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      03-13-2008, 08:34 PM   #1
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UPDATED - Personal COMPARISON of the 2008 M3 to the 2008 335i

As referenced in my title this is a COMPARISON based on my objective opinion.

UPDATE - March 24, 2008

Today the technician from the dealership showed up at my house with the same 2008 M3 I test drove and wrote about in my original post.

Before anyone flames him you should know that he worked for 8 years on one of the better known Porsche ALMS teams and is an EXCEPTIONAL driver.

He did not have a lot of time but he and I both wanted to put the new M3 to the test against my tuned 335i. Remember the only performance mods I currently have are the DINAN re-flash and the DINAN exhaust.

We took them both out down to a local street that is located in an industrial part of the city where there is ZERO traffic because all of the businesses in that district have closed shop.

We started from a 20 MPH roll in 2nd gear both at about 2K RPM...sounded the horn 3 times and hit it.

The 335i took the M3 by almost an entire car length up to 80 MPH to 5K RPM mid way through 3rd and was still pulling away before we had to hit the breaks.

Remember that both the tuned 335i and the 2008 M3 do not hit their peak outputs until the top of the power band in 4th gear so we still had a lot more to go.

If...and I say IF we can get them out to a more lengthy run I will post the results.

Suffice it to say that both he and I were shocked at the results. I honestly was expecting the M3 to pull ahead of me but it was not even close. The tuned 335i pulls like a mad man.

END UPDATE

Original Post Below - March 13, 2008

A few days back a demo M3 pulled into my local dealer's lot. I have a very close friend in sales at this dealership so she called me and we scheduled a test drive.

I currently own a 2008 335i and 2004 E46 M3 - here are the specs on each to give you a frame of reference:

2008 335i
Sports Package (aside from the seats and wheels this includes a slightly stiffer set-up, matched shocks, and a slightly lower ride height)
DINAN re-flash (increases to 384 HP 412 ft/lb torque)
DINAN Exhaust (increase to 390 HP and 418 ft/lb torque)

2004 E46 M3
H & R Coil overs
H & R front & rear sways
DINAN throttle bodies
DINAN exhaust
DINAN 3.91 rear differential (increases to 296 ft/lb torque)
DINAN cold air intake

2008 E92 M3
Bone stock - by now you guys should know all the specs so I am not going to bother listing them

My 335i smokes my E46 M3 in HP and torque especially.

When I fired up the E92 M3 today the first thing you feel and hear is that sick ass V8. I mean it is unreal fellas.

So I pulled out of the lot...drove it around locally for about 15 minutes not really getting on it. I wanted to warm it up to a nominal temperature before putting it to the test.

Here are my immediate observations. The stock suspension hands down beats my sports suspension without question. It is much tighter and there is about 50% less cabin roll with the stock M3 suspension compared to the 335i stock suspension. Neither of these though match my H & R set-up on my E46. That set-up is track tight.

Anyway...the next immediate observation is the throttle response. Of course with the new M3 you feel power delivered even if you breath on the throttle. This is something I absolutely hate with the 335i twin turbos. While BMW did an excellent job of creating almost ZERO turbo spool...the fact remains that it does spool and therefor there is a very slight delay in power delivery. Not the case with the 2008 M3 of course. I loved this.

My 3rd immediate observation is with respects to braking. The 2008 M3 again really beats my 335i handily. However...I will say that I did not think the new M3's breaks were are good as my stock brakes on my E46 M3 which surprised me.

Ok...now to the power and the torque. This is where I was surprised most. In the 2008 M3 because the power delivery is immediate I had the perception of it being quicker...but...it took longer to accelerate to higher speeds than in my tuned 335i. The top of the power band from 2nd through 3rd and into 4th is where you feel every bit of the raw power of the M3 as well as the 335i. Between these gears...I was quicker in my 335i...but...and you have to hear what I am saying here...because the 335i stock suspension is not nearly as tight as the M3 and because the 335i twin turbos are so muffled compared to the throaty roar of the M3's V8 you do not FEEL it is quicker. But I could easily see my speed times were quicker than the M3.

I am not going to go over interior differences because those differences are truly subjective to what someone does or does not like. My comparison is based solely on performance.

So here is the big question. Is it worth it? Again this is a subjective question because perception equates to value. We all have different perceptions and therefore will equate value differently.

But...if I am objective in how I make this decision then there is a simple answer.

My 335i cost with the tuned turbo (DINAN) and the DINAN exhaust is roughly $45K. I still have another $8K I will put into the 335i including additional performance mods and aesthetic mods.

