18 Oct 2012

Alternatives to a BMW M135i - And much better looking

BMW M135i.  Quasimodo
Speedmonkey stands as a lone dissenting voice amidst the tumultuous cheers of appreciation for the new, £32,000, BMW M135i - for one reason.  It is immensely ugly.

BMW used to make pretty cars, in a Germanic way.  The E24 635 CSi was one such machine.  But ever since Chris Bangle had his way BMWs have failed to look halfway decent.  Also, remember the FW26 BMW Williams F1 car from 2004?  Ugly as sin - and slow.

In fact these 'Emperor's new clothes' style plaudits have forced us to wonder what else can be bought for £32,000 that offers similar thrills but without needing eye bleach every time you see it.  There isn't really anything new that can match it on pricing and performance.  BMW have set the price way below what any other manufacturer supplies for the a similar price.  

A Lotus Elise can be had for a shade under £32,000 but doesn't really match the BMW on refinement and equipment. An Audi S3 is a similar price but BMW knocks it's performance figures into a cocked hat.

Instead we'll have to rely on the secondhand market.  Because, to be frank, the M135i's value will drop like a stone.  However, these, secondhand cars prices have already dropped a ton so will be worth more in a few years time.  And they are much, much better looking.

The BMW M135i has a 3 litre turbocharged inline 6 with 316bhp and does 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds.  It costs £31,595.

Aston Martin DB9

OK.  Say this over and over - 'BMW 1 series, Aston Martin DB9'.  Now think 5.9 litre V12 with 450bhp in the most beautiful body since the Jaguar E-type.  For £31,000 you'll be looking at a 2005 DB9 with full Aston Martin service history.  Throw in a full £1,000 valet to make it look and feel like new, add a personalised plate and you'll be a lot happier than if you had bought the BMW.  And you'll be more attractive.

Aston Martin DB9


Porsche 911 (997) Carrera S

For £32,000 you can buy a 2007, 3.6 litre Porsche 911 with a 3.6 litre, flat 6 with 320bhp.  It is 100kg lighter than the BMW and has a better chassis.  For the discerning driver who wants a bit of class as well as badge snobbery the 911 is hard to beat.  The 997 is a better 911 than it's predecessor and prices are stabilising.  Your money will be safer in your Porsche than in the M135i.  And you'll have more fun.

Porsche 911 Carrera 

Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X GSR FQ360

The Evo X sees the ├╝ber fast Lancer mellowed slightly.  But not enough for it not to still be a crazed 354bhp missile that does 0-60mph in 4.1 seconds.  It also comes with four seats and a big boot.  £32,000 buys you an ex-demo 2012 car with a handful of miles on the clock.  It will outhandle, outperform and outmatch the BMW in the looks department.  You could never call the Evo X pretty but it is handsome in a brutal way.

Mitsubishi Evo X FQ360

BMW Williams FW26