Steve Sutcliffe has posted some further thoughts on his Blog and here are my thoughts in response;
Sutcliffe's blog is much more telling than the published article. Bear in mind we only got back from the test on Wednesday (I travelled back on the same plane as Sutcliffe) and its all been a bit of a frenzy to post up a quick review.
I have said earlier on in my posts that we (i.e. EVO) were a little dissapointed initially, not because there was anything wrong with the car but because in several areas it met rather than exceeded our expectations.
It was only a few days later that we reflected on what else BMW could have done to exceed them. Not a lot really, the only area where they may have underperformed is the brakes, but even then I'd like to drive a UK spec car over familiar routes to draw a proper judgement. The brakes on the E92 M3 are massive compared with the E46 M3, so BMW haven't been slacking in terms of adding braking performance, my issue is more with their dogged approach to following the sliding caliper route.
The E92 M3 handles and steers as well as the E46, in many ways better since steering was never an E46 strong suit and it had too much body roll and intertia in the turns. But ultimately the E92 M3 is just an evolution on dynamically from the E46 M3, in much the same way that an E92 330i is from an E46 330i. Better but not considerably so. Engine wise it's streets ahead of the E46, BMW have developed a real corker.
Sutcliffe's other comment about economy also has some truth, we managed 11mpg, but none of us was ever driving it gently enough to get a true sense of its thirst in daily use. And that means neither EVO, nor Autocar, nor CAR really know the answer to that yet.
So I ask the doubters is the problem that BMW failed to stun us in every measurable area? Or do we just have expectations that are unrealistic? What would another few levels up from the E46 'feel like'? And perhaps that level would only be possible if the car weighed 200kg lighter. So, did BMW build a 1655kg car because they were lazy or because we asked them to? Think about that. I did, and after an initial dissapointment I began to conclude that they'd actually done a pretty good job.