The stock 2008 M3 I tested was $70K. A difference of $25K.

In my opinion for a difference of $25K I want to blow the doors off of my cousin the 335i...but that isn't the case.

But...subjectively...I LOVE THE V8 in the new M3. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that engine...so to me...the price is easily justified.

This is my review for what it is worth. To all of you who are awaiting your arrival of your M3...congratulations. It is one amazing car. I will have to patiently await my turn in line as I have been doing now for the past few months.

SS
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      03-13-2008, 09:13 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sick Speed View Post
As referenced in my title this is a COMPARISON based on my objective opinion.

A few days back a demo M3 pulled into my local dealer's lot. I have a very close friend in sales at this dealership so she called me and we scheduled a test drive.

I currently own a 2008 335i and 2004 E46 M3 - here are the specs on each to give you a frame of reference:

2008 335i
Sports Package (aside from the seats and wheels this includes a slightly stiffer set-up, matched shocks, and a slightly lower ride height)
DINAN re-flash (increases to 384 HP 412 ft/lb torque)
DINAN Exhaust (increase to 390 HP and 418 ft/lb torque)

2004 E46 M3
H & R Coil overs
H & R front & rear sways
DINAN throttle bodies
DINAN exhaust
DINAN 3.91 rear differential (increases to 296 ft/lb torque)
DINAN cold air intake

2008 E92 M3
Bone stock - by now you guys should know all the specs so I am not going to bother listing them

My 335i smokes my E46 M3 in HP and torque especially.

When I fired up the E92 M3 today the first thing you feel and hear is that sick ass V8. I mean it is unreal fellas.

So I pulled out of the lot...drove it around locally for about 15 minutes not really getting on it. I wanted to warm it up to a nominal temperature before putting it to the test.

Here are my immediate observations. The stock suspension hands down beats my sports suspension without question. It is much tighter and there is about 50% less cabin roll with the stock M3 suspension compared to the 335i stock suspension. Neither of these though match my H & R set-up on my E46. That set-up is track tight.

Anyway...the next immediate observation is the throttle response. Of course with the new M3 you feel power delivered even if you breath on the throttle. This is something I absolutely hate with the 335i twin turbos. While BMW did an excellent job of creating almost ZERO turbo spool...the fact remains that it does spool and therefor there is a very slight delay in power delivery. Not the case with the 2008 M3 of course. I loved this.

My 3rd immediate observation is with respects to braking. The 2008 M3 again really beats my 335i handily. However...I will say that I did not think the new M3's breaks were are good as my stock brakes on my E46 M3 which surprised me.

Ok...now to the power and the torque. This is where I was surprised most. In the 2008 M3 because the power delivery is immediate I had the perception of it being quicker...but...it took longer to accelerate to higher speeds than in my tuned 335i. The top of the power band from 2nd through 3rd and into 4th is where you feel every bit of the raw power of the M3 as well as the 335i. Between these gears...I was quicker in my 335i...but...and you have to hear what I am saying here...because the 335i stock suspension is not nearly as tight as the M3 and because the 335i twin turbos are so muffled compared to the throaty roar of the M3's V8 you do not FEEL it is quicker. But I could easily see my speed times were quicker than the M3.

I am not going to go over interior differences because those differences are truly subjective to what someone does or does not like. My comparison is based solely on performance.

So here is the big question. Is it worth it? Again this is a subjective question because perception equates to value. We all have different perceptions and therefore will equate value differently.

But...if I am objective in how I make this decision then there is a simple answer.

My 335i cost with the tuned turbo (DINAN) and the DINAN exhaust is roughly $45K. I still have another $8K I will put into the 335i including additional performance mods and aesthetic mods.

The stock 2008 M3 I tested was $70K. A difference of $25K.

In my opinion for a difference of $25K I want to blow the doors off of my cousin the 335i...but that isn't the case.

But...subjectively...I LOVE THE V8 in the new M3. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that engine...so to me...the price is easily justified.

This is my review for what it is worth. To all of you who are awaiting your arrival of your M3...congratulations. It is one amazing car. I will have to patiently await my turn in line as I have been doing now for the past few months.

SS
Great writeup. Thanks for sharing. Out of curiosity, did you do any side by side runs of your Dinan 335i vs. E92 M3...and film them?
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      03-13-2008, 09:13 PM   #3
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Good review. Fairly void of emotion and a pretty un-biased report.

