7 Machine
Home / BMW

My M3 story...

Scoobe2010-08-29 16:35:16 +0000 #1
I browsed quite a few forums for different cars, this one as well, while I was shopping around. Thought I would share my experiences that brought me to the decision to order an M3.

I was a Naval Officer for 13 years. Started out as a pilot, eventually flew F/A-18 C's out of Oceana Virginia in VFA-87 Golden Warriors "Warparty". However I had issues with my back that eventually took me out of flying. During that time of constantly moving around the country, I owned trucks. For 20 years, I essentially drove some kind of truck.

Well in 2008 I broke down and bought a Shelby GT500 convertable. I love it. 560hp can't keep a grip even in second gear doing 50mph. But I had a kid in Feb. So that thing gets parked in the garage. So I was faced with a dilema. I needed a 4 door car, but I wanted a sports car and as most people know with kids it had to be automatic. I began shopping.

60k Was sort of my limit, plus or minus a few. I initially bit off on the C63. Seemed logical, big 6.2L V8, 4 doors, and an automatic. I went and sat in it, everything was really about average engineering and technology wise. And the styling was... average. Ended up walking away with the feeling it was "acceptable". I almost went ahead and ordered one but I was in no hurry so I shopped around. Immediately, I ruled out the IS-F. Reading about it's horrid stiff suspension was an immediate turn off. Again, kid factor.

Next was the M3. I drove there the day after the Mercedes visit. Immediately, I liked the styling much more. Its more aggressive looking and has the classic BMW style. It just looks tough, but subtle. I sat in it and fired it up, immediately the engine sound was fantastic, and the slight vibration from the rumbling V8 was amazing. It just felt like this thing was built to run. I was impressed. So I went home and began reading up on all these vehicles.

Again, I ruled out the IS-F. To me, given its engineering shortfalls and being slapped together with available parts, just wasn't up to the same standards as the Audi, BMW, and Mercedes. They give a varsity effort but in the end, its a Toyota. The more I researched, the more I realized just how far ahead the M3 was. But, there was one more to look at, a family preferrence since my father in-law builds Audi A4's in Stuttgart.

I test drove both the M3 and the S4 (granted, the S4 is more inline with the 335i, I cut it some slack). I fell in love with the double clutch transmission. There is no doubt in my mind that in 5-10 years every auto transmission out there with be a DCT, and it shifts way faster than anyone can in a manual. I liked the Audi interior slightly better, however it still fell short of the M3 in a critical area to me, setting up the car.

The M3, with M drive and iDrive functions, and the spectacular V8 is what sold it. The first complaint I read, the iDrive. I got in, played with it for maybe 5 minutes, and it was easy. I couldn't believe the complaints I read about it. If they can navigate a computer far enough to post on a website, they should be able to figure out iDrive and be comfortable with it. Maybe its just me, I like options. The next complaint, M drive with all of its settings. I'm sorry, do you want a vanilla car? Then go buy the Lexus. EDC was also a must. When the kid isn't in the car, Dad will want to play. Being able to hit the M button and have some fun is awesome. With that, my complaint about auto transmissions is they tend to shift when they want to shift. With the settings in M drive for the DCT, I was going to have more control over that, and of course paddles for my pure manual side.

And finally, the V8. I read in different area's whiners wanting their inline 6. I don't know what these people are thinking, except they have a love affair with the old M3 nastalgia. The simple fact is this V8 ever is a masterpiece of engineering. I don't think people realize how incredibly difficult it is to have any engine pull 8400 rpms much less a V8. This is a purest race engine, and the finest available in a car you drive to work for under 100k. When I read that BMW was getting rid of it, and in its stead putting in one of the cookie cutter inline 6 turbos from other platforms, I knew I better get it now while its available. So, off I went and ordered one, should be here in late July/early August.

Oh, and on the last complaint, its porky at 3800lbs. Even at that weight, its stil one of the lightest in its class. Granted, its probably a few hundred pounds overweight, but for that you get a bit of luxery. If you want a 3500lb 400hp car without the luxery, spend half the money and get the 2011 mustang GT.

Thanks for forums like these, they also answered questions I couldn't get answered at the dealer.


bubu2010-08-29 16:40:25 +0000 #2
I think you summarized how I feel about my 2008 e92 right down to the nail. I to have a "spawn" on the way and the wife was not friendly towards my old 996 turbo...Its really surprising how much more comfortable the M3 is while offering a great electronics package.

I agree on your points:

1. Its porky...would be nice if it was 250lb lighter. Then again its a daily driver for me and I'd take ride comfort over a slightly faster 0-60. Co

2. The "M" button customization is great!

3. I have what people claim to be the "shity" I-drive in my 08...but I've had no issues with it, yah its a little slow when you start up the car because it starts from DVD, but otherwise zero complaints. It really was not that hard to figure out...yah some of the twist vs push down/push up for selections may have been annoying at first but it took me 2-3 days to be 100% familiar with it.

...but I do have a beef you'll discover soon enough. The windshield quality is PURE CRAP. It'll micro chip & pit within a couple hundred miles. Mine looks like someone put some buckshot through it after 15k miles...and I think its from bug collisions @ high speed.

If the worse thing someone has to say about the car is the crappy windshield durability I think BMW has a clear winner in both the family friendly sedan & coupe.
Scoobe2010-08-29 17:18:52 +0000 #3
Would it be wise to invest in windshield protection film?
eatrach732010-08-29 17:10:46 +0000 #4
I have not driven C63 and ISF. My love has always been and will always be BMW. However, I did drive the new S4 with Double clutch. I fell in love with that tranny. I couldn't help but to play around with the shifting and paying close attention to the sound of the exhaust once shifting began from 1st to 2nd to 3rd and on. The thing I didn't like about the S4 is handling. It felt so heavy on the turns. What I like about the M3 is the sharp handling (nimble), the robust power (kazzzoooom), and the smile that brought to my face.

