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      03-05-2018, 10:31 AM   #1
tom.gnade
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How much is "enough" power for a daily driver?

I know this is purely subjective, so I want to preface this with the fact that I'm speaking in broad terms here, so no need to get pedantic.

Like many of you, I truly love to drive, and my BMW makes it a joy. I now drive an e92 328i primarily due to my apprehension about 335i reliability issues - a 335i broke down on me in spectacular fashion during the test drive. That pretty much drove home the point in a very humorous way that I was never going to buy the 335is I had been eyeballing.

The 328i is a great car, but we all know it doesn't have enough power. I've done a few simple things that really have made quite a difference. But, I spend a lot of time thinking about how I might extract the next bit of fun from the car. It quickly becomes a cost/benefit exercise.

I weigh the options, and consider whether investing several thousand more dollars into this car is really worth it. In 3-4 years, when I'm done paying for the car loan, I will probably buy a 997 911. It's an itch I've wanted to scratch since I was about 10 years old. But for now at least, I'll be driving my e92 328i for the next few years.

With all that in mind, I drove my car a lot yesterday. I dropped off my kids, went to pick up some chinese food, just normal stuff. The car drives beautifully. It accelerates well, not great, but well. In a few seconds, I easily double any posted speed limit in my area, including on route 95. I only rarely drive hard or quick because of traffic and a general sense of road safety. On one of those recent occasions, while not really even pushing it too hard (in my opinion), I got hollered at by a guy at the end of his driveway on the side of the road - "Slow the F#*( DOWN A#*(@)@#" he yelled. I laughed a bit, then slowed down. I would probably do the same thing if some jerk went blasting past my driveway at 50 or 60. Perspective is everything I suppose.

In any case, it got me to thinking. My car is probably at 210hp on a good day, and weighs 3400+ pounds. Even with numbers like that, the car really drives incredibly well, just an entirely different experience from most average cars on the road. It won't win a drag race, and it can't accelerate enough to make my heart race, or spin the rear wheels at take-off. It can't do any of those things - but, it can deliver a really excellent driving experience for 95% or more of all the real-world road conditions and speeds I will ever experience. I only rarely feel safe going "fast", and my paranoia of a deer or child, or a grandmother, or whatever, getting "in my way" is just too great. So, I slow down and enjoy the drive.

What the hell am I going to do with a 997?

So, how much power is really "enough"? Yes, I would love 300hp, I really think it would be perfect for this car. But when I'm thinking clearly, what I have right now is really, very good.

None of this will stop me from thinking about what I'm going to do next, but it gives some perspective about spending a couple grand on the car, rather than just enjoying what you have.
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      03-05-2018, 11:11 AM   #2
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      03-05-2018, 11:20 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom.gnade View Post
I know this is purely subjective, so I want to preface this with the fact that I'm speaking in broad terms here, so no need to get pedantic.

Like many of you, I truly love to drive, and my BMW makes it a joy. I now drive an e92 328i primarily due to my apprehension about 335i reliability issues - a 335i broke down on me in spectacular fashion during the test drive. That pretty much drove home the point in a very humorous way that I was never going to buy the 335is I had been eyeballing.

The 328i is a great car, but we all know it doesn't have enough power. I've done a few simple things that really have made quite a difference. But, I spend a lot of time thinking about how I might extract the next bit of fun from the car. It quickly becomes a cost/benefit exercise.

I weigh the options, and consider whether investing several thousand more dollars into this car is really worth it. In 3-4 years, when I'm done paying for the car loan, I will probably buy a 997 911. It's an itch I've wanted to scratch since I was about 10 years old. But for now at least, I'll be driving my e92 328i for the next few years.

With all that in mind, I drove my car a lot yesterday. I dropped off my kids, went to pick up some chinese food, just normal stuff. The car drives beautifully. It accelerates well, not great, but well. In a few seconds, I easily double any posted speed limit in my area, including on route 95. I only rarely drive hard or quick because of traffic and a general sense of road safety. On one of those recent occasions, while not really even pushing it too hard (in my opinion), I got hollered at by a guy at the end of his driveway on the side of the road - "Slow the F#*( DOWN A#*(@)@#" he yelled. I laughed a bit, then slowed down. I would probably do the same thing if some jerk went blasting past my driveway at 50 or 60. Perspective is everything I suppose.

