One week down with the new M Coupe. Got my title in at the beginning of the week, and plates the following day. So I could finally start driving it. I absolutely love it. More power than I anticipated just from looking at the numbers. I won’t go over the positives, as I’m sure most of you are already aware.

So far I’ve done the following:

  • New front wipers, and fixed the driver’s side arm which was barely making contact with the hood. I’ll probably remove it later to paint it where it has rubbed.
  • New rear hatch lift struts, the old ones would barely hold the lid open.
  • Replaced the broken vent on the passenger dash.
  • 30% tint all around

I also picked up some BMW touch up paint for the small chip on the right fender, and got a bag full of those little screw caps for the interior (from what I’ve read they aren’t easy to remove without damaging them.)

One thing that has really bothered me is my speedo’s inaccuracy. I checked it with a GPS today on the highway, and it was off by 10mph at 70mph. At first I thought it may be related to my Dinan rear diff, but the speed sensor uses a tone ring on the differential carrier, so it would spin the same speed regardless of the pinon ratio and I have stock tire sizes, so it’s something else. Before I drop money on a Dakota Digital SGI, I’m going to try moving the needle. The cluster is already out.

Some of my observations:

The shifter engagement is pretty poor. From N-to-1 is sometimes very difficult. 2 to 3 when accelerating hard is sometimes very very difficult. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and before I drop money on bushing/short shifter/6-sp swaps, I decided to order up some Amsoil MTF. Hopefully it makes an improvement. Ordered some rear end gear lube while I was at it.

The tires (Michellin Pilot Sport) can barely contain the car’s power. I’m not impressed, it will spin in 3rd. They’ve still got plenty of tread, so I won’t be replacing them anytime soon, but they’re on my short list. Probably go to 235/255 Star Specs or RE11. I don’t see how I could possibly put down the 0-60 times claimed by BMW/media with these current tires. Perhaps they’re old, I’ll have to check the mold dates.

Rear-Subframe: now I get it. New bushings definitely on my short list. It’s an odd feeling, that rear end wiggle.

Ride height: I’ll be looking for a moderate drop eventually. TC Kline seems to be the most popular. What I don’t want is a stiff, track oriented suspension. I already have a light, stiff, all poly-bushing car. The coupe is going to be my daily/long haul sports car. So something just slightly stiffer than stock, and lower is all.

That dreaded glovebox: number one reason I bought a bag of those screw caps. It’s sagging pretty bad, and is the next thing I’ll be working on. I’ve got several pieces of 1/8″ and 3/16″ steel that I can make a brace of.

While the box is out, I wanted to add a keyless. Seems United Auto Security is the choice here. Didn’t realize how much I’ve come to depend on having a keyless. I haven’t had to manually lock/unlock doors on a car since I sold my ’86 Accord. I can’t understand how BMW could sell a car for $50k without remote entry.

And somewhere down the line: upgrade the audio. When I first saw “Harmon Kardon” on the spec-sheet, I thought “well I won’t have to upgrade this stereo.” I couldn’t have been more wrong. This is by far the worst sounding factory stereo I have ever heard. I’ve grown out of my monster car audio build phase, but this thing is just plain terrible. My Nissan Titan with the factory Rockford (which I use to say was a poor excuse for a premium OEM upgrade) simply blows the Coupe away. That said, whenever I do upgrade the stereo, it’ll be a very stealth upgrade with factory locations and possible the factory HU (though I’ve discovered it skips way too easily.)

Clutch: seems I’m not alone here. Looks like getting rid of the CDV is the way to go. I’m just looking for a more consistent and positive feel.

There are plenty of other cool upgrades I’d love to do, but I’m going to try to stick with keeping this as stock as possible and only tackling the major deficiencies.

Still loving the car, I get looks wherever I go and it’s a good conversation starter. Much like my MkIII MR2, most people don’t know what it is. They are especially surprised to find out it’s 9 years old.

As always, I appreciate any advise and/or criticism you may have to offer.