Everything else is history.

congratulation on the Kid, car, and thank you for serving our country.
Jeff_DML2010-08-29 17:01:52 +0000 #5
nice write up...

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scoobe

I needed a 4 door car, but I wanted a sports car and as most people know with kids it had to be automatic. I began shopping.

I see the excuse of the wife or traffic but not kids, I got 2 small kids and drive a stick
Scoobe2010-08-29 17:35:07 +0000 #6
Have to reach around to the back seat too much with this 3 month old. Pullng a little thing that flashes lights and music when she is fussy, or sticking a bottle in her mouth and holding it, which i find myself doing quite often when shes in the back. I could have gone with a manual in a pinch, if it was the only option and i absolutely wanted the car. But after driving the DCT, that went out the window. The DCT is just amazing.
major_kusanagi2010-08-29 18:41:46 +0000 #7
Good write-up. And welcome aboard.
calintexas2010-08-29 17:10:35 +0000 #8
Quote:

Originally Posted by Scoobe

Would it be wise to invest in windshield protection film?

There's lots of gravel on the interesting Texas Hill Country back roads. The film would be a good deal if it works. The guy (in Dallas) that wrapped my front end is just starting to install the ClearPlex windshield stuff. It's only guaranteed for a year and it's pretty expensive. He's got a special going; so, I may try it for a year if my windshield isn't too beat up already.

Check out the Southwest regional forum here. There are good size Houston & Dallas groups posting there.
ss1342010-08-29 19:23:46 +0000 #9
Quote:

Originally Posted by bubu

I think you summarized how I feel about my 2008 e92 right down to the nail. I to have a "spawn" on the way and the wife was not friendly towards my old 996 turbo...Its really surprising how much more comfortable the M3 is while offering a great electronics package.

I agree on your points:

1. Its porky...would be nice if it was 250lb lighter. Then again its a daily driver for me and I'd take ride comfort over a slightly faster 0-60. Co

2. The "M" button customization is great!

3. I have what people claim to be the "shity" I-drive in my 08...but I've had no issues with it, yah its a little slow when you start up the car because it starts from DVD, but otherwise zero complaints. It really was not that hard to figure out...yah some of the twist vs push down/push up for selections may have been annoying at first but it took me 2-3 days to be 100% familiar with it.

...but I do have a beef you'll discover soon enough. The windshield quality is PURE CRAP. It'll micro chip & pit within a couple hundred miles. Mine looks like someone put some buckshot through it after 15k miles...and I think its from bug collisions @ high speed.

If the worse thing someone has to say about the car is the crappy windshield durability I think BMW has a clear winner in both the family friendly sedan & coupe.

I have an M3 on order so i cannot verify or deny your claim of the windshield in the M3 being 'pure crap' however i did own a 335i until last week which i would imagine will have a similar quality windshield to the M3 and my experience is much different to yours. I regularly ran my car at 'high speed' (proper high speeds ie 150mph+ on the autobahn) and when i sold my car it didnt have a single scratch on the windshield after 11K miles (and trust me i hit plenty of 'bugs'!)

Now if i am mistaken and BMW has fitted their highest performing 3 series with an inferior quality windshield to their less expensive mainstream models then i stand corrected.......

Scoobe - Hope the time passes quickly for you and enjoy your M3!
Edward2010-08-29 18:37:23 +0000 #10
so tell us plebeians...just how boring any M car is to drive vs. flying an F/A 18-C. Must be as exciting as cold oatmeal.
Scoobe2010-08-29 19:04:06 +0000 #11
Well the most thrilling time I had in the hornet was at 200ft ripping 500 knots in Fallon Nevada through the mountains. But cars still give me a thrill believe it or not. Flying on the edge at 200ft or taking a car to its limits basically gives you the same rush, your just a little closer to death in the jet.

I might look into the windshield film, so far in San Antonio I havent had any issues with any of my cars, but in Corpus Christi years ago I did. Maybe its the sand/salt air? I'll have to research it a little.

BTW, on the S4 test drive I have to say I was thoroughly impressed with the car. Yes it had 75hp less, but it had a well performing DCT as well as the adjustable ride (comfort, dynamic, and sport modes). Sport mode seemed to be pretty stiff but it did feel a little less nimble than the M3. The downside is that it was appox the same weight as the M3. But its 10k less comperably equipped. If that extra 10k put the M3 out of my price range, I'd be on the Audi forums about now. If your cap is 50k, I'd strongly suggest a look at the S4. It's about as close to an M3 as your gonna get at 50k.
M3Fool2010-08-29 21:03:43 +0000 #12
The iDrive never got rid of the "bad" stigma it got during the first iteration of it. I had an 04 530i bought new and it was the first version of iDrive and it SUCKED. I had it replaced 6 times in one year.......... The new iDrive is leagues above the original version and a masterpiece of technological wonder. No other system on the market (Aside from GT-R) lets you adjust so much of the car from the center console.

Most folks who talk smack about about the E9X M3's are just what you said, nostalgic and dont like change. In their defense, why change something that seemed so perfect??? (E46 M3). Most car companies do miss the mark when they try to improve upon "Perfect" but IMO the E9X M3 proves that the E46 was not perfect. Aside from GT-R, and some VERY high end cars for 2-3-4 times the money, you will be hard pressed to find a better performing car in any any class.

Reply

Name:
Content:


Other posts in this category