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Is the E9X the Superior 3 Series Chassis After All?

Is the E9X the Superior 3 Series Chassis After All?

The sliding scale of which BMW will be the last "collectible" car is a topic as trite as the day is long. One group of traditional purists will say it stops at the E30, only to be met with a younger generation of people who have slides of the STW E36 touring cars dancing through their social media feeds. Even still, a combination of those groups will stop to appreciate a well-sorted E46 M3 for its modernity and daily usability. All true and valid reasons as to why it's safe to say there's another 3-series platform to be added to the argument, and it might actually be the best of all possible worlds.

 The E9X is still so common on the street that you can count 4 of them within 3 square blocks of my home. They're still in that period where they are an unassuming car that most people wouldn't look twice at. Its looks are average in every way and most journalists had nothing to say one way or another about them until they drove one. 

That's where it begins to stand out in every way.

Could the level of sophistication within the E9X chassis' dynamics be unmatched by any prior 3 series?  Its smoothness and predictability are apparent in such a way that can only be described as a "modern analog". Superior steering ratio and feel to any prior 3 series and almost operatic power delivery, especially from the N/A engines make a great case for it. 

Some facts to consider:

-the E9X platform is indeed the last 3 series to be built with a proper steering rack, whereas nowadays all cars are equipped with the ever-so-numb electric steering. 

-the E9X’s are the last BMW to opt with a Naturally Aspirated straight 6 engine, and those who know can vouch for the N52's smooth power delivery and feel. Likely one of the best mass-produced engines to ever be built by any manufacturer, hands down.

-though not known for it, the E9X was a hugely successful racing platform for BMW in both touring car and endurance racing. To this day many Clubsport cars are run at the 24 hours of Nurburgring and are known to be a superior entry-level race car for one of the greatest tracks in the world. 

Perhaps this is all true in spite of the fact that our eyes and brains are numb to their brilliance simply because they are still so usable, reliable, and functional. For this reason, it makes a fantastic platform for grassroots racers in the form of Spec E9X. 

Spec E9X is still in its infancy stages, but a number of experienced drivers who have had their hand at this platform on track seem to have similarly positive things to say. One can only imagine what weight-saving measures can do for these cars. Plus, since they are so readily available and easy to source; parts are plentiful, as are donor cars. Some of us might remember the good old days when you can basically take a Saturday morning trip to a junkyard and purchase all of the necessary parts needed to get your E30 back on the road. In some cases, even hauling out $500 shells to turn into racers perhaps.

Thanks to this fruitful platform, that experience is still possible. 

It is great to get involved with something from the ground floor and now is the time to do so in terms of the E9X cars. They make a fantastic one-car solution for the family man who has to make school and grocery runs and would like the option of a more spirited commute home on a Friday evening. They're reasonably DIY-friendly as well and would handle an autocross or track day out of the box with relative ease. 

 The future is bright for this platform in the hands of enthusiasts and regardless of which chassis you ultimately prefer, we can all be excited for what’s to come.

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