Do you feel a rivalry between you and other BMW drivers? There was a time when the world was at peace, BMW drivers loved and respected one another, in most cases that is. As of today, all of that went down the drain.

Should we classify other BMW drivers as road competition? For instance, if you are driving your BMW down the freeway, are you more likely to yield for another BMW driver more often than you would to an Audi or Mercedes-Benz. On the other hand, you might be thinking that this conversation is senseless and you don’t feel that there is a reason for rivalry within the same car brand or across brands.

Oddly enough, I began writing this article a while back. Started out with a few sentences, then decided to put it on the back burner, until today…

I was peacefully driving my daily driver E82 135i to the office, a BMW 1 Series ActiveE came out of nowhere. A male driver in his mid thirties cut me off in a dramatic way, then merged straight in front of me, then again into the left turning lane. To add more to the equation, the road conditions were damp, not so ideal for abrupt behavior.

Typically it wouldn’t be a big deal. But the fact that another 1 Series driver totally undermined my car got me a little agitated, but not angry in any way. Normally, fellow 1 Series driver may do a few pulls for the fun of it, but cutting off each other is not the best practice. Usually, spotting a relatively rare BMW such as the ActiveE makes one go out-of-the-way to get a better look. However, this situation signaled something different, an instant rivalry between us. Especially after the ActiveE driver parked at the left-turning signal in front of the 135i while displaying signs of dominance of some sort (getting into position, adjusting his seat, moving his body left and right)…

As he started rolling forward while the light was still red, a BMW ActiveE vs BMW 135i race was imminent. Defending the 135i legacy became essential at this point.

The 2013 BMW ActiveE is powered by a synchronous electric motor that channels 170 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque through a single-speed transmission to the rear wheel. The EV accelerates from 0-62 MPH in 9 seconds, and tops out at 90 MPH. Don’t give up to easy, as one advantage of the ActiveE is the maximum torque that develops @ 0 rpm. Major disadvantage is the hefty 3,970 lbs weight.

On the other hand, the N54 3.0-Liter inline 6 cylinder TwinTurbo powered BMW 135i with a 6 speed manual transmission develops 300 hp @ 5800 pm and 300 ft-lb of torque @1400 rpm. This gasoline powered BMW weighs roughly 3,400 lbs and accelerates from 0-62 mph in 5.1 seconds (4.7 seconds in reality). Top speed is electronically governed at 155 mph.

At that time, the ActiveE specs didn’t cross my mind as the head to head race was about to begin. Shortly after some mild rain fell down, the traffic light turned green. The ActiveE took off, turning left onto a three-lane wide open road. Few seconds later, the 135i took off with vengeance, taking the corner at lightning speed. As the ActiveE started going straight, the 135i was having a hard time gaining traction, with the DTC lights (Dynamic Traction Control) going off preventing the car from rocketing forward at normal speed. By that time the ActiveE was doing 4o mph, the 135i caught up (side-by-side at this point) despite the massive wheel spin. At that moment the Active E was emitting a cool loud electric motor whine. Soon after, much-needed traction came along from 3rd gear making the 135i rocket quickly past the ActiveE while releasing an amazing deep yet loud resonance from the aftermarket exhaust, leaving the ActiveE several car lengths behind. It was a great race where no speed limits or traffic laws were broken.

Gear heads may have to consider purchasing an alternatively powered vehicle at some point the future, as fossil fuels become less available at affordable prices for the common man. Luckily, BMW fans have a great car maker developing battery-powered electric vehicles seriously. If indoor battery-powered go karts attest to anything, it’s that regardless of what powers a vehicle with four wheels, rear wheel drive, a balanced chassis that is coupled with precise steering and a good braking system, can make any car fun. Until then, lets leave our rivalry to Mercedes-Benz and Audi drivers instead. For now, I can’t wait for a chance to drive the production version of the BMW i8.


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