Beater and The Beast
It’s funny how perspectives change. When Art only had one car, his 135i, it was the do-everything, all-around machine. On one hand, it was a comfy cruiser; the stock engine and interior lending themselves well to a life of shuttling its owner up and down the peninsula every day. However, the muffler delete, wide wheels and tires, and lower, stiffer, pillowball-mounted suspension give a hint of how its driven when the chance arises: hard.
In comparison with the E30, the E82 is certainly much faster–but it hardly feels that way. It’s funny that just last month the constantly clunking pillow-ball mounts were becoming unbearable and the exhaust actually seemed loud. But now? It seems like a gentleman’s chariot.
And that’s all good news here, because the quiet, smooth, refined, and effortlessly quick 135i simultaneously shows not only how far BMW has come with their small coupés, but how much has been lost.
The M3 is much more raw, direct, and visceral. When you’re behind the wheel, you always feel like you’re driving a car, and not just shuttling yourself from one place to another in a bubble. As manufacturers continue to tailor new cars to reflect modern conditions and end-user desires, they become more isolated from their surroundings.
Why is there a GoPro on the bumper? Well, that low-pressure zone is the best place to record exhaust notes, because you get almost zero wind noise. I know turbos have their place in the modern world of torque demands and emissions standards, but I’m a little disappointed with the modern proliferation of forced induction because there’s nothing like a naturally aspirated exhaust note. Turn up your speakers and enjoy!