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      08-27-2008, 04:27 PM   #1
TXM32B
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Test Drove E90 M3 DCT, E90 M3 MT, and C63 AMG Back-to-Back-Back

I currently have an MY2009 E90 M3 MT on order. I should be taking delivery around mid-to-late October. I went to the dealership today where I ordered my car (Advantage BMW Clear Lake, Texas) to finally test drive a DCT M3 for comparison.

I will have to say that I am a purist when it comes to sports cars, but the DCT transmission is pretty nice! The shifts are extremely quick, but slightly jerky under full throttle. I currently drive a C6 Corvette, so I am not overly impressed with the rubbery feeling shifter in the MT. I prefer shorter throws and a notchier feel when the shift lever is thrown into gear. I still am planning on sticking with the manual transmission, but the DCT has me thinking otherwise now about possibly making the switch. If I stick with the manual, I will definitely have to swap out the shifter for a short-throw lever in the near future.

The M3 is eactly how everyone describes it...very fast car, but it doesn't throw you back in the seat like my Vette or a car with substantially more torque.

On my way back home, I passed by a Mercedes Benz dealership where they had a silver C63 AMG sitting on one of the entrance pedestals. I immediately pulled in to check it out. After telling the salesman that I had a M3 on order, he extended the offer to let me test drive the Merc. The Merc is slightly more expensive (at least than my E90 M3) on sticker price and they were also asking a $5K premium - Strike 1. We went for the test drive and I can easily verify that the exhaust note on the Merc blows away the M3. Not to take anything away from the M3, the Merc is just better sounding. The torque and low end pull in the Merc is fantastic. Much better than the M3, but what would you expect with about 150 ft-lbs more torque. The ride however is very rough (extremely firm). The BMW rides 10X better. My Corvette evens has a more compliant ride than the Merc. The front seats are brilliant and the I-Drive "like" navi unit seems better thought out than the BMW, but that is where the interior advantages end. The BMW is more comfortable to drive/ride in and seems to have a higher quality interior than the Merc. Road noise is also quite a bit less in the M3 as the doors seem to seal perfectly. The Merc seemed to handle well (I wasn't able to push the limits at all), but the BMW seems light years better.

All-in-all, I still like the M3 better than the C63 AMG (especially for the price). Anyone who is looking for a 4-Door drag car, buy the Merc, or better yet, wait to buy the 2009 CTS-V, otherwise, the M3 is definitely the best blend of sports car, comfort, handling, and everyday liveability. As far as the DCT vs. MT, it all comes down to personal preference.
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      08-27-2008, 04:31 PM   #2
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Interesting. Thanks for the write up.
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      08-27-2008, 04:31 PM   #3
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Good, balanced review.
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      08-27-2008, 04:40 PM   #4
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Look on eBay and there are TONS of E90/E92 M3s for sale... almost more than all previous generations combined. And the value just isn't holding up like it use to, I've heard dealers are having a difficult time pushing M3s/M5s/M6s off their lots. Most likely why the CSL has just been canceled as well.

The current economy spells bad times for BMW, especially when their own brand of cars 135/335 competes with their Ms for half the money.

Personally I think it's great as it might return them to their roots of Small/Light in favor of efficient speed rather than the BIG/HEAVY/LUXURY biased Ms of today.


Instead of trying to keep up with the Jones' I'm thinking of picking up and E30 M as it's now actually increasing in value over time.
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      08-27-2008, 08:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXM32B View Post
I currently have an MY2009 E90 M3 MT on order. I should be taking delivery around mid-to-late October. I went to the dealership today where I ordered my car (Advantage BMW Clear Lake, Texas) to finally test drive a DCT M3 for comparison.

I will have to say that I am a purist when it comes to sports cars, but the DCT transmission is pretty nice! The shifts are extremely quick, but slightly jerky under full throttle. I currently drive a C6 Corvette, so I am not overly impressed with the rubbery feeling shifter in the MT. I prefer shorter throws and a notchier feel when the shift lever is thrown into gear. I still am planning on sticking with the manual transmission, but the DCT has me thinking otherwise now about possibly making the switch. If I stick with the manual, I will definitely have to swap out the shifter for a short-throw lever in the near future.

The M3 is eactly how everyone describes it...very fast car, but it doesn't throw you back in the seat like my Vette or a car with substantially more torque.

On my way back home, I passed by a Mercedes Benz dealership where they had a silver C63 AMG sitting on one of the entrance pedestals. I immediately pulled in to check it out. After telling the salesman that I had a M3 on order, he extended the offer to let me test drive the Merc. The Merc is slightly more expensive (at least than my E90 M3) on sticker price and they were also asking a $5K premium - Strike 1. We went for the test drive and I can easily verify that the exhaust note on the Merc blows away the M3. Not to take anything away from the M3, the Merc is just better sounding. The torque and low end pull in the Merc is fantastic. Much better than the M3, but what would you expect with about 150 ft-lbs more torque. The ride however is very rough (extremely firm). The BMW rides 10X better. My Corvette evens has a more compliant ride than the Merc. The front seats are brilliant and the I-Drive "like" navi unit seems better thought out than the BMW, but that is where the interior advantages end. The BMW is more comfortable to drive/ride in and seems to have a higher quality interior than the Merc. Road noise is also quite a bit less in the M3 as the doors seem to seal perfectly. The Merc seemed to handle well (I wasn't able to push the limits at all), but the BMW seems light years better.

All-in-all, I still like the M3 better than the C63 AMG (especially for the price). Anyone who is looking for a 4-Door drag car, buy the Merc, or better yet, wait to buy the 2009 CTS-V, otherwise, the M3 is definitely the best blend of sports car, comfort, handling, and everyday liveability. As far as the DCT vs. MT, it all comes down to personal preference.


