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    BMW M240i
    The M Performance coupe surprises a sceptical staff writer with its ability to feel more like a proper M Division car.

    / #BMW-F22 / #BMW-M240i / #BMW-M240i-F22 / #BMW-2-Series / #BMW-2-Series-F22 / #BMW-2-Series-Coupe / #BMW-2-Series-Coupe-F22 / #BMW-M240i / #2018

    Our M240i has been with us for a good six months as I write this, but despite plenty of opportunities, I haven’t felt particularly compelled to hop into this 335bhp rear-wheel- drive coupe. Why? Because I’ve simply never fallen for the M240i, nor its predecessor, the M235i, or its hot hatch equivalent, the M140i. To me they’re good, ordinary #BMW s: fast enough and with decent handling, but the M Division influence implied by the ‘M Performance’ branding has never felt overwhelming.

    Then recently I noticed that our 240 had spent a couple of nights in the car park, so I took pity on it. And I found more obvious M-car traits than I was expecting, although, as is the modern way, I had to select Sport or Sport+ mode before these characteristics became apparent. The first was from the gearbox.

    Unfortunately, the abrupt gearchange that you experience with the #DCT ’box in current M-cars has made its way into the M240i’s eight-speed auto. At every full-throttle upshift the change of ratios is so forceful that it sends a shock through the drivetrain. If you change up mid-corner the whole car becomes flustered. Thankfully this isn’t as frightening as in the proper #M-cars , as the 240i’s open differential means only one tyre will lose traction, rather than both, if the gearchange is especially brutal. It’s perhaps the first time in my life I’ve been glad a rear-wheel-drive car didn’t have an LSD.

    Once accustomed to the brusque ’box, things got much better. In Sport mode the M240i feels more willing to weave its nose through a set of bends than any other sub-full-M BMW I’ve driven. Instead of the squidgy-soft chassis I had expected, I found much tighter control, less body roll and more precision. And even despite the lack of LSD, the throttle had a much greater influence on the car’s attitude than I thought it would.

    This is the first M240i I’ve driven with adaptive dampers, and they clearly expand the car’s repertoire: every-day-comfortable on long journeys but sharper when you want to have fun. The M2 may make do with passive items, but the fancy dampers on the 240 do make it feel like more of an M-car when you need it to. Will Beaumont (@ Will-Beaumont)

    Date acquired November 2017
    Total mileage 8798
    Mileage this month 1561
    Costst his month £0
    Mpg this month 28.5
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    Will Beaumont
    Will Beaumont joined the group BMW 2 Series Coupe F22 Club
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    BMW 2002 The engine and axles are in, but springs have proved a pain

    / #BMW-2002 / #BMW

    Moving the 2002 to a more suitable location – a workshop rather than a conservatory – has meant that it’s been possible to carry out some real mechanical work on it. But before I could fit any major components, such as the engine and axles, I had to remake all of the hard brake lines that run through the engine bay and down the length of the car.

    It was a job I really wasn’t looking forward to, as I knew I wouldn’t be able to bend each pipe to the perfect angles to match my ludicrously high standards. And I was right. But I did manage to make them look neater than I ever thought I would, even if achieving this took me around six weeks of working on them every weekend.
    As well as making new brake lines I had to incorporate a new restrictor valve. OK, I didn’t have to – as I’ll be fitting the same rear drums I used before I could have just reinstalled the original unit that limited the pressure to the back axle at a fixed rate. But I wanted to install a variable one so that if, one day in the future, I decide to put disc brakes on the back, I can tone down their effectiveness.

    So while the braking system was apart it seemed silly not to include the valve, plus I’d also get the opportunity to tweak and fettle the brake bias. But where to put it? I bought it months ago, but only recently decided that just to the left of the handbrake was the ideal place for access and neatness of brake lines.

    After all that, the back axle was ready to go on. I refurbished the driveshafts with new gaiters and a lick of paint, and tidied up the diff casing with plenty of smooth black Hammerite – I think 50 per cent of the car’s final weight will be made up of smooth black Hammerite…

    The Gripper limited-slip differential will remain as before, with its same low 4.11:1 final-drive ratio and hilariously aggressive locking action. Next was the front axle and engine. For this I needed as many hands and eyes as possible to install it in without anything colliding with the immaculate bodywork. With the motor and gearbox on the front subframe, my dad, brother and I suspended the lot from a hoist through the bonnet. We then lowered the car on the ramp while raising the engine and front subframe, doing both at a glacial pace, until it all lined up. It was tense, but with many hands and reams of blue 3M masking tape, the blue paint remained blemish-free and my sanity intact.

