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      05-29-2009, 07:12 PM   #1
zacbol
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Drives: 2008 E92 M3
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Bellevue, Wa

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Test drive of the GTR and subjective comparison to the M3

Finally managed to wrangle a test drive on a Red 2009 GTR. Was being sold under warranty with about 10K on the odo for 75k from a local dealer. Apparently, they normally do a credit check prior to giving test drives, but since I rolled up in an M3 they skipped in. In any event, here are my subjective thoughts:

Exterior:
Still not a fan of the exterior styling. In fact, I was kind of vacillating between love and hate when I first started seeing it in pictures. I assumed that when I finally saw one in person I'd be blown away in the way that pictures did not capture the M3. Not so much. It still looks awkward and, as one reviewer put it, 'how a 7-year old might imagine a car'. Just not a fan at all.

Interior:
I don't think the car I drove had the Premium package, but I didn't check that carefully. It did have a leather stitched dash, etc. It was a decent enough interior, but beneath the leather and GTR badges, it still seemed a little econobox to me, reminding me of my old WRX. When I first peered into a locked car with white leather seats, I thought the interior was nicer than the M, but after spending a bit of time in it, I don't really think it's even close (For reference, my M3 is extended black novillo with carbon fiber trim). Bose sound system was alright, but not as good as the premium one in the M3.

Driving:
So, here's where I was trying to focus. Unfortunately, though I tried to pick a time at which I thought the highways would be lightly trafficed, it ended up that there was a shit ton of traffic. That meant I couldn't really take the twisty on ramps at ludicrous speeds and only able to accelerate full bore for very short bursts (Plus the fact that cops in the Seattle area are tough and I was in a big red GTR). In any event, I found the ride a bit better than expected. At high speed it was completely tolerable and I thought the road noise was acceptable. As with the interior, it reminded me a bit of my old WRX. The steering was reasonably communicative but I just felt disconnected from the car. Not as bad as the C6 I drove a couple years ago, but significantly worse than the M3. Also, in automatic (and I have manual and have never driven a DSG M3), the car hesitated in upshifts. This also occured in manual mode and the hesitation was somewhat annoying to me, particularly in city driving (it may have been in the wrong mode as the salesman probably knew less about hte car than I did). The one area in which the car did blow me away was straightline acceleration. Quite simply, when I shoved my foot into the gas, the thing felt like a land missle. The M3 feels like a turtle in comparison. Perhaps my thoughts would be different if I'd had the chance to exercise it, but I'm happy I had the experience at all.