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Old 11-13-2011, 11:50 PM   #1
limenuke
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N/A BMW vs FI <Any brand>

Hey everyone! I know a lot of people who buy BMWs enjoy the handling + luxury + the power of these cars. They are often seen as "driver's" cars...somewhat.

Here's what I do not get - why did BMW insist on sticking to such low power N/A engines (low hp/litre) versus any other turbo car (a good comparison would be the older Jetta 2.0T). With a chip, the 2.0T can push 300ftlb @3k rpm~.

I was on an E36 thread (obviously an older car) and looking at dyno charts for people with aftermarket exhaust, intake and S52 internals in their non M engines. They push at most 200hp/200ftlb torques. I'm sure the figures on even E46 or E90s is not impressive. Getting those internals and those mods are not at all cheap.

Obviously there is the premium factor of a BMW, the inherently better interior, etc...but what point is there in dropping so much $ into BMWs to make them faster knowing that you will be overtaken by a punk with his 2.0T even if you have a 330? If you are a driver looking for a driver's car, isn't the power somewhat important?

There's always that argument that you can buy a really cheap car, fit a giant engine and turbo it, etc. but that is not the point I'm making.

When you have, say, ~40k to purchase a brand new car and you are looking for a upper/middle class vehicle, why would you not consider a GTI or turbo'd lesser brand vehicle over a BMW?


My only reason is because:
1) I had a limited budget. I wanted RWD.
2) I knew lots of BMW scrapyards around Toronto (where I live).
3) As a university student, I cannot deny that having a BMW is somewhat cool. Brand loyalty.


^that said, I do hate how easily this vehicle rusts compared to say my parent's 02 civic -_-
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Old 11-14-2011, 11:10 AM   #2
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if you bought a bmw to drag race you pretty much did it wrong...

dont worry about the punk in the 2.0t because there are always faster cars out there from civics, jettas to porsches.

there has been a big leap in performance across the board in the last decade.

buy what you like.
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Old 11-14-2011, 11:17 AM   #3
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boost your engine...lotsa horsepowas...ask me how i know
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Old 11-14-2011, 11:20 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by limenuke View Post
Here's what I do not get - why did BMW insist on sticking to such low power N/A engines (low hp/litre) versus any other turbo car (a good comparison would be the older Jetta 2.0T). With a chip, the 2.0T can push 300ftlb @3k rpm~.
That's not the only thing you "don't get"
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Old 11-14-2011, 11:47 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by NOTORIOUS VR View Post
That's not the only thing you "don't get"
+1. There is a lot more to a car than peak numbers, or number at all.
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Old 11-14-2011, 12:03 PM   #6
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I acknowledged many positive points of a BMW. But from a driver's car perspective...

BMWs and most other cars all get fairly good suspension/brakes/reinforcement upgrades from the aftermarket. However, when it comes to adding power, BMW aftermarket options are much more limited. It is not as easy to turbo an engine with a high compression ratio to begin with. From what I understand, unless you stay under 6psi, you really need to completely rebuild your engines. And yes, I am stating that the only significant gain in power you can get is a turbo (or an engine swap).

I never said that it was all about power - but that is a significant reason. Significant enough for BMW to make the 318i, 320i 323i, 325i, 328i, 330i and 335i. If we did not care about power, we'd all go for 323's or whatever is the lowest now. The engine displacement contributes directly to more power. When you go for a 328i, you choose it over a 323 because of the power. You look at all these BMW enthusiasts who spend a decent chunk of change to improve their internals/intake/exhaust and after all that money is spent...the numbers are hardly better. So why was that money spent if they really just want a car that is faster? I guess it's just an enthusiast thing huh? You still end up with a vehicle that is slower than its competitors, even when you dump money into it
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Old 11-14-2011, 12:03 PM   #7
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I almost never see any 1.8T or 2.0T cars on the track. I've only ever seen older swapped cars. Whereas you can pretty much see any model bmw out there.

BMW used to be known for their N/A engines that could take a beating on the track. Now they are moving to turbo'd engines because of all the marketing hype and efficient dynamics crap.

Turbo engines are harder to keep cool on the track, and also less reliable. But most people don't beat on their cars that much (Whats the point of having a car with that much hp then? anyways thats another story.), so BMW is now forced to build engines that go into limp mode after a few hot laps...
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Old 11-14-2011, 12:08 PM   #8
limenuke
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Originally Posted by T.Dot_E30 View Post
I almost never see any 1.8T or 2.0T cars on the track. I've only ever seen older swapped cars. Whereas you can pretty much see any model bmw out there.

BMW used to be known for their N/A engines that could take a beating on the track. Now they are moving to turbo'd engines because of all the marketing hype and efficient dynamics crap.

Turbo engines are harder to keep cool on the track, and also less reliable. But most people don't beat on their cars that much (Whats the point of having a car with that much hp then? anyways thats another story.), so BMW is now forced to build engines that go into limp mode after a few hot laps...
You bring up some valid points - the turbo cars not being as reliable on tracks. But I think that there are numerous turbo'd cars on tracks nowadays. The former lead of Waterloo's Formula team drives a twin charged civic to tracks and it tears everything up. But that is a track car, so reliability is a on a whole different level.