    With the subframes and suspension arms attached, the Bilstein dampers and Gaz top mounts could go on. And the springs. Oh, what a debacle the springs have been. Bilstein suggested a set that sounded way too stiff, so Eibach helped out by testing the stiffness of my old springs and suggesting options it had available. After consulting with the technicians at Bilstein again, we settled on an 80N/mm main spring with a 20N/mm tender at the front, and progressive rears that are at 72N/ mm when static. The springs are proportionally a little softer at the front than the rear, which is the opposite way round to before, and exactly what I wanted to compensate for the slightly-too-stiff front anti-roll bar. However, overall the springs are 100 per cent stiffer than my old ones…
    Is it going to be too stiff? For most people, probably. For the person (me) who thinks a full roll-cage, harnesses, brake-bias adjustment, a diff that locks up with only the merest hint of any torque and a sprint-like final-drive ratio is acceptable on a road car, probably not.

    Will Beaumont (@ Wil-lBeaumont)
    Date acquired July 2008
    Total mileage 145,050-ish
    Mileage this month 0
    Costs this month £298 brake fittings and lines
    £500.40 springs (plus as much smooth black Hammerite as I can afford)
    Mpg this month n/a

    Above: work on the Beemer has forged ahead now that the 2002 is in the workshop, with engine, gearbox and suspension now all in place. Left: making new brake lines proved time-consuming.
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    Will Beaumont
    Will Beaumont unlocked the badge Photogenic
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    / #BMW-2002 Beaumont’s taken his classic BMW on a 2000-mile European #road-trip / #BMW /

    With as little planning as possible. That’s how I like my holidays. So at six o’clock one Friday after work, I set off f or mainland Europe – with no tunnel crossing booked and only a very vague idea of how I’d spend the week ahead.

    The first half of the week included going to an ’02 show in Holland (complete with sprint course) and visiting the Mercedes and Porsche Museums in Stuttgart before heading for the German/Austrian border.

    By this point I was beginning to think that I had ruined my car with the most recent modifications. The harsh engine mounts-meant that driving over 60mph on the motorway was intolerable and the vibration through the steering made my hands and forearms go numb after about 20 minutes. But I had only used motorways on my holiday up until then, so I decided to steer clear of auto-routes and Autobahns until I had to head back to England.

    The next day I drove across the Alps, taking the most scenic and exciting route I could find. I crossed the border from Germany into Austria, then headed through Liechtenstein, across Switzerland and back into Germany before ending up in France. I didn’t do any of the famous passes; instead I found roads that were even better suited to my car. The highlights were the Furkajoch (L51) in Austria and the L135 in Germany, just before you get into France. Had I been in something that wasn’t as small, thin and light, the roads might have been a bit too narrow. As it was, the little BMW was in its element, and any worries I had about having ruined my car completely evaporated.

    My route back to the UK – still not using motorways–went via the Nürburgring. I did a couple of laps of the Nordschleife, of course, the 2002 feeling underpowered but performing excellently. After that I stopped off at the Classic Spa Six Hours, before finally switching to motorways for the slow, numbing trip back home.

    You might expect that driving an old car for over 2000miles in a week – including laps of the Nordschleife And many timed attempts at a sprint course – would lead to constant mechanical problems, but in fact there were only two very minor issues. First, the passenger-side wiper broke, but I managed to reattach it with lots of insulation tape. Secondly, the end of a fuel pipe to one of the carbs had perished and cracked, and so started to leak fuel. But all I had to do here was take off the pipe, cut the perished end off and reattach it.

    With no major dramas but lots Of great driving, that’s what I call a successful holiday!

    Driver’s log
    Date acquired July 2008
    Total mileage 145,000-ish
    Mileage this month 2200-ish
    Costs this month £0
    Mpg this month 18-ish

    Clockwise from above: on the Eurotunnel; at a 2002 show in Holland; lapping the Nürburgring; on the stunning Furkajoch in Austria.
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    CAR: #BMW-2002 / #BMW /

    The classic BMW gets a new home and a new engine

    The 2002 is finally in a place appropriate for a car – a workshop. As amusing and as ludicrous as it was having a half-built BMW in my conservatory, the big temperature fluctuations made it an unpleasant environment to work in. It was nowhere near any tools, either.

