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Dr. Hfuhruhurr

BMW 420i M Sport









Weekend wheels from Avis Select - and in the metal, in daylight (as opposed to showroom or motor show stand), it's a handsome beast, low, long and sharky - with hints of 8-series, especially at the back.

This one got the 2-litre petrol engine, and the question of lack of six-cylinder tunefullness was moot, as inside the car, it was inaudible, in sharp contrast to the equivalent diesel that I tried in the 3-series last year. This was combined with the eight-speed ZF automatic, which is a fine thing indeed - even in normal mode, it changed imperceptibly and smoothly, while in Sport, it was whip-crack sharp, making overtaking easy - just as well, as the engine made the car brisk rather than truly rapid.

Of course, a well-sorted chassis can make up for lack of power, and this was the case here. The steering was not shouting with feel, but very accurate, and improved by the M Sport wheel, which was a delight both to look at and to hold. What was equally impressive, and perhaps of a part with the mechanical refinement, was the beautifully controlled ride, which managed to avoid both floatiness and harshness, handling swooping and quite bumpy roads over Salisbury Plain with ease.

A nice car then, and one that in most parts felt like a proper BMW. I bet the 435i is fabulous, though I can't help thinking how much more wonderful it would be with one of the old N/A sixes, like the one in ALF's car, or even the one from my old M3. With one of those under the bonnet, they could even allow more of the noise to be audible from behind the wheel.
Frank Bullitt

I really like that, it helps that it's my favourite colour too of course.

Does the quiet engine help the package or hinder it overall being the kind of car it is? I assume it didn't sound great when being extended either?

I could fancy a 428i GT if the opportunity presented itself at some point.
Martin

I really like the new 4 series, it looks so much better on the road than in pictures, especially in M Sport trim (of course!).  I'm not sure what to make of the new 4 pots as they get very mixed reviews and I gather they're not particularly economical if you use the performance.  It's a real shame the 3.0 litre 6 isn't an option.
JohnC

Martin wrote:
 It's a real shame the 3.0 litre 6 isn't an option.


435i ?
JohnC

Frank Bullitt wrote:
I really like that, it helps that it's my favourite colour too of course.

Does the quiet engine help the package or hinder it overall being the kind of car it is? I assume it didn't sound great when being extended either?

I could fancy a 428i GT if the opportunity presented itself at some point.


I agree with the colour and think the 4 series looks much better in the light shades. I hate to say it but the white ones look really good.

The 428i I had a drive of was OK performance wise but aurally it was pretty uninteresting. If I remember correctly the average mpg shown was 31mpg which appeared to be over a reasonable mileage because it didn't change much, if at all, when I drove it.
Martin

JohnC wrote:
Martin wrote:
 It's a real shame the 3.0 litre 6 isn't an option.


435i ?


Yes, but that's not as nice an engine as the old NA 3.0. It does vary a bit by application (M135i is good, Z4 not so good), but it doesn't have the character and leaves you wondering whether the nicer sound (which is too quiet) is worth it compared to a 330/335d.

31mpg is pretty shocking!
Frank Bullitt

It's not that exciting but it also doesn't appear to be poor as such;

http://youtu.be/W_PtQeep2iE
Martin

Frank Bullitt wrote:
It's not that exciting but it also doesn't appear to be poor as such;

http://youtu.be/W_PtQeep2iE


No, that's no too bad.

I think I'd rather have an extra 10mpg with more pace and just turn the stereo up!  The main downside is that the speed is gets through the gears really shows up the narrow range/low rev limit.  Mine doesn't feel so bad as it takes a lot longer (OK, a lot!) and this seems to change up quite early as well.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=-lnEJBrznQ8
Andy C

Could you be tempted by an M4, Nick?
Alf McQueef

Interesting - I think they look a bit bland in the flesh - not working as well as the 6 - whereas the new 3 series saloon and especially Touring  look good, particularly in M Sport guise. Some reviewers - like Evo - seem to rate the 4 as a notably better steer than the 3, some (like Harris) not so much. I need to see some 4 GT's in the flesh to see how they are, they really do appeal.

I want to like the idea of a 328 - which has been well reviewed - or even a 330d but the reality is that I don't think I'd be happy in either. I tend to drop the windows on my car with the key before getting in in summer, and drive off with them down, and mine sounds absolutely awesome at the moment (as with previous cars I swear some of the exhaust soundproofing burns off with age). It is a huge shame that they dropped all NA 6's.

PS - is that near the A303 somewhere? Looks very Wiltshire...
Martin

I don't think you'd be happy either, but you'd probably get used to it after a while and it would help if you had something more interesting in the garage at home.  Mind you, you did buy the A4, how did you get on with that?
Sav

I still think the 435/335i versions sound lovely - at least from the outside. There is an F30 335i that seems to live near me and it makes a growl that only an inline petrol 6 could make. It still sounds more special than the usual 4-pot units and diesels.

Then there is always the M Performance exhaust system for more noise.

I saw my first 4-Series the other day with the 403-style wheels, it was a black 435d. Those wheels make a big difference in my eyes. They would be too lovely not to have.
Martin

As the M135i is too quiet inside, I'd guess the 335i is the same or worse.  I'd be interested to hear how Racing is getting on with his sports exhaust.
Andy C

Interesting you say that, as the on board videos I've seen, the 6 sounds fantastic from inside

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2xwecTp91-o
JohnC

Martin wrote:
JohnC wrote:
Martin wrote:
 It's a real shame the 3.0 litre 6 isn't an option.


