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    BMW F21 120d M Sport / #BMW-F21 / #BMW-120d-M-Sport / #BMW-120d-M-Sport-F21 / #BMW-F21 / #BMW-120d-F21 / #BMW / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-F21 /

    As I write this I only have three weeks left with the 120d, which will take me up to 11 months of ‘ownership’, so it’s a little bit of a shame that I couldn’t enjoy a full year with it but that’s just how it goes. I’m not being left in the lurch, though; as I type, my 630i has been collected from a Preston auction and is awaiting a thorough, two day detail at the hands of Ian of Lullingstone Cars (lullingstonecars.co.uk), who sourced it for me, before delivering it to me where it will begin its new life as my ‘sensible’ daily.

    My E39 is also coming home after a 16 month absence and dramatic makeover, so while I will miss the 120d I will have two cars to keep me busy. If you want to follow the E63’s journey with me then you’ll have to pick up a copy of Performance BMW as it will be standard for about 30 seconds before I begin to ‘ruin it’, as Bob so amusingly puts it.

    Not much to report on the 120d; it ferried myself and a photographer over to a shoot in Reading without any fuss, swallowing all of his paraphernalia with relative ease, and it proved to be as comfortable and capable a companion as it ever has been. Next month I’ll swap back to the original wheels and tyres, which will thankfully get rid of the tyre pressure warning bong, and bid it farewell with some closing thoughts, one of which is that this might well be the last diesel I ever own, which is food for thought.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE BMW F21 120d M Sport
    Year: #2016
    Mileage this Month: 547
    Total Mileage: 7905
    MPG this Month: 54.8
    Total cost: Nil
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    BMW-F21 / BMW-120d-M /

    I took the 1 Series through a car wash. I don’t condone it, it’s definitely a case of do as I say not as I do, and what I say is wash your car by hand using the two bucket method but, when it’s cold and wet and dark and miserable and your car is so dirty that you can barely open the doors or boot and is white so looks about 1000 times dirtier, you get desperate. What’s a girl to do? Pay £3 and take it through the car wash at the local Sainsbury’s, that’s what. I didn’t even choose the drying option because the roads were wet so I figured it was pointless and when I came out of the petrol station shop brandishing my car wash code I discovered it had started raining anyway, rendering it even more pointless. The person in the Merc having a wash and blow dry in front of me looked a bit silly. And you know what? It was worth every penny, all 300 of them. The 1 Series came out looking clean and I could open the doors and boot without getting covered in filth. Also my mum had never been through a car wash before so she was intrigued by the whole affair. Is it wrong to admit that you find car washes a little scary? She didn’t, but I do. I just don’t like the noisy pounding. It’s unsettling. I wouldn’t dream of taking the E39 through but, with its solid white paint, I figure the 120d is less likely to show up scratches and swirl marks.

    In other news, the 120d is doing something the 118d didn’t, and that is managing to stay dry inside. The 118d had a chronic moisture problem, with the windscreen absolutely covered in water droplets when the temperature started to drop, which would then freeze on particularly cold nights, and ice on the inside of your windscreen is not something you expect in a brandnew BMW. My Camaro does it, but that’s because it’s terrible at being a car and was built for about 50p. We never did get to the bottom of it, but it wasn’t an isolated case as a few people got in touch with the same problem but now I have a solution that I can guarantee will work 100 per cent: sell your leaky old 1 Series and buy a face-lift. Job done.

    CAR: F21 120d M Sport / #BMW-F21 / #BMW-120d-M-Sport / #BMW-120d-M-Sport-F21 / #BMW-F21 / #BMW-120d-F21 / #BMW / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-F21 /

    YEAR: #2016
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 390
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 6435
    MPG THIS MONTH: 45.9
    COST THIS MONTH: £3 (car wash. Sorry)
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    F21 120d M Sport

    You may have noticed that it’s been getting cold recently. In fact the temperature change really snuck up this year; one moment it seemed unseasonably warm for autumn and then suddenly it was very cold indeed and the 120d’s temperature display was showing some very small numbers of a morning.

    Partly due to bad weather, a string of busy weekends and thinking that I had plenty of time to get my winters on, I invariably didn’t, meaning I was left with the 1 Series feeling a little light on traction on damp and slippery autumn days. I hastily made arrangements with my local, and really rather excellent, village garage to pop in one Saturday and get it to quickly swap my wheels over. I do have all the gear (trolley jack, torque wrench etc) but I honestly couldn’t be bothered to spend a cold Saturday morning messing around with wheels.

    When it came down to winter rubber, I was spoilt for choice as I have both my Conti-dedicated winters from a few years ago, along with my Michelin CrossClimate all-season tyres that I ran on the 118d for about a year or so. I would have preferred to run my Contis, simply because they’d only be performing winter duties, but seeing as the CrossClimates were already mounted on the set of 17s I had been running them on previously I decided that for the sake of simplicity, (and not having to pay to have a set of tyres unmounted and new ones mounted) I would just go with the CrossClimates. I was very impressed with their performance previously so was more than happy to have them on the 120d.

    Typically, the weather since having them fitted has been pretty mild again but I’m glad they’re on as it means that when the cold snap does come, which it’s due to any day at the time of writing this, along with the generally grim winter weather I’m fully prepared.

    TECHNICAL DATA / #BMW-F21 / #BMW-120d-M-Sport / #BMW-120d-M-Sport-F21 / #BMW-F21 / #BMW-120d-F21 / #BMW / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-F21 /

    YEAR: #2016
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 677
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 6045
    MPG THIS MONTH: 52.6
    COST THIS MONTH: £10 (getting wheels swapped over)
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    F21 120d M Sport

    I was going to say that it’s been a quiet month for the 120d but, having looked at my diary I have realised that it served as transport for a shoot in Berkshire that I’d completely forgotten about and then there was the small matter of a trip to Telford and back for the last big show of the season, so I guess that’s a reasonable amount of activity and miles this month.

    With the rear seats folded down, you can fit a lot into the 120d’s rear end but getting to it all can be slightly tricky and you have to attack it from both ends of the car, flipping the front seats forward to try and pull some bits out that way and then half-clambering in through the hatch to get other stuff out that way. I will say that the practicality of my five-door 118d is often missed, be it when I’m out shooting, out shopping or ferrying wheels, tyres or both about. But it’s a small price to pay for the three-door’s far sharper looks and as I don’t do that many things too often that require the use of the car’s entire available load space, it’s not that big a hindrance.

    The trip to Telford was an absolute nightmare in both directions, with nothing but traffic, road works and speed limits – it was just generally awful and made me both stressed and angry. The 1 Series was really great, though, and I was genuinely amazed to emerge at the other end after three and a half hours in the car with no aches or pains.