Only thing I will comment on is your bit about the difference in dollars and how you want to blow the doors off... Stock for stock it will blow the doors off a 335. Just remember you are comparing a tuned vehicle vs a completely stock one.
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      03-13-2008, 10:02 PM   #4
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yes, and when the M3 is tuned, the 335 will still make more hp and tq due to the tunability of the turbos.
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      03-13-2008, 10:04 PM   #5
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I'm still confused. So a tuned 335 gets to 60 in under 4.1? wow!
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      03-13-2008, 10:09 PM   #6
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I'm still confused. So a tuned 335 gets to 60 in under 4.1? wow!
No, it doesn't. Mshift's post seems to be based on peak numbers. Take that as you will.
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      03-13-2008, 10:20 PM   #7
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You seem to be basing your opinion off a car that a) wasn't broken in and b) you didn't take above 5500 rpm (at least i hope you didn't). I'm not surprised it felt slower than a tuned 335.

FYI: at 5500 rpm an m3 is making about 300 horsepower.
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      03-13-2008, 11:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sick Speed View Post
As referenced in my title this is a COMPARISON based on my objective opinion.

A few days back a demo M3 pulled into my local dealer's lot. I have a very close friend in sales at this dealership so she called me and we scheduled a test drive.

I currently own a 2008 335i and 2004 E46 M3 - here are the specs on each to give you a frame of reference:

2008 335i
Sports Package (aside from the seats and wheels this includes a slightly stiffer set-up, matched shocks, and a slightly lower ride height)
DINAN re-flash (increases to 384 HP 412 ft/lb torque)
DINAN Exhaust (increase to 390 HP and 418 ft/lb torque)

2004 E46 M3
H & R Coil overs
H & R front & rear sways
DINAN throttle bodies
DINAN exhaust
DINAN 3.91 rear differential (increases to 296 ft/lb torque)
DINAN cold air intake

2008 E92 M3
Bone stock - by now you guys should know all the specs so I am not going to bother listing them

My 335i smokes my E46 M3 in HP and torque especially.

When I fired up the E92 M3 today the first thing you feel and hear is that sick ass V8. I mean it is unreal fellas.

So I pulled out of the lot...drove it around locally for about 15 minutes not really getting on it. I wanted to warm it up to a nominal temperature before putting it to the test.

Here are my immediate observations. The stock suspension hands down beats my sports suspension without question. It is much tighter and there is about 50% less cabin roll with the stock M3 suspension compared to the 335i stock suspension. Neither of these though match my H & R set-up on my E46. That set-up is track tight.

Anyway...the next immediate observation is the throttle response. Of course with the new M3 you feel power delivered even if you breath on the throttle. This is something I absolutely hate with the 335i twin turbos. While BMW did an excellent job of creating almost ZERO turbo spool...the fact remains that it does spool and therefor there is a very slight delay in power delivery. Not the case with the 2008 M3 of course. I loved this.

My 3rd immediate observation is with respects to braking. The 2008 M3 again really beats my 335i handily. However...I will say that I did not think the new M3's breaks were are good as my stock brakes on my E46 M3 which surprised me.

Ok...now to the power and the torque. This is where I was surprised most. In the 2008 M3 because the power delivery is immediate I had the perception of it being quicker...but...it took longer to accelerate to higher speeds than in my tuned 335i. The top of the power band from 2nd through 3rd and into 4th is where you feel every bit of the raw power of the M3 as well as the 335i. Between these gears...I was quicker in my 335i...but...and you have to hear what I am saying here...because the 335i stock suspension is not nearly as tight as the M3 and because the 335i twin turbos are so muffled compared to the throaty roar of the M3's V8 you do not FEEL it is quicker. But I could easily see my speed times were quicker than the M3.

I am not going to go over interior differences because those differences are truly subjective to what someone does or does not like. My comparison is based solely on performance.

So here is the big question. Is it worth it? Again this is a subjective question because perception equates to value. We all have different perceptions and therefore will equate value differently.

But...if I am objective in how I make this decision then there is a simple answer.

My 335i cost with the tuned turbo (DINAN) and the DINAN exhaust is roughly $45K. I still have another $8K I will put into the 335i including additional performance mods and aesthetic mods.

The stock 2008 M3 I tested was $70K. A difference of $25K.

In my opinion for a difference of $25K I want to blow the doors off of my cousin the 335i...but that isn't the case.

But...subjectively...I LOVE THE V8 in the new M3. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that engine...so to me...the price is easily justified.

This is my review for what it is worth. To all of you who are awaiting your arrival of your M3...congratulations. It is one amazing car. I will have to patiently await my turn in line as I have been doing now for the past few months.

