It was a summer Monday, and I’d been up at ass-o-clock to hit the road at 5 a.m. for my weekly car swap, several hours away, near Toronto.
The swap saw me picking up a BMW M235i xDrive, but I didn’t care. I was tired. It was a gorgeous sunny day and I wanted to get home and go for a swim. I didn’t care if I was driving a carbon-fibre velociraptor with flamethrowers for eyeballs: today was just one of those days when your trusty writer didn’t want to be on the road.
But on the road I was, and so was a really slow transport truck filled with giant concrete highway dividers, so I decided to pass him. Full throttle of course. The less time in the oncoming lane the better, and all that.
Hammer down, revs up, and the feisty little red BMW snapped to attention and flung itself past the enormous 18-wheeled road-slug in a jiff. Of course it did. It’s got three hundred horsepower, and eight gears, and a turbocharger, and a torque curve that’s meatier than a bag full of Baconators.
That noise, though! A lusty howl, saturating the cabin with intensity that follows the tachometer needle into its redline, giving the impression that the straight-six was glad I gave it the beans. Some engines at redline sound like an old Hoover choking on a shag carpet. This one sounded thrilling. Eager. Exotic. Happy. The sort of mechanical symphony that gets us car guys right in the trousers.
That zing. That gorgeous zing of the straight-six spinning fast. Mmm-mmm good.
I loved the noise so much that I did it again. Glanced around in a rock tunnel on highway 69. Nobody within sight. Slow down to 20 km/h. Stand on the right pedal. The engine does it again.
Click for an upshift.
Oh, goodness, this thing sounds good. It’s infectious, actually. The sort of noise that plays in your head when you aren’t at the wheel. And hell, the paddle shifts jump between the eight gears so fast you could play a tune with the exhaust for everyone nearby to hear.
But, they wouldn’t.
Fast forward a few hours. I got home, had my swim, and went out for a coffee. My car bros gathered amongst the M235i and asked the typical questions.
“How many horsepower?”
“How much money?”
“Does it come with a stick at least?”
Then, the kicker.
“Oh! This has that thing where it plays fake engine noise over the speakers, right?” asked my friend Dave.
“Uhmm… no, does it? I mean… Huh?”