    The car isn’t in any way cosseting or luxurious and the seats are sporty and supportive but very far removed from the fanciest 5 or 7 Series offerings. They don’t even have lumbar support, which I’ve always considered almost essential, often experiencing lower back pain in cars without it. But, somehow, they manage to be incredibly comfortable; I guess they are just the right shape for me and sometimes that’s more important than having 200-way adjustment.

    The miles and miles of stop-start traffic did make me think that the journey would have been a little more pleasant with an auto and while I lamented the lack of cruise control in my 118d, I now find myself wishing I had Active Cruise Control as it would definitely take the stress out of driving in heavy traffic at varying speeds.

    Also, while I’m very pleased to have sat nav as standard in the 120d, it’s not without its flaws; it did its best at trying to get me round the worst of the traffic, but I can’t help but feel that Google Maps on my phone would have done a far better job and had me home a lot more quickly. The sat nav also flashed up ‘Dangerous Traffic Situation’ for a while, which kept appearing on the dash display and which refused to go away, but there was no way for me to actually find out what this meant and where it was on my route. Considering I was in a sea of traffic at the time it was hardly news to me; a quick Google has revealed that it seems to relate to heavy traffic conditions and specifically when there’s been an incident involving another car, but I can’t say that I found it very useful.


    / #BMW-F21 / #BMW-120d-M-Sport / #BMW-120d-M-Sport-F21 / #BMW-120d-F21 / #BMW / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-F21 /

    YEAR: #2016
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 753
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 5368
    MPG THIS MONTH: 49.3
    COST THIS MONTH: Nil
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    Fast Track / #2016 / #BMW-F21 / #BMW / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-F21

    Advanced Driving Consultant, #Rob-Colbourn, teaches us how to better our driving techniques on track with a Performance Driving Course. He can do the same for you… Words: Simon Jackson. Photography: Malcolm Griffiths.

    Some driver training will make you a much better circuit driver.
    TRACK DRIVING TUITION

    Around 18 months ago we undertook a full course of driving tuition with Advanced Driving Consultant, Rob Colbourn. Our experience was limited to the road as that is where we all spend the majority of our time behind the wheel. The syllabus focused around improving our general attitude to driving, whilst sharpening our observation and anticipation skills. It provided us with an arsenal of useful techniques and common-sense hints useable in practically every road-going scenario. They’re ones I personally have used every day since. Quite rightly, Rob’s courses are tailored to each individual, but they ultimately serve to coach a person, no matter their skill or confidence level in a car, towards functioning as a better driver.

    Rob’s methods explore the idea that there is an art to driving well, a road craft if you will, and his approach showcases that once equipped to practice it there is a whole extra dimension to driving, one so obvious it has been staring you in the face. You’d simply be lying if you claimed that didn’t sound appealing.

    Rob’s background is unlikely, which makes his tutorage even more significant in my eyes – Rob was once a ‘white van man’. Charging up and down the country delivering parcels, Rob was the guy in the van sat three-inches off your back bumper, headlights ablaze chewing the steering wheel in anticipation of getting ahead of you. Since becoming a driving instructor, and today an Advanced Consultant, those aggressive days are long gone as Rob has gone through what he terms a ‘shift in attitude’. However, his past gives him a real world insight and pragmatic level of understanding unlike most driving experts we’ve encountered. Driving psychology and an indepth interest and understanding of the ‘human condition’ ensure Rob is able to relate to, and irradicate, any long-formed habits hampering your driving. When it comes to driving on the road, erasing bad habits is a very useful undertaking, translate it to the track and it might just save your life.

    Despite spending much of his professional working life tutoring on track at Silverstone, Rob would be the first to admit that he’s not a ‘racing driver’. There’s a distinct difference between someone who can drive quickly, intelligently and safely on a circuit, and an individual who can exhume the last few tenths of a second in competitive motorsport. But if you have any level of desire to improve your track driving skill set, as we did, then Rob’s teachings are most useful and the ideal basis from which to move from merely enthusiastic to competent on track.

    Interestingly, much of the craft Rob teaches on his road course can be translated, perhaps in an amplified fashion, to the driving techniques he promotes specific to the circuit. Driving psychology features heavily once more. Although each of us may respond differently when we are behind the wheel of a car, many of the reactions caused by our actions will have the same (unwelcome) outcome. Just like on the road, first and foremost using our vision becomes key to mastering an effective track driving technique.

    Changing the way we observe situations can aid our ability to predict, understand and subsequently react. During road driving we’re taught to anticipate potentially hazardous situations, using a mixture of our experience and what the surrounding environment can communicate to us. This enables a driver to prophesize a possible course of events and act to minimise a problem which may arise in advance of it emerging. The principle is the same on track – if you know what might be ahead you can plan for it in advance. One of Rob’s mantras is to look through a corner, flick your eyes ahead through the turn, then draw them back to the apex to build a picture of where you’re going ahead of your arrival.

    Rob let’s you build speed gradually, pushing on as and when you feel comfortable, and should your enthusiasm overtake adhesion, he’ll encourage you to reel it back and take a step back before moving forward and potentially out of your comfort zone. As you push the envelope of your perceived comfort level, so too do the limits of your skill set grow.

    Vehicle dynamics also play an important part in the process of Rob’s teachings. Understanding what a car is doing underneath you, and what it might do as you feed it various inputs is vital. For example, Rob ensures you have a level of knowledge of the physical reaction your steering inputs make – drilling into you that as you turn the wheel you should be considering the angle of your car’s tyres, exactly what you’re asking of them and the relationship between road surface, tyre and car attitude.

    “Many clients are familiar with the terms ‘oversteer and understeer’, but are not necessarily confident of giving an accurate definition or explanation of how they’re caused, identified, corrected or most importantly, prevented,” Rob explains.

    Likewise most modern cars feature an abundance of electronic safety aids but do you as the driver really know how they all operate, to what extent they influence the vehicle, and how best to use them to good effect? Through Rob’s tuition, you’ll soon learn just how clever these systems are and whether or not you really need them, or rather why you should never rely on them. It’s the same with braking techniques, Rob likens emergency braking to bankruptcy: “We all understand the basic premise but spend years, quite rightly, employing other skills to try and avoid facing it for real,” he says. “If we do have to face it, we are likely to find ourselves lacking the necessary skills to overcome it. Paradoxically, practicing these skills to a high competency level reinforces the point that you should not allow yourself to need them.”

