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      08-24-2011, 09:16 AM   #1
DefBringer
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M3 vs. 911 vs Corvette etc. - Which is most fun?

For those of you lucky enough to have owned/driven any of the cars that people typically cross-shop M3's with, which of those cars have been the most fun to drive?

I don't mean "best lap times" or "best in a quarter mile", I simply mean which car, driven on public roads at legal speeds, offers the best driving experience?

For me, the best driving experience comes from lots of steering feel, lazer-like reflexes, and toss-ability. If this is my goal, what cars should I be looking at?
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      08-24-2011, 09:37 AM   #2
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I don't think M3 is what you're looking for. It is not tossable, there is steering feel but not all that much and it is so f**king fast, you can't enjoy in legal street speeds. Also M3 is a soft and forgiving car. I think you should look into a 911 (older better like 993) or Elise/Exige or Z3/4 M Coupe. These are more tossable, have better steering feel, and harder to drive compared to M3.
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      08-24-2011, 09:58 AM   #3
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After driving the e92 M3 in M-mode (or whatever it's called), I felt the car definitely stiffened up and was sufficiently "fun" for me. Would I like it to be sharper and more direct? Sure.

I need a car I can daily drive and isn't *too* punishing so the Lotus cars are out. Z4 M's are a blast but I need a fixed roof.

I'm interested in these cars but open to suggestions.

'08-'09 Z06
'10 Corvette Grand Sport
'06-'07 911 Carerra S
'10+ M3
'09 GT-R
'08-'09 Cayman S
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      08-24-2011, 09:58 AM   #4
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Sounds like you need to try a Cayman S or R. Mid-engine handling and feel can't be beat.
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      08-24-2011, 10:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DefBringer View Post
After driving the e92 M3 in M-mode (or whatever it's called), I felt the car definitely stiffened up and was sufficiently "fun" for me. Would I like it to be sharper and more direct? Sure.

I need a car I can daily drive and isn't *too* punishing so the Lotus cars are out. Z4 M's are a blast but I need a fixed roof.
Z3/4 M Coupe, as the name implies, has a fixed roof
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      08-24-2011, 11:26 AM   #6
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went from 08 m3 to 09 z06 and couldnt be happier in terms of "fun factor". I DD the vette and have no issues other than the low clearance scraping occasionally on sharp approaches. Much comfortable than my dd 06 sti!

gtr was on my short list however outside of my price range (came super close to buying an 08 but the deal fell through).
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      08-24-2011, 12:13 PM   #7
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As i said in my PM, the lotus elise is what you are describing. But IMO its not a DD. The next best thing is the M coupe or roadster.
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      08-24-2011, 12:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DefBringer View Post
For those of you lucky enough to have owned/driven any of the cars that people typically cross-shop M3's with, which of those cars have been the most fun to drive?

I don't mean "best lap times" or "best in a quarter mile", I simply mean which car, driven on public roads at legal speeds, offers the best driving experience?

For me, the best driving experience comes from lots of steering feel, lazer-like reflexes, and toss-ability. If this is my goal, what cars should I be looking at?
Looks like you are describing a Cayman S
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      08-24-2011, 01:18 PM   #9
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911,Cayman,Lotus, Vette,etc all offer what you're looking for.
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      08-24-2011, 02:12 PM   #10
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I have owned an '03 996TT, '05 997S, '07 Z06 and currently own a 2011 Grand Sport. I will attempt to be as succinct as possible....

911 - fantastic steering/communication (better than any Vette..including the ZR1), wonderful handling, very tossable, nice quality interior, paint and build quality is superior (although my 997S was a rattle trap), noisier and less compliant ride than the C6 Vettes and M3; nowhere near the storage space as a Vette or M3. Personally just not a fan of the exterior styling anymore; performance in the 997.2 version is enough for street driving.

