Testimonial - F20 M140i - B1 Suspension & QUAIFE LSD - Mr Townsend
Please find some feedback below. Hope it is useful. The car is so unbelievably different.
Review of Birds BMW B1 upgrade for M140i automatic
I have owned my 3-door BMW M140i for 4 years, from new - I love it, blisteringly fast, comfortable on the motorway and great fun when the rare chance to open it up on a B-road occurs. It triggers conversation whenever I take it to a garage or tyre shop - everyone’s first comment is have you got it re-mapped. This has always puzzled me as I have not once thought that what this car needs is more power - But I have at times felt that I am not able to extract all the power available, partly due to my own fairly average driving ability but also that the chassis and set-up from BMW does not allow mere mortal drivers to be able to extract everything this car offers when the mood takes you.
Having decided that I wanted to keep my car beyond it’s PCP contract - I didn’t see that there was anything to be gained by getting a new 1 series and we have a family SUV for lugging everything and everyone else around so seemed like a natural step to keep this, now unique, sporty hatch.
So, first thing - Birds is a quality outfit who were willing to give lots of advice via email - no hard sell - just honest advice and no pressure to commit to getting any work done. Having decided to go for the B1 upgrade booking was a breeze and they even re-booked for an earlier date at fairly last minute. They promised to get everything done in one-day - this included fitting a new m-performance exhaust too. James and the mechanic stayed til way past 5pm to get everything done with attention to detail to make sure the geometry and set-up was perfect. This quality of customer service goes way beyond BMW themselves - they have a lot to learn from independent outfits such as Birds.
The upgrade itself - I am not the worlds most talented driver - not big on track days or anything like that but I have been fortunate enough to drive a range of ‘great’ drivers cars over the years, an original Lotus Esprit Turbo, a Peugeot 205 GTi, several mk 1 MX5s, a Fiesta ST and a couple of BMW E90 M3s. So although I lack talent some of the cars I have driven don’t. As much as I love the m140i I would never previously include it in this company - until now that is! I cannot believe the difference - my car had the EDC fitted - too floppy in comfort mode and too harsh in sport mode, wayward steering and the front and rear ends never joined up properly. Now, after the Birds treatment it feels so planted and responsive to tiny inputs of the steering and I can feel far more precisely what the front wheels are doing. Corners are sublime - I can now enjoy what should always have existed in a rear wheel drive car - point and squirt out of corners, on the exit you can feel the LSD ‘biting’ giving confidence to exit corners at speed with much greater confidence. It’s not just B-roads where everything has improved, fast a-roads and the motorway are a more comfortable place to be - again the car no longer squirms under acceleration put pulls away fast and confidence inspiring - I can’t sense any reduction in refinement either.
There’s no denying this is an expensive upgrade - for me it has done exactly what I wanted - my car now has the chassis and handling, which mirrors it’s awesome engine. If you can’t stretch to the whole chassis and dynamics upgrade I would advise getting the geometry done first - you can always get the LSD fitted at a later date. For me, the m140i is a modern classic and deserves being looked after - this is now a complete car which devours B roads, without losing any of its previous refinement. Birds is a cracking independent garage and they are on to a winner with these upgrades - you won’t regret getting this work done, I promise you.