Saturday, January 24, 2015

Top 10 BMWs to Own

The dream car garage is a timeless topic; it has and will forever be a very personal thing, and I thought I should put my list out there. I always thought if I had the choice of having one or two super cars or a half dozen high performance mainstream cars the latter would be my choice. The beauty would be experiencing different cars and appreciating their individuality, and driving dynamic and engaging cars that you need to put work into to get the most out of.

1) E46 M3

This is an iconic car that is recognized internationally as a performance benchmark among its peers. A nimble, driver focused car with a gem of an engine. A low mileage good condition example can be had for less than $25,000 (CAD). There are a lot of good upgrade options by using BMW competition pack and CSL parts.

2) E30 M3

Pure iconic classic - need I say more. I fear once you have one you may never sell it.

3) E39 M5

Arguably one of the best sedans BMW has ever made. Smaller than an F30 3 series it is very nimble with tons of feedback to the driver, with a design that somehow doesn't feel dated and a robust interior that in most cases has held up very well.  

4) E9x 335 & 335is

When this car was released in 2007 it completely revolutionized the German compact car class. No other car on the market had the same power, smoothness, and dynamics of a 335. Known for their ease of tuning, turn one into a dedicated track car, street sleeper or just keep it as an awesome daily driver.

5) E9x M3

A future classic, and the last of the naturally aspirated M3 cars. It's modern enough but can still be had with a 6-speed, no idrive, and a carbon fiber roof.

6) X5 4.8is

Truly a monster of a vehicle, and really represents a good upgrade over the 4.6is - doing 0-60 in 6.0s flat, and with a stock exhaust that sounds like thunder, I could not imagine a better naturally aspirated v8 suv. Down side - these SUVs tend to need a suspension refresh especially with higher mileage vehicles (I know through personal experience with my friends' X5 4.6is)

7) Z4M

With the engine from the E46 M3 and the most unique body in recent BMW history, what is there not to love (even though some people call it the clown shoe - at least its a fast shoe).

8) E82 135 & 1M

Shares the same drive train, suspension as the 335 while weighing approximately 200lbs less. Small, nimble, powerful and focused, a perfect drivers car that could be turned into a powerful performance street or track setup that could easily best an m3 in a straight line. The 1M is essentially a factory tuned 135i with a ton of m3 bits installed and is the best example of a pure driving machine in the past 5 years.

9) E39 540i m-sport (sedan & wagon)

To me the E39 represents the pinnacle of BMW sedan perfection, 4 doors, the same size as a modern 3 series, excellent driving dynamics and a sweet 4.4 which in later revisions was good for 291 hp and 340 ft/tq. The m-sport package really makes the car look sharp and purposeful and is no doubt the one to have. Of special interest is the 540i m-sport wagon, it was the sportiest and fastest wagon that BMW made in the E39 generation and is no doubt a rare and special car. This would undoubtedly be my wagon of choice for its power plant, looks and dynamics.

10) Alpina B7

If I was in Europe I would say the Alpina B3 not the B7 but unfortunately the only Alpina brought over to this side of the pond was the B7. Every once and awhile even the most hardcore track fan would love to cruise the streets in a big powerful sleeper sedan. Nothing really beats the refinement, design and details of an Alpina. I think the blend of body, styling, and performance is the perfect upgrade over a 750i. It also doesn't hurt that it hits 60 faster then most sports cars.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

BMW E90 window chatter/creaking solved

Anyone that owns an E90 generation BMW knows that after 60,000 km a creaking sound in cold weather is very common coming from the windows in the veichle, especially present when taking low speed turns or going over road imperfections. Having spent a significant amount of time trying to fix the issue I can proudly report having found a solution that takes care of the problem entirely.

The concept of lubricating seals on any car isn't something that is particularly emphasized in maintenance guides so there seems to be a lot of misinformation online about the topic. First things first, only silicone free appropriate lubricants should be used otherwise you run the risk of drying out and damaging your seals and weather stripping, have fun replacing those....

The best alternative to the BMW lubricant from the dealership is Rubber Care from a company called Kleen Flo. They make excellent lubricants and solvents which I have had great success with in the past.

The primary areas that need to be lubricated are the external seals that are easily dried out by the weather and chemicals used to clean your car. Ideally prior to applying the lubricant rinse the car off and make sure to clear any dirt, dust and debris off the seals. Apply the lubricant directly to the seals (try to avoid over-spray) and then even spread it over the weather stripping with a rag. Leave it on for 1-2 minutes and remove any excess with a clean rag. Additionally the same process can be applied to all rubber seals: sunroof, trunk, hood, interior window seals etc.

I recommend doing this at the very least before the winter (when the seals shrink due to temperature and are most likely to cause creaking). I personally apply it 4 times a year, at the beginning of every season when I detail my car. I found that all window creaking was completely eliminated and overall the ease of opening and closing the windows was much improved.