    Sir Jackie Stewart is a big influence on the track driving techniques that Rob endorses, not as you might presume for his speed, but for his smoothness. Stewart was famed for his chauffeur-like driving style, and it’s this smooth, calculated and considered approach that Rob presses home. He teaches a driver to roll off the brake pedal, not jump off it, to balance the car through a corner, often with a small input of throttle mid-turn. Using all of the available road, letting the car gently run wide out of a corner, your task is then to gradually feed the power back in as the steering lock is wound off: “Imagine there is a piece of string between the accelerator pedal and the steering wheel,” he says. “That throttle pedal cannot go down until the wheel is fully straightened.”

    Each and every input is designed to not upset the car, you should not overdrive it but rather make considered smooth adjustments to retain a certain level of balance. Coming out of corners this often feels like the old Martin Brundle adage of ‘hurry up and wait’ before you’re able to get on with things (and apply the throttle), but it ensures the cleanest exit and believe it or not will prove faster than letting the car slide from apex to curb.

    We’ve already told you that much of what your improved road craft has taught you will also serve you well on the circuit, but conversely that works both ways. Employing a smooth and flowing approach on the track can also work effectively on the road, with a focus on using and extending your vision to your own advantage. I wouldn’t consider myself a confident track driver prior to spending time with Rob, yet with his help I’ve learnt both a greater understanding of what a vehicle is doing in a track environment, but also perhaps more important is how my perceptions have altered towards my own limitations. I’ve learned that I can gradually push to improve my level of comfort on track and, as a consequence, my skill levels improves with it.

    Rob’s talent is arguably not a dark art of turning the average driver into a racing driver, but rather the methods he uses enthuse and inspire drivers to believe in themselves, and to hone their existing abilities. Indeed, far from schooling his clients in a new method of driving, Rob extracts the better driver that lies within us all, and he does so in a relaxed and informed manor that guarantees success.

    Thanks to: Rob Colbourn / Web: www.robertcolbourn.co.uk

    Track regular, Sam Preston, shares his experience of Rob’s course…

    Although I have my fair share of track days under my belt, these often oversubscribed events sometimes prove to be as effective as supplying you with an opportunity to find the limits of a car as trying out the same techniques on the public highway during rush hour. At the Nürburging Nordschleife, for example, I’ve found myself spending more time checking my rear-view mirror for the likes of GT3 RSs to appear out of nowhere (as they so often do), than gaining the confidence needed to instead begin focusing on improving my own talents.

    With Rob sat beside me and a nigh-on empty track complete with nervesettling amounts of runoff to play with, the rate of learning is naturally far quicker here. Especially once I’d realised that Rob wasn’t there to criticise my current level of driving but instead was genuinely interested in helping me work on what I’d already learnt to become a better, faster driver. Surely a dream of any true petrolhead?

    Rob soon determined that smoothness in and out of corners was something that I could certainly do with some help with. First up, he assisted me in honing the art of trailing off the brakes gradually into slower-speed corners. Known by the pros as ‘trail braking’, the technique is something of a mirror to the ‘piece of string’ theory mentioned earlier; where the brakes are hit hard as you’d expect before turning, but then let off gradually as you begin to turn the steering wheel. As well as allowing you a later braking time, this technique perhaps more importantly helps keep the weight distribution of the car balanced for optimum grip and tyre usage throughout the turn. Easier said than done, for sure, but with some practice it’s soon easy to understand why this is one of the most effective weapons a racing driver can keep up their sleeve.

    Other small nuggets of invaluable wisdom Rob helped me pick up on included keeping your vision focused on where you’re aiming as well as where you are (“don’t just live in the moment – you don’t know what’s around the corner unless you look”) and maintaining good positioning on the steering wheel (“those spokes are put in the ten-to-two position for a reason”) with a relaxed grip to ensure you pick up on as much feedback the car is supplying you with as possible. All techniques I don’t know if I’d ever manage to teach myself, regardless on how much track time I was exposed to.
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    F21 120d M Sport

    We’re not allowed to modify our company cars, at least not in a permanent way, which meant that for someone like me, who bought a car to modify while my other modified car was away being further modified, the temptation to fit at least one nonpermanent modification was too great to resist. The easiest of these is a change of wheels.

    I do actually like the standard 18s you get on the M Sport, which is not something you can often say these days as most manufacturers, #BMW included, seem to be churning out some truly horrific rims. Sick for sure, but not in the good, street way. If the 120d were mine mine, I’d have probably left them on there but as it’s a company car the thought of kerbing a wheel fills me with dread as it’s not something you can forget about or overcome with a different set of wheels as it has to go back on its original wheels and, really, they need to be pristine. So, with the fear of kerbing hanging over my head and the modding bug nibbling at some other body part I decided to treat the 120d to some new wheels.

    As luck would have it a couple of months ago I came across a press release for the latest wheels from AEZ (www.aez-wheels.com). Called ‘the Raise’, they immediately caught my eye because they looked really smart. The twin five-spoke design is similar to that of the standard wheels but the wider spacing and combination of gunmetal and polished surfaces (an all-silver version is also available) gave them an edge and made them look like a more exciting wheel, but not something that would look OTT on a standard car. Best of all, the Raise is readily available and comes in 1 Series fitment so I took that as a sign that I should go ahead and get a set.

    When the wheels arrived I have to say that they looked even better than they did in the pictures and I was genuinely impressed. The quality and finish are superb, the gunmetal painted sections have a light metallic flake to them, while the polished sections are diamond cut, which look fantastic when the light hits them. I went for the 8x18-inch ET42 option rather than the more aggressive ET35 fitment, which would make the wheels stick out an additional 7mm; the lower offset also meant that I could run staggered tyres like the standard setup, 225s and 245s front and rear respectively.


    With the OE fitment run-flats remaining on the 120d’s standard wheels I needed tyres for my AEZs so I decided to go for something I had prior experience with and which has been enjoying universal praise since its launch: the Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 (www.goodyear.eu). In a nutshell, it’s packing some seriously impressive rubbery tech designed to make driving safer and more enjoyable; Reinforce Construction Technology results in a stronger, lightweight construction which means better handling, cornering performance, improved tread wear and fuel efficiency; the new Grip Booster compound uses adhesive resin to increase the tyre’s stickiness, which means better grip for braking and handling on both wet and dry roads; and, finally, Active Braking Technology increases the contact surface and therefore grip under braking, meaning shorter braking distances in both wet and dry conditions. It’s an impressive list of credentials and it explains why this particular rubber donut has been showered with awards from the German motoring press as well as taking second place in evo magazine’s recent and extremely comprehensive tyre test. And if that wasn’t praise enough, I also happen to run the same tyre on my 5.7-litre V8 Chevrolet Camaro, where it’s done an amazing job of taming all the torque the LS1 produces and generates some serious cornering grip, so I figured it would be more than up to the task of handling what the 120d produces.

