New M3 impressions
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This is a discussion on New M3 impressions within the Comparison: WRX vs World forums, part of the Community - Meet other Enthusiasts category; I had the opportunity to drive a friend's new (2003) 6 speed M3 the other day with the following assessment. ...

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    New M3 impressions

    I had the opportunity to drive a friend's new (2003) 6 speed M3 the other day with the following assessment.

    The car is grossly overrated. Compared to a 330, the car is noisy, shifts badly, and rides like a rock. The brakes are great, the car understeers significantly, and the power, while good, is not really all that great. Based on seat of the pants feel (and looking at the speedo) I would say that the thing is not significantly faster than my WRX (stock plus Cobb stage 1) to 60. The traction control is EXTREMELY intrusive...any amount of wheelspin results in a power cut for what seems like an eternity. I took it up one long freeway hill where I could really give the high RPM power a chance and found that the thing kinda slowed down a lot at about 110. While the powerband is wide, it's not really strong below 6 grand and the pull from 6-8 is ok, but nothing to get excited about.

    Compared to my '01 C5...there's little comparison. The Vette has so much more torque the fact that the power ratings are similar is almost irrelevant. On the same hill where the M3 kinda pooped out at 110 the Vette is pulling strongly past 130. The other thing is that this little car is a real porker, especially compared to the previous generation M3.

    All in all I would think that in any contest of speed other than acceleration beyond 100 MPH, a lightly modified WRX would be more than a match. From my experience driving the previous generation M3 it seems that the older car would be a much more formidable opponent on a twisty road than the new M3:

    -the handling is significantly better
    -the car is dramatically lighter
    -power below 6k RPM seems stronger
    -traction control intervention is not an issue
    -brakes are just as good

    In terms of real world competition I would say that the new M3 has a very limited set of competencies. It has good top end power, but other than that it seems that a WRX would be pretty darn close on a winding road and a Vette will absolutely kill it at high speeds.

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    Registered User DEADPOOL's Avatar
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    Im just gonna go one by one here on some of youre comments.

    -i have never found the E46 to be noisy, its rather quiet in comparison to my REX. Also its hard as a rock becouse of a stiff suspension(you want a stiff suspension) do you think a GT2 has a plush ride to it?

    -light mods can keep up with a M3 to about 60 then the M3 will walk a rex( i know from experience).

    -Heavy understeer?? think again. Ya maybe if you enter a turn way to fast, hell anycar will understeer if you enter in to hot. Its called power oversteer, and yes the M3 has it. Its actually a beutiful car to drift, its very forgiving.

    -You mention that you didnt like the traction control......heres a thought TURN IT OFF!!. Who the hell uses TC, hum maybe thats why you couldnt get the back end out and were convinced that the car had terminal understeer????

    I think that just about covers everything.
    John
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    Banned dark_rex's Avatar
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    you're smoking crack.

    i've driven the brand new M3a number of times. it's in my avatar for a reason.

    it's pretty much the epitome of the perfectly designed sports car. you won't find better handleing, gearbox and smooth torque curve in a car.

    interior and trim is amazing. great seats, dash and controls.

    my only negative was the guages are a little small. i like them a bit larger. not a big deal though.

    $0.02.

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    Registered User DEADPOOL's Avatar
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    I agree, he's either on crack or just doesnt know a thing about driving. All i know is he didnt have the sense to turn off the TC .
    "Celebrate we will, for life is short but sweet for certain"-DMB

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    Registered User amob02's Avatar
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    lol I don't understand how you can even compare the Rex and the M3, its apples and oranges!

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    Registered User StoplightWarrior's Avatar
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    Originally posted by amob02
    lol I don't understand how you can even compare the Rex and the M3, its apples and oranges!

    2003 SRT-4

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    Originally posted by amob02
    lol I don't understand how you can even compare the Rex and the M3, its apples and oranges!
    Because they can and always will?

    No seriously though, how many owners who have beaten more expensive cars in races and have said to themselves I wonder how they feels that their $50k german icon just got beat by a $25k japanese wagon/sedan. Same goes when people compare the srt-4 and the wrx, $20k compact car beating a $25k rally car from a roll. Sure two cars, different purposes in mind, but people still compare. It's all in fun.

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    Ike
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    I guess that little switch that turns the TC off is difficult to reach?

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    Registered User Henry's Avatar
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    Well, people buy expensive cars not necessarily for the performance. They buy them because they can afford the money and they can show off that they have the money. It's a social status thing. Of course, in the M3 case, there's a lot of performance there, AND cool styling that come with the performance.

    I'd like to make a toast to M3, the world's perfect car. In terms of money, practicality, performance... blah blah, that is.

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    Moderator MidKnight's Avatar
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    Dangrass, as everyone has so graciously already suggested, turn the TC off next time. The new M3 is a work of art. It drives like butter. Understeer? Did you know where the gas pedal was?! You can swing the back end of that car around like the tail of a dog on speed! Over-steer is just a pedal press away in the M3. Turn off the TC... then have some real fun!
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    Guys, go easy, he was posting an opinion. I can never figure out why people get so aggresive when someone posts.

    I raced my best friend in his M3 and killed him. Not even close. He was shocked as was I. From a stop, a roll and on the highway to 100 + MPH, I kept pulling. Now, I love my STI but I would still trade cars with him in a fricking heartbeat, and to me that is what it comes down to. I can get my Town and Country van to go 0-60 in 5 seconds if I mod the crap out of it, but is it a better sports sedan than the M3, I think not.
    Don't flame. Be nice

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    Interesting that my posting drew such a response! Yes, the traction control can be turned off, but the car still has a serious understeer problem. Power oversteer is not a solution to a fundamental handling imbalance. In the recent test of the M3, Z06, Nissan Z car, etc., they too were unhappy with the severe understeer and the horrific toll this was taking on the car's front tires. The European mags say the same thing. While it's fashionable to believe the because it's a BMW it must be great, there is often a difference between perceptions (or ad copy) and reality.

    back to specifics:

    Ride: my Corvette (and any late model Porsche 996 or an NSX) outsticks and outhandles the M3, yet the ride is downright pleasant by comparison. My observations exactly reflect those mad by R & T.

