Thread: BMW M3 or 335i?
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      06-06-2012, 07:56 PM   #1
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Drives: Porsche Cayman S
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Location: San Ramon, CA

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BMW M3 or 335i?

I had a 1998 BMW E36 M3 4 door sedan in estoril blue and 5 speed (see pic) and sold it for a 2007 Porsche Cayman S w/6 speed. That may not have been the smartest move for me and my needs, as the Cayman is more narrowly focused. Harder to get in and out of, long doors, limited luggage capacity, no real trunk, harder to see out of, harder ride, worse fuel mileage, and a high rpm biased engine do not make in my opinion as good a daily driver as the old M3 was. I knew much of this going in. What I didn't realize was the intensity of my feelings over the loss of those things.

To my mild surprise, there really is no good replacement for that M3, except a newer M3 sedan. I test drove one and I liked it a lot. But, felt like the engine was a mismatch for the town/freeway driving I do. I mean, I doubt i would rarely use little more than half the rpm range in daily driving.

I have not driven the 335i, but its engine characteristics would seem to better suit the instant lunge from any rpm often needed in traffic. That kind of power feels effortless, a plus.

I am curious if anyone has had these two cars and what they thoughts were after some seat time for the kind of driving you did. I will never be on the track, rarely drive very hard at all (just briskly). Our roads are bad, traffic often nasty, and fuel cost amongst the highest in the country. These things cause me to look at the 335i, especially on fuel mileage. The biggest problem I have with the 335i is that around my neck of the woods, they are as common as house flies. The old M3 I had was rare, and I guess I still like something special, like the M3, not just a fast regular BMW (335i). I wish there was a "M" variant of the 335i.

I welcome thoughts.

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Last edited by Phil3; 06-06-2012 at 08:01 PM.