What It’s Like To Daily Drive An LS-Swapped BMW

We’ve all read the stories and watched the builds for various swapped cars. How they did it, budget, how it handles the track. What’s discussed less often is what it’s like to live with a swapped car. YouTuber The Rusty Toolbox gives us some insight on what it’s like to daily his LS-swapped BMW 318ti.

As with most car mods, there are pros and cons to his specific swap. It affects not only drivability but also livability. TRT does dispel the myth that daily driving an LS-swapped car does not necessarily mean daily burnouts and donuts. He does admit to the odd onramp or stoplight pull. His swap has resulted in a fun car that does the double duty of track fun and daily driving work.


As you’d expect, the benefits are rather obvious. His car makes three to four times more power over the stock drivetrain. The 318ti makes about 138 horsepower in stock I4 form. The swap to an American powerplant has a cost benefit as well, since LS parts are much more readily available and cheaper than German parts stateside. Regular maintenance is generally easier for him as well. Parts are easy to find in most scrapyards. He also enjoys the “sleeper” aspect of his car, which can be subjective to the build. Most drivers don’t expect LS power from a ’99 BMW hatch.


Price. Perhaps you’ve been here with a smaller scale mod. Time and cost expand as you run into unforeseen challenges. For this reason, and we agree, TRT recommends keeping another daily driver while your motor swap project is in progress. Taking the bus while your car is in the garage is no fun at all. Then there’s the noise, which is also a matter of subjectivity to the build. Different exhaust setups and sound insulation will affect comfort level. Something to keep in mind depending on the commute you’re subjecting yourself to in a project car. One last thing to keep in mind when doing a powerplant swap is creature comforts such as A/C. This is something that TRT’s build is sorely lacking, especially for a daily.

Check out the full rundown on the vehicle in question below. Also, let us know in the comments: what’s the swap you’ve either done ow would like to do?


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