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      03-23-2008, 10:38 PM   #1
M3Kevin
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New Owner BMW M3 2008 Alpine White

Just thought I share some thoughts on the car. So far it's still the "new toy" so I am viewing/reviewing with a jaded buyers eye.

My previous car to this car was a 2004 996 Speed Yellow Porsche GT3. Prior to that was a 2004 Z06 Vette, and then a 1992 Corvette.

Of these cars - the GT3 handled the best - hands down. I would also argue that it's the best racer of the bunch - but I don't think there are any surprises with that summation.

Of the bunch -
Most comfortable - BMW M3 so far.
Best Sound - M3
Best Speed - GT3/Z06 (I think the C5 Z06 has the GT3 in a straight line to 60 - then the porsche eats it lunch)
Best Corning - GT3
Most Economical - Z06 hands down.


More detailed commentary:

Racing sofa - my tired old ass certainly is not complaining about the womanly luxery of the 2008 BMW M3.

The seats are better than the stock GT3 996 seats, and the Corvette seats. BMW nutted up and actually put serious side support on their seats that actually works. The side supports on the 996 GT3 were hints rather than useful.

The car seems responsive, agile and quick to turn. More so than a C5 Z06 and less so than the GT3.

It is not as tight at the GT3 - but that is not a surprise.

It is quiet - like a church - when driving. But this is coming from a GT3 in which road noise is the music of choice. It is quieter than my old Z06.

The integration options are just positively spoiling. The sound system, is the best of the Z06, GT3 and M3 combo. Absolutely stunning. Love it.

The brakes appear to be non-linear. Tho I have not performed any bedding procedures yet. I push the brakes down for about 1" and get gentle braking resistance, and then whammo - serious bite. This only happens at Parking lot speeds under say, 10-15mph or so. Slow enough that there is no serious intertia to even out the braking bite. So braking is a bit of an adventure. At times - very slow, and at other times inadvertently abrupt. I am hoping that this will mitigate as time goes on and the brakes wear in. I intend on bedding them when I have some open road.

The clutch is easier than the Z06 or GT3. The GT3 was the stiffest. It is progressive and easy to handle/predict. The shift is roughly like that of the Z06 - kinda spongy/rubber bandy. No where near notchy like the GT3. Easy to flick around with two fingers. Of course, when coming from the rifle bolt of the GT3 - anything/everything is going to feel vague and loose. So far no missed shifts - so it's been an accurate box at least. Still kinda hard to get the feel for the different gearing and downshifting has been an exercise in mismatched RPMs to speed. But then again Heel toeing is out right now until I get past the 1300 mile mark and can redline the car.

The gearing appears to be pretty tight. 65-70 in 6th gear nets me about 3100 rpm. Red line is 8300 rpm - tho that redline varies based on engine temp. The redline markings around the tach actually moves to let you know where it currently is.

It gulps gas. 220 miles to warning light. About 15.6 mpg/avg. And that's during break in with no full throttle and no 5500+ rpm. Gas mileage appears to be running around 15.6 mpg. Actually worse than the Vette and the GT3 (which got around 18-22mpg (GT3, Z06 respectively)). This even with the 5500 limit and no full throttle application. GT3 would get 300+ miles to a tank, and the Z06 could get 500+ freeway miles, but generally hovered around 22mpg)

I am 230 miles into the car so far.

The BMW computer spinner integration seems a bit non-consitent. For example - hit the menu button in Nav, Entertainment, Environment and you are immediately returned to the main menu. Go to the Center Menu, and hit menu - it takes you back one step. Ideally I'd like to see them adjust it so that menu always goes one step back, and 1/2 second press takes you back to the top.
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      03-23-2008, 10:48 PM   #2
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congratulations on the new car and thank for the review. I am surprised the GT3 would get such good fuel economy. Is your 15 mpg a result of stop and go traffic? BMW brakes at low speed are pretty grabby, design or pad selection but they get better as they are broken in. How is the exhaust note compared with the GT3?
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      03-23-2008, 10:53 PM   #3
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I was a bit suprised as well that the GT3 got better gas mileage. But it did. When I sold it - it was right at 18.3 mpg/avg

The exhaust note on the BMW is quite muted compared to the GT3. And I have to say I enjoy the sound of an 8 more than I like the sound of a 6.

From outside of the vehicle - the GT3 sounds worse at idle, but better at song. Though, I have not had the pleasure of hearing an M3 anywhere except in the drivers seat.

I did take a turn today in the M3 that surprised me at how well it handled. I don't quite know what I experienced, but I'll do some more testing on that turn and get back to you.

Suffice it to say, I was surprised and pleased. Tho I am going to reserve full commenting until I really get better aquanted with the M3.

Kevin
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      03-23-2008, 10:54 PM   #4
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Oh - I saw in another forum some questions about gas mileage that I posted to and everyone is talking about a 7th gear? Do they mean 6th with reverse being counted?

I am used to refering to gearboxes as the number of forward gears? i.e. the M3 has a 6 speed gearbox. (with reverse being assumed)
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      03-23-2008, 10:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
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Oh - I saw in another forum some questions about gas mileage that I posted to and everyone is talking about a 7th gear? Do they mean 6th with reverse being counted?

