BMW 130i M Sport

It's not every day you get an empty track to play with, so when the boys at the Bedford Autodrome waved me out onto the circuit, I was determined to make the most of it

The sight of all that lush green run-off to fall into should I get it wrong meant that I could finally try the 130 without any electronic nannying. The multi-level traction control is ideal for the road - one press of the DTC button loosens the brain's grip enough to allow a little fun - but hold that same button for a few seconds and you're on your own, the big warning light between the rev counter and speedo reminding you to keep on your toes. Once up and running, the 130 showed great balance in the faster turns, allowing me to tip the car in with lift-off oversteer and then hold that angle right through the corner, the responsive, rev-hungry straight-six helping all the way. The baby Bimmer's overly stiff set-up can irritate on the road, but it suited Bedford's silky-smooth tarmac perfectly. In fact, the 130 entertained on the track much more than I'd expected. Good balance, strong brakes and a great engine all added up to a willing track toy. Only the lack of a slippy diff gave cause for disappointment, a heavy right foot often being punished with a spinning inside-rear wheel. It's not a problem when you can set the car up with speed, but in slower corners it can feel like you're seriously abusing the poor thing. Yet despite being pushed to the limit for lap after lap, the 130 didn't miss a beat or buckle under the pressure - and the drive home was as refined as you could possibly wish for. All very impressive.

Running Costs

Date acquiredNovember 2005
Total mileage5,687
Costs this month£0
Mileage this month733
MPG this month27.9mpg
Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/bmw/1-series
BMW 1 Series hatchback

BMW M135i 2020 review - BMW goes mainstream with its new Golf R rival

27 Jan 2020
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/best-cars/15095/best-cars-to-buy-for-ps10000-evo-garage
Best cars

Best cars to buy for £10,000 – evo garage

The evo team picks their favourite used performance cars
1 Jul 2020
Visit/mercedes/cla/202850/mercedes-amg-cla-45-s-shooting-brake-review
Mercedes CLA45 AMG hatchback

Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 S Shooting Brake review

Good looks and stonking performance, if you can stomach the price tag
4 Jul 2020
Visit/skoda/202145/full-2020-skoda-octavia-vrs-engine-range-detailed
Skoda Octavia vRS

Full 2020 Skoda Octavia vRS engine range detailed

Skoda’s engine range for the Octavia vRS topped by a 242bhp turbo petrol
3 Jul 2020
Visit/dodge/challenger/202845/2021-dodge-challenger-srt-super-stock-revealed
Dodge Challenger

2021 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock revealed

The ancient Dodge Challenger lives on in new 807bhp widebody form – makes a Shelby GT500 look like a pedal car
3 Jul 2020