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      09-23-2012, 12:09 PM   #1
zslow6
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135 track car...what to know?

Hey guys! Here is the storry...i currently have a s2000 that I regularly track but am looking to do something a bit different. I love my M3 and have always loved bmw's...so i thought a 1 series might be fun. As of now I do not have a car and before i do get one i thought i would stop here and get your opinions. I guess my options at the moment are between an e46 M3 and a 135. How do you guys feel they would stack up to each other with similar mods (double adjustable coilovers, bbk, square setup/r comp/slicks, intake exhaust and tune)? Also what would i have to know about a 135 before i decided to get one? Sorry if this has been asked and i know a lot of it is opinion but...i value other peoples educated opinions! lol Thanks!
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      09-23-2012, 01:01 PM   #2
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I would get an E46 for a track car. there are a few fatal flaws with our 135 platform as a track car. narrow and a short track with a high center of gravity plus not so light weight despite the smaller package. I mean I love my 135 as a dual purpose car but if I wanted to do a dedicated track car it would be an E36 or E46. the engine and mostly the turbos are the best part about our cars. the torque is very addictive but it does come at a cost on the track. our cars run out of gas around 6k on the dial whereas the S engine is meant to be revved much higher. plus the M car already has upgraded components whereas with our cars you pretty much have to upgrade all the arms and bushings not to mention an LSD or lack thereof. so if you were looking for something as a dedicated track car, I would look elsewhere other than if you just want to do it for the hell of it and if so then go big with the mods. that'll be the only way to do it imo
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      09-23-2012, 03:21 PM   #3
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ic...even with an e36/46 I would probably upgrade the lsd and doesn't the 1m use all m3 control and and such? guessing that's pricey?
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      09-23-2012, 04:08 PM   #4
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actually the steering components and such from the M3 is not that expensive if you can do some of the labor yourself. I guess no matter what you decide to buy you probably will wind up replacing if not upgrading most components anyway. regardless, a proper platform imo should have a lower center of gravity with a wider track. two things that can be remedied to some degree with the 135. there are definitely some wild 135 track beasts out there. coming from an S2000 you may be a bit disappointed with the 135's tossablility
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      09-23-2012, 08:08 PM   #5
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I would get an E46 for a track car. there are a few fatal flaws with our 135 platform as a track car. narrow and a short track with a high center of gravity plus not so light weight despite the smaller package. I mean I love my 135 as a dual purpose car but if I wanted to do a dedicated track car it would be an E36 or E46. the engine and mostly the turbos are the best part about our cars. the torque is very addictive but it does come at a cost on the track. our cars run out of gas around 6k on the dial whereas the S engine is meant to be revved much higher. plus the M car already has upgraded components whereas with our cars you pretty much have to upgrade all the arms and bushings not to mention an LSD or lack thereof. so if you were looking for something as a dedicated track car, I would look elsewhere other than if you just want to do it for the hell of it and if so then go big with the mods. that'll be the only way to do it imo
+1 might even go with a e36 over both for pure track car, but for everyday car with dual purpose then both are good.

btw a e36 m3 just won stx national championship at scca and an e36 325 won stu national championship, so both can be very good track cars.
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      09-24-2012, 07:38 AM   #6
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The track with of the 1 series is the same as the e90's....it's the overhangs that are shorter so there are issues with the amount of rubber than can be fit under there. I dissagree with Kori about the "high center of gravity" of the 1 series. I think that is over blown b/c if you look at our cars and e90's, both with sunroofs...the height of the cars is very close. If you're looking for a track only car, and you want something different, a 135 could be a good choice. In some regards b/c of the torque monster engines in the 135 the driving experience compared to the m3's is very different and could provide you with a more enjoyable, and faster, time around the track.

E36's and E46's are well known to have structural issues where the subframes mount and need quite of bit of strengthening there. Sure there are kits from like Turner, but unless you have a welder and experience you still have to pay for the labor to get that put in.