I am used to refering to gearboxes as the number of forward gears? i.e. the M3 has a 6 speed gearbox. (with reverse being assumed)
The M3 has two transmition choices a standard 6 speed manual and the 7 speed DCT double clutch automated manual (paddle shift). Reverse is not counted
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      03-23-2008, 11:00 PM   #6
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Gotcha...

Manual all the way!!

No auto for me!
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      03-23-2008, 11:14 PM   #7
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Kevin,

Congrats on your new M3 and thanks for your excellent write up.

Pass me your exterior/interior colors and trim choice as well as wheel size and I'll add you to our March delivery roll call.

http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=124050
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      03-23-2008, 11:20 PM   #8
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19" Rims
HD Radio
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      03-23-2008, 11:35 PM   #9
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You've been added. What was your date of delivery. I guessed, but can update it.

http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=124050
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      03-23-2008, 11:46 PM   #10
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3/20/08
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      03-23-2008, 11:48 PM   #11
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Do you have 2 threads stating the same thing up? either way good review!
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      03-24-2008, 12:09 AM   #12
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Interesting collection of cars....

996 GT3 and C5 ZO6..... two cars that were somewhat flawed first attempts (I almost like that they are imperfect, raw even)...still very very cool rides

Jason
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      03-24-2008, 02:15 AM   #13
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the sound system you speak of..is it the premium sound option? or the stock system?
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      03-24-2008, 02:36 AM   #14
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i was wondering the same thing as revin, im about to order my M3 but am conflicted on wether or not to get the premium sound system, have u heard the standard kevin, if u have was the sound quality aright?
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      03-24-2008, 02:47 AM   #15
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trah23,

i thought about it....upgraded sound is really not worth 1900 bucks to me. i mean honestly, id rather hear the engine sound. The stock system is already 10 speakers...coming from an s2000 with 4 speakers...i think ill be fine lol

also, you can always add an amp and upgrade speakers.
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      03-24-2008, 02:32 PM   #16
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Interesting that you call the brakes "non-linear" -- that is precisely how I described the feel of the brakes in my Z4 M Coupe. Pedal travel with no feel, then a hard bite... even with light pedal application. It was irritating, and unfortunately it did not improve with mileage. That car also had a throttle and clutch that were difficult to feel and modulate. Overall the car was a PITA to drive so I sold it after 7 months.

I also had a 2004 C5 Z06 and currently a 997 GT3 so I appreciate your comments. I hope to drive the M3 this week. After the Z4MC mistake I learned to thoroughly test drive before buying!

Overall, does the M3 feel "artificial" to you? Like there is something between your actions and the car's reactions? Or does it feel dialed-in and intuitive (obviously not the brakes)
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      03-24-2008, 03:09 PM   #17
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Nice review and well written!
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      03-24-2008, 03:18 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3Kevin View Post
Black Novillo Leather Extended
Blue-gray Brushed Aluminium Trim
Tech Package
Premium Package
Cold Weather Package
19" Rims
HD Radio
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Park Distance Control
Just curious, did you pre-order this car or was it a dealer "demo". By the way, nice collection of cars!
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      03-24-2008, 09:18 PM   #19
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Not sure I agree that the 996 GT3 was/is flawed. I would say tho that it was designed as a driving experience with driving coming #1. I'd argue that the 997 GT3 is a softened 996 GT3 - and not a good thing.
But I have not driven the 997 GT3...
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      03-24-2008, 09:18 PM   #20
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I saw it on the floor - liked it - was in the market for a more practical car than the GT3 - and negotiated for a week and bought it.
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      03-24-2008, 09:24 PM   #21
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Ok - Hans - as to if the car feels artificial to me.

1st off - the GT3 is about as connected as I have ever been to the road and the driving experience. The steering, the handling, the road feel, the sound, the acceleration, the cornering etc... You had to work to drive the car, and it would/will slap the living shit out of you if you f*** up. But, it will reward the skilled driver with a connection that is almost spiritual to the road. And to hell with comfort or being able to hear the radio or talk on a cell phone. I mean really - that's not why you bought the GT3 in the 1st place, right?? Though I did daily drive mine.

The M3 - Racing Sofa. Luxery and spoiling me. The steering is certainly power - and you feel it. Though it does have a nice heavy ness to it not found in the 335 where you can practically spin it by blowing on it.

The shifter is nice. Vague compared to the GT3 (but anything would be vague compared to that rifle bolt) and having driving a GT3 vs Z06 you know what I am talking about. The Z06 shifter is kinda spongy compared to the GT3.

Is it artificial - well, I have not driven it past 5500 rpm yet. So I don't know about what's up in the wild yonder of 5500+ land. I have had a few adventures cornering, and I am pleasantly surprised at how it holds in the corners. Kinda early to tell - but I have a sneaky smile on my face saying I suspect that it's a sleeper in that you don't expect it to corner really well - and it does.

The Z06 is just plain fun - you can throw it all over the place and it will still be civil to you. The computer assist will keep you in a straight line for the most part.

Sorry I could not be more detailed about the experience as of yet. But as I get past the 1300 mile mark you can be certain that I will write more.

So far - I am enjoying the ride - with the brake issue being my biggest complaint so far.
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      03-24-2008, 09:44 PM   #22
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The 997 GT3 is superior to the 996 GT3 on the track and on the street. The 996 version also looks much uglier with the frying pan headlights.
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