Originally Posted by X_fuera
I definately agree that the the M3 would be a better overall DD - more space, more creature comforts, etc - but I need to consider the maintenance cost associated with the car as well as its fun factor as it will also serve as my "toy". Is the M3's practicality as a DD outweighed by its maintenance expense and its lack of torque and cost to modify? Again, maintenance on these cars scares me, especially considering that I plan to keep this car for 10 or so years. Could I afford it? Yes. However, I'd be pissed if I need to sink a few grand into an already expensive car to keep in working order. Any feedback on actual charges for regularly scheduled maintenance M3? In terms of fun, the car will only see street duty in the burbs of Chicago. These streets are flat and straight. How much of a hindrance is the lack of torque to having fun on these types of roads? The other part of the "fun factor" to me is tinkering in the garage. The cost of modding the M3 is insane compared to the GT500. Lots to ponder here...
The long term maintenance cost question is an interesting one. The first 3yr/50k is covered by BMW (or rather built into the price) where the Ford you are paying out of pocket from day one. However I'd be willing to bet the Ford is cheaper to maintain. I'm sure you could do the math if you really wanted to and there is probably a point where higher cost to maintain the M3 (long term) passes the 'savings' you got in the first 3 years.
My other concern with keeping the car 10 years is styling and durability. My (limited) experience with American cars is that while their drivelines are pretty bullet proof, their interior bits don't age well. I also think if you line up all the M3's up to this point they all still look good even after 25 years. On the other hand I think the Mustang stylings don't keep their appeal nearly as well.
From a tinkering standpoint that's a consideration if modding is fun for you. Modding an M3 is a pricey undertaking where modding the Ford will be much more realistic.
As for fun - I think both will be fun in their own right. On this front I don't think you can lose.