In any case, it got me to thinking. My car is probably at 210hp on a good day, and weighs 3400+ pounds. Even with numbers like that, the car really drives incredibly well, just an entirely different experience from most average cars on the road. It won't win a drag race, and it can't accelerate enough to make my heart race, or spin the rear wheels at take-off. It can't do any of those things - but, it can deliver a really excellent driving experience for 95% or more of all the real-world road conditions and speeds I will ever experience. I only rarely feel safe going "fast", and my paranoia of a deer or child, or a grandmother, or whatever, getting "in my way" is just too great. So, I slow down and enjoy the drive.

What the hell am I going to do with a 997?

So, how much power is really "enough"? Yes, I would love 300hp, I really think it would be perfect for this car. But when I'm thinking clearly, what I have right now is really, very good.

None of this will stop me from thinking about what I'm going to do next, but it gives some perspective about spending a couple grand on the car, rather than just enjoying what you have.

300 hp seems to be the norm now to be consider fast for the street. However with the mods available for the 328 right now 300 at the crank is really not that hard to achieve . AA headers ( AFE if you need the cats) , 3 stage intake , bpc tune , k and n filter ( if on budget) , charcoal delete would get you around the 250-275 area. Milvs should get you in the 300 territory . Im assuming you have RWD by the spinning the rear wheels comment , so a differential swap should bring you just above 300 hp

Also keep in mind , that its not that the car is not fast, the long gears dont really help making the car feels fast, I think differential swap with shorter gearing really helps you feel the cars faster. ( and it would also add some torque )

Also it is unfair to compare this car to a 335 or any turbocharge car, those cars make all their power in the lower rpms , but they fall flat in the higher rpms , the n52 is the complete opposite, just like most NA cars. My brothers audi A4 feels like a beast down below , it feels like a 300 whp car , but once you past 4 k the car feels like my 328 in lower rpms. I have beat a A4 in a light to light race but I can bet anything that if an average joe were to drive an A4 and 328 back to back they would never believe my 328 is faster.

A 345 hp infinity G37 IPL does not feel as fast a 300 HP 335 , it actually feels more like a 328 , it makes all the power up high , it feels fast once you past 5 k rpm . A Golf GTI feels somewhat faster

To me its a totally different experience driving NA and turbocharge, I personally prefer working through the gears , red lining the car , however others prefer having everything at the start , nothing up top . I can see both side of the coins

If you wants best of both worlds, then a 400 hp power is the answer
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      03-05-2018, 11:24 AM   #4
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Depends on the car and it’s character. 300 is good on a E92 and makes it even more fun to drive, but on a challenger (over 4K lbs car) 400+ is better.

It really is subjective! My buddy has a 500hp N/A V8 AWD Audi RS5 with DSC tranny. We both agree my 300ish HP E92 Manual feels more fun and engaging to drive even though the RS5 is much faster and more powerful.

A S2000 or Miata is a blast with 240hp

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      03-05-2018, 12:33 PM   #5
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I feel like my current setup with the BPC tune is the best for daily driving. 213whp with 190wtq.

Looked at my sheets again and corrected my numbers with WCF factored in.
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      03-05-2018, 01:19 PM   #6
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I feel like 300-350 crank is the sweet spot for still having fun and easy to maneuver in traffic. Anything more is purely for shenanigans.

This is with respect to a car weighing ~3500lbs. or so. Adding weight changes the equation accordingly for a heavier/bigger car.

I absolutely cannot wait for this Spring when I finally do some power mods to the 328 - that's all she's missing. I love my RWD MT 328, it weighs just 3330 lbs. and with another 50-70 HP crank I think it will be fantastic. 280-300 HP in this car would be an absolute blast to drive. It won't win any races, but the driver engagement and feel will be the next best thing since the E36 M3 for a 3.0L BMW straight 6.

