% stock - not too loud in town but when you press 100% throttle the classic Six Cylinder sound fills the cabin! It is a combination of the Exhaust/Airbox and I love it! The BMW n/a Straight Six is probably the best invention BMW ever created. There may be plans to change the exhaust but I would advise leaving it alone if it isn't broken. it sounded perfectly acceptable during our Test Drive.
To end, this was another great Car and I am really looking forward to some passenger and Circuit Guidance laps with Tom in the future. He is still learning the Track, and my braking points seem to work in whatever Car I take out on the Nordschleife. What I have learnt from 2016 and am still learning is to take a Car onto the Circuit - enjoy 100% throttle - use the CORRECT braking points and it means I should never have an issue when cornering out there.
The Brakes in this Car were nice and strong! Not too sharp but perfect for what the vehicle has been built for. Turn in is really impressive, thanks to Tim's 'secret' modification to the Suspension Setup. Apex seem to know what they are doing when it comes to setting up their Cars for the Track. I for one am seriously impressed with the company and what they have achieved in such a short amount of time! Thumbs up!
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