Originally Posted by Rockster
From a mechanical grip standpoint, the BRZ sticks to the road very strongly unless you try to mash it into corners. You can mash the BMW into corners with a late turn in and it will do it but it feels top heavy and leans more while doing it. The BRZ would do it but at 10/10 and slide on through.
On the skid pad I suspect the 135 and BRZ are really close but the 135 is more tolerant of sloppy driving. The BRZ will start to either slide the rear tires or even drift a bit with all 4 tires...and it isn't scary. The "DSC" of the BRZ will kick in (in Sport mode) and it is really good at managing that situation in a way that isn't scary.
The BRZ feels about 1000lbs lighter than the 135. I actually thought the BRZ was underpowered until I drove the 135 and now I realize that it probably isn't. Just wouldn't fit the car if you weren't winding it out all the time at public road speeds. Do that in the 135 and you are living in triple digits much of the time. The boxer engine loves to live in the 4500-7000 range and it is really nice to drive when all wound up. It isn't fast at all but feels good to wind out. The 135 power curve is different in that it drops off at the top and of course no comparison at all in that the BMW is potent.
The steering is unmatched in that it is very responsive but never feels too much so with the BRZ. They nailed it because I suspect I would be saying something similar about the 135 if I hadn't driven the BRZ.
Bottom line is that the 135 is rewarding in a different way than the BRZ. I am certain the BRZ doesn't handle better, but it is stunningly convincing at making you think so. From the driver's seat you can see the road in front of the car very closely, you are low to the ground, the riding position is dead perfect and the feeling is there. Different experience, and a good one. I drove roads today in the 135 at the same pace as the BRZ. Real curvy ones. In the 135 it was quiet, refined and more civilized...so it abstracts some of the experience but by design and that is rewarding and feels great.
The BRZ is dead-on engineered and the BMW is over engineered. Both cars will make you smile but the BMW is not inferior from a handling standpoint. The difference is the approach to the driving experience from two different aspects. Put a used BRZ on your bucket list to look for in a few years or so and you won't be disappointed but the 135 is a better car.
What an unexpected but very pleasant thorough review! Thanks for taking the time to do this. Much appreciated
BRZ/FRS always made on like it boasts handling over power, so I naturally assumed it would be better than a 135i. I'm surprised.