So about a year and half ago I test drove a loaded 2012 135i coupe with DCT and I thought that the car was incredible fun to drive, these were my impressions that I remember vividly:
- Exhaust sounds phenomenal, it howled like a beast all over the rev range.
- DCT was almost telepathic, it took off without hesitation and seemed to change gear as soon as my fingers touched the paddles.
- Car felt agile and stiff.
- 6-pot brakes performed amazingly, with incredibly solid pedal feel.
- Felt plenty fast but power seemed to drop off past 5.5k.
Long story short, after taking a tour of the other brands, I'm thinking about the 135i again, so I went and test drove another identically equipped 2013 yesterday. These were my impressions:
- Exhaust barely made any noise even when I stepped on it. Did have the DCT burp, but overall was very quiet.
- DCT was incredibly hesitant doesn't matter if it's in auto, S, M, with or without sport button pushed. Clutch seemed to hesitate to engage, and shifts were not as lightning quick as I remember.
- Suspension was much softer and more compliant over bumps, this was not necessarily a negative because rigidity didn't seem to suffer.
- Brakes felt mushy and buttery, like how BMW brakes normally are and unlike how I remember the 135i's amazing Brembos used to be.
- Throttle response was much less sharp even with the sport button pushed. The urgency of the power delivery was completely gone and instead the way the car drove reminded me more of a Mercedes. Power seemed to be a little bit better distributed up top, but again the delivery is completely different.
I came away dumbfounded, I had to double check the badge on the car and the window sticker to make sure I was driving the right car. I know of no mechanical changes from 2012 to 2013. So what the heck happened?! Does any of you guys know? I felt like I drove 2 completely different cars, and I can't wrap my head around it.