    Acceleration: we all agree that up to 60 a lightly modded WRX is definitely in the hunt. We can also agree that at high speeds (120 plus) an M3 is no match for a Vette.

    Electronic intervention: one can turn off TC, but it's there for a reason. When compared to the "active handling" system in a Vette, the TC in the M3 is downright prehistoric. You pretty much have to turn it off to drive the car fast, this would imply that it doesn't really work very well. By comparison the Vette's is superb...a genuinely useful safety feature.

    Real world performance: for those who are convinced that a new M3 is the cat's meeow (as I was) I suggest you take one for a real drive.

    Summary: the M3 is a nice car, but it's just not significantly faster than a WRX at speeds <100 MPH on real roads. In the event of inclement weather the WRX would definitely outperform it.

    One final observation that I failed to include in the original email, this thing is downright twitchy at high speeds. I took this one to ~125 and found it to be very nervous as compared to the WRX or Vette. I was genuinely surprised by this, I suspect this is related to the fact that it's sprung way too firm.

    When compared to a Vette, the M3 is simply way out of it's league (exactly the conclusion that R & T reached). I can state this both from driving the M3 and having raced (beaten) several of them on twisty roads in the Vette.

    So what you have is a $65k car that for most intents and purposes in inferior to the prior generation version, is 2.5x the cost of a car that has similar real-world performance (a WRX), and is not in the same league as a $50k performance car.

    My purpose in writing this was to provide an unbiased opinion of a car that I am fortunate enough to have access to, that I can compare in an unbiased way to a car that is near and dear to all of us and to another that is also frequently mentioned as a performance benchmark.

    ...and no, I'm not on crack...but thanks for asking.... no need to shoot the messenger! Please.

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    Thanks for the viewpoint. It's good to hear some differing opinions. I too agree that power oversteer is no correction for understeering issues. I've planned on buying an M3 as my first brand new vehicle but the more I read, the more interesting the Vette becomes. It's all gonna come down to a good long test drive.

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    Registered User DEADPOOL's Avatar
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by dangrass
    [B]
    Ride: my Corvette (and any late model Porsche 996 or an NSX) outsticks and outhandles the M3, yet the ride is downright pleasant by comparison. My observations exactly reflect those mad by R & T.[Quote]

    Question- Did youre friend have springs put on his car, if so then this would be the reason you found the ride harsh, in stock form its not harsh except when comparing it to a range rover. My best friend has one, and hes had it for over 2 years now, and i would rather have it then i would a C5, mainly becouse of practicality(the vette doesnt have it, id like to see you fit a mountain bike in a vette like we did in the M3).

    [Quote]Electronic intervention: one can turn off TC, but it's there for a reason. When compared to the "active handling" system in a Vette, the TC in the M3 is downright prehistoric. You pretty much have to turn it off to drive the car fast, this would imply that it doesn't really work very well. By comparison the Vette's is superb...a genuinely useful safety feature.[Quote]

    Thats funny, if you were to have read the R&T article fully you would have seen how there conclusions are the exact opposite of yours. Heres another note, the vette in the R&T was not the C5 but instead it was a Z-06(correct me if im wrong).

    [Quote]Real world performance: for those who are convinced that a new M3 is the cat's meeow (as I was) I suggest you take one for a real drive.[Quote]

    Its not meant to be the greatest sports car etc, its a all around sports car and i believe it to be the best all around one(practicality handling etc etc)

    [Quote]One final observation that I failed to include in the original email, this thing is downright twitchy at high speeds. I took this one to ~125 and found it to be very nervous as compared to the WRX or Vette. I was genuinely surprised by this, I suspect this is related to the fact that it's sprung way too firm.[Quote]

    I consider it to be just very responsive, point and go. Ive always found american cars to have a rather dilluted steering response(feeling to them). They just dont have what my porsche has nor what the M3 has, youre just not used to it prob.

    [Quote]So what you have is a $65k car that for most intents and purposes in inferior to the prior generation version, is 2.5x the cost of a car that has similar real-world performance (a WRX), and is not in the same league as a $50k performance car.[Quote]

    $65k????????? . What are you smoking the M3 only cost $47.

    [Quote]My purpose in writing this was to provide an unbiased opinion of a car that I am fortunate enough to have access to, that I can compare in an unbiased way to a car that is near and dear to all of us and to another that is also frequently mentioned as a performance benchmark.[Quote]

    Its impossible for you to give an unbiased oppinion on this becouse you own a vette. I on the other hand can give an unbiased report on an M3 v C5.
    "Celebrate we will, for life is short but sweet for certain"-DMB

    Liquid - "yes sticky! hes a god now!"

    02 WRX now JDM V8 STI (too many mods for my own good)

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    Registered User RLsChMiDt's Avatar
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    okay i'm not getting technical, although I know a good deal about the car, and have driven it myself.

    it is an AMAZING car, the shifting is a lot smoother than my rex, and the power delivery is VERY smooth.

    BMW really is a driving machine, and with their M series, they took it to a whole nother level.

    M3 ROCKS MY WORLD, yours too

    -Ryan |Dub-Yuh Our Ex Ess Tee Eye| My Car

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