I think I have fallen in love.. again!
Anybody with a passion for cars HAS to have owned a BMW Six Cylinder Engine at some point in their life. From its humble beginnings in the E30, evolving into a High Powered Beast in the E36 Chassis, the BMW Six Cylinder has stood the test of time and still doesn't cease to enthrall me as a driver and captivate the spirit.
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I absolutely love the 1 Series Coupé. But I would, having previously owned E36 Compacts and seeing the 1 Series as the 'evolution' of that platform. It is perfect, small, easy to manoeuvre and never an issue to park. In comparison, the BMW E92 isn't too big but I these shouldn't be overlooked when searching for a BMW Coupé.
At first glance I heard a few words from the customer - who originally visited for Software Remapping - but my mind wandered, then interrupted because this car is IMMACULATE! Not one spot or blemish! It is 100% pristine! God I want this car.. In a flash of jealousy I snatched the keys and told him to come back in a few hours. I WANT TO DRIVE THIS THING! That genuine Six Cylinder 'grumble' as I fired the enigne really set me off on one. I'm sure he thought I was mad sitting there with a full grin and shiny gnashers - although in comparison I'd say it was better than nursing a stiffy so I dismissed his apprehension with a smile and selected 1st Gear.
YES! Even in standard form this engine is perfect. For a completly stock vehicle, which is how I prefer cars when they visit (no physical modification), it drives faultlessly. Standard power is around 211hp which isn't a great amount if you compare it to most 2.0 Petrol Turbo cars available, but the drive isn't the same. Lewis Hepburn (local enthusiast and friend) owns the Focus ST that I tuned to 270hp + and 355ft/lbs of torque. But he still drives his Renault Megane 2.0 16v, because there is a deeper connection to be had with naturally aspirated engines, and I know he recognises the same feeling when driving n/a cars. In fact his brother Jordan Hepburn (JH Valeting) drives a Renault Clio 2.0 16v which sort of proves my theory about car lovers staying true to their roots and not always opting for a small Petrol Turbo, which I refer to as 'cheap' power in comparison to a large n/a motor with a hefty price tag. This was by no means a cheap car to buy, but when I look at long term maintenance, servicing costs etc, I think a naturally aspirated is a better choice all round.
The 125i has a 3.0 Litre Straight Six engine, meticulously designed and brought into this world by Bayerische Motoren Werke in Munich, Germany. They are one of the Best-Selling Luxury Automakers in the World. We should not be put off by the low output of this engine, because software remapping will increase the output by 60hp+ and an extra 90NM with software only.
I tend to quote 'less' when tuning engines so people aren't disappointed when testing on a Rolling Road. With my 'theory' and tuning method on this ECU I used to quote 40hp+ increase, but two previous Rolling Road tests saw some crazy power from these motors - 276hp (338.9NM) on Dastek 4WD Rolling Road.
BMW was established as a business entity following a restructuring of the Rapp Motorenwerke Aircraft manufacturing firm in 1917. After the end of World War I in 1918, BMW was forced to cease Aircraft Engine Production by the terms of the Versailles Armistice Treaty. The company shifted to Motorcycle Production as the restrictions started to be lifted, followed by Automobile Production in 1928–29. I'd say they've come a long way in under 100 years of development. You can pick up a BMW E46 M3 for as little as £8000 in good condition these days, and it will rival the power of a Porsche 911 costing more than triple that amount. I am not saying the BMW E46 M3 is a better car but for the money I wouldn't feel bad driving one EVERY day. That is an insanely small cost for such a powerful car. Anyway - lets get on with the review..
Tight as... If you look past the modern seats, interior features, and keep your eyes firmly on the road, this car is EXACTLY the same as driving any other BMW Straight Six from the E36 era onwards. It is RESPONSIVE, TIGHT, and EFFORTLESS whenever you turn the wheel. Point and it goes! Look and it happens! This Chassis is perfect symmetry between mind and machine, and I say that confidently.
Taking roundabouts was a breeze. I don't have to over think my moves, it just does it. The engine is in the front - it pushes from the back. This is much easier to drive than a Porsche 911 but it still requires skill to get the most from the Chassis without stacking it. I chose to drive this car, as every other car I test with the Traction Control deactivated. That way I have 100% control and feedback from the tyres, and can make conscious decisions while operating this vehicle.
I think this car looks great. From the Big Mouth in the Front Bumper, to those sweeping lines along the Front Wing and Door Sills, right up to its Baby Ducktail at the Rear it is a lovely car to look at.
Anybody looking for a decent Hatchback or Coupe should seriously consider the BMW E81 125i or BMW E92 325i. The four door variants are 'okay' for families, but they just don't do it for me.
Ahh - I've just figured out how to change from Bold to Normal font without that bloody mouse! That's been annoying me for ages.
The Throttle... Yes! Yes it works! Now I have finished adjusting the software, testing, adjusting, testing etc I am 100% happy in how it pulls on the road. The feedback after the customer had driven the car was enough to please me - as stated I have tested a couple of these on the Rolling Road, and at Stage 1/Stage 1+ Tuning you don't have to use a Dyno when adjusting software in cars.
This car pulled so well on the A12 it made me question everything all over again. Why are Naturally Aspirated engines so good? Obviously you need a decent motor to start with to appreciate the power gains when tuning. Buying a MK4 Golf 2.0 GTi isn't a bad starting point, but you cannot kid yourself into believing it isn't a potato. It will still be good for tuning, but you wont gain anything as much as this BMW. There was a Porsche Boxster 3.2 'S' that I remapped for Narco Tuning in Coventry, gaining 50hp from software only! 252hp, now running 300hp with the original catalytic converters still in place! There is so much to be made from tuning Naturally Aspirated Engines, but people dismiss them because of other companies' failed attempts over the past decade. You can make serious power from n/a if you know what you're doing ;-)
For a standard car I could hear just enough at full throttle to let me know I was driving a decent, factory tuned engine. A lot of people change their exhausts which only serves to annoy people in Residential Areas, but if you are driving a decent Sports Hatchback or Sports Coupé it will make enough noise when you press full throttle.
This wasn't the LOUDEST car but I'm sure it resonated, as people turned their attention when I entered the Dual Carriageway. I wouldn't change a thing in the exhaust system - but those wanting a little more 'grunt' could always remove a centre box and keep the Catalytic Converter in place for Emissions.
I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS CAR. Hopefully I have managed to convey the excitement I felt while having it here. For those who don't have the opportunity to drive such a vast selection of motors, these blogs are to share what I feel when driving different cars on a daily basis. Check the new YouTube channel with a few reviews - search Revitupuk and you'll find me!
Nicholas Lawrence //ON CARS
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