A proper performance car - more Porsche than BMW
This is a fantastic performance car which is seriously underrated by the public. Odd since it was voted Top Gear's Driver's Car of the Year in 2000 and was a favorite long term test car for Evo.
Forget what you hear about them being difficult handling cars. They're not, mine has no traction control, but feels much safer to drive fast than my previous 328i Sport Coupe. This is mainly due to a higher level of sensation than most modern cars.
For me its still too soft (you can potter around at under 2.5k revs and feel like you're in a regular Z3) but it is good compromise for a daily driving performance car.
Mine is performing in about the sub 5.0s to 60 and sub 13.0s to 100 range (measured with accelerometer). This is significantly slower than Evo's test which has 4.3 and 11.5 respectively. Still seriously fast though.
The engine (as you will probably expect) is brilliant. I was especially surprised by the amount of torque available from 2k revs. Above 2000 revs in any gear gives instant hard acceleration (even 4th and 5th). Amazing for such a high revving engine (peak power at 7400, limiter at about 8000).
And the styling? Well its better in the flesh than in pictures and it grows on you. However, no I don't think anywhere near as nice as a 911 (993).
Even in my amateur hands the handling feels great - partly due to the feedback, but also the short wheelbase you feel very connected to the rear wheels. Hence over-steer is very easy to detect and correct for (and power over-steer is very much possible in the first three gears).
In summary I am very happy with this motor - every time I drive it I am impressed all over again. To drive this feels much more like my old Porsche (an old 944S2 - which was fantastic) than a modern, soft BMW.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 6th February, 2003