As for going into limp mode - that's BMW's fault entirely. G37 had no trouble in a direct comparison.
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Old 11-14-2011, 12:44 PM   #9
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The problem isn't that turbo cars can't work on-track. The problem is that to build a dealer-sold, fully emissions compliant road car with big turbo power that can work on the racetrack without herniating something, requires an unreasonable amount of extra investment just for that reason. All of that pushes up prices and possible warranty costs - eg running out of fuel on or starving a NA car is likely to just lead to embarrassment, while doing so with a car running 1 bar of boost can fry the motor. It's just an example of how the car comes to depend much more on operator education and attentiveness, which is something you can't realistically expect as a car manufacturer. And the bottom line is that people don't take their brand new sports cars on track any more than SUV owners take theirs offroad.

Also, turbo road cars are nothing new to BMW. They've just historically believed that an above average level of power, combined with a well engineered chassis is what adds up to a good GT car (note, not race cars). Mercedes on the other hand, always figured that the answer was more HP. Even back when the E34 M5 was praised as the greatest sports sedan, MB figured the answer was the 500E Hammer - 5L V8 in the E class. It wasn't. It was a fast car but not a better sport sedan than the M5. The same holds true for E39 M5 vs E55, E90 M3 vs C63 etc.
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Old 11-14-2011, 01:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by limenuke View Post
You look at all these BMW enthusiasts who spend a decent chunk of change to improve their internals/intake/exhaust and after all that money is spent...the numbers are hardly better. So why was that money spent if they really just want a car that is faster? I guess it's just an enthusiast thing huh? You still end up with a vehicle that is slower than its competitors, even when you dump money into it
n/a cars always have lesser gains than boosted cars. its just how it goes. You can make power with your boat anchor m52 or whatever but itll cost you a lot more money. why? because its a small market relatively speaking and the initial design of the engine.

most bmw engines arent fire breathing machines(minus "real m engines"). they use a combo of displacement and decent flow to make respectable power..and really its all that is needed.

some designs also lend themselves to further tweaking, more than others. again its just how it goes. Bmw didnt build/design their engines with the shadetree mechanic or race team in mind.

Their new engines will have the same easy turbo hp that most others do...but theres more to a car than that.


enthusiasts will spend some coin on their rides regardless of the outcome. Making an engine breath better always helps even if you dont get an extra 100 hp from it.
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Old 11-14-2011, 02:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigD View Post
The problem isn't that turbo cars can't work on-track. The problem is that to build a dealer-sold, fully emissions compliant road car with big turbo power that can work on the racetrack without herniating something, requires an unreasonable amount of extra investment just for that reason. All of that pushes up prices and possible warranty costs - eg running out of fuel on or starving a NA car is likely to just lead to embarrassment, while doing so with a car running 1 bar of boost can fry the motor. It's just an example of how the car comes to depend much more on operator education and attentiveness, which is something you can't realistically expect as a car manufacturer. And the bottom line is that people don't take their brand new sports cars on track any more than SUV owners take theirs offroad.

Also, turbo road cars are nothing new to BMW. They've just historically believed that an above average level of power, combined with a well engineered chassis is what adds up to a good GT car (note, not race cars). Mercedes on the other hand, always figured that the answer was more HP. Even back when the E34 M5 was praised as the greatest sports sedan, MB figured the answer was the 500E Hammer - 5L V8 in the E class. It wasn't. It was a fast car but not a better sport sedan than the M5. The same holds true for E39 M5 vs E55, E90 M3 vs C63 etc.
I really like this answer. The root of the problem, the solution and the fit into the real world. Thanks BigD!
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Old 11-14-2011, 03:03 PM   #12
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I really like this answer. The root of the problem, the solution and the fit into the real world. Thanks BigD!
You're welcome man. You'll see what I mean much more clearly when you try a BMWCC driving school (start with a ride with someone in a similar car who knows what they're doing, maybe ask someone like craz_azn to take your car for a spin on a track day he attends... oh wait he lives at MoSport nmind). Power is nice but the way your car will feel through the turns is what will put the grin on your face for so long that your cheeks will be sore. Also, for what it's worth, with an M50 intake, S52 cams and a tune, you will put down a good 210whp, which is better than many S52s do, about 250hp. And that's plenty fun in these cars between the turns.
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Old 11-14-2011, 04:04 PM   #13
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better? lets not set up him for failure here

most s52's will easily do that stock with a pos m52/s52 mani.
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Old 11-14-2011, 04:18 PM   #14
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uhhh my buddys mk5 gti 2.0T with revo chip which WAS killing STIs and giving good spanks to E46 M3s... in a year. BLOWN TURBO. lollll so what does that tell u? hehe
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:02 PM   #15
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The area under the curve helps - a stock M52 might barely better (or be less than) many of is smaller displacement 4 cylinder competition, but it starts pulling a lot earlier and feels much quicker than it's HP number would suggest.
Even our relatively low spec 325iT is a hoot on twisty roads - BMW nailed the balance and steering feel.
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