In reality I'd say either one will make a decent platform. Both will have pluses and minuses as to which one is better. Ultimately you have to decide which one fits you more. But if we're talking purely cost here, an E36 is going to win b/c of initial purchase price being so cheap at this point.
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      09-24-2012, 11:48 AM   #7
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the e46 m3 is a far better starting point for a track car.
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      09-24-2012, 12:02 PM   #8
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Speaking as a track car, you're taking huge, HUGE steps backwards selling that s2k. If you want something different go for one of the M's you mentioned.
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      09-25-2012, 12:52 PM   #9
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OP, if you have e92 m3, forget about 135i or e46m3.
You already have a great track car. My e92 m3 was a garage queen, didnt want to track it and after my e46m3 i was looking for another dedicated track car.
I chose 135i DCT. After spending a lot of $$$ to make it a decent track car and 3 seasons of tracking, i came to the conclusion that it was a mistake. Let me just say that no matter what you do, it will never be a great track car.
I was faster than most street and some race cars in advanced/instractor group, but it doesnt say much. I was never able to put power down coming out of corners with TC off. With TC on this car is undrivable if you want to go really fast. I never installed LSD, maybe it would have made the difference, but i didnt want to spend any more and decided to take the car back to stock. Just my 2cents
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      09-27-2012, 12:32 AM   #10
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First thing to make a good track car out of a 135i would be a LSD... Apparently even without it can be as fast as an e46 m3 from the comparisons i saw on youtube. But owning one i can say i feel the lack of lsd a lot with my worn out tires.
That been said i'm a bit afraid of reliability for the old e46. It's now getting old and god knows what the previous owners did with it. Our 135i stock run well below the components capabilities, especially for n54s, while the e46 is a highly tuned engine.
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      10-29-2012, 06:06 PM   #11
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      11-02-2012, 08:10 PM   #12
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Good advice here. I love my 135i as a daily, but would NEVER recommend it as a basis for a track toy unless you want to throw stupid money at it. Brakes, suspension, LSD, weight all need to be addressed in a major way. Ans while that motor is great on the road, I'd worry about long-term reliability in a track environment.
I can DUST my 135 with my Miata...
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      11-02-2012, 08:28 PM   #13
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There both capable
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      11-02-2012, 08:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Good advice here. I love my 135i as a daily, but would NEVER recommend it as a basis for a track toy unless you want to throw stupid money at it. Brakes, suspension, LSD, weight all need to be addressed in a major way. Ans while that motor is great on the road, I'd worry about long-term reliability in a track environment.
I can DUST my 135 with my Miata...
Your Miata must have a very large turbo, or maybe your 1's are broken?
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      11-02-2012, 10:01 PM   #15
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135i is not a good choice for a regular track car just based on what you get with an E46 M3 compared to the 1er. You can make it compete, sure, but you're starting at a better track product with the M3, hands down. I would quote everything pixelblue said, but you've already read it. Take it from someone who's put the 1 through its paces.

I will say this, though - I take my cars to the track and was just in the market for something new. As always, the E46 M was in the picture, but the bottom line for me is that for the amount of track driving I do (maybe a few days per year), a used car with no warranty and _some_ miles (and possibly someone else's headache) was not worth it. I'll limp around the track in my 135is, water and oil overheated, rear brakes cooked from the fake LSD, swaying though the corners with my heavy sunroof, cozy in my heavy leather/heated seats, losing steam all the way to 7k rpm, and I'll love every second of it because that's why I go to the track.

Hell, most fun I've ever had on the track was in my Cooper S. Talk about not an ideal track car!
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      11-02-2012, 10:44 PM   #16
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Your Miata must have a very large turbo, or maybe your 1's are broken?
lol

It is true a race prepped Miata is hard to beat around a track, but a race prepped e46 or 135 will destroy one on a track.

I am by no means the best driver, but even my slow 135 laps all those spec Miatas. The only Miata that keeps up with me is a FM turbo'd Miata on hoosiers, so it's not a great comparison.

I will say that the N54 is really easy to gain big power and in order to do that in an e46 you'd either have to build the motor or go forced induction which is super expensive. With the 1 your money could be spent in stages to upgrade each specific issue i.e., brakes, susp, lsd, rather than big chunks of money at a time. Also those parts tend to be easier to DIY if your up for it. Either way great cars and imho easier to drive than a s2000 on a track. S2000's seem very razors edge and not forgiving at all, although for some people that makes them fun. Resale wise anything with an M badge will hold its value better.
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      11-04-2012, 02:20 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Your Miata must have a very large turbo, or maybe your 1's are broken?
Lol. No large turbo. Just a small supercharger, some suspension bits, brakes and sticky rubber...