C6 Vette - Vettes have very light steering feel (I personally prefer a heavier feel) with a touch of vagueness, fantastic handling, cornering at on/off exit ramps is absolutely a dream...flat as can be, not as tossable as the 911 though, effortless clutch, better stock shifting, sh!tty non supportive seats; even the 4LT and/or 3LZ (Z06 and ZR1) interior that has the leather dashboard and door panels, is a big step down from the M or the 911; the car is wide with a long nose and really takes some getting used to from a seating perspective. You have to realize from day 1 that the car is not European build quality. If you can accept that, you will probably really enjoy the Vette.

Having said what I said --- I'm 99% sure I will be buying an E92M3 in the next six months to replace my Grand Sport. I thought I'd be OK with driving an SUV ('04 4Runner) as my DD and driving the Vette as a "fun car" but I am getting tired of it already after just 6 months. This is where the M3 is absolutely perfect.... get to drive something that is great fun as a DD (save for crap weather/snow days) and 95% of what the Vette and 911 is from a performance standpoint (remember, we are talking street legal driving...not the track). I know there are those that DD a 911 and Vette but I damn sure can't/won't. Tried to with the 997S....too damn noisey and cramped.

Your last comment mentions tossability, lazer like reflex and steering feel.......the 911 would be a better fit than the Vette or M3 for you for sure. Like others have said, don't discount the CaymanS/R
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      08-24-2011, 02:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alms211 View Post
I have owned an '03 996TT, '05 997S, '07 Z06 and currently own a 2011 Grand Sport. I will attempt to be as succinct as possible....

911 - fantastic steering/communication (better than any Vette..including the ZR1), wonderful handling, very tossable, nice quality interior, paint and build quality is superior (although my 997S was a rattle trap), noisier and less compliant ride than the C6 Vettes and M3; nowhere near the storage space as a Vette or M3. Personally just not a fan of the exterior styling anymore; performance in the 997.2 version is enough for street driving.

C6 Vette - Vettes have very light steering feel (I personally prefer a heavier feel) with a touch of vagueness, fantastic handling, cornering at on/off exit ramps is absolutely a dream...flat as can be, not as tossable as the 911 though, effortless clutch, better stock shifting, sh!tty non supportive seats; even the 4LT and/or 3LZ (Z06 and ZR1) interior that has the leather dashboard and door panels, is a big step down from the M or the 911; the car is wide with a long nose and really takes some getting used to from a seating perspective. You have to realize from day 1 that the car is not European build quality. If you can accept that, you will probably really enjoy the Vette.

Having said what I said --- I'm 99% sure I will be buying an E92M3 in the next six months to replace my Grand Sport. I thought I'd be OK with driving an SUV ('04 4Runner) as my DD and driving the Vette as a "fun car" but I am getting tired of it already after just 6 months. This is where the M3 is absolutely perfect.... get to drive something that is great fun as a DD (save for crap weather/snow days) and 95% of what the Vette and 911 is from a performance standpoint (remember, we are talking street legal driving...not the track). I know there are those that DD a 911 and Vette but I damn sure can't/won't. Tried to with the 997S....too damn noisey and cramped.

Your last comment mentions tossability, lazer like reflex and steering feel.......the 911 would be a better fit than the Vette or M3 for you for sure. Like others have said, don't discount the CaymanS/R
Love these comments, members who actually have owned the cars in question.
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      08-24-2011, 06:15 PM   #12
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I just sold my 911 Carrera 4S which I drove daily for many years and took to many many track days. It is a fantastic car - the steering is perfect and the handling was incredible even on the stock sport suspension (M030). I had a Tubi exhaust so the sound of the motor was wonderful, but it could have used a touch more power.

In terms of a comparison: my 2011 E92 M3 is much faster, and it pulls hard all the way to the red line. The ride in the M is softer and the steering less communicative.

In my opinion (between the two cars I've owned):
"Toss-able" and "laser-like reflexes" - the 911 wins hands down.
Storage - M3
Power - M3 (the v8 is ridiculous)
Gearbox - draw
Comfort as a DD - M3 (better bluetooth, quieter interior)
There are compromises with every car... I think the closest you can get to a perfect DD that you can track, have a blast driving every day, and still seat more than 2 people are the M3, 911, and GTR (the M3 being the most usable of the 3).