    So, first of all, I think the wheels look fantastic on the 1 Series. The design really suits the car. I like the fact that they don’t look at all out of place on it but also that they look bigger and more dynamic than the slightly more subdued standard wheels did. And, second, I much prefer the way the car feels on the Eagle F1s; run-flats have come a long way, this much is true, but even so they lag behind traditional tyres, especially ultra high performance ones like these. The 120d never felt tied down on the factory tyres, even in dry conditions it felt a little loose beneath you, a little understeery, and not as communicative as you’d like. The Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3s feel so much better, with a lot more grip and the car feels a lot more planted, like it’s really keyed into the road and I feel a lot more confident about pitching it into tight corners at speed. It’s also a little quieter and I’d say the ride has also improved a touch. A winning combination all-round, then.

    CAR: #BMW-F21 / #BMW-120d-M-Sport / #BMW-120d-M-Sport-F21 / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-F21 / #2016 /

    YEAR: 2016
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 675
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 4615
    MPG THIS MONTH: 46.2
    COST THIS MONTH: £1270.40
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    F21 120d M Sport

    It’s been another busy month for the #BMW-1-Series , racking up the miles steadily thanks to a number of shoots and shows I’ve been attending, and it’s given me plenty of time to start getting familiar with the 120d. Did I mention I love the auto throttle blipping on downshifts?

    Because I really do. It makes the car better to drive on every level and, far from taking away from the driving experience, I’d say it enhances it and it’s actually hard to imagine being without it, even after such a short space of time. On a couple of occasions I have also strayed beyond the lower level of the rev range, where I can normally be found for fuel economy purposes, and subsequently discovered that the 120d is surprisingly rapid when you choose to use the revs rather than low-end torque. I feel a little guilty for not enjoying the hot hatch levels of performance more often, but the 120d’s torque-rich motor is a victim of its own success and there’s little reason to really rev it beyond 2500rpm or so in day-to-day driving.

    I’ve not yet had the opportunity to see how well the cargo area copes with a photographer’s demand for space with all their equipment, but I’ve had four 18-inch wheels in the back and my only complaint is the lack of rear doors makes accessing the space available, especially when it comes to removing items, a bit tricky.

    The 120d has also impressed me with its fuel economy, even in these early days when the engine is still tight and not operating at its most economical. It’s currently averaging high 40s, creeping over the 50mpg mark on one trip, which is not at all bad considering the very short daily commute it does with me and considering the more powerful engine. I wonder if, when I swap from run-flats to all-season tyres as I plan on doing soon, fuel economy will take a dip as it seemed to do on the 118d? We’ll have to wait and see.

    Once upon a time, when BMW first made the fateful switch to run-flat tyres, we on #BMW Car would be constantly inundated with letters from readers complaining about the atrocious ride caused by the combination of run-flats and M Sport suspension. In fact, we would actively discourage readers from spec’ing this combo if possible, or point them in the direction of non-run-flat alternatives. Well, the times they are a-changing, and run-flat technology has moved on significantly over the years meaning that M Sport suspension and run-flat rubber is now a much better combination and arguably the best it’s ever been. The ride is, of course, firm as you would expect from a sport suspension setup and while on undulating roads the 120d does have a tendency to exhibit a sort of pogo-ing behaviour, the rest of the time it feels compliant and nicely planted on the road.

    It’s not been a perfect two months, though, as a couple of things have been irritating me. The rain-sensing wipers are as hopeless as they were on the 118d, making it impossible to select a setting that really works, with the wipers either flailing around dementedly when a fine mist descends on the screen, or failing to do anything when it feels like you’re attempting to drive through a lake. My Camaro has what must be about ten different intermittent wiper settings and this makes fine-tuning wiper activity to correspond to rain intensity a breeze. Low tech for the win.


    Another complaint I have is to do with the speed-sensitive volume. On the 118d it was fine, if perhaps not all that effective, but on the 120d it has a habit of being very quiet and then SUDDENLY GETTING MUCH LOUDER when it detects a random bit of road noise and then goes quiet again. But it’s not actually much cop when you want it to get louder, like when your brain is starting to drip out of your ears on the M25’s absolutely ridiculously-surfaced and completely deafening south eastern stretch, for example. Maybe some tweaking of the level will yield better results. Finally, I’ve encountered a strange sort of part-throttle hesitation under acceleration; it occurs when you have to either lift off the throttle pedal and go to press on it again or have been travelling at a constant speed and want to accelerate slightly. What happens is, basically, nothing; it’s like for that fraction of a second, which it surely must be but does feel longer, the throttle pedal is disconnected from the engine and you’re pressing down on it but there’s no response.

    As I say it only lasts for a split second and the solution is to just add more throttle, but it’s slightly disconcerting and it has been happening regularly. I’ll have to wait and see if it gets better and goes away, or gets worse and needs looking at.

    CAR: #BMW-F21 / #BMW-120d-M-Sport / #BMW-F20 / #BMW-120d-M-Sport / #BMW-120d-M-Sport-F21 / #BMW-120d-F21 / #BMW-120d / #BMW-1-Series-F21
    YEAR: #2016
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 880
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 1870
    MPG THIS MONTH: 49.8
    COST THIS MONTH: Nil
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    There’s a new arrival in the form of an #BMW F20 120d M Sport, the track car has some further surgery, Mark Williams has been testing a Cadillac on holiday and there’s a round up from the Everett fleet.

    F21 120d M Sport

    So, one month ago I said goodbye to my trusty 118d of three years and said hello to my new 120d M Sport. It was obviously exciting to see the 120d for the first time as it arrived on the back of a trailer and the thrill of getting a new car, be it new or just new to you, never diminishes. First impressions were very good indeed. I’d never owned a white car before and, despite my hand being forced on the colour front, I have no complaints as white really suits the 1 Series, especially in M Sport trim. This, combined with the face-lift styling, really make a big difference in the looks department; while I had grown to love the chubbycheeked and slightly, um, fishy styling of my 118d, the LCI refresh has given the 1 Series a much more modern, dynamic and appealing face and overall look. The narrow headlights, especially in full-LED form as on my car, combined with the angular elements of the M Sport kit make the car look more aggressive and the three-door bodystyle that, once again, I was forced into due to budget constraints, is miles ahead of the frumpy five-door. Not only do you get frameless windows (always sexy) you also get nicely sculpted flanks which give the car a shapely appearance. Twin pipes and smarter rear light clusters finish off a triumphant face-lift. A lot of people at the office and, I wager, in other offices the world over like to chop and change when it comes to company cars so I was slightly worried that opting for the same model would make me feel like I hadn’t changed cars at all. Thankfully, that couldn’t be further from the truth and the interior plays a big part in this, in fact it feels so different to that of the 118d, I sometimes feel I’ve moved up to a different class of car. Being able to afford to tick the M Sport box this time around has arguably made the biggest difference; the steering wheel looks and feels fantastic, the smaller gear knob sits perfectly in the palm (a design so successful it looks identical to that of the E46 Sport models), the silver textured hexagon trim with its blue flashes save the interior from becoming a black abyss and the seats, while no different to those of my 118d in terms of design, look and feel more expensive thanks to their Alcantara side bolsters and thigh support.