SS
Good review, I totally agree. Thats why the E92 M3 to me is overpriced. Unfortunately for the M3, it has to not only contend with cars far superior (GT-R) but also vs tuned 335's that can run with M3's for much much cheaper. Although of course the M3 would still be faster on the track. That is why for me, when I wanted a step up in performance, its definately not the M3.
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      03-14-2008, 01:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW335icDDS View Post
Good review, I totally agree. Thats why the E92 M3 to me is overpriced. Unfortunately for the M3, it has to not only contend with cars far superior (GT-R) but also vs tuned 335's that can run with M3's for much much cheaper. Although of course the M3 would still be faster on the track. That is why for me, when I wanted a step up in performance, its definately not the M3.
Fair review, but I would like to see someone drive an M3 for 6 months then test drive a 335i.... I think the 335i experience would be very blunted.

Comparing apples to apples, a tuned 335i can hang with an M3, but at what price? A voided warranty? You simply cannot look at it so simply as "a tuned 335 will keep up with an M3." ... so will a tuned 1992 Supra. So trade in your shiny new 335i and save $35k if your looking to pinch pennies.

We have to consider 2 very critical factors here as well- (1) what will a tuned M3 do to a 335? Can you imagine the power of this V8 unlocked by a Dinan flash? and (2) M-DCT. I hear it is an experience that will take your breath away, as well as your tuned 335...
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      03-14-2008, 01:28 AM   #10
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Fair review, but I would like to see someone drive an M3 for 6 months then test drive a 335i.... I think the 335i experience would be very blunted.

Comparing apples to apples, a tuned 335i can hang with an M3, but at what price? A voided warranty? You simply cannot look at it so simply as "a tuned 335 will keep up with an M3." ... so will a tuned 1992 Supra. So trade in your shiny new 335i and save $35k if your looking to pinch pennies.

We have to consider 2 very critical factors here as well- (1) what will a tuned M3 do to a 335? Can you imagine the power of this V8 unlocked by a Dinan flash? and (2) M-DCT. I hear it is an experience that will take your breath away, as well as your tuned 335...

The Dinan Chip, like the one the original poster has and the one I am getting makes the 335 engine put out close to the claimed 414 HP of the M3 and way more torque WITHOUT voiding the warranty. Also, a dinan flash of the M3 won't have the same performance gains from like the 335 since the M3 is NA. My main argument isn't that the 335 is better than the M3, but it is definately close to equal on the street since you can't do crazy handling stuff on the public roads. My main criticism of the M3 is that if you really want performance, well you wouldn't get a M3. You would have gotten the GT-R. Just my opinion.
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      03-14-2008, 02:28 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaiman View Post
You seem to be basing your opinion off a car that a) wasn't broken in and b) you didn't take above 5500 rpm (at least i hope you didn't). I'm not surprised it felt slower than a tuned 335.

FYI: at 5500 rpm an m3 is making about 300 horsepower.
+1 exactly, well stated. Although I suspect much like many demo cars the break in procedures were not adhered to. Ugh.

Another point is that all of your perceptions were simply A-B driving comparisons. We all can be very fooled by jerk, lag and noise as well. I'll simply stick with my G-Tech times or magazine times to tell me which car is faster than another.
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      03-14-2008, 07:22 AM   #12
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I agree with your assessment. I test drove the M3 yesterday and could not help but feel that my Vishnu V2 tuned 335 is faster. I find it hard to justify the money, but nonetheless am considering one.
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      03-14-2008, 08:21 AM   #13
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If people feel that M3 is overpriced then they should feel the same for RS4, C63 and IS-F.
If I could afford it I would happily buy a M3 over a 335i. A highreeving engine is da sh**! driving is more than just straightlines.
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      03-14-2008, 09:07 AM   #14
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Thank you. This is a great review (very objective), and it's exactly where I am at in my decision process right now.

My practical side says the $25k difference is not worth it. But again, I am much like the rest of you, I still consider the V8 M3 despite its relative impracticality. At this point, my decision rests on the M-DCT and how it is received. Part of the allure of the M3 will be its technological advancement. If it is a disappointment, my contingency is not the 6-speed M3. It's the 335i.
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      03-14-2008, 11:11 AM   #15
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good review, I like the fact that you own 2 out of the three and approach the review objectively
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      03-14-2008, 07:57 PM   #16
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Hmm, You could definitely get the 335 to handle as well as and better than the M3 does. It just means you have to modify the car a bit. Stock for stock, M3 wins. Its not fair to compare a modded car to a stock car. However, if we're talking real world here, you are easily able to modify a 335 past every performance point of the M3. All it takes is money. $25k in money? Probably less.