435i ?


Yes, but that's not as nice an engine as the old NA 3.0. It does vary a bit by application (M135i is good, Z4 not so good), but it doesn't have the character and leaves you wondering whether the nicer sound (which is too quiet) is worth it compared to a 330/335d.

31mpg is pretty shocking!


Quite agree on the sound. A neighbour of ours has a 330i coupe (E46 based one) and it is an event every time he starts it up or drives out of the street.
Dr. Hfuhruhurr

Frank Bullitt wrote:
Does the quiet engine help the package or hinder it overall being the kind of car it is? I assume it didn't sound great when being extended either?

Even when extended, it hardly made any noise. Given that it was a four, probably better that way, but you'd want to hear a more tuneful engine, I guess.
Dr. Hfuhruhurr

Alf McQueef wrote:
PS - is that near the A303 somewhere? Looks very Wiltshire...

Close - A360 north of Wilton
simonp

Should've popped in for a cuppa, I'm only 20 miles from Wilton!
Roadsterstu

That does look nice. I noticed on Facebook that Dan G asked how your car plans were comining along. I might have missed it somewhere and of course didn't get to Prescott, but have you got a shortlist?
Dr. Hfuhruhurr

Roadsterstu wrote:
That does look nice. I noticed on Facebook that Dan G asked how your car plans were comining along. I might have missed it somewhere and of course didn't get to Prescott, but have you got a shortlist?

It's a very short list, consisting of the Boxster GTS. But waiting for ridiculously optioned s/h ones.
Martin

Assuming you gor for a RHD one can you look after it really well for a couple of years and keep the miles down, so I've got a nice one to buy?  
Alf McQueef

It is very difficult investigating what cars sound like from on-board videos - I agree the M135 ones I have heard sound good. I have passengered in a 130 - which sounded great if a bit bassier and less exotic that what I was driving at the time, and that owner now has an M135i and an E46 M3 so I need to pay him another visit...

The E9X 335i's sound naughtier from outside than inside, my friend was very chuffed with his modified one (which, noise-wise, had a sports exhaust and modified intake) but personally I thought it sounded the same as mine from inside - mine is standard. Neither is nearly as nice as the GTA but that is a hard thing to compare any car to for noise.

Modern performance cars seem to either be somewhat over sound-proofed compared to those of old, or ridiculously in your face in the manner of all these exhaust-valved Ferraris and so on. Somewhere in the middle would be nice. I have had a couple of spirited country lane drives today and snarling induction roar is a lovely thing - I put the windows down for one section to fully enjoy it!

Keep us updated on the GTS front Dr!
Roadsterstu

Martin wrote:
Assuming you gor for a RHD one can you look after it really well for a couple of years and keep the miles down, so I've got a nice one to buy?  


Well after what happened to his last Porsche, I wouldn't put all your eggs in one basket...  

A very short - and very nice - shortlist. Good luck, hope one turns up soon!
Martin

Alf McQueef wrote:
Modern performance cars seem to either be somewhat over sound-proofed compared to those of old, or ridiculously in your face in the manner of all these exhaust-valved Ferraris and so on. Somewhere in the middle would be nice. I have had a couple of spirited country lane drives today and snarling induction roar is a lovely thing - I put the windows down for one section to fully enjoy it!!


The Boxster is in the middle when the sports exhaust is switched on and get's pretty loud when you go past 4,000 rpm.  When it's switched off, it's pretty quiet below 4,000 rpm, but the valves open up past that.  Everyone who's heard it loves the noise it makes and it's something you appreciate even more with the roof down!

It's a lovely day today, I'm looking forward to the drive home  
Racing Teatray

Martin wrote:
As the M135i is too quiet inside, I'd guess the 335i is the same or worse.  I'd be interested to hear how Racing is getting on with his sports exhaust.


Sounds like a power boat on start up and in first gear when cold. Calms down thereafter but always sounds potent and meaty. Meatier and a bit less sweet than you might expect a straight-six to do but still a great noise. Gets good howl going as well but is never overly intrusive inside, whereas from outside it sounds very purposeful, even at tickover. In the comfort throttle mapping, it's quite restrained. In the Sport throttle mapping, you get crackles and pops on the overrun, but never the loud gunshot-like bangs that the MPerformance system on my 135i coupe was capable of delivering on a trailing throttle in a low gear!
Martin

Sounds pretty good then!
PR

Alf McQueef wrote:
I have passengered in a 130 - which sounded great if a bit bassier and less exotic that what I was driving at the time, and that owner now has an M135i and an E46 M3 so I need to pay him another visit...!


Sounds about right. My car's a bit more vocal than most thanks to the BMW Performance induction kit and exhaust, but it's true to say that it's a bit more gruff than the tuneful old M54.
Big Blue

The Alpina exhaust is similar to Racing's description with the added aspect that it runs rougher than a jacksaw until there is some heat in the oil. I suspect there is 05 30 in there when 00 30 is also an option.
PhilD

That does look nice Dr H and looking at an E92 today it does look narrow and saggy arsed in comparison. The M4 is going to look very, very,  good I think.
Martin

PhilD wrote:
That does look nice Dr H and looking at an E92 today it does look narrow and saggy arsed in comparison. The M4 is going to look very, very,  good I think.



I didn't think so when it was launched, but it's a grower and makes the E92 look a bit dated now from some angles.

I've not seen an M4 yet, but I saw a black M3 last week and it looked great.
gonnabuildabuggy

Lovely thing.

I look forward to buying one in 10 yrs time  

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