    The face-lift has brought with it a number of interior changes, too. For example, climate control has replaced the manual air conditioning I had in the 118d and the fuel economy swingometer has made a welcome return to the bottom of the rev counter and (major geek warning) I noticed that the notches you feel when turning the radio volume knob, which has now gained a power symbol and illustrated volume curve, are softer and smoother than on the 118d’s volume knob. The biggest change is without doubt the addition of sat nav, now standard across the range. While it might only be the Business version, with its small screen, I have yet to find any features that are missing from BMW’s sat navlite that would make it feel inadequate.

    Full postcode search? Yes. Detailed supplementary arrow view? Yup. Weather? That’s a yes. You do have to work hard to get everything set up, though… ‘Crikey,’ I thought to myself whilst driving home in the dark one evening, ‘that display’s a bit bright, best turn it down.’ Of course, the option to change the night time brightness of the display isn’t in any of the sat nav menus, it’s in the control display menu but what is in the sat nav menu is the option to have the night time map display turned on, which gives you a much darker map with less glare. With no right-hand display pane like you’d find on the Professional nav to flip through various additional display options, you have to find the extra options menu, which then lets you add the very useful detailed turn arrows to the map display. You might think that the screen would start getting cluttered at this point but it’s fine; the arrow panel sits on the right and you only need to see the central or bottom central areas of the map, depending on your preferred view, and this area remains unobstructed at all times.

    I know people say that there’s no need for built-in sat nav in cars these days as phone nav is so good, and it is, but it’s still nice to have everything integrated, rather than having a TomTom hanging from your windscreen or your phone strapped to an air vent. It helps that BMW’s HDDbased nav is very good and while I miss being able to simply search for a company or place like I could in Google Maps on my phone and getting directions instantly, the interactive map is great at letting you pinpoint where you want to go when your destination is a little off-piste.

    The rest of the spec on my 120d is equally good and while it’s not what you’d call fully-loaded, it brings a lot more kit to the party then the 118d did. Cruise control was my mostmissed feature, the 118d being the only one of my current three-car stable to not have it, and I’ve already been using it lots in my first month with the 120d. My only complaint with the setup is that when you turn it on, the display between the dials says something like ‘Cruise Control ready’ but that means you can’t see the exact speed you’re setting it to until this message disappears as the digital speed read-out is located on the same display, though you can still use the little green LED that whizzes up the side of the speedo. The work-around is to have it turned on all the time, but then you have to drive around with the red LED showing at a random point on the speedo.

    Parking sensors are a very welcome addition; perhaps you might think that they’d be redundant on a small car like the 1 Series, but it’s not such a small car these days and judging where the back ends, especially when there’s a low object behind you, is actually really difficult. I’d actually say that reversing my 118d was harder than reversing my Camaro, which is massive in comparison but is very low, so you can see what’s behind you, and also has a low level hoop-style spoiler that you can use to judge where the car ends.

    As far as the LED headlights are concerned, the long summer days have meant minimal opportunities to truly appreciate what they are capable of, but first impressions are that they appear to be insanely, almost comically bright and do an incredible job of slicing through the darkness. Another a new feature I love is the auto-blip on downshifts; based on my time spent on Pistonheads, there are plenty of people who hate this function whatever car it may be on, presumably because these people heel and toe all the time everywhere in every single car (school run in the Kia? Heel and toe!), but for the remaining 99.9 per cent of the population it’s an excellent feature. I would try my best to rev match on downshifts when driving the 118d, so the hardest part of driving the 120d initially was remembering that I didn’t need to do that anymore. I have noticed that it doesn’t always work, so I will investigate exactly what parameters are required in order for it to function.

    While the leap from 118d to 120d, and with it a jump for 143hp to 190hp, hasn’t actually felt like a massive increase in performance possibly because, at the time of writing, the 120d hasn’t yet broken the 1000-mile mark and is fresh and tight, the switch to the new #B47D20 engine has brought about a massive increase in refinement. Good as the #N47 that preceded it was, it never sounded like anything other than a diesel and was often very clattery and rough. The #B47 is anything but and, from the inside at least, there is virtually no indication that there’s a diesel lump up front. It’s very quiet, smooth and what little noise it does make is really no worse than what you would experience from one of BMW’s current crop of fourcylinder petrols.


    As far as fuel economy is concerned, the on-paper figures put the 120d only a fraction behind the 118d, so I figured that would mean similar real-world economy too. Obviously it’s very early days and I would expect economy to improve once the 120d has a few more miles beneath its wheels, but from the 47.7mpg that the last tank yielded, I’d say it was off to a pretty good start.


    Incidentally, having covered approximately 12 miles with zero range showing and having squeezed 49-litres of diesel into the tank the next day, the remaining three litres at 47mpg would have given me another 31 miles, which is worth knowing should I find myself playing the fuel light lottery again anytime soon.

    DATA #BMW-F21 / #BMW-120d-M-Sport / #BMW-120d-M-Sport-F21 / #BMW-120d-F21 / #BMW-120d
    YEAR: #2016
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 990
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 990
    MPG THIS MONTH: 47.7
    COST THIS MONTH: Nil


    Standard sat nav gets a big thumb’s up as do revised stero controls and the reappearance of the economy ‘Swingometer’ at the bottom of the rev counter.

    Elizabeth is pleased with her new 120d M Sport and has been delving through iDrive menus and pushing all the buttons to find out what’s changed over her old 118d Sport.
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    It might look like a normal Schnitzered 1 Series but this unassuming hatch is packing a triple-turbo straight-six from the M550d! Words: Bob Harper. Photography: Dave Smith.

    POWER STATION
    What’s the best way to make the 1 Series hatch quicker? By fitting a triple-turbo 3.0-litre diesel!

    While I’m sure it isn’t an actual law in Germany to accelerate like a banshee when joining a motorway it does quite often seem to be the way things are done over there. It certainly makes a welcome change from the status quo in the UK where inevitably I seem to always be following someone who seems to think that 45mph is an ideal speed to try and merge with fast-moving motorway traffic. I think perhaps the German model has something to do with the fact that on derestricted sections of autobahn the traffic you’re trying to merge with could be tanking along almost at the speed of sound so it makes sense to try and join them as fast as possible.

