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      01-16-2013, 11:51 AM   #1
Whoa1847
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2013 135i, why so different?

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.
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      01-16-2013, 12:00 PM   #2
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As you said, there have not been any changes so I don't see why it would be any different unless you tested some more hardcore cars just before testing the 2013. Every time I have a loaner or a rental car, getting back into my car feels like I'm driving an F1 car.
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      01-16-2013, 05:21 PM   #3
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what cars did you test drive just before re- test driving the 135 ? that would influence your perception
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      01-16-2013, 05:42 PM   #4
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Golf R, JCW hatch, STI sedan. I guess it's possible for these cars to influence the way I perceived the 135i, but I didn't think it would have had as big of an impact as it did.

Last time before I drove the 135i I test drove a G37 coupe and a 335i sedan.

P.S. when driving the JCW I thought the car's demeanor reminded me a lot of the 135i. Sporty, agile, quick, responsive, a bit harsh. Then yesterday happened.
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      01-16-2013, 05:52 PM   #5
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The cars you drove before the 2013 could feel more nimble, for sure. I've had a bit of seat time in the STI and it feels fast and light. I had a GTI that also felt very quick despite really not being quick at all. This was due to the single turbo kicking in a little higher in the RPM range and throwing you back more than the linear delivery on the 135i would. I have never been in a JCW but I suspect the same to be true there.

G37 and 335i can feel a little piggish when compared to a 135i.

I think we've solved the issue. Now, go out and rent a Dodge Caliber. After a day in that car, go test the 135i again and let us know what you think.
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      01-16-2013, 06:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOfJericho View Post
The cars you drove before the 2013 could feel more nimble, for sure. I've had a bit of seat time in the STI and it feels fast and light. I had a GTI that also felt very quick despite really not being quick at all. This was due to the single turbo kicking in a little higher in the RPM range and throwing you back more than the linear delivery on the 135i would. I have never been in a JCW but I suspect the same to be true there.

G37 and 335i can feel a little piggish when compared to a 135i.

I think we've solved the issue. Now, go out and rent a Dodge Caliber. After a day in that car, go test the 135i again and let us know what you think.
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      01-16-2013, 06:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOfJericho View Post
The cars you drove before the 2013 could feel more nimble, for sure. I've had a bit of seat time in the STI and it feels fast and light. I had a GTI that also felt very quick despite really not being quick at all. This was due to the single turbo kicking in a little higher in the RPM range and throwing you back more than the linear delivery on the 135i would. I have never been in a JCW but I suspect the same to be true there.

G37 and 335i can feel a little piggish when compared to a 135i.

I think we've solved the issue. Now, go out and rent a Dodge Caliber. After a day in that car, go test the 135i again and let us know what you think.
Haha, good point!

P.S. I wanna make it clear that my OP wasn't meant as a piece of criticism towards the 135i. I just thought there might be subtle midyear changes that I wasn't aware of.
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      01-16-2013, 06:15 PM   #8
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had to be placebo. Sometimes a certain car can just lag though or have oddities, even when everything is supposedly the exact same as another.
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      01-16-2013, 08:00 PM   #9
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Could it be newer software on the 2013 N55 vs the 2012 from last year?
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      01-16-2013, 11:05 PM   #10
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I owned a 2009 JCW for the last 2.5 years prior to getting my 2009 135 m sport 6 speed. I would say the jcw is significantly more direct and less isolated from the road than the 135. If you had driven the jcw recently before driving the 135 it may make the 135 feel softer than it normally does.

For better or worse the JCW is frenetic little car. I loved mine but, it does have it's drawbacks. Hence, my 135.
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      01-17-2013, 12:39 AM   #11
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buy the 135 and throw on some decent coilovers. you'll never say "mushy" again

the throttle lag is weird. maybe play with another and see if that's consistent
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      01-17-2013, 12:55 AM   #12
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you had no expectations on the your first drive in 2012....

the 2013 had a lot to live up to... were you expecting too much?
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      01-17-2013, 01:19 AM   #13
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Quote:
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you had no expectations on the your first drive in 2012....

the 2013 had a lot to live up to... were you expecting too much?
Possible. I just thought that I had remembered everything very accurately, but it could be possible that I was hyping things up in my mind without knowing.
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      01-17-2013, 01:20 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsmonet View Post
buy the 135 and throw on some decent coilovers. you'll never say "mushy" again

the throttle lag is weird. maybe play with another and see if that's consistent
Yup, will go test drive again this weekend.
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      01-17-2013, 11:43 AM   #15
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Test drive a different one this time. Not all cars are equal. In a lower class of quality control my preferred rental car was the mustang until the 2005 model came out. I've rented over 50 of them on business trips and I've seen that each with low mileage of under 5K miles could be really nice or really bad. Brakes, suspension, shifting and power all quite different. I'd say a difference of 30-40HP between the worse and the best. Some would always shift like a taurus some I could get to snag 2nd everytime. I've had similar experiences on test driving other cars so drive 2-3 and even pick a 335 to see if it feels the same as the 135i as it should feel close enough.
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      01-17-2013, 12:06 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Yup, will go test drive again this weekend.
This time try the 135is and see if there is any differences.
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      01-17-2013, 01:19 PM   #17
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Are you sure the 2012 model you test drove wasn't equipped with the PPK and performance exhaust? This would not show up on the window sticker (it'd be a separate, smaller sticker listing the dealer-installed add-ons).

I noticed that your location is Emeryville... If you went to BMW of SF on your first encounter (or both), I know that one of their 2012 models in stock last year was loaded and included both the PPK and PE. Can't recall if it had the DCT or not, though.
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      01-17-2013, 01:34 PM   #18
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This time try the 135is and see if there is any differences.
I think you'd be hard pressed to find one sitting on a dealer lot to demo...
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      01-17-2013, 01:49 PM   #19
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Are you sure the 2012 model you test drove wasn't equipped with the PPK and performance exhaust? This would not show up on the window sticker (it'd be a separate, smaller sticker listing the dealer-installed add-ons).

I noticed that your location is Emeryville... If you went to BMW of SF on your first encounter (or both), I know that one of their 2012 models in stock last year was loaded and included both the PPK and PE. Can't recall if it had the DCT or not, though.
I did go to BMWSF. The exhaust looked like the standard one with gloss black rolled tips instead of the chrome straight cut tips on what I think is perf exhaust. Not sure if the car had PPK. Was the PPK car a Space Gray?
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      01-17-2013, 02:28 PM   #20
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Quote:
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I did go to BMWSF. The exhaust looked like the standard one with gloss black rolled tips instead of the chrome straight cut tips on what I think is perf exhaust. Not sure if the car had PPK. Was the PPK car a Space Gray?
Have you check out SCBMW inventories?
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      01-17-2013, 02:35 PM   #21
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Quote:
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I did go to BMWSF. The exhaust looked like the standard one with gloss black rolled tips instead of the chrome straight cut tips on what I think is perf exhaust. Not sure if the car had PPK. Was the PPK car a Space Gray?
My recollection was the car was Alpine White. Either way, since I know they've installed these parts in the past, it might be a PPK and/or PE that's the wild card here.

As someone else mentioned, if you can find a 135is to test drive, it might confirm a few things for you if your reactions to it prove similar to your first encounter.
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      01-17-2013, 02:43 PM   #22
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Have you check out SCBMW inventories?
I would like to since SC has a designated corporate manager for the company I work for, but he's been unresponsive. They generally have not left a good impression with me the couple of times I've tried to work with them.
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