Thread: First Drive
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      07-04-2007, 05:34 AM   #5
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Drives: M3 CSL, AMG ML63, B7 RS4 Avant
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: England

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Originally Posted by moss View Post
I'd like to know whether the gear change is better than the E46 M3, as I found this very disappointing - and may therefore wait for the DSG style gearbox. Bet you had a great weekend - and thanks for taking time out on here

Also what colours work best in your opinion - white is a bit of a no no for the UK - I was thinking either silver or space grey.

Is the V8 an improvement over the straight 6? I would also be very interested in typical economy returned when not driving flat out - if this ever happened

Thanks Mark
The gear change is better than the E46 M3, about on a par with the Z4M. Ordinarily that would mean it is pretty good, certainly no reason to specifically choose DCT unless you want a semi-automated manual.

Colour wise, all the press cars supplied by BMW were in Melbourne Red. Now this is a really bad colour to photograph. All the magazines were complaining about how hard it was to capture, and we spent so much time trying to find the right light, otherwise it looked a kind of browny-red and rather flat. The RS4 we used for the comparison was in a standard non-metallic brilliant red and it looked superb, whereas Melbourne Red was much darker and less vibrant. Some people will like it, it is a bit like the metallic red used on Ferrari's 599GTB, but I didn't think it was as good a colour as Imola Red was on the E46 M3.

Our view from filming the car from every angle is that the shape probably suits a darker colour better than a lighter one. You usually choose a lighter colour to show the lines better, but there just aren't clear lines to show on the E92 M3. Unlike the E46 M3, it doesn't look 'pumped up' and I suspect a lighter colour would be lost on it, but I haven't seen it in Space Grey or Silverstone so maybe they will look better.

The press car we shot was Melbourne Red with the 18" smoked wheels. I can tell anyone that was debating whether to go for 18" or 19" wheels that the 18" wheels are 'much' better than were on the E46 M3. It does not look under-tyred with the 18"ers, in fact they look quite wide and aggressive (particularly being in a smoked finish). The side-walls look quite tall and Michelin said they developed these tyres specially for the M3, with a taller sidewall but as stiff as a shorter lower-profile tyre. I normally would always go for 19" wheels, but I am having second thoughts because the 18"s look perfectly adequate.

Fuel economy is the subject of an amusing anecdote. The BMW marketing people spent virtually the whole press conference talking about Efficient Dynamics and their CO2 performance. Nobody could quite work out why they were talking CO2 when there was an M3 sitting in front of them, and out on the road, admittedly driving flat-out up and down very twisty mountaneous roads we managed 11mpg. I wouldn't worry too much about that, firstly BMW's M engines are always more thirsty in the first few thousand miles (although our press car had covered 2000 km already), and secondly nobody is likely to drive their M3 regularly as hard as we were driving it, so I would expect that number to climb to early 20's mpg under normall use. We certainly didn't need to fill up the fuel tank after a day's testing, so it wasn't bad IMO.

Comparing the new V8 to the I6 is straying into our text to be published in the magazine, but I am certainly not exaggerating when I say you will be bowled over by this engine, and it is probably one of the most exotic sounding engines ever fitted to a non-supercar. It is way, way better than the old S54 straight six could ever have been. Torque is not a problem and in most respects it behaves just like a 4 liter version of the previous 3.2.