    As luck would have it the section of autobahn that runs past AC Schnitzer’s HQ is of the derestricted variety and having warmed the cars through in the workshop and on the slow trundle to the autobahn it would be rude not to follow the approved German method of getting up to speed as soon as possible. Our support vehicle for today’s shoot is an F80 M3 and as I follow it on to the motorway in ‘my’ 1 Series hatch I’m pretty sure I know what’s going to happen: the M3’s going to disappear and I’ll spend the next few kilometres trying to play catch up.

    Bizarrely this couldn’t be further from the truth. As I see the M3’s rump start to squat as the power’s applied and I wind off the last bit of slip road lock from the 1 Series’ steering I bury my size nine into the carpet and am stunned by the ferocity of this machine’s acceleration. There’s an angry, but not unpleasant, rumbling coming from the car’s engine and exhaust and that M3 is in no shape or form pulling away. The eight-speed auto melds the cogs together virtually imperceptibly and all I’m aware of is a seemingly inexorable accelerative force. It’s as if the 1 Series is attached to the back of the M3 with a steel hawser and nothing’s going to separate them.

    If I’m going to be completely honest then I need to admit that before I drove this unassuming 1 Series I already knew what was under the bonnet. Had I not been aware of the power it was packing I would have been well and truly gobsmacked by its performance. If I’d have been in Schnitzer’s shoes I think I’d have been tempted to send me out for a drive in the car saying ‘see what you think of our new 120d’.

    While this might look like a 120d, it’s packing a far superior punch – the triple-turbo straight-six that’s usually found under the bonnet of the M550d and X5 M50d. In standard tune it’s good for 381hp and 546lb ft of torque, but if you’re going to pop this engine into a 1 Series then obviously what it really needs is some more power, so Schnitzer’s boffins turned up the wick to 400hp and 590lb ft of torque.

    Nice. As I’ve already discovered this makes it a very rapid machine indeed, and according to Schnitzer’s figures it’ll knock off the 0-62mph dash in just 4.5 seconds and can accelerate from 80-180km/h in a scant 7.9 seconds – more or less exactly on par with a standard F82 M4.


    This 150d has actually been around for a little while now – Schnitzer built it to wow the crowds at the Essen Motor show at the tail end of 2015 – and while it was quite a showstopper its real purpose was to highlight the company’s range of accessories for the face-lifted 1 Series. What better way to do that than to get just about every motoring website on the planet slavering over the prospect of a 400hp super hatch? But to our knowledge no one’s actually tested the show car before, and we’re eternally grateful to the chaps at AC Schnitzer for pulling out all of the stops to get it ready for our latest visit. While the car has been up and running since it was built, Schnitzer discovered that some (fairly serious) reworking of the cooling system was going to be required so the car was put on the back burner while the company concentrated on more pressing projects.

    There’s no getting away from the fact that the car does look pretty sharp, and this could be the case for any 1 Series hatch, not just those with 400hp under their bonnets. At the front there’s a two-piece front spoiler that has the effect of really tying the front end to the road, while at the rear a spoiler atop the hatch gives the impression that the car needs to be pulled down to the Tarmac at speed. The whole package is assisted by the suspension setup which hunkers the car down to the road and can be had either as the fully adjustable Racing setup, or more simply just as a spring kit. Either way the car’s lowered and when sitting on a set of Schnitzer’s AC1 rims (19-inches in this case, shod with 225/35 rubber) the look is very purposeful and aggressive. Other than that, just about the only giveaway that this car is packing some serious power is the twin-exit exhaust sprouting from the rear valance, but given that an M135i is so equipped it’s not really that much of a surprise.

    Physically slotting the triple turbo version of the N57 diesel unit into the 1 Series hatch wasn’t too tricky – after all the engine’s no physically larger than the straight-six petrol unit in the M135i, but getting the engine’s electronics to talk with the 1 Series chassis was a bit of a challenge. As BMW’s most powerful diesel can only be hooked up to the fourwheel drive xDrive powertrain with the eight-speed auto the donor car was a 120d xDrive and as a result Schnitzer’s hottest 1 Series really is an absolute doddle to drive. Simply jump in, press the starter, slip the auto gear knob into D and off you go. On part throttle applications around town you really don’t get the feeling that there’s anything desperately special about the car – it really does behave just like a 120d with a slightly more vocal than standard exhaust.

    As we’ve already experienced, its straight-line acceleration is sensational but what’s it like when it comes to the twisties? En route to our photo location it feels like it’s pretty eager to turn into corners and at moderate-to-brisk speeds there’s no telling there’s anything non-standard about the car. As is often the case stopping for pictures to be taken spoils the fun and while photographer Smithy positions the car to make it look like there’s a power station under the bonnet I have a quick gander at the engine bay and am greeted by one of Schnitzer’s now familiar engine optic packages. If the engine cover wasn’t painted in red and black I’d be hard pressed to see what was out of the ordinary here – it really does look like a factory installation. Inside it’s pretty untouched too, just with enough Schnitzer embellishments to make you aware that there have been a few changes from standard. There’s an alloy pedal set and footrest along with a handbrake handle and a set of floor mats. The only major change from standard is an Awron digital gauge that sits where one of the air vents on the centre consul should be.


    Fortunately our lake front spot for pictures has a time limit on it so before too long it’s time to hit the road again and now the shots are imprinted to the camera’s memory card I can start to properly get to grips with the car’s performance. In the olden days of performance diesels one would always have assumed that slotting a 3.0-litre oil burner under the bonnet of a small hatch would have led to a pretty serious handling imbalance, but these days there’s very little to choose between the weight of 3.0-litre petrol and a 3.0-litre diesel unit, and while the N57S from the M550d is heavier than the N55 in the 135i it’s probably not by quite as much as you would think. Thus the 150d feels pretty handy on the back roads and can be thrown about quite happily without encountering the serious dose of understeer that your brain might be telling you should be rearing its ugly head.

    That’s not to say that it can be driven like any other rear-wheel drive BMW, though, as like every xDrive machine we’ve encountered you do need to slightly modify your driving style to get the best from it. The key is to get those driven front wheels working for you and as a result you need to get on the throttle far earlier than you normally would, and when you do you can really feel the effect as they start to pull you around any given corner as the rear wheels are pushing you. It takes a little getting used to, but once you’ve got the hang of it the speed you can carry through corners has to be experienced to be believed. The more you try it the more you grow accustomed to the car’s abilities and you do find yourself starting to take liberties with the car.