TL;DR: 100hp/tonne is just right in my opinion.
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      03-05-2018, 01:43 PM   #7
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unless you can drive more than 80mph for at least 30 mins honda civic is all you need
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      03-05-2018, 02:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smooth 330i View Post
unless you can drive more than 80mph for at least 30 mins honda civic is all you need
I felt my manual 130 hp honda was a blast to drive on the street, it felt fast to me , it handle corners really well ...

my friends 500 hp charger is not as fun , on first gear I m already topping the speed limit and I do not feel like I have control of the car anymore. Even on a straight line I m afraid to loose control of the car. The car was fun for about 10 minutes , after that I felt like I could not go past 4 000 rpm on the street , even on spirited driving. Only good thing about it was bragging about the 500 hp and taking it on a street line ran from time to time . Even then we never went past third gear in a straight line on the damn thing

For your regular joe , any light car with manual tranny that you can beat on should be fun .

chump race is where the fun is at
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      03-05-2018, 02:41 PM   #9
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tom.gnade,

This is a great thread IMO. Maybe because I have many of the same thoughts. I have a e92 328i 6mt. Like you I am debating putting a little more money into it to make it a little more quick, eg 3 stage intake manifold and tune. I have the 3.73 diff waiting in the garage to be installed.

~~~Interlude - if you are in a financial position to by a 997 do it!~~~

However, I don't quite know what my game plan is for the next 5 years. I've already been greasing the wheels with my wife about by my next car and one way or another it's going to be a m3 but with two different scenarios, one of which involves keeping the 328i as a daily (only have 60k on it) and getting an older e36 or e46 M3 fun car (like you my boyhood dreams have always been 911 and M3) or getting a e90 m3 and sell the 328i and use it as an all purpose daily / fun car. We'll see if any of this comes to pass. But that said I find my self contemplating on the very same topics. When it comes down to it, the 328i is more than fast enough for daily driving. In some ways it is too fast (like all modern cars) in that it is so well insulated before you know you are doing 90. However, what some of us want is to to be able to get to those speed limits quicker - that's where the thrill lies. Or we want to feel more connected to the road by going to an older chassis, or we want more a pure sports car, less GT experience such as a 911.

The N52 / 328i is more than anyone needs, but it's not quite enough for what everyone wants.

The 911 is more than you need, but it's what you want and have wanted for a long time. I'm not in a position to get a 911 yet (don't really want to settle for a 996) so my next best attainable car to me is a either the e46 m3 which I is think the is the best looking 3 with an awesome high revving I6 or a E9X m3 with it's glorious high revving V8.

I am curious which direction you decide to go.
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      03-05-2018, 03:35 PM   #10
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      03-05-2018, 04:05 PM   #11
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I am in almost literally the same boat. Seems like a few of us are in similar situations, heh.

My short answer: The E9x 328i is about as slow as it can get, IMO, for a fun daily driver. So, around 250 hp for a car that is by today's standards fairly light weight. Add more HP for a heavier car. As far as my personal ideals, I'd like to have about 400 N/A crank HP for a typical weight car (~3500 lbs). Anything less would leave me wanting more at times, anything more is.. let's be honest.. unusable on the street except for that 2 AM highway blast-off.. which, now that I'm not in college anymore, seems to happen less and less. :P

I've been recently feeling the exact same way as you, as I also test drove a 335is but then decided to go with the 328i for various reasons. I really wanted an M3, as I have since they debuted, but decided to be fiscally responsible for the time being and went with a 328i just to have a "fun DD," and plan to upgrade down the road somewhere. It has a lot that the M3 has, so I look at it as a "baby M3." I never really wanted a 335i as I'm not that into turbos, but the 335is was definitely a fun car to string out. That said, I barely get to floor it in my 328.. but yes the extra TQ the turbos produce is certainly intoxicating.

It's funny because my top two when searching for this car were 997 911 and E92 M3. They're around the same price and, for me, they're the best out there for that kind of money in the car world. To each his own, of course.

