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      01-01-2008, 07:40 PM   #1
Filthy Monkey
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Autocar: Running in the Quick Way

Some of you may remember the video of Chris Harris taking his M3 around the 'Ring. Well, there is an article in this week's magazine about it and, bearing in mind the rather poor review they gave at launch, it seems that the car is well and truly growing on him!

In brief, he talks initially about the running in period and how complicated it is. More importantly, the fact that the manual, the quick reference guide and the windscreen sticker all give different advice. So, after going through his first service, he decided to give his car a proper run in at the 'Ring. The weather was awful and he apparently spent two days trying not to crash, but he still had a great time. To quote him on his return, he says -

"Two thousand miles in, I really can't understand how any car enthusiast couldn't like this machine. The more I drive it, the more I'm amazed by what it offers. It is quite unlike my previous long-termer, the RS4, not least because it isn't an estate car, but one area of its performance has surprised me more than I expected: Straight-line speed. It feels much faster than the Audi, and the motor is superior in every area.
The chassis electronics are so good that being rear-driven is nothing like the hindrance I expected in the wet, but there are other areas of serious irritation. The steering wheel is far too thick, the seating position is too high and I keep bashing my knee on that silly protruding electric key. But I do console myself in all other areas. To my eyes, it looks superb in white, the driving experience is just what I'd hoped for and the subject of steering is yet to corrupt this relationship. Is it worth the same money as a 911? I shall look forward to answering that question."

Some other points - he does talk about possibly replacing the 19" wheels with 18s soon, although he doesn't say why and he can't praise the Logic-7 hi-fi high enough. All in all, it's a pretty good write up. I'm glad he's starting to appreciate what he's got!
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      01-02-2008, 11:42 AM   #2
ilron
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Strange: All the guides tells the same thing in my case. Perhaps he mixed up KM and miles or something. Still, it is good to hear that Chris is coming around.

I do remember his videos, he seemed almost as obsessive as myself...

By the way Filthy: I'm not sure if you have the same impression, but I think there was a bigger change in the car than expected during the initial run-in period.

I now have 4.700 km on it, closing in on the famous 5.000 limit and the end of the run in. I do think that the car feels much better now than when I got it. At first it felt like the engine was bolted too tight. However after 2.500 km it loosed up quite a bit and now it just feels more "willing". I guess the oil change @ 2.003 km really helped here.

My impressions right now is that I really like the thicknes of the steering wheel, I would however like to have a "sport plus" mode for the power assist; where it had a fixed power assist level. But you do get used to the variable assist and I no longer really think about it, I just enjoy the precission instrument this car can be.

Perhaps other initial negative reviewers will change their mind when testing the car again, the variable steering assist did feel strange before I got used to it.
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      01-02-2008, 07:40 PM   #3
Filthy Monkey
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I agree, my car really has loosened up to. I'm at 7,000km now. It is just so fast, especially at higher revs! I'm still in two minds about the steering wheel, though. It feels fine for spirited driving in short bursts and I do like the how the thickness feels when I'm holding it, but I found be a bit uncomfortable on a long journey. After 450 miles my wrists were starting to hurt. That could be to do with the spoke layout, I suppose, rather than the thickness....

I did come to a conclusion today, though, when I was driving along in standard mode. With all of the M bits turned off, the car feels very normal, almost a little soulless. However, with everything set to sports mode, it takes on a completely different character and comes alive, almost teasing you, tempting you to play with the performance and give it a good thrashing. It really is two cars in one!
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      01-02-2008, 07:58 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Filthy Monkey View Post
It really is two cars in one!
Right up my alley!
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      01-02-2008, 08:32 PM   #5
13eastie
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Absolutely agree with the "2-in-1" comment. Switching from Normal to Sport Plus is always fun. I've just hit 3,000 miles and having become more used to my car I would mention the following...

I also had the conflicting run-in/service info. I think I compromised and took it in at 1,300 miles.

I have to confess the M6 toll-road got some pay-back the other day! Fuming that the SatNav needlessly made me pay £4.50 150mph came up astonishingly quickly, but the feeling of stability and security was quite surreal. (The road was empty, by the way).

The seats are fabulous - very suuportive, but comfortable and highly adjustable. Definitely not "too high" (I can't see jack-shit parking). But, nothing wrong here at all - you could drive all day and feel as fresh as a daisy (once you've figured out how to refuel every couple of hours while on the move - I'm only getting about 200 miles per tank).

The steering wheel has grown on me a lot. It feels completely normal in my (little) hands now, but I still think that the steering itself, while being precise and direct, is not very communicative.

The gear-change has continued to improve and is much slicker than the early days. I've had to adapt my heely-toe technique for these pedals, but frankly you can keep your DCT - blips sound joyous in Sport Plus mode and are way more fun doing them yourself.

The extent of the rev range is awesome - you do have to keep reminding yourself to stay where the power is, but the sound of that engine being ragged is marvelous.
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      01-02-2008, 09:56 PM   #6
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... but the sound of that engine being ragged is marvelous.
Video/Sound!!!!!!!!
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      01-02-2008, 10:00 PM   #7
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