Originally Posted by aerisolphaln
So given the absolute drought of information available on our beloved e92 M3, here is some interesting information from the latest print edition of Car and Driver.
Last November, C/D conceived of the Lightning Lap wherein they tested completely stock and street-legal versions of high performance automobiles available to North American drivers. The test track C/D selected was the Grand Course at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) as a substitute for the Nurburgring Nordschleife, which they do acknowledge as the most challenging track in the world. Essentially the magazine groups cars by price and compares their performance on the VIR by raw numbers and also offers subjective driving impressions of what it is actually like to pilot the machines around the course.
While 13 cars were tested, I will bring up 2 that are germane to this forum, namely the BMW e92 335i and the Audi RS4. First, the raw numbers. The BMW completed the 4.2 mile course in 3:10.5 while the Audi RS4 posted a time of 3:11.2. That's right, the 335i beat the RS4 by 7 tenths of a second - this was not lost on the writers at C/D.
Now, here are the quotes about how the 335 out-raced the more expensive RS4.
BMW 335i [with comparisons to BMW Z4M coupe]
"Between the two (Z4 M Coupe and 335i), you'd expect the 335i to be more supple over bumps, have vastly more interior room, and be as refined as a Lexus. But what floored us was that the 335i's best lap was 1.2 seconds quicker than the M coupe's. It's a case of neutral handling over outright speed...the 335i was nearly perfectly balanced everywhere and made up most of its time in the regions between the breaking zone and the turn apex. The 335i does everything remarkably well, which is why many at C/D think it's the best all around car in the world."
"Although it shares its V8 engine with the RS8, the Audi RS4 didn't impart the same sort of driving satisfaction. It's a porky beast - at 3952 pounds the heaviest of the cars featured here...The closest comparative car this time around was the BMW 335i coupe, which also has decent-sized rear seats. The BMW was almost one second quicker around VIR, despite dramatically lower peak speeds on the straights. The RS4 simply overloads its tires too quickly when the steering wheel is turned. If it weren't for the four-wheel-drive system ensuring that the power can be applied early at corner exit, the RS4 would have been even further behind..."
That's some pretty amazing work by the 335i, beating out the Z4M coupe AND the RS4, which looks to be a pretty poor target for the M3 after this comparison.
What C & D issue was this in? I do not recall seeing this article.