Me vs. The 435i


I am not a BMW fan…which is why I have two in my driveway.

I have not actively lusted after a BMW since the E46 M3, which is just kind of the perfect car.  That, however, is not the car that I am driving on track.  That car is a 2015 BMW 435i nicknamed The Compact Pussycat.


Which, unlike the actual Compact Pussycat, will not star in your nightmares for all eternity.

The story of how I ended up with a BMW 435i as a track car is a simple one that starts the way many stories start: The Mrs. is staring down the barrel of 50 and wanted a Corvette. 1

Now, I am a large man in both height and girth and he Corvette is not a particularly large car. My first thought upon realization that CPO Corvettes were actually showing up at the top of our car budget was, “I wonder if my fat ass can even fit in one of those?” 2 To be fair my father had, at the time, a C6 Corvette that I fit in just fine, so I didn’t think it would be an issue.

So the thing is, I’m just under 6’3″ tall 3 but I’m long torsoed, so from a headroom perspective I’m closer to 6’5″ or 6’6″ tall 4. This is an issue, as when I went to test drive one I realized that I would have to remove my head from my shoulders to actually fit in one.  In talking to two previous Corvette C7 owners later both declared, “Oh, no way in hell would you be able to wear a helmet in one.”

Since I would be tracking this car that was bad.

We tried a Mustang, but The Mrs. is very short and the clutch on those is very low and it was not something that she could really drive safely 5. So we ended up with a CPO 435i, which she loves.

So, I’m two track days into this car.6  And so far it’s…ok.The brakes are very strong, the engine has torque pretty much everywhere so you can just set it in a third or fourth and forget it.  It’s fast enough to brush up against 140 on the front straight on Roebling Road Raceway. It’s perfectly nice.

That may be damning with faint praise, but that is what it is.  Below are a couple of videos from Atlanta Motorsports Park and Roebling.

  1. The Official Car of American Middle Age
  2. Yes
  3. Because I am American and deny the metric system I don’t know exactly, but I think that’s just under two “meters,” whatever those are
  4. Or as they call it in my family, “average”.
  5. Also, one of the most ridiculous test drive experiences ever
  6. The first one of which was an unmitigated disaster.  My service department and I are going to have real talk soon