Power certainly isn’t everything. When it comes to having fun, power is not a requirement. What’s more important for fun, especially on track, are a balanced chassis, communicative steering, and a sense of humor. That principle couldn’t be more on display than in this video from Misha Charoudin, in which he laps an incredibly slow E36-generation BMW 318i Touring on the Nürburgring.
As per usual, Charoudin laps someone else’s car, as fans of the channel regularly bring him their cars to lap, both so they can experience a lap with Charoudin behind the wheel and to see what their car can really do. Usually, those cars are fast, heavily modified, track-ready cars—911s, M3s, Civic Type Rs, stuff like that. And they usually have high-quality mods and great tires. This time, though, it’s a lowly E36 318i Touring with virtually no mods and even some parts from other car brands (its exhaust is from a VW). Not exactly the ideal Nürburgring car.
However, despite the 318i’s lack of power—a stock E36 318i makes about 120 horsepower on its best day—and the fact that they had three people on board during the lap, it was an absolute blast to drive. And it was all due to two things: the playful chassis of the E36 and the relaxed nature of the lap.
When you drive a slow car at its absolute limit, you can explore what makes driving truly fun in a safe manner. The E36 318i Touring is a slow car, it doesn’t have enough power to get into too much trouble because, even if you go absolutely flat-out all the time, it’s barely powerful enough to reach uncontrollable speeds. Charoudin’s lap in the 318i had to be his slowest of the year by a huge margin but it also seemed like one of the most fun because everyone in the car was laughing. At one point, the do battle with an MX-5 and it seems like so much fun. I also want to point out that someone did a lap of the Nürburgring flat-out in an E36 and it didn’t overheat. Remarkable.
This video just proves that the old adage that it’s more fun to drive as slow car fast, rather than a fast car slowly, is true. Slow cars can absolutely be fun to drive, you just need to make sure you have a playful chassis and a funny attitude about it.