Originally Posted by E90M3CDFR
There are 2-3 of us here.
I would say there are but a handful of M3s in Paris (all but one of them are E92 coupes). I've been told by an experienced BMW salesman here in Paris that M-cars became very unpopular some years ago (with the E39 M5 in particular) because they were favored by bank robbers, who in turn got them through car-jackings. According to him, a lot of M5 owners returned the cars to BMW because of security concerns. Since then they still have that stigma (I do see a few RS4/RS6 avants, and a decent number of AMG C63, E55, so I'm not 100 percent sure I buy his explanation).
Another factor working against the M3 is that it comes fairly fully kitted out and costs around 85,000-90,000 euros (or more if you add all options). Add in the high HP rating which makes for expensive insurance and with the thirsty engine gas bills are very expensive (even compared to rest of Europe). So I think the 911 is a more viable option (and also for the people who can afford the car here, it has more cachet). Ironically, since there are so few M3s, they get a lot of attention...whereas you can literally see 3-4 911s in a row stuck at a traffic light. You can't go a day in Paris without seeing a Ferrari or other Italian exotic, or Astons...not to mention Maseratis (esp quattroporte).
As far as having one here...definitely need a secure garage for parking...not only for security but to keep the car from getting gouged by the PBT (parking by touch) Parisian approach. Theft of the car is pretty rare (knock on wood) because of the GPS tracker, the ignotion code/immobilizer...but theft from cars is very common (like in NYC, LA etc). I recommend that people get the "glastint" anti-theft film...which makes it hard(er) to break side windows for vandalism.
I rarely drive inside Paris anyway since parking and traffic are so bad (same way that I did not drive in Manhattan when I lived there), so its mainly for driving out of Paris. For that French roads (whether autoroutes or the smaller national roads) are very good. The autoroutes especially are better maintained than almost any other road network I have driven on. I have put more miles on my car here than I did in the States because it is much easier to drive on weekend trips (speed limit is around 82mph too) and there is much less traffic on the autoroutes (tolls worth paying to keep the # of cars down, IMHO). Within a 4 hour radius of Paris it is amazing how much there is to see and do...and for longer trips, 6-8 hours, you can be in Italy/Spain etc quite easily.
Lots of nice circuits/tracks here too if that is of interest.
You are right about the maserati being a popular car here I see them all over Champs Ulysses. Do you have a bike here in Paris also with your M? I feel like the metro system here is a great way of saving money each month. Especially for me a Californian who spends about $50 a week on gas... (much cheaper than here of course).
I would love to own a Merc though here in Paris simply because of the traffic and to just sit in a smooth ride. I def. agree with you that the M3 is the perfect choice to drive around in outside of Paris.
I'll keep an eye out for an M3 and be sure to report back here haha with who i may have seen.