Doesn’t time fly, who can believe it’s been 6 months since first collecting the BMW M140i? I certainly can’t.
Sometimes I sit there and wonder, in a fleeting moment, was it the right choice?
Well 6 months on I thought it was about time to share how the first 6 months of ownership have been.
My opinion on the steering hasn’t changed from day 1, I still think its too light in comfort and the ‘fake weight’ added in sport is better and offers a more precise turn in but there is still no real feedback from the front end through the steering.
The only thing I would add after spending significantly more time behind the wheel is that comfort makes sense when driving round town, it makes tight manoeuvring easier.
The biggest thing you learn is to trust that the car will turn in very well, when the tyres are warm at least anyway.
For what is a relatively big and practical car, the balance still impresses me.
Now I’ve had the opportunity to push the car a lot more, I do find it is very snappy when you get up to 8 or 9/10ths. I think a lot of that comes down to the lack of LSD, which can be changed if you’re willing to spend money.
I still find when you do turn in you can feel the car start to rotate around the centre, allowing you to use the accelerator to control your exit.
The tyres. I cannot praise the Michelin Pilot Super Sports enough. It’s a shame they have been superseded with the Pilot Sports 4/4S, however from everything I have read it seems like they are a little bit better in the wet and almost as good in the dry.
The only thing that has become very evident over the first 6 months is the need for a change in damping set up, the ride is very unforgiving and struggles over uneven road surfaces when pushing on. I believe the adaptive dampers help with this and if I were to re-spec I would be ticking the adaptive dampers.
The engine is still the star of the show in the car.
The B58 is absolutely marvellous.
The performance of the car in terms of power and torque has never been an issue from day 1.
You can easily ride the available torque in any gear and not change down. Although, where’s the fun in that?
The M140i has been able to keep up (just about) with some pretty big boys this year and when we had the M4 meet, it was voted as the best all round car of the weekend. Which considering there was an M4 and Audi S4 there, it can contend amongst the big boys.
Noise is subjective as I actually think the tone of the B58 is nicer than the S55 in the F80/82/83 and the N55.
It may not be anywhere near as loud, which would be my only complaint. However an exhaust upgrade could resolve that.
But the tone of the engine, in my opinion, is better.
If you want to hear what the B58 sounds like head over to my youtube channel – http://www.youtube.com/stsupercars
Having now driven both the manual and owning the auto, my preference would definitely be the manual gearbox.
I thought the manual was initially a little bit notchy but as it warmed up it got slicker and offered a nice positive gear change. But I just found the extra engagement of the manual to be much more fun.
On the other hand, owning a car with the ZF 8 Speed I have really grown to respect BMW’s application of this. Having driven other cars with it in, I find the version in the 140i to be brilliant.
For every day use you really cannot knock the auto. It offers effortless driving in traffic and then full control in manual mode when you want to push on.
The only thing to say on the brakes is that I’ve found them brilliant, they have taken repeated abuse up and down mountain passes, with almost no fade.
They offer a good initial bite with nice progressive stopping power.
Pad wear rate is a little higher than usual but that probably has more to do with how the car is driven.
No real complaints about the interior, although having had a few without Professional Media, for me I wouldn’t have a car without it.
I think it adds a more premium feel to the cabin.
I find the seats great, offer the right amount of support and are relatively comfortable. Although my partner really struggles on long journeys as she is quite a bit smaller than me and finds the base of the seat too long so finds it digs in to her legs or she has to slide forward which then compromises her back support.
What issues have we faced
Based on my ownership experience of the car so far, there are a few issues we have faced.
This is the biggest bug bear and a problem that is well documented online.
Our first exhaust backbox changed under warranty, then within 6 days the rattle was back and it was actually worse than the initial rattle.
Here’s a video clip of it – https://youtu.be/HOKOlIb3dqU?t=15m53s
It’s now going back in to BMW, supposedly to get a valveless system. But more on that at a later date.
Door seals rubbing
Only other real issue is that being an F21 the door seals rub, to the point where its quite significantly wearing away the top coat on the paintwork.
Not really good enough on any BMW, entry level or not.
Overall I think choosing the M140i was the best choice in that market.
It’s not the quickest, it doesn’t have the most power; but I still believe it offer the best value for money and best of all still has a 6 cylinder engine and is rear wheel drive.
Anyone who is undecided; my advice would be get one while you can, before BMW drop the 6 cylinder and rear wheel drive in favour for a 4 pot and four wheel drive.
Then it just becomes basically the same as all the other offers on the market and for me the build quality, particularly the interior, wouldn’t be good enough when you have cars like the Audi S3 available with a very similar drivetrain.
Check out the 6 months of ownership video: