BMW M140i - Long Term Review
An honest insight into my ownership experience.
As some of you may have read in a previous article, in May 2019 I was fortunate enough to acquire a second-hand BMW M140i. Now, there are many different opinions and initial impression reviews out there to give you a good idea of what they are like to drive, how fast they are and so on and so forth. So without touching too much on the things you can read elsewhere, I’m going to discuss my experience of living with the car - talking expenses and the realities of owning a six-cylinder Hot Hatchback in my early twenties.
Let’s start with my buying experience. In May 2019 I picked up my M140i from a Porsche Specialist performance car garage in Hertfordshire. Straight away the idea of buying a twenty-plus grand car not from a main dealer would probably cause a stir of debate. Yes, without the BMW customer service experience I was left with no aftersales such as; a warranty, Asset Protection Insurance, minor damage cover and so on, all of which could prove vital in the long run. And we’ve all heard nightmares about independent dealers selling absolute dogs. However, I was, in this instance, very lucky to find the dealership in question to be of exquisite quality and delightful customer service from the first phone call enquiry to the handover. As we turned up to first view the car, a sea of Porsches and Ferraris adorned the forecourt.
The vibe just kept feeling better and better throughout the buying process. My car was being sold through the garage and was previously owned by a member of the workshop there, meaning I was able to get the benefit of talking directly with the previous owner and finding out about himself and his time with the car. The sale also provided that little bit of protection you get when buying from a business - should the car not turn out to be fit for purpose I can simply request a refund within 14 days. On top of this I found the sales procedure (without having to go through the laborious regulated aftersales drivel received in a franchise dealer about paying over the odds for additional cover and products you really don’t need) much less forced. To top it off, the chap who previously owned my car, was selling it to buy one of the Porsche 911s for sale on the forecourt, clearly a keen petrol head, and a very fortunate one at that.
So after a smooth buying process, paying a monthly figure I was happy with, how has the car itself proved for long term ownership? Well when I picked it up it had 17,500 miles on the clock, and to the present day (October 2020) I’ve racked that up to 37,500. That works out roughly as doing about 14,000 miles per year, quite a lot for someone who walks to work as much as possible. About two-thousand of those miles were accumulated during a lucky trip we were able to make to Switzerland this Summer.
So the car has been well-used during my time with it, being used to have lots of fun and make memories. In the 20,000 miles I’ve now completed, I can say (and this best not jinx it), that it hasn’t missed a beat. No mechanical issues, nothing has fallen off and the remaining year of manufacturer warranty that was left at the time of purchase expired without use. I’m really impressed with the way the interior is screwed together, and the engine is a sonorous delight that's proved tough and durable whilst some high performance engines can be highly strung and prone to issues. But I’m not alone, I’ve read about and seen a couple of other M140i owners who all say the same, and I too can confirm - the B58 unit is a bulletproof masterpiece that perfectly blends performance with the flexibility of day to day driving and all important steadfast reliability.
We then come down to the business of maintenance expenditure. Despite the controversy surrounding main dealers I mentioned earlier and their tendencies to find a way for charging you for breathing the air in the showroom, I knew I wanted piece of mind that my car was going to be maintained by BMW themselves, especially with it still carrying a years worth of manufacturer warranty left.
Wollaston BMW in Northampton have been nothing but exceptional with their service and quality of work on the car in the three times it has visited; once for its second service, the second for new brake pads on each corner and the third for its first MoT. I was sceptical because of the sad reality that some dealers are known to play up to customer naivety and start charging for work that doesn't need doing or overcharge altogether. I purchased a service pack and paid a lump sum for two services and an MoT. I’m definitely no expert in savvy buying, but for me, around £700 for two services and an MoT which means effectively nothing to pay for two years seems reasonable enough. The brake pads came in at around £400 in total - again I’m sure that there will be people out there thinking I’ve been completely shafted. But on the flip side, the service in the showroom I receive from my main dealer on my thankfully so far seldom visits is worth that little bit of extra coinage to me.
Other than the servicing and the brakes, not a single piece of work has had to be done on my car. Frankly I’m very impressed with the ease of ownership, it’s been no more of a hassle to own than my previous SEAT Ibiza - mighty respectable when you consider the level of performance available. Wear and tear items have come down simply to a pair of rear tyres. It came to me with a new set all round and since then it needed new rears after ten-thousand miles and that is genuinely it. Yes, I know, the loud pedal must be wasted on me.
Now we’ll come down to the interesting topic of fuel consumption. Something that is generally assumed for a car with such a large engine and mega performance to range between poor and diabolical. In reality though, the M140i has proved acceptable enough. I’ve seen average MPG figures as low as 20 whilst dawdling through busy traffic or whilst opening up the taps a bit. But 40 MPG is comfortably achieved on a long motorway run. Anything between 200 and 350 miles on a tank is to be expected, but really that is determined by my level of exuberance or amount of town driving. On my two-thousand mile European road trip, covering a mix of motorways, mountain passes and congested cities I averaged 33.2 MPG - an admirable figure for a car of this performance.
Furka Pass, Switzerland.
Irritations with the M140i have been few and far between. I would’ve liked the optional Pro Nav on my car and on occasion having a five-door version would’ve been useful - the car can’t be blamed for not being specced as such though. Despite my insistence that true drivers cars have a manual gearbox, I have to concede my manual BMW doesn’t have the slickest shift in the world, sometimes feeling notchy and missing some quick second to third changes when pressing on. Trim rattles have been an annoying bug bare from time to time but quickly resolved with a fiddle around till the buzzing culprit is clicked back into place. On the whole though it’s really just nit picking, as BMW have created such a wonderful package to own for those like me who will never take their car over eight-tenths and just want something exciting yet convenient to own.
To sum up then, I have found BMW’s M140i to be a real hoot to live with so far. It fulfils the role of a daily car with consummate ease but always manages to excite me like the time I first floored the throttle and let those six-cylinders sing. It’s been near enough faultless in every aspect of reliability and it really is not the ultimate financial ruin I was concerned it could be. A satisfying mix of comfort and usability with the added bonus of driver's car thrills. The teenage dream became a reality, and it hasn’t turned into a nightmare.