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Ben FR
04-23-2002, 10:59 PM
Let me preface this by saying that I'm back in Philadelphia for finals (then vacation in europe) and I'm only about 1/5 through the 1200 mile break-in, foreplay. This review is only preliminary, and is more focused on practical differences between the M coupe and M3.

The best way to describe the M3 is an M5/M coupe hybrid.

Although the steering feels more ambiguous than the M coupe, the M3's handling is unbelievable. I took many turnpike and I-95 offramps at speeds that would cause the M coupe's back end to hop, skip and oversteer. It would take balls of vanadium to make these tires squeal on an offramp. The steering is smooth, and the ride is ridiculously soft compared to the M coupe. Initially I was concerned about comments that the 19" wheels rode harsh, but basically I was a victim of soft propaganda from the weekender M3 soccer dad.

Acceleration. It feels as fast as the M coupe in 1st and 2nd, but it is decidedly quicker in 3rd and beyond. I really haven't had the opportunity to feel out the first two gears, as 5500 rpm comes ridiculously quick no matter how slowly you accelerate. 1st Gear maybe too short for comfortable driving, but that doesn't apply to me anyway.

Exhaust. Uh, where is it? It has a very high pitched whine, but this ain't no M coupe with Supersprint. I am definitely upgrading the exhaust ASAP, as the current sound doesn't provide the proper auditory experience to complement the car's performance and mission.

Creature comforts. Ah, keyless entry. Memory seats. Xenon Headlamps. The headlights automatically turn on when it gets dark or you go in a tunnel. The seat is comfortable- very comfortable. That new car smell. Radio buttons on the steering wheel- bah. Good air conditioning? Well, better than the M coupe. Big trunk? Well when the seats come down in the back. Padded door armrest. Keyless entry, again. Oil temperature gauge isn't by itself in its own gauge - but at least it's there unlike the E36 M3. Voltmeter? not here- but it's not like I ever needed to look at the M coupe one.

Sport button- I thought this was an M car.

Shifter - the throw is shorter than the M5 and 3-series, but longer than the stock M coupe throw. The shifter is precise and not very rubbery.

Clutch - the travel is very long and somewhat springy. Will install clutch stop soon. Driving this thing is downright easy. My grandma could shift this without burning the clutch or stalling. Not very rewarding, but makes life easier. Pedals seem closer together as heel-and-toes can be done effortlessly. This may be the result of the steering wheel not being in the way when my right foot pivots, and my right knee moves inward.

Size - this thing is big. Sure it's a relatively small car compared to any SUV or luxury car, but it feels big. Backing out of a space seems like a chore compared to the M coupe. I don't have that feeling in traffic that I can squeeze into whatever space I want. Rearward visibility is good, but the rear deck is high off the ground and blocks visibility directly behind the car. Oh yeah- the passenger side mirror points downward when reverse is engaged. It's a nice feature, but I'm not used to it yet.

Overall-the car is great. I have no regrets, although I'm sure I'll miss the M coupe when I'm trying to do some parallel parking or some driving on very curvy roads. Sure the M3 can do the curves better than the M coupe, but that go-kart steering feel is hard to beat. The M3 does everything well- it scores a 9/10 in almost every category, and I can't think of any car that does so many things well. It is a more practical daily car for an enthusiast. It is a better choice if you only have one car in your stable. If you can have two, I'd go with an M5 and an M coupe. The M3 encompasses the attributes of both cars, IS a great enthusiasts car, but still it doesn't exude the visceral and raw feel of the M coupe. Surprisingly, I am getting just as many looks in the M3 as in the M coupe (was driving in car conscious south florida), but I'm sure that in the long run the M coupe wins in the gawk factor.

More to come.


Ben FR
04-23-2002, 11:02 PM
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04-23-2002, 11:06 PM

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04-23-2002, 11:11 PM

paul, Boston
04-23-2002, 11:11 PM
Not sure about the M3 seats... They have fantastic support and all but even after a month with the car i couldn't get completely comfortable. Track position was perfect though.

You don't find the shift rubbery? Was really rubbery on ours during break in. Has loosened a little now.

I want an M coupe.


04-23-2002, 11:12 PM
with exams and that Europe thing!! lol

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04-23-2002, 11:31 PM

Ben FR
04-24-2002, 12:14 AM

Ben FR
04-24-2002, 12:14 AM

04-24-2002, 01:43 AM
Nice Pics!! Is that the Cinnamon leather?

04-24-2002, 07:05 AM
I have a 00 M Roadster. I just picked up an M3 at Spartenburg and have about 550 miles on it so far. I should hit 1200 by Friday (extended road trip/vacation).

Steering - I find the steering in the M3 is be very nice. The steering is light and very positive. The car goes exactly where I want it, when I want it to. The Roadster tends to wander some and the steering tends to be too touchy at high speeds. The M3 tracks true and lane changes at speed are just a thought away. At 85 - 90 the M3 is much less twitchy than the Roadster. The steering was also just about perfect doing the handling course at the Performance Center.

Acceration - The M3 is VERY quick. And I have found no trouble staying below 5500, but I am also not using full throttle. But the older M Roadsters FEEL like they are accelerating quicker. The gearing and low end torque push you back in the seat more.

Exhaust - During break in, it is not much to talk about. But having been able to flog the car at the Performance Centar, the sound at high RPM with wide open throttle is very nice. I like the rasp. Very unique.

Creature comforts - Pretty much agree. I did find driving south in Alabama with the sun beating down, the A/C was just passable. The BMW engineers need to spend some time inthe South (of the US, not Germany) in the summer.

Sport button - I agree.

Shifter/Clutch - I can't comment since mine is SMG. But SMG is GREAT.

Size - I find the car to feel very small. The nose seems very short compared to the Roadster. When I park the Roadster I normally find the nose is much closer to things like dividers and curbs than I thought. With the M3, I find that the nose is much further away from things than I thought. Compared to the Roadster the trunk is HUGE, but that is to be expected.

Overall - I really like the M3. I won't miss the Roadster, but in my case because my wife wanted it, we still have it. :) But they are not equivalent cars. I wouldn't have considered this extended trip/vacation in the Roadster. It is not as comfortable. It is more fatiguing to drive long distances at high speeds, it has less space. As to the go kart feel, having done the slalom work at the Performance Center, I feel the M3 steering gives up nothing to the MZ steering. Different approaches to the same end. The car goes where I want it, when I want it to.

04-24-2002, 07:19 AM
I do agree with the thought that teh M3 is a cross between the MZ3 and the M5.

Overall it is a better all around car. It is as home in the twisties as the MZ3, but much better cruising at high speed on the highway.

The MZ3 is a raw, in your face, old time sports car (at least the Roadster is :) ). The M3 is a more refined balanced car.

The MZ3 is the slightly trashy Friday night bar pickup. The M3 is the classy business woman wearing sexy underwear under her nice outfit. Both are terrors in bed. But the classy lady can be trashy more easily than the trashy one can be classy. :)

04-24-2002, 01:02 PM
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