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andy r.
01-05-1999, 07:38 PM
So I've had my heart set on a '96+ M3 coupe for a while. I want something inline-6, RWD, stick shift; comes down to BMW (or S4, CLK if they bring a stick, maybe the IS200, we'll see). So I test drove a 97 M3 today just for fun. Two things that really bugged me:<p>1. LONG pedal throws. I felt like I was doing Stairmasters. The clutch throw was a whole foot long, and devoid of feel. I couldn't tell when the damn thing engaged. Yes I know about hydraulic clutches, but my roommate's Civic CX feels better, not to mention my car. Same with the brakes - a LOT of free play, and soft thereafter. Is this normal? Can anything be done? It seemed really hard to change gears quickly.<p>2. Soft steering. Yes, it's very sensitive and precise, but I couldn't feel the road like I had expected. Do people underdrive the steering pump to fix this?<p>I like the effortless acceleration, of course. I like the seats, once I figured out the controls. I want this to be my sports car though, I was just surprised at the amount of work I'll need to do to get the car how I want it.<p>For perspective, I drive a souped-up '93 Infiniti G20 (160ish HP). Very nimble car for its size, clever FWD suspention. I just feel so much more connected in the G20 - short pedal throws with lots of feel in the brakes, steering wheel, and shifter. Any opinions appreciated.<p>andy r.

SolidM
01-06-1999, 04:08 AM
Andy,<p>Here's my view on the matter. Cars are very personal things.<p>The M3 is a race car unlike any other high-end<br>performance car out there. It has a unique combination of advantages: it has class; it handles extremely well; it has a practical trunk; it's affordable for something in its performance class; you can modify the car a lot and there's support for those mods (Dinan mods, for example).<p>In most race cars and other high-performance cars with stick shift, the clutch has a very short catch range. Perhaps that's why you felt you couldn't feel when the clutch engages.<p>I think Hondas and Acura Integras are excellent cars to learn stick on because you can really feel the clutch and take your time learning the nuances of getting smooth shifts.<p>The M3 has really large disc brakes. They allow the car to stop really quickly. Most BMW's are like that; when you want to stop, the car responds immediately. Same with the gas pedal.<p>Did you just do street driving? You really need to take the M3 on a long twisty stretch of road to appreciate its handling.<p>One last thing I've noticed about the M3 is it takes some time to notice the nuances of the handling and road feel. Try driving it for a week (or just go on a series of test drives). Then switch back to the car you were driving before. I think you'll notice much more of a difference.<p>SolidM<p><i>: So I've had my heart set on a '96+ M3 coupe for a while. I want something inline-6, RWD, stick shift; comes down to BMW (or S4, CLK if they bring a stick, maybe the IS200, we'll see). So I test drove a 97 M3 today just for fun. Two things that really bugged me:<p>: 1. LONG pedal throws. I felt like I was doing Stairmasters. The clutch throw was a whole foot long, and devoid of feel. I couldn't tell when the damn thing engaged. Yes I know about hydraulic clutches, but my roommate's Civic CX feels better, not to mention my car. Same with the brakes - a LOT of free play, and soft thereafter. Is this normal? Can anything be done? It seemed really hard to change gears quickly.<p>: 2. Soft steering. Yes, it's very sensitive and precise, but I couldn't feel the road like I had expected. Do people underdrive the steering pump to fix this?<p>: I like the effortless acceleration, of course. I like the seats, once I figured out the controls. I want this to be my sports car though, I was just surprised at the amount of work I'll need to do to get the car how I want it.<p>: For perspective, I drive a souped-up '93 Infiniti G20 (160ish HP). Very nimble car for its size, clever FWD suspention. I just feel so much more connected in the G20 - short pedal throws with lots of feel in the brakes, steering wheel, and shifter. Any opinions appreciated.<p>: andy r.<p></i>

kerofaye
01-06-1999, 11:28 AM
I am having the worst of both worlds. I am learning<br>to drive stick on the 99 M3. The clutch throw is<br>extremely long and I always have problem of holding the clutch to long when start from a dead<br>stop. Any trick to make it smoother ? or do I have<br>to do more ?<br> <br>On the other hand, after driven the M3 for a month<br>or so. I can really appreciate why it is more <br>expensive than some other car.

JRB
01-06-1999, 01:18 PM
<i>: So I've had my heart set on a '96+ M3 coupe for a while. I want something inline-6, RWD, stick shift; comes down to BMW (or S4, CLK if they bring a stick, maybe the IS200, we'll see). So I test drove a 97 M3 today just for fun. Two things that really bugged me:<p>: 1. LONG pedal throws. I felt like I was doing Stairmasters. The clutch throw was a whole foot long, and devoid of feel. I couldn't tell when the damn thing engaged. Yes I know about hydraulic clutches, but my roommate's Civic CX feels better, not to mention my car. Same with the brakes - a LOT of free play, and soft thereafter. Is this normal? Can anything be done? It seemed really hard to change gears quickly.<p>: 2. Soft steering. Yes, it's very sensitive and precise, but I couldn't feel the road like I had expected. Do people underdrive the steering pump to fix this?<p>: I like the effortless acceleration, of course. I like the seats, once I figured out the controls. I want this to be my sports car though, I was just surprised at the amount of work I'll need to do to get the car how I want it.<p>: For perspective, I drive a souped-up '93 Infiniti G20 (160ish HP). Very nimble car for its size, clever FWD suspention. I just feel so much more connected in the G20 - short pedal throws with lots of feel in the brakes, steering wheel, and shifter. Any opinions appreciated.<p>: andy r.<p></i><p>Andy:<p>My initial reactions were much like yours to clutch, brake, and steering. Two of the the three reactions I think are just those associated with coming to a new car that solves problems a little differently. Over time, I've come to love the braking and the steering. The braking, in particular, gives me more touch and feel than other performance cars I have driven. The steering is, I think, even after time a hair light; but I've driven no other car that gives you its precision. I do think the clutch throw is too long. It's not proven over time, however, to be an annoyance.<p>I really love the M3. Its package of agility and quickness makes it fun all the time. It is not, however, a screamer like a Vette or 911; but for doing everything, including carrying passengers, I don't know anything better.<p>JRB

andy r.
01-06-1999, 08:44 PM
<i>: The M3 is a race car unlike any other high-end<br>: performance car out there. It has a unique combination of advantages: it has class; it handles extremely well; it has a practical trunk; it's affordable for something in its performance class; you can modify the car a lot and there's support for those mods (Dinan mods, for example).<p><br>That's why I was test driving one... :)<p><br>: In most race cars and other high-performance cars with stick shift, the clutch has a very short catch range. Perhaps that's why you felt you couldn't feel when the clutch engages.<p><br>Well, it felt to me like the engagement was very long. My car has a short, hard engagement so that's what I'm used to. I think this car (97 w/ 50000 miles) had been treated badly. Squishy brake fluid and possibly worn clutch. I need to find a better one to drive.<p>andy r.<p></i>


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