It also depends on taste. I love the Z06 vette, but some people hate the interior enough to sell because of it. I love the Exige, but some people cant stand the ingress/egress due to the high sills and sell the car for something more comfortable.

All the cars you are looking at are bitchin' machines. Drive them all. You'll know which one is right!
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      08-24-2011, 06:42 PM   #13
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If you want an all around fun car go with the CLK63 Black Series.
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      08-24-2011, 06:52 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phusion974 View Post
If you want an all around fun car go with the CLK63 Black Series.
Another fantastic choice ^^^^^
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      08-24-2011, 08:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alms211 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by phusion974 View Post
If you want an all around fun car go with the CLK63 Black Series.
Another fantastic choice ^^^^^
Yes, but way out of OP price range based on what he listed.
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      08-24-2011, 08:38 PM   #16
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I don't have a lot of wheel time in the Cayman, but I think it might be the right car for you if you can live with two seats and limited storage. The Cayman R I drove at the Porsche World Roadshow was a blast and responded well to my commands. In my mind it would be a great weekend car, but I'm sure I would be happy to DD one if I didn't have kids.

If you need a little more space then a clean 997 Carrera S would be a nice choice. I had an '09 C2S so I have a little more experience with this car. The steering feel and brake feel are fantastic. Add in the compact size and great visibility and the 997 is a fun car to burn up back roads with. The rear weight bias takes some getting used to, but once you get a feel for it you appreciate the added traction coming out of corners and the balanced feel under braking. My only real complaints with the 997 are the low seating position, stiff clutch and the price.

If you are interested in defying physics then the GT-R would be a good choice. Again, I owned both a 2011 and 2012 GT-R so I have first hand experience. The GT-R builds speed so quickly and holds the road so well that you feel a bit invincible when behind the wheel. The steering is very fast and has more feel than the M3. The brakes also do an admirable job hauling the heavy GT-R down and have good feel. One thing that you might not like is that you have to push the GT-R harder than any of the other cars you are considering to get a good rush. It can be a bit boring at speeds that would have your palms sweating in other cars. The ride is stiff and the tires are noisy which will get old on long commutes. Finally, the GT-R is big and can be hard to place in a corner until you get used to it.

If you want a fun car that can also be an easy to live with commuter then the E9x M3 is a fantastic choice. Yes, I owned one of these as well. The M is a great size, has good visibility and is plenty fast. Also, you can get a slew of comfort and convenience options that make the car easier to live with on a daily basis. The brakes and steering offer admirable feel and the chassis gives you a lot of feedback. The M3 is not a car that will bite you without warning assuming you are showing the it some respect. About the only real complaint I had about the M3 is the lack of low-end grunt. Besides that the M felt every bit as fast as my 997.2 C2S.

I highly recommend you get out and drive every car that is even remotely on your radar. It might take you a bit longer to get your new ride, but at least you will know how each car fits you. Plus, it is a lot of fun.
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      08-24-2011, 08:56 PM   #17
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I traded an '08 335i in for my Cayman S last month. I considered the M3 as well. I DD my Cayman, I custom ordered mine with the necessary items to make it a good daily (PDK, Nav, Ventilated seats, etc. ) as well as most of the performance options (Sport chrono, PASM, LSD). I think if you're ok with a 2-seater, it makes really good DD. Between the front and rear trunks, you can fit a surprising amount of stuff, I use it for my weekly Costco run. While I liked the M3, it was too much like my old car and doesn't handle quite as well as the Cayman. The overall quality of the Porsche is also noticeably better.
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      08-24-2011, 09:03 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saeyedoc View Post
I traded an '08 335i in for my Cayman S last month. I considered the M3 as well. I DD my Cayman, I custom ordered mine with the necessary items to make it a good daily (PDK, Nav, Ventilated seats, etc. ) as well as most of the performance options (Sport chrono, PASM, LSD). I think if you're ok with a 2-seater, it makes really good DD. Between the front and rear trunks, you can fit a surprising amount of stuff, I use it for my weekly Costco run. While I liked the M3, it was too much like my old car and doesn't handle quite as well as the Cayman. The overall quality of the Porsche is also noticeably better.
I don't disagree with your post other than the bolded part. The M3 is every bit as good quality wise as a Cayman. I have spent a lot of time in the Cayman and the inside quality is comparable (although I prefer the M3 seats and leather). To say quality is noticeably better is, IMO only, not accurate.

To the OP... if DD practicality is not a key deciding factor, I would go with a 997.2 C2S as it is a little faster, better feedback and a little more "raw" from a fun perspective. If DD practicality is a concern for you, I think the M3 is one of the best options out there as it is comparable performance wise but very comfortable and relatively practical.
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      08-24-2011, 11:36 PM   #19
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Honestly, the materials used inside the Cayman can't be compared to the M3. It feels tighter and well put together. The M3's leather doesn't feel like it's quality stuff. It fades after just 2-3 months. The leather in the Cayman is smooth and I believe kills the M3. Then again, I think Porsche's quality is better in generals. Just my opinion.
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      08-25-2011, 01:54 AM   #20
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I have a 2011 e92 m3 dct zcp and a 2009 911s with pdk and sport chrono pack. It's very difficult to tell which is faster when you drive both back to back but I've ran them head to head in every which way and the Porsche is wayyyyyyyyyy faster. The m3 falls behind pretty quickly in any kind of race. From a standstill or a roll. I drive both cars back to back all the time and in some ways the m3 FEELS faster but isn't. I believe this feeling comes from the immediate explosive throttle response, sound, and high rpm Redline but when it comes down to it the 997.2s is significantly faster. I happen to love the low seating position in the Porsche. Everytime I get back into the m3 I feel like I'm in an suv. Both cars however are a blast to drive and I give the bmw the edge in driving comfort, features and amenities, sound of the engine/exhaust and in some ways the dct transmission. The handling is a toss up. Both handle great just in different ways. The m3 feels more balanced and predictable, while the Porsche feels downright scary at times which I love. Steering and brakes are better in the 911 while ride compliance and comfort are superior in the m3. My plan was to get rid of my m3 after I purchased the Porsche but I cant bring myself to do it. I'm basically in love with both cars I just love the Porsche a bit more. Can't go wrong with either car, but I would suggest to stay away from corvettes. Sure they are powerful and fast but you need the whole package to be happy with the car in the long run. Corvettes are cheap and cheap for a reason. Cheap materials cheap parts and cheap appearance inside and out. Op, get the m3 if you haven't owned many bmw's or get the Porsche if you want to fall in love.
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      08-25-2011, 10:46 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phusion974 View Post
If you want an all around fun car go with the CLK63 Black Series.
I don't think a CLK63BS is a very good all around car.
It's confused as to what it's suppose to be.
Is it a sports car? If so, why the crappy transmission and GT car weight?
Is it a GT car? If so, why are there no back seats, why does it come with R compound tires, and why does it have such a harsh ride?
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      08-25-2011, 01:17 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DefBringer View Post
For those of you lucky enough to have owned/driven any of the cars that people typically cross-shop M3's with, which of those cars have been the most fun to drive?

I don't mean "best lap times" or "best in a quarter mile", I simply mean which car, driven on public roads at legal speeds, offers the best driving experience?

For me, the best driving experience comes from lots of steering feel, lazer-like reflexes, and toss-ability. If this is my goal, what cars should I be looking at?
Given your criteria, a 911 S, Cayman S or R or even Elise/Exige will fit the bill perfectly.

The Elise put my butt/legs to sleep in less than 20 min, if not for that it would be my choice. 911 is a step up in build quality and amenities, but also a lot heavier and maybe even a tad rougher riding. Can also be absolutely scary at times (I mean OMG I'm going to die in the next 5 seconds scary). Cayman not scary at all.

M3 the best compromise as others have noted. Biggest letdown for me is steering feel, everything else is up to snuff. If you go this way, try Euro Delivery - an absolutely incredible experience.
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