Second car musings - 128i or S2000

As most of us probably wont to do, I’m already thinking about what car to buy next, despite my WRX being less than 2 years old. My current train of thought is either a next gen WRX/STI, or a 2 car stable with a truck or SUV capable of towing/hauling (because farmer) and a more dedicated fun/summer car. Enter the bimmer/S2K debate.

If you’re thinking those cars aren’t direct competitors, you’re right. They’re different approaches to my requirements for a second car: RWD, manual transmission and a naturally aspirated engine.



For the purpose of this comparison, I’ll consider the maintenance on these cars a wash, with neither being especially cheap, nor horrendously expensive to run.


128i Pros:

- cost of entry, half of an S2000 for comparable mileage

- ride comfort/handling balance. BMW’s approach to this just suits me well.

- Straight six sound, hydraulic steering.

- Modification potential. I’d probably leave it alone and run it in street class autoX for the first year or so but the plan would be to spend a fair bit on modifications in the long run. I’d want to do 135i brakes, M3 control arms, Bilsteins/springs and an LSD, all to prepare the car for the biggest draw, a supercharger (the ESS kit is ~$5K). I’d really like to own a supercharged car one day and this would be my way to check that box.


128i Cons:

- performance setup limitations (front camber < -1 deg and needs more, no LSD), this is a biggie as I’ll autocross this car frequently when I can dedicate more time to doing so again.


- Modification costs (see Pros). I’d probably spend the same in car + mods as I would on an S2000 in the long run.


S2000 Pros:

- dedicated sports car/drivers tool

- 9000 RPM (or 8000 if I go AP2)

- I don’t think I’d need to modify this car. The usual wheels/tires, brake pads/fluid and maybe a swaybar are about as much as I’d see myself doing .


S2000 Cons:

- cost of entry, especially if I want an AP2. The market for these is probably not going to go much lower, if at all.


- stiffer ride, less comfort, especially at my height (speaking of which, I’ll have to see if I fit, but I can’t call that a con until I try).

- twitchy handling at the limit for the AP1, better on the AP2.

- limited tire options if I go with an AP1 (see cost of entry).


In my relatively short time on this planet, I’ve learned there is no such thing as the perfect car. I will continue on my journey of trying different types of cars to find what suits me best. Given my requirements and the different approaches these options present, which would you take and why?

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