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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

BMW’s S65 V-8 is not pretty much as good as you bear in mind

It’s uncommon that you simply’ll discover me looking at a clean web page. It’s not how I write. As an alternative, inspiration can come at any second. The bathe. The meals retailer. Cooking dinner. However on this case, it got here within the type of a check drive: a Lexus IS-F (you’ll get a full evaluate quickly). Whereas placing it via its paces, V-8 at full tilt, I felt oddly disconnected. Sluggish. It jogged my memory of BMW’s S65 V-8.

Then I felt unhappy, as a result of I lastly realized the reality: these high-revving V-8s aren’t pretty much as good as you bear in mind.

Cease wanting on the display like that, you’ll pull one thing.

The high-revving V-8 downside(s)

RS 4
The RS 4 is likely to be the loudest of the bunch from the manufacturing unit, so bravo to them.

Mike, what are you saying? Is that this even Mike? What have you ever finished with him?!

Relaxation assured, it’s me.

Perhaps you wish to blame the prevalence of the turbocharger, or how a lot chassis expertise has improved, however the era of high-performance sedans produced from about 2006-2013 simply isn’t doing it for me prefer it used to.

Don’t fear, I’ve some information for you (and a few opinions), however I’m going to depart this query right here for now: if any automotive I point out had its high-revving V-8 taken away, wouldn’t it be almost as noteworthy?

The chassis

E90 M3
Heavier, with much less low-end torque to tug it out of corners.

We’re going to start out not with the engine, however what it’s often connected to. The E92 M3, Lexus IS-F, and Audi RS4 may simply be the worst-handling group of sedans to hold their well-known badges.

The largest problem? Weight. The M3 clocks in at 3,600 kilos, nearly 200 kilos greater than an E46. The RS4? Practically 4,000 kilos. These automobiles additionally grew in width and size (the E92 is 7 inches longer than an E46). They drive smaller than they’re, however they’re fairly massive. How come the F80 weighed much less?

Even the steering. It’s higher than something you’ll discover in a contemporary automotive, however we appear to applaud mediocrity right here. Only one spin in an E36 will reveal how a lot an E92 filters out on the steering column.

The gasoline financial system

Extra energy with much less gasoline is at all times a win-win.

I do know. I do know. My E92 used to get the identical gasoline mileage as my present G80 does now, round 18 MPG. However the S58 makes extra energy (and much more torque) than the S65 V-8.

Regardless that you can drive these automobiles usually, to expertise something thrilling you could rev them. That’s okay, however they’re so refined at low speeds that you simply may as properly be in a 328 or an A4. And for those who’re revving them on a regular basis, you’re going to see ranges within the excessive 200s. Mixed with a smaller gasoline tank, lack of vary was an actual concern. So we’re paying for lots extra gasoline, however getting quite a bit much less in return.

The sound

S65 V8
8,300 RPMs is enjoyable, however until you drive it up there on a regular basis, it’s a quiet automotive.

GASP! He wouldn’t.


The S65 V-8 sounds lame from the manufacturing unit. Put nearly any aftermarket exhaust on it, and you’ve got heaven. However why do I must spend cash to make my F1-inspried coupe sound first rate?

Maybe the worst offender right here is the IS-F. It sounds superb when you swing previous 4,000 RPM, however until you propose on driving together with your hair on hearth on a regular basis, it’s simply kind of there if you’re round city.

Burble tunes aren’t terrific, however hey, not less than you’ll be able to hear the engine at low speeds.

The facility

A supercharged V-8 felt extra enjoyable (and particular) to me.

I by no means thought the E92 M3 was quick. It was succesful on a monitor, the place I might depart it in third and let that S65 V-8 boil round 4,500 RPMs, however that’s the one method to drive it rapidly.

Now I have to admit that not all high-revving automobiles are sluggish (assume Lexus LF-A), and never all high-powered automobiles are thrilling (assume C43 AMG), however these three behave a bit like an S2000. Nothing, nothing, nothing, after which oh-my-God right here comes three seconds of heaven. Then it’s again to plebe energy ranges. There’s no turbo to bail you out both – you get caught within the fallacious gear, and also you’re toast.

A automotive just like the F-TYPE is a counter instance – a V-8 that’s supercharged and has energy all over the place, however asks you to rev it to six,000 RPM as a result of that’s the place peak energy is. Or maintain it near residence – including a supercharger to an S65 V-8 makes it wonderful.

You can have it each methods.

The worth

Lexus IS-F
Nearly 5,000 of those have been made for the US.

Have you ever seen what an E92 goes for these days? A 19,000-mile Lime Rock Park Version (mainly orange paint and black wheels, similar S65 V-8) went for $125,000 final yr. This isn’t a $100k driving expertise people. To be honest, there are a ton of examples within the decrease $30,000 vary, however that turns into a sport of rod-bearing roulette.

The Audi RS4 (2,000 bought within the US) and IS-F (5,118) blow the E9X away when it comes to exclusivity, by the best way. What makes them price much less? Sunday morning fame.

The S65 V-8 was an awesome engine that didn’t go far sufficient

E92 M3
You can also make it nice, with money and time.

The S65 was a Jurassic Park second – BMW was so preoccupied with whether or not or not they might, they by no means stopped to assume if they need to. If you’d like additional proof of this, observe how rapidly they went again to an inline-six.

Now enable me to convey it again to my preliminary rhetorical query. With out the engines in these automobiles, would they be remembered as fondly? Clearly, the reply can be “no”. A boosted N54 in an E9X M3 simply doesn’t sound appetizing.

However as we method 15 yr anniversaries with these autos, I consider it’s time to think about them relics of an period, not issues to be worshiped.

Excuse me, I have to now don my flame swimsuit.

Need your automotive reviewed?

For those who dwell within the tri-state space and wish me to test it out, ship me an e-mail! 

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I exploit Nikon digital camera our bodies and lenses, a Westcott Ice Gentle 2, Manfrotto tripod, B + W filters and an iMac Professional to make the artwork you see right here.

Comply with alongside on Instagram @machineswithsouls

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