    The car’s relocation has coincided with the arrival of its freshly rebuilt engine. I bought the new parts for the motor many years ago, but the actual build was delayed when I got carried away having the car painted. I decided not to build the engine myself; the car’s previous engine was assembled at home, but to do the new parts justice I thought it was better to assign them to the expert hands of Steve Campbell at Thunder Engineering.

    The specs of the new motor, working from the bottom up, are: baffled sump; standard crank and rods but with ARP fasteners; 92mm custom forged pistons to provide an 11:1 compression ratio (the bore increases capacity to 2.1 litres); standard valves; a 304-degree Schrick camshaft and uprated valve springs; 45mm choke Dellorto DHLA carburettors; and a custom tubular exhaust manifold.

    Rather than just throwing all the parts together, as I’d have done, Steve balanced the bottom end with the flywheel and a paddle clutch. The surfaces of all the rods were machined to remove any casting marks that could create weaknesses, and he also removed excess metal to make them all weigh the same. Furthermore, he matched the head ports to the inlet and exhaust manifolds.

    The engine will run on a worryingly modern mapped ignition set-up to eradicate the pre-ignition timing woes I had with my old distributor. I am dreading installing an ECU and working with it; I’ve not yet come to terms with the fact that one of the tools I’ll need is a laptop. So that the electronic ignition can work, a timing ring needed to be fixed to the front pulley along with a sensor to read it. Steve machined a bracket from aluminium to hold the sensor and found a way of bolting the timing ring, too. He’s precisely slotted the holes on the new ring so that I have a few degrees of adjustment should I need it when setting up the ignition map.

    Steve clearly has a similar attitude to projects as I do. The bracket for the timing sensor had to be bolted onto the front of the engine with different, longer bolts than the ones I’d supplied. The new ones he used were silver and didn’t match the yellow zinc-coated bolts that held the rest of the engine together, so he sent them off to be plated the same colour. The timing ring and water pump front went with the bolts, too.

    As well as the pinking issue, the other problem I needed to address was how hot the steering box got. As beautiful looking as my bespoke Retro Power-made 4-into-2-into-1 exhaust header is, it essentially encases the steering box in a hot cage. But rather than wrapping the stainless steel in old-school, space-robbing, ugly-looking heat wrap, I’ve had it coated in a high-tech ceramic coating by Zircotec. Well, if I now need a computer to work on my car, why not go the whole hog when it comes to modern technology?

    The new white coating, which is almost welded onto the surface with a torch, is made up of zirconia-based ceramics and will reduce the header’s surface temperature by 33 per cent. Obviously I haven’t yet felt the benefits of the ceramic coating, but I love the look of the white surface.

    Will Beaumont (@WillBeaumont)

    Date acquired July 2008
    Total mileage 146,050-ish
    Mileage this month 0
    Costs this month £3800 engine build (plus parts, which were bought so long ago I can’t remember the prices) £448.80 exhaust coating
    Mpg this month n/a

    Above left: in a proper workshop at last. Top: ceramic-coated exhaust header. Above: timing ring added in preparation for electronic ignition.
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    CAR: #Ford-Focus-ST-Estate / #Ford-Focus-Estate / #Ford-Focus-ST / #Ford-Focus / #Ford / #2017 / #Ford-Focus-ST-Estate-DYB / #Ford-Focus-ST-DYB / #Ford-Focus-DYB / #Ford-DYB / #Ford-Focus-ST-Estate-MkIII / #Ford-Focus-MkIII / #Ford-Focus-ST-MkIII /

    NEW ARRIVAL

    What’s that coming over the hill? Yup, it’s another ST Estate, but this one drinks from the correct fuel pump.

    Date acquired November #2016
    Total mileage 2231
    Mileage this month 1996
    Costs this month £0
    Mpg this month 27.9

    ‘It’s not likely to become a wheezing pinprick in the rear-view mirror of more exotic machinery’
    No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. We may have just said goodbye to a Focus ST Estate, but that hasn’t stopped us welcoming another one onto our fleet. In fact, this will be the third ST Estate we’ve run in recent years (we also ran a prefacelift version in 2013-2014).

