RE: BMW 130i | Spotted

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Mr Tidy

Original Poster:

22,235 posts

127 months

Saturday 15th June 2019
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Lovely! thumbup

I have a couple of BMWs with the 3 litre N52 engine which I think is terrific, but some on here seem to have an issue with that so I've nothing to add other than blah

instructormike

69 posts

225 months

Sunday 18th August 2019
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SidewaysSi said:
Yep agree. I have spent probably around £4k on my car on upgrades and fixes but it's in rude health now. I could chuck a few more grand at it and it will be a perfect little car. For sub £10k, is there a thing out there in the same league for fun and practicality? I can't think of anything...
Well I've done the chucking money at a 130i LE and I can say for a sub £16K (just!) car there really isn't a lot to match this car. It has sort of replaced a 265Trophy (that cost £16.5K) and this is a far nicer car to drive. I have the fortune (or misfortune?) to drive just about everything and I really rate this car. Mine had an expensive, but very worthwhile, visit to Birds BMW where Kevin Bird (who also drives a 130i by choice!) ably assisted with bringing out the best of this car, with his Bilstein damper,Eibach spring plus anti-roll bar conversion, plus a Quaife LSD. Oh and because I asked him to, he also replaced many other parts including new rear subframe, fitted the M3 E92 alloys suspension arms etc. Well I just said do what needs doing...Now it also has the original MSport 6 pot brembo option, Endless MX72+pads all round, plus Neova AD08R (225 all round vs 225/255 original) and we pretty much have the perfect car. And it still looks totally factory standard. The pitch (especially) and roll angles are massively reduced, yet it doesn't get upset by poor roads like a 140 does. It's pretty comfortable, feeling more like a 3 series comfort-wise.
Engine is a peach, pulls well. Ok it's not super powerful but it has character. I can persuade 40mpg out if it. Or 8 on track.
Balance is spot on. It wierdly feels like a cross between a 991GT3RS, an MR2 Mk3 racecar and an E46 M3 racecar, due I believe to the balance/shortness of the car and the relatively long wheelbase for such a diminutive car. Steering is good actually, much better than the later cars.
It has far more character than the current M3/M4/M5 and has more in common with an E36 or E39 M car. And the throttle response is excellent. If you can heel and toe you will love this car. Much better than auto-blip! Or one of those gearboxes for people who can't change gear...
The car is small and innocuous. No-one notices it, which is great. They were used to great effect by our boys as surveillance and ops cars back in the day and I am now using it for training in much the same role , as well as for track work.
I wanted a normally aspirated car, as I don't really like the later offerings. Same with Aston Martin, Mercedes, Suzuki (Swift sport!) etc. The new cars do lack something of the old. In my role of professional trainer at a certain German product establishment that view is held by more than just me.
Unless you can go and buy a GT4 Cayman you may as well have this, but spend some money on it and treat it as buying a restored £30K car. One of my club members was persuaded by me to buy the 130I and now his beloved Golf R is playing a very distant second fiddle to the old Beemer! Ironic really that a super-capable modern car, held in esteem by many, is shown the way by an old BMW.

The 130, now that the work has been done, has been pressed into service as a training car. I'm just not too keen to let other people drive it. :-(
And I have no connections but I can highly recommend a trip to Birds if you do own one of these.

anonymous-user

54 months

Sunday 18th August 2019
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Couldn't agree more.

I have resisted changing the seats in mine as it's so stock outwardly, although really liked the Recaros. I can't think of much I'd change it for tbh. Averaging 30 or so, it sounds brilliant as is totally anonymous. Rear discs are coming up for a change and it'll get a really thorough service in the next month or so. The AP's on mine are absolutely hilarious, haven't driven anything modern which has better brakes biggrin

IMG_7975 by roo_p, on Flickr

Edited by anonymous-user on Sunday 18th August 19:18

instructormike

69 posts

225 months

Wednesday 21st August 2019
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Having been messaged about the car - For reference the dynamics package that Birds fit to the car doesn't just use a set of Bilsteins and some Eibach springs, but rather has had a lot of thought put into it and some cleverly developed and matched parts that do really work. If anyone has tried the package they will know what I mean.

See here: https://www.birdsauto.com/product-information/b1-d...

If you like the original car then once this is fitted you will absolutely love it. They clearly have put a lot of thought and testing into the development to create something that works on both road and track, not an easy feat as anyone who plays with suspension will testify. The standard car really is floaty, but this is totally removed with the Birds kit, yet manages to give a better ride quality than the later cars, by some margin. If anyone doubts it then go try Kevin's demonstrator - or come up to Cheshire and have a go in mine!

As I said in my earlier post I do believe that you have to be prepared to spend some money on these cars, in order to create a car that you currently can't really buy. I seem to be not alone in this, as many people I know and indeed who are in my driving group seem to be doing, is spending money on older cars to create what they desire, rather than buy the new equivalents which somehow do not seem to really provide what some of us slightly older bods really want.
Hence the reason I also have the CRX!


MC

nickfrog

21,072 posts

217 months

Wednesday 21st August 2019
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bodhi said:
The 125i has exactly the same engine as the 130i, just detuned from the factory, but speak to a friendly chap with a laptop and it is easily put back up above 130i levels (280bhp is quite common). I've had this done to mine and it is properly quick now - as in incredibly close to an M140i quick. .
I had my 125i Evolved back to 130i power {you won't get higher despite the claims of the other guy with a laptop} and really enjoyed the car on the road and track. But I replaced it with a M135i, which was far quicker. The gap is significant, so compared to a M140i, its bound to be even bigger. Braking was on a different level too.

bodhi

10,443 posts

229 months

Wednesday 21st August 2019
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nickfrog said:
I had my 125i Evolved back to 130i power {you won't get higher despite the claims of the other guy with a laptop} and really enjoyed the car on the road and track. But I replaced it with a M135i, which was far quicker. The gap is significant, so compared to a M140i, its bound to be even bigger. Braking was on a different level too.
Not sure why I wouldn't get more than 130i power out of it when BMW themselves did so in the 330i Coupé and Z4 3.0 Si (both 272 bhp)?

I've also had a couple of runs with M140i's in the past in it, and the gap certainly wasn't "significant", in fact they were struggling to pull out any sort of gap whatsoever. Done the same with a couple of Megane RS' as well *shrug*

nickfrog

21,072 posts

217 months

Wednesday 21st August 2019
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bodhi said:
Not sure why I wouldn't get more than 130i power out of it when BMW themselves did so in the 330i Coupé and Z4 3.0 Si (both 272 bhp)?

I've also had a couple of runs with M140i's in the past in it, and the gap certainly wasn't "significant", in fact they were struggling to pull out any sort of gap whatsoever. Done the same with a couple of Megane RS' as well *shrug*
I find that on similar weight and gearing, 70 odd horse power make a significant difference. I experienced that first hand, back to back as the owners of both cars, and a 275 Megane. The way the M135i travelled up Kennel straight at Spa is a very good test. The Megane and the 125i were significantly slower all the way up it.

Edited by nickfrog on Wednesday 21st August 11:57

HustleRussell

24,630 posts

160 months

Wednesday 21st August 2019
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nickfrog said:
Kennel straight
Woof! woof..!

nickfrog

21,072 posts

217 months

Wednesday 21st August 2019
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HustleRussell said:
nickfrog said:
Kennel straight
Woof! woof..!
laugheeklaughlaugh

Bloody auto correct.