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      01-26-2013, 10:52 AM   #1
Private First Class
Drives: 328i Sport Line, 6MT, RWD
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Chicago, IL.

Posts: 162
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Which e90 For NASA TT & Semi DD?

Hey Guys,

I am new to the forum....and very close to trading/selling my '10 GTI for an e90 but need some advice from experienced track guys. I want to go back to a RWD vehicle to compete in NASA Time Trial and to use as a semi daily driver. It must be a 4 Dr, safe (for occasional transport of kids when our SUV is in use), fun, reliable and not super expensive to run. Thus, I am looking at the e90.

By way of background, I have been doing track events since 2006, which includes W2W in a spec miata and NASA TT in a '99 e36 M3 and '10 GTI. Although I really like the GTI, it is just not as rewarding as my previous e36. (Note: please don't say just get an e36 or e46; I want something newer, safer, and 4 dr. ) My question is this: assuming each car is in good mechanical conditions, which e90 would be best for me as a semi DD and NASA TT car between:

1) an '08 - '09 328i with around 35K miles;
2) an '06 330i with about 75K miles; or
3) an '08 M3 with about 50K miles?

Please note I am not trying to pick which of three are fastest, but which would be most competive in their respective class in TT and make a decent DD. The 328 and 330 would be prepped for TTD while the M3 would be prepped for TTB (after a dnyo re-class to start in TTB car rather than TTB**).

I have done some research on this and have come up with the following pros and cons for each car, but would appreciate your advice and constructive criticism if my reasoning is off:

Option 1 - 328i:
Pros: Easy to find '08 or '09 in clean condition with low miles for about 20K; relatively light weight / easier on consumables; and can increase hp from 230 to about 260 with intake manifold from 330i and software for about $1,5000 in parts.
Cons: Slowest of three out of box; requires extensive and expensive modifications like LSD, BBK, M3 suspension bits and bushings; and has least desirable transmission.

Option 2 - 330i:
Pros: Good engine from from start; weighs a little more than 328i; stock brake calipers may be adequate with ducting; and is cheapest option at around 15K to 18K for a relatively clean one.
Cons: Very hard to find a clean and low mileage example anywhere in country; oldest option (2006 only) suggesting more likely to need repairs; and still requires an LSD, as well as M3 suspension bits and bushings.

Option 3 - M3
Pros: Awsome engine and platform; only suspension modification need are coilovers; and easy to find '08 with moderate miles in condition.
Cons: Most expensive option at around 32K in moderate miles; grossly overweight for track car requiring expensive consumables; bad gas mileage; and will probably need a BBK for an advanced driver running 20-25 minute sessions.

So there is my analysis, flawed or not. The M3 option seems to be the simplest but I'm not sure it would be, in the end, the most rewarding for me. I found the power on my stock e36 M3 to be suffient and enjoyable; the suspension and relative light weight was bliss on track. However, I'm not sure I can acheive such a rewarding experience with any of the e90 options. I'd definitely prefer the lower cost consumables of the 328 or 330 but not if it means it I would be bored or let down by the power. (Note: any of the 3 options would ultimately be equiped with AST coilovers plus Vorshlag camber plates.) Thank you in advance for your thoughts and suggestions...

Last edited by JMK007; 01-26-2013 at 10:57 AM.
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