What people fail to realize is that there is an intangible at work here. The M badge. For anyone who is a BMW fan or an M fan, the badge is, at times, worth as much as any other selling point of the car.

It's not because people like to brag, its because people value the heritage, the performance and the immediate status assignation you receive when you buy an M car. It's hard to describe and often gets confused with elitism and being pompous a-holes, which gives some M3 drivers (specially because they are at the top of their performance class, unlike the M5 and M6, so they care a bit less) their bad rep. Granted some let it go to their heads and do become a-holes.

It's funny now that M3 prices are through the roof and it's actually hard for most to become M3 owners. Let's face it, the M3 has a younger target market and a $70,000 price tag..two things that don't usually work well together. However, that badge sells cars. (not putting down the M3, I love it and the performance, before I get flamed.) Now though, it's becoming even sexier to own an M3 because it's just out of reach for the many that wish they could have one. This whole price thing is only adding fuel to the "M elitism" thing. This right here is why certain dealers can afford to add insane markups and premiums, because it only makes them more desirable (if thats possible).

The M3 vs 335i dilemma will never come to an end. There is a value that no amount of HP or torque or chips or suspensions on the 335 will ever be able to make up for. It is that simple. Find me one real M3 enthusiast with the means to buy one that that has chosen the 335 instead (notice I said chosen, not downgraded, I think they are both amazing cars).

Some of you will agree with me, some of you will not. I'm not saying either car is better, just explaining why it is that M3's are simply more special.

I'd love to hear what people have to say about this.
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      03-14-2008, 08:21 PM   #17
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Thanks for the review and the open comments. For me, the M is more than that though. It is the overall package. It is not a value proposition - most things that are admired this much are not. Trying to compare x time 0-60 / $ will lose most times with the M. Hell, a Mustang probably wins there. The M3 is about balance. On a Sunday, it is a great car to take out on a long drive on vacant, twisty roads yet it gets you to work mon-fri with a smile on your face.
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      03-15-2008, 01:28 AM   #18
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MShift, I dont think the 335 vs M3 dilemma exists. Like the person after you said M is a complete package and no ammount of tuning can make the 335 feel that way in quite the same way as the M3 does. You simply cannot compete with the chaps at M division. Chances are they know a thing or two more than you and the various tuners. I see that you have an STI, I used to own a WRX back in the day. I had modded it quite heavily- engine, suspension, exhaust, brakes. It was pushing close to 300ps and even beat a couple of STIs at drag races...and then I got to drive one...
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      03-15-2008, 03:14 AM   #19
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If it didnt exist, you wouldnt find these 5+ page threads on 335 vs M3. The point im trying to make goes beyond this argument, much like you described in the wrx vs sti setting. Granted, it does feel like the "complete package" its far from it. It's not a perfect car. There are other reasons why if feels perfect.
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      03-15-2008, 09:51 AM   #20
Big Windy
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thanks SS, as a stock 335i owner, its good to know from somebody who is actually an owner. i can't wait to make the jump!
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      03-15-2008, 11:20 AM   #21
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A point

You are looking at a $70K M3 price tag and a $45K 335i (with mods) however...the M3 price includes:

CF roof (may like or not but it's at least a grand or two and mainly for looks)
Premium sound (that's $2K)
Technology package (navi, CA, active shocks) that's $3K

I am not saying those features are bad or anything just are they on your 335i? If you spec out a 335i with navi, CA, bluetooth, XM etc..

many $$ are not in the performance but more about the luxury which adds cost but not performance but the M3 is really about being good at both.

I just wonder if a 335i plus Dinan, plus all the features you see on a loaded M3 would be more like $55K?

Or if you look at the other way you can get a M3 for $60K quite easily which makes the price difference just $15K (not $25K).

Still the M3 is more money but not as much and it's got wheels/tires/suspension/CF roof etc.. standard that many people would pay extra for if they were 'options' on the 335i
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      03-15-2008, 11:53 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MShift View Post
Let's face it, the M3 has a younger target market and a $70,000 price tag..two things that don't usually work well together.
Don't usually? I'd say, almost never. Unless it's one of the 3 options listed here:

1) Rich kid whose parent are buying the car
2) Kid involved in dishonest business
3) Young professional with the priorities upside down

I disagree the target market is yourger audiences. I bet demography of M3 buyers will be all over the place. Younger audiences might more likely to dream about this car, but not exactly buying it. By the way I'm using 25 and under for younger audiences.
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