I didn't say it was a fair fight. I'm just saying that there are lots of better options out there. Could my 135i put down a quicker lap time than my Miata? Maybe on the right track. But it would only be for a lap or two at most before those lap times start to increase and the Miata blows by.

And on a track that doesn't necessarily favor high-HP cars, id take my chances with my Miata against an 135i any time.
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      11-04-2012, 04:11 PM   #18
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Lol. No large turbo. Just a small supercharger, some suspension bits, brakes and sticky rubber...

I didn't say it was a fair fight. I'm just saying that there are lots of better options out there. Could my 135i put down a quicker lap time than my Miata? Maybe on the right track. But it would only be for a lap or two at most before those lap times start to increase and the Miata blows by.

And on a track that doesn't necessarily favor high-HP cars, id take my chances with my Miata against an 135i any time.
I have tons of respect for Miatas, I'll always stand up for them. But I think it's pretty fair to say the 1 is a different level of car. That doesn't mean there aren't miatas out there that wouldn't destroy one around a track. I've seen a turbo miata do a 1.23 at Streets of Willow in 100 degree heat. I was doing 1.29's. He was on slicks but still, facking fast. And it most certainly does not mean that the 1 is a better track car!
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      11-06-2012, 12:36 PM   #19
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As others have said, the 135i will be a fine track car if you are willing to put crazy money in it. I bought with the express purpose of using it for occassional track days when I did not want to go through the logistics exercise of loading the 911 and all the associated gear on the trailer and towing on the Washington Beltway.

An S2000 can be wicked fast, it can also be wicked handling - #57

I have only driven the 135 on the three courses at Summit Point and VIR. I have driven a few E46 M3s and there is no comparison. I have no doubt you can make a 135I handle and stop better than it does. A $20K cash infusion would be nice for brakes, suspension, and wheels. You probably will want a more square set-up and that might fenders and front bumper, more cash required... Then what about that engine that is so perfect for city driving, the torque curve is wonderful. You can chip that to take advantage of boost available in the upper rpm band. Probably add an intercooler and more oil cooling. Another $4K for chip and and associated cooling. Forgot about the electronic LSD... It really is not a nice feature on the track and like other systems of its type makes extensive use of the rear brakes. Add an LSD $2500-$3500 depending on which route you take. Forgot to add the cost of the body panels and the body work. What could you do with $30K and an E46 M3?

I tracked it only five times; but the second event was enough to convince me that I did not want to track that car. First event highlighted the brake issue (discussed elsewhere). The second event (VIR) with Hawk HT10s and track tires confirmed my initial observations. For me I will continue to drive my 135I to work every day. For me, it is really one of the best commuter cars ever. Perfect broad and usable torque range. Not the least bit fussy in traffic.

Our illogical progression from street to track -- (I don't want to make the car as uncomfortable as we have made our 911) - no heater, no air, difficult to ingress and egress (cage, belts, and halo seat), no carpet, no sound deadening, close ratio gears (makes it noisier), solid motor mounts (vibrations), race motor (hard to keep running at idle), racing clutch (hard to get it going and/or put it on the trailer), trailer to go anywhere, winch to get it in the trailer..... Two trailers... What is the result? An $80K, $20K car. Only point with that is that one improvement will highlight another weakness and you will spend a lot of money and sacrifice drivabiliy.
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      11-06-2012, 01:11 PM   #20
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Two weekends ago, we had to wait a long time in the grid before my 3rd session on Sunday, and I stupidly didn't think to turn my car off. So when we did get going, I made one lap and then got limp mode. Well it seems that once it starts it never stops. I got two more limps that session and another one a few laps into the final session, so I gave up. I'll try again with a better radiator next year.
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      11-08-2012, 12:08 AM   #21
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I had a similar dilemma. Just picked up a 2011 135i and trying to decide which car to track. I had a pretty well set up e36 M3, however that met a wall at road America. I used the insurance money to help me get this 135i. In the end I chose my the ZHP. I can do a lot more as far as track mods with ZHP then a 135i under warranty.
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      11-08-2012, 02:56 AM   #22
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I had a similar dilemma. Just picked up a 2011 135i and trying to decide which car to track. I had a pretty well set up e36 M3, however that met a wall at road America. I used the insurance money to help me get this 135i. In the end I chose my the ZHP. I can do a lot more as far as track mods with ZHP then a 135i under warranty.
I saw your post on bimmerforums, your e36 was freaking sweet!
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