Here's how I look at modding for the 328i. Small things are fun to do, and I just enjoy the process of tinkering. But, because of what the car is to me, personally, there are limits of what is [/]worth it[/i], again, in my eyes. But that all depends on the driver and what the car was purchased for. There is nothing wrong with tracking a 328i.. so if that's your purpose, go for it all I say! But for me, I'd rather take the thousands of dollars it would take to fit a proper LSD to the car and set that money aside for the next car which will be more purposely built by the manufacturer for what I want to do with it. In other words.. more of a true "sports car." Another mod that I personally think isn't worth it for the 328i would be forced induction. I would just suggest a 335i/is if one wanted to supercharge a 328i. But again, to each his own... some may have a soft spot for superchargers.

Anyway, it's Monday, so that may have been tough for you to even read/comprehend lol, but I'll leave by answering your question about "what would I even do with a 997?"...

This sort of goes against what Spitfire007 said.. but.. To me, one of the biggest marks of a true great sports car is its ability to feel sporty and fun at low speeds just as well as it does at high speeds. Anyone who has driven an E9x M3 probably knows what I'm talking about. Even if you aren't hauling a$$, the car feels like a beast. It's planted, it's precise, and you know the power is there if you want it. It also doesn't struggle at low RPM's or parking lot speeds because, well, that engine is glorious. Porsche's, from my experiences, are likewise. They're designed for the street. Track cars, race cars.. they're different. They should probably feel odd and out of place when going slow. But a great "sports car" should be built primarily for the road we all drive on and it should be designed to inspire and feel like a blast even if you aren't acting dangerously. That is something that both the M3 and 911 do. So I believe you will enjoy the 911 just as you do your 328i, with one big difference, the 911 will put down even more power and torque when you have the ability to safely do so.. and trust me, you'll enjoy it that much more for it. Because while my 328i can typically deliver all I need, there are definitely times when I put my foot down, and about 2-3 seconds later think to myself "dang, I really wish there was more here." The 911 will also, IMO, feel "bigger" and a little sportier than the 328i even when driven in the same exact manner.

Hopefully I will be able to find an immaculate, low miles (<30K) Lime Rock Ed. M3 in about 3-5 years... wish me luck lol. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I will keep that car forever as a second/third car, if I can find one that is.
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      03-05-2018, 04:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick100 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smooth 330i View Post
unless you can drive more than 80mph for at least 30 mins honda civic is all you need
I felt my manual 130 hp honda was a blast to drive on the street, it felt fast to me , it handle corners really well ...

my friends 500 hp charger is not as fun , on first gear I m already topping the speed limit and I do not feel like I have control of the car anymore. Even on a straight line I m afraid to loose control of the car. The car was fun for about 10 minutes , after that I felt like I could not go past 4 000 rpm on the street , even on spirited driving. Only good thing about it was bragging about the 500 hp and taking it on a street line ran from time to time . Even then we never went past third gear in a straight line on the damn thing

For your regular joe , any light car with manual tranny that you can beat on should be fun .

chump race is where the fun is at
exactly this ... I had 92 Accord manual 120hp in college, bought it with 90k from a private owner. It was fun! I still check out adds sometime hoping to find a pristine one.

Last year one of the Porsche instructors at the track told me I am having sooo much fun! I was like well yeah of course. He replied my 911 is in the shop so I took our Prius ... it is so much fun! He was serious ...
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      03-05-2018, 04:56 PM   #13
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In my opinion, 220-250 crank hp is enough to not feel like you're going to get run over in traffic, enough to downshift and scoot out of the way if you need to.

Even as enthusiasts, if we're honest with ourselves, we only need a certain power to weight ratio to get the job of "automobile" done.
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      03-05-2018, 05:09 PM   #14
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For my DD I just want the car to feel like it can get out of its own way under normal conditions (not feel sluggish) - but pretty much every new car these days takes care of that; and then I want SOME sort of drama when I string it out (make it worth it.. this is a big place where a BMW differs from a Camry). But I can't really give a certain power number for that because there are other things that come into play: weight, torque, the transmission. Auto cars seem to put better torque to the ground at lower RPM's to me (I've never cared enough when I notice to try and analyze why lol) and don't seem to need as much power for DD duties. Maybe it's just due to how I drive, but an automatic 180-200HP car can "feel" faster at low speeds than my Bimmer just because of how it puts the power down, the power band's design, etc. Heck, it might even just be due to throttle response (throttle is way too long in the 328i IMO, can't wait for a tune to fix that).
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      03-05-2018, 05:19 PM   #15