    On a twisty section of Tarmac it feels immense and I can’t imagine many machines feeling significantly quicker, or significantly more comfortable being treated like this. The 150d is fitted with bigger-than-standard brakes which helps to give you confidence and once you’ve gelled with the car and got accustomed to the levels of feedback on offer you really do start to feel invincible.

    For once I’d have been quite happy if we’d encountered sheeting rain on our shoot, as I can only imagine how much confidence the xDrive system would give you in the wet. Transmitting this amount of power and torque to damp Tarmac in a rear-wheel drive BMW can really show up a chassis’ deficiencies – witness all the criticisms levelled at the F8x generation of M3 and M4 when driven hard on wet UK roads – but in the 150d you could really put all that power and torque to good use. As an everyday, all-season performance car that could quite easily pass under the radar, this unassuming grey hatch really can have few, if any, peers.


    A couple of months back I came away from driving Schnitzer’s take on the 340i xDrive Touring thinking that it was the ultimate all rounder… I’m afraid I’m going to have to revise that opinion – my favourite everyday machine is now the Schnitzer 150d. It’s just a shame that it will remain a one-off show car as I reckon it would sell like hot cakes. As a one-off show car its build cost was in the region of €150,000 and at that price point perhaps there are too many other machines vying for our attention. If my lottery numbers come up though I’d be sorely tempted to make Schnitzer an offer it really couldn’t refuse.

    CONTACT: AC Schnitzer UK
    Tel: 01485 542000
    Web: www.ac-schnitzer.co.uk
    AC Schnitzer Germany
    Tel: +49 (0)241 56 88 130
    Web: www.ac-schnitzer.de

    TECHNICAL DATA #2016 / #AC-Schnitzer-150d / #AC-Schnitzer / #BMW-150d / #BMW-150d-F21 / #AC-Schnitzer-150d-F21 / #BMW-150d-AC-Schnitzer / #BMW-150d-AC-Schnitzer-F21 / #BMW-F21 / #BMW / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-1-Series-F21 /

    ENGINE: Straight-six, 24-valve, turbo diesel
    CAPACITY: 2993cc
    MAX POWER: 400hp @ 4400rpm
    MAX TORQUE: 590lb ft @ 2400rpm
    0-62MPH: 4.5 seconds
    80-180KM/H: 7.9 seconds
    TOP SPEED: 155mph (limited)
    EMISSIONS: 177g/km

    MODIFICATIONS
    ENGINE: Installation of #N57S / #BMW-N57S triple-turbo straight-six; AC Schnitzer engine optics
    TRANSMISSION: Eight-speed auto, #xDrive four-wheel drive / #ZF8HP
    EXHAUST: AC Schnitzer bespoke exhaust
    SUSPENSION: AC Schnitzer Racing suspension
    WHEELS AND TYRES: #AC-Schnitzer-AC1 Bicolour, 8.5x19-inch (all-round) with 225/35 tyres
    AERODYNAMICS: AC Schnitzer two-piece front spoiler elements; AC Schnitzer mirror covers (carbon); AC Schnitzer rear roof spoiler
    INTERIOR: AC Schnitzer aluminium pedal set; AC Schnitzer aluminium foot rest; AC Schnitzer key holder; AC Schnitzer floor mats

    As an everyday, all-season performance car that could quite easily pass under the radar, this unassuming grey hatch really can have few, if any, peers.
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    CROSSING THE LINE

    One of the most spectacular builds we’ve seen in a long time, this #BMW-M135i is quite unlike anything else. Words: Elizabeth de Latour /// Photos: Henry Phull @ Slam Sanctuary

    When Bruce Gowans said he had plans for his M135, he wasn’t lying. A year ago, this car was candy red with a modest boot build and Watercooled Industry wheels and now, well, it’s pretty much unrecognisable. There’s modifying your car and then there’s forging ahead with an absolute vision that’s uncompromised and single-minded in its intent. This car is what happens when someone makes that vision a reality.

    There is no typical modified BMW owner, and Bruce certainly fits into that non-box of atypicality. He is of the ‘older’ generation, shall we say, and resides in a tiny village in the heart of the Bedfordshire countryside, a million miles away from the frenetic and eclectic world that is the modified BMW scene. But this mechanical engineer has a heart that pumps pure petrol and has spent his entire life flitting from modified car to modified car, with an underlying appreciation for BMW but never the opportunity to indulge that interest in Bavarian metal until he acquired this M135i. “I’ve been interested in BMWs ever since I was a lad and grew up into a petrolhead! I’ve been a fan since the first E30 M3 and seeing an E9 coupé on neighbour’s drive when I walked to school and thinking how cool it looked. I bought the M135i, my first BMW, for its ‘performance for the price’ factor and because the drivetrain, the engine and the transmission are such a great combination in this vehicle. I bought it brand-new in 2013 and was going to keep it stock…”

    “Both Shakey and I thought that translating this design into a vinyl wrap would be a nigh-on impossible task”

    Digital audio explained:

    “The system in this car was spec’d to accommodate Bruce’s passion for high resolution audio. It’s cutting edge in the fact it can play any file format he wants and samples up to 196khz with bit depths of up to 24-bit. When you consider a CD (still reference in so many studios) samples at 44.1khz at 16-bit, that’s a huge amount more information. Of course, all of the car’s OEM equipment and functionality is retained and played through the new system alongside solid state hard drives, wireless streaming and various other inputs.”
    Carl Shakespeare, Director, Studio Incar

    Clearly that didn’t happen. It seems like the car was stock for all of five minutes before Bruce had started tinkering and while the mods started off sensibly and in a restrained manner, once the momentum began to build there was clearly no stopping Bruce (or the M135i). “The first mod was to get a new exhaust developed and fitted by Scorpion Exhausts. Then Luke and the guys at Plush supplied and fitted the air-ride, sourcing components from AirREX and an eLevel system from Accuair. This was closely followed by a carbon-fibre front splitter from SSDD,” he says. “Spring 2014 brought a change in colour, with a candy red colour wrap from Avery called True Blood.


    New MD1 wheels from Watercooled Industries were added, closely followed by a Juice Box 4 (JB4) piggyback ECU from Burger Motorsports and a decat downpipe which were fitted at #Performance-Developments in Sunderland. The car went to #Forge-Motorsport in #Gloucester to have one of its high-performance intercoolers fitted, along with one of its dump valves.” With all those mods on board, it made 400hp and 450lb ft of torque on the dyno and considering how blisteringly quick the standard M135i is, that’s going to be more than enough power to keep Bruce happy. “After having the traction control kick in once too often, I took the decision to fit a limited-slip diff to the car. Options were thin on the ground for this platform but Birds in Iver, Buckinghamshire developed a Quaife ATB for it, which has made a massive difference to the way the car drives.”