    It perhaps speaks volumes of the talented Ford that this is the case. Rapid, fun, practical and comfortable, it’s an all-rounder that’s ideally suited to life at evo. As a workhorse, it’s got a lot going for it: it’s spacious but not too big, it’s able to make light work of long journeys, and it’s not likely to become a wheezing pinprick in the rear-view mirror of more exotic machinery when it needs to run in convoy with them. It’s perfect for photographers and videographers, then, who don’t like lagging behind and whose ‘essential’ kit seems to grow with every photoshoot we go on, while the rest of us will want the ST for family holidays or carrying bicycles and dogs and the like.

    So what exactly have we got this time? Well, we haven’t replaced like with like. Our outgoing ST was of the diesel variety, meaning 182bhp, 295lbft of torque and 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds. Our new one is petrol-powered, which changes those figures to 247bhp, 265lb ft and 6.5 seconds. As you would expect, the official Combined mpg figure falls from 67.3 to 41.5 (although from past experience we’re anticipating just under 30mpg, compared with the mid-40s we got from the diesel), while the CO2 emissions figure rises, from 110 to 159g/km.

    Spec-wise, we’ve gone for a toplevel ST-3 again. This costs £27,900 basic compared with the boggo ST-1’s £24,050 and adds a bunch of kit, including an 8-inch touchscreen DAB system, bi-xenon headlights, red brake calipers, rear parking sensors, eight-way adjustable heated leather Recaro seats, a quick-clearing heated windscreen, electrically heated and folding mirrors, dual-zone climate control, automatic headlights and rain-sensitive wipers.

    To this we’ve also added Deep Impact Blue paint (£525), rear privacy glass (£225), 19-inch black alloy wheels (up an inch from standard and adding £575), Ford’s almost hypnotic pop-out door-edge protectors (£85), a rear-view camera (£250), blind-spot warnings (£525), the Driver Assistance Pack (including lane-departure warnings, traffic-sign recognition and auto high-beam, all for £450), and a ‘Premium’ upgrade for the infotainment system, which adds satnav and ten Sony speakers, including a subwoofer (also £450).

    Altogether, that takes the price of our ST Estate up to £30,985 – or just £265 shy of a basic Focus RS. ‘Madness!’ you may cry, but in the real world, where a car has to work hard for a living and things such as ride comfort, running costs and the ability to easily carry stepladders, bikes and animals are important, things aren’t quite so black and white. As I’m sure our ST will prove over the coming months.
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    Ford Focus DYB third generation - MkIII Open

    Ford Focus DYB (third generation), also known as Mk III 2010 - 2018

    View Group →
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    / #BMW-2002-Turbo / #BMW-2002 / #BMW / #BMW-2002-Turbo-E20 / #BMW-E20 /

    No, Will Beaumont hasn’t built himself a 2002 Turbo replica, he’s borrowed the real thing. Here’s why.

    In case you missed it, BMW celebrated its centenary in 2016. Something that’s more likely to have passed you by is that it was also 50 years since the 2002 arrived. Ideally I would have joined the celebrations in my own example, but it’s still languishing in my conservatory, unfinished. So instead I asked BMW UK if I could borrow its precious 2002 Turbo. Much to my delight, instead of being laughed off the phone, the answer was yes.

    In the days I had the car I took it to be included in an aerial shot with a group of other 02s arranged to form a ‘50’. Then it was over to the annual #BMW show at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon where the car won best 2002 Turbo in show (it was the only 2002 Turbo in show).

    But all this was nothing compared with being back behind the wheel of an 02 again. All Turbos are lefthand drive, but the thin pillars and swathes of black vinyl made it an otherwise familiar environment. I was under strict instructions from BMW not to perform a dynamic test of the Turbo, but I couldn’t help but sample the full ’70s turbo experience.

    Above 4500rpm is where all the action happens – there’s a surge as the turbocharger kicks in and the revs go berserk. Even so, the Turbo’s reputation for being an animal that’ll spit you off the road has been slightly over-egged. Actually, as the boost arrives like clockwork, you can be surprisingly accurate with the car. OK, there isn’t much grip, but even with those big bolt-on wheelarches it’s still a small car, so there’s plenty of room on the road to carve whichever line you like.

    The Turbo is a more civilised car than mine was before I took it off the road – more of an autobahn cruiser – but I was far from disappointed after meeting what is one of my automotive heroes. The Turbo is fun, but I’m glad that my car, when it’s finished, will be much feistier.

    ‘The 2002 Turbo’s reputation for being an animal that’ll spit you off the road has been slightly over-egged’
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    Will Beaumont
    Will Beaumont joined the group BMW Neue Klasse Club
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