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Torque converter is doing a lot of the tough work your left foot has to do now. If you make a point to learn to launch the thing you can probably get more out of it. But it requires a lot more clutch slippage than you might be accustomed to, IME.

Totally agree on the drama when requested.


Quote:
Originally Posted by atmosphericM View Post
For my DD I just want the car to feel like it can get out of its own way under normal conditions (not feel sluggish) - but pretty much every new car these days takes care of that; and then I want SOME sort of drama when I string it out (make it worth it.. this is a big place where a BMW differs from a Camry). But I can't really give a certain power number for that because there are other things that come into play: weight, torque, the transmission. Auto cars seem to put better torque to the ground at lower RPM's to me (I've never cared enough when I notice to try and analyze why lol) and don't seem to need as much power for DD duties. Maybe it's just due to how I drive, but an automatic 180-200HP car can "feel" faster at low speeds than my Bimmer just because of how it puts the power down, the power band's design, etc. Heck, it might even just be due to throttle response (throttle is way too long in the 328i IMO, can't wait for a tune to fix that).
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      03-05-2018, 05:34 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phyrexia View Post
Torque converter is doing a lot of the tough work your left foot has to do now. If you make a point to learn to launch the thing you can probably get more out of it. But it requires a lot more clutch slippage than you might be accustomed to, IME.

Totally agree on the drama when requested.
So yeah basically I just drive MT with a lot of care and baby the heck out of the clutch unless I'm "trying" to launch it. Slippage "feels" good but I'm too cheap to replace clutches anymore than I absolutely have to for now heh.
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      03-05-2018, 06:56 PM   #17
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Being able to rev out the engine without being crazy illegal speed-wise works for me
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      03-05-2018, 07:03 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atmosphericM View Post
So yeah basically I just drive MT with a lot of care and baby the heck out of the clutch unless I'm "trying" to launch it. Slippage "feels" good but I'm too cheap to replace clutches anymore than I absolutely have to for now heh.
Hehe. I bought my car with a totally ruined clutch, so in the first week of ownership I dropped the transmission and put a new clutch and flywheel in it. I don't mind a little slip here and there these days
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      03-05-2018, 07:08 PM   #19
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If you are talking about your daily driver, don't look at HP numbers. The important part is Fun Factor. Ask yourself, does it feel good?

I loved my E85, even though it was mechanically stock it was responsive as hell. Not fast but quick to the command. I knew that any time I asked it to do something, it "snapped to attention" and tried to get it done. Great daily driver, I personally put 175,000 miles of the 205,000 on the meter when I traded.

I never ran the car on a dyno. I was ran my own tune on the engine and gearbox so I'd be surprised if the rear wheel HP was anything better than 215. Might have pulled a little stronger with the tranny tune locking up the TCC sooner.

Even at that HP level, I could rarely use the full power or run through more than 3 gears. Usually 1st-2nd was a very quick trip to the speed limit. How many freeway on-ramps do you use on your way to work?

You can chase HP into the poor house, or a divorce or expelled from school etc. Remember, it's your Daily and you expect it to get you around every day, go too far and you will be spending more of your time and money than you should.
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      03-05-2018, 07:23 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6ixSpd View Post

TL;DR: 200hp/tonne is just right in my opinion.
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      03-05-2018, 08:56 PM   #21
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An often misunderstood mantra which has led to many a crumpled hood, I'm sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spitfire007 View Post
More fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow.
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      03-05-2018, 09:29 PM   #22
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Completely split on this topic.

Enough to feel like the car is not under powered is enough. But at the same time I want all I can get. I drove a Pro Street S10 Blazer with a supercharged 355 narrowed frame and tubbed as a Daily Driver for about 2 years. Was completely at home in it. Just had to fill with race gas on the weekends. Even drove it with the steam roller rear tires through snow and all. It did absolutely fine as a daily. And would be more than happy to do it again.... other than the 8 MPG that is.

But at the same time. Was Just as happy in an every day car to just go to work and back.
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