    And that is where the story would end for most people. A dramatic wrap, some exceedingly nice wheels, air-ride and some performance mods. A fine selection of upgrades. Job done. But that’s not where this story ends, as you can clearly see. “At the end of 2014 I planned to make some big changes to the car and started speaking to Carl Shakespeare at Studio Incar about my plans,” he explains. “We discussed my ideas for a rear-seat delete and a high-end audio installation and things just got out of hand. I had already decided to try and get a BTCC body kit. I contacted West Surrey Racing and negotiated with the guys there to buy a genuine race car kit from their 2014/15 BMW 1 Series race car. However, fitting it proved more difficult than you might think! The BTCC cars have front and rear subframes and crash structures that are specified by TOCA and these also provide mounting points for the front and rear body panels. These didn’t match up with the mounting and fixing points that BMW specify! It required the rear wings to be cut and tubbed – scary stuff! Luckily, Stylehaus in Northampton has some serious skills and brought the whole thing together.


    “Shakey project managed the whole build with input from me, like my suggestion for the triple tank setup. Once the car was back from the bodyshop, and with a little bit of extra fettling by Fibreglass Phil in Kent (the manufacturer of the BTCC kit), the audio and air install could begin in earnest.” With a bit of direction from Bruce, Shakey was free to run riot inside the M135i. The end result is an interior that feels like it’s very much been built around the air and audio and one look inside leaves you in no doubt that this car’s main purpose is to astound. The rear seats have been removed completely, replaced by the awesome triple floating tank setup that looks like a spaceship, illuminated from above and hovering over the massive 15” Hertz Mille sub which forms part of the incredibly high-end digital audio install, while the rear load space is home to the three Audison amps, on display in a beautifully designed enclosure. There’s acres of Alcantara in here, which reaches up to cover the roof lining as well, while some extremely sexy custom door pods are home to Hertz Mille speakers. Finally, a custom panel in the centre console (also trimmed in Alcantara) houses the controllers for the audio system and the air suspension. It’s one of the most spectacular, special and perfectly-executed builds we’ve ever seen and it’s nothing short of a work of art.


    With such a spectacular build going on, the right wheels were going to be absolutely essential and Bruce was keen to move away from the usual suspects, like BBS and Rotiform, and try something different. “I had been in touch with Brada wheels in the States for a year or so, originally to try and get some wheels for my GT3,” he says. “I spoke to Zane and we agreed a design and spec for the wheels that were destined to go on the BMW. However, because the car was away having the body kit fitted, Shakey and I could only make an educated guess as to what the exact widths and offsets of the wheels would be, with us only knowing what the overall width of the BTCC car is and working back from those dimensions…” It can be hard enough to work out your exact wheel specs when you’ve got your car in front of you so this was most definitely a risky strategy but it worked and the resulting wheels are the perfect fit for the M135i. Bruce opted for Brada’s BR1 crossspokes with gloss black centres, matt black lips and stainless steel bolts in 9.5x19” at the front and 10.5x19” at the rear, the fitment perfect for tucking the wheels under the massive arches when the car is aired out.


    In terms of styling, the kit alone wasn’t enough for Bruce and he decided to take things to the next level. “The wrap design wasn’t established until quite late in the build. I have always been a fan of the BMW Art Car projects but picking a design to base the wrap for the M135i was tricky. Several of the Art Cars are ‘challenging’, to say the least,” he laughs, “but this Frank Stella design from 1976 was selected – it appealed to my inner engineer! Both Shakey and I thought that translating this design into a vinyl wrap would be a nigh-on impossible task, since the original consisted of lots of parallel horizontal and vertical lines; the hardest thing to do with vinyl wrap… Carl contacted JD Wraps in Essex and a deal was struck. When I collected the car a week later I was amazed. The guys had done an awesome job.” The combination of kit and wrap is one that is both single-handedly responsible for the utterly insane amount of attention this car garners but is also the most polarising aspect of the whole project. Some people love the wrap but hate the kit. Some people hate the kit but love the wrap. Some people hate them both. And some people like everything that this car has got going on! However you feel, it’s a talking point and gets the car noticed. Bruce loves it, however, which ultimately is the most important thing.


    Amazingly, all this work took just six months, really not long at all considering just how much has gone into the build and how complete the transformation has been. Bruce chose the Players Classic show for the car’s unveiling. It got as much attention as you’d expect and the sort of reactions you’d expect. “It seems to be very much a ‘Marmite’ car!” Bruce tells us. More importantly, though, he can now sit back and actually enjoy the car. Beyond the looks and the next-level interior, he’s got a fast, powerful car that’s great to drive, with an incredible sound system. It’s a package that just begs to be taken out on the road and enjoyed and, in fact, that’s now his only plan for the future.

    DATA FILE #2015 #BMW-M135i-F21 / #BMW-M135i / #BMW-F21 / #BMW / #Brada-BR1

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six turbo #N55B30 / #N55 , JB4 piggyback ECU from #Burger-Motorsport , #Scorpion full exhaust including a decat downpipe, #Forge / #Forge-FMIC / , #Forge-DV , stock #ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox #ZF8HP , #Quaife ATB LSD from #Birds

    CHASSIS 9.5x19” (front) and 10.5x19” (rear) #Brada BR1 three-piece wheels with gloss black lips, matt black faces and stainless hardware, with 235/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) #Goodyear Eagle Asymmetric 2 tyres, #AirREX air-ride and Accuair eLevel management

    EXTERIOR #BMW-M-Performance carbon fibre wing mirror shells, #BMW M Performance black front grilles, #BTCC body kit from WSR, Art Car wrap by #JD-Wraps

    INTERIOR Interior by #Studio-Incar , full digital audio install comprising Audison AV Quattro amp x2, Audison AV Uno amp, Audison bit Ten D processor, #Audison bit Play HD source, #Hertz-Mille three-way front end, Hertz Mille 15” sub, rear seat delete, custom air installation, Alcantara roof lining, integrated audio and suspension controllers built in to the centre console

    THANKS Studio Incar and Shakey in particular for handling this project and for keeping my spirits up when I needed it, Zane and Jacob at Brada, Myles and Chris at Brada UK, Fibreglass Phil, Scorpion Exhausts, Forge Motorsport, the guys at Stylehaus, Luke Massy, Phil James, Kat and the team at JD Wraps, Voodoo Elie for getting me out of a tricky situation, and last but not least, Ed Hamilton at JK Engineering for being a great friend, being just as daft as me and as big a petrolhead as me!
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