Thank you for a great write-up. It seems to be one of the most unbiased ones I've heard, especially if you consider the magazines!!! I am also on the market, for every car you mentioned (plus the IS-F). The BMW is on the high end of the spectrum once optioned out, but the Merc is a little more expensive when comparably equipped. The IS-F is the cheapest, and the only one I've driven so far. I've been able to sit inside the E90 M3. The IS-F drove awesome and I really like the dual nature of the car. Keep it under 3 grand and it rides like any other Lexus. Hit the throttle and it turns into a beast. It was fun to drive and looks much better in person than in pictures. My problems with it, were the buckets in the back, so it only sits 4 and the aftermarket will never match whats already out for the M. I really like the looks of the E90 and have my heart set on the M-DCT. I've never been an automatic type of guy, but these newer automated manuals are the way of the future, for the track and the street. Now the only thing left is the CTS-V which I'm really excited about, but since it isn't coming anytime soon, and Cadillac won't release pricing information, I'm not going to wait it out, just to find out I can't afford it.

Good honest write-up.
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      08-27-2008, 09:08 PM   #6
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The wait for the Caddy is shorter than previously reported. They are saying that the car will hit dealerships in October at a base price of $58K according to very recent reports.

This is a great review BTW. If you want TQ the Merc is definitely the way to go. If you want to throw a car around in the corners. the M is the way to go. Chocolate and Vanilla all the way.
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      08-28-2008, 08:57 AM   #7
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I have read that the official release of the CTS-V including pricining is on September 24th.
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      08-28-2008, 09:20 AM   #8
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Great write-up!
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      08-28-2008, 10:33 AM   #9
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Nice balance review. Consistent with mags and auto shows.
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      08-28-2008, 10:44 AM   #10
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awesome review. except for the very last sentence, but it's okay

thanks for the write up
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      08-28-2008, 01:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salespunk View Post
The wait for the Caddy is shorter than previously reported. They are saying that the car will hit dealerships in October at a base price of $58K according to very recent reports.

This is a great review BTW. If you want TQ the Merc is definitely the way to go. If you want to throw a car around in the corners. the M is the way to go. Chocolate and Vanilla all the way.
According to CadillacTony on www.cadillacforums.com, production will start on October 20th and will reach dealerships in early November. CadillacTony seems to be a reliable souce, he's a salesman, that seems to be knowledgable and genuinely interested in his product. I still haven't seen prices, but unlike the Merc and BMW, the CTS-V is supposed to come loaded with very few available options. If it comes in at $58k, which I'm skeptical about, it will be very competive in the arena of vehicles mentioned in the thread. I will have a hard time waiting until the end of September for pricing, but since I'm on the market for an 09 ///M, there isn't much of a difference in time of delivery. Man, its a great time to be in the market for a luxo-sport sedan.
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      08-28-2008, 02:50 PM   #12
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M3 FTW!!!!!!! If you want torque, you got your vette. Excellent choice for sticking with the E90!!!!!!! I have nothing against Mercedes, I also have an S550 aside from my E92 and E93. Benzs are really great, but only in their top end luxury models. But if you want a driver's car, get a bimmer for sure.
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      08-28-2008, 03:22 PM   #13
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and if you are comparing an M3 to a Cadillac
you shouldn't be reading this forum

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      08-28-2008, 03:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmarei View Post
and if you are comparing an M3 to a Cadillac
you shouldn't be reading this forum

brand whore




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      08-28-2008, 03:36 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmarei View Post
and if you are comparing an M3 to a Cadillac
you shouldn't be reading this forum

yes coz cadillac only comes with 3 wheels and should not be compared to a M3. in fact no car ever, like everrrrrrrrrrrr, compares to the M3...
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      08-28-2008, 03:59 PM   #16
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brand whore




I don't think he's against the brand, but I'm with him. The CTS-V is targeting at another group of customers. The concept is completely different. One is more about low-end grunt while the other is about high-reving power delivery. A complete different beast they are.
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      08-28-2008, 04:59 PM   #17
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The C63 is all about low-end grunt, too, and it gets compared to the M3 every 5 posts.

The CTS-V the high performance version of an entry level luxury sedan, just like the C63, IS-F, and E90 M3. Cadillac may be aiming more for the M5, but based on the CTS-V's price, the CTS's position in Cadillac's lineup, and the fact that it's hardly any bigger than the C63, IS-F, or M3, how does it not compare to these cars?

No one here knows how it compares to the M3 because no one here has driven it yet, but most people are pretty quick to come to unsubstantiated conclusions. Same thing happened when the C63 came out. I'd bet that 90% of the members here still haven't even sat in one, but that doesn't seem to stop anyone from giving an opinion about how it drives and what its pros and cons are.
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      08-28-2008, 06:38 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AMB View Post
Personally I think it's great as it might return them to their roots of Small/Light in favor of efficient speed rather than the BIG/HEAVY/LUXURY biased Ms of today.
+1. And offer a nice high reving 4-cylinder engine again.


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      08-28-2008, 06:58 PM   #19
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can I buy a donkey by now, and mount a jet engine on? Hey, you want torque you got it.
You want a car that brakes on a dime, and handle like a mother, you get an M3.
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      08-28-2008, 08:30 PM   #20
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Cadillac is aimed at the above 80 year old crowd, Floridians ideally
M3 isn't
CTS-V is as much of a competitor to the M3 as the Pontiac GTO/G8 is
step inside any american car, and it feels cheap
plasticky interior, big ass controlls
i have 2 words for you
push rods!
you can see why the US companies are run by the bean counters
not by the car fans
very much unlike the M division

honestly?
i don't think their is a real competitor to the M3
i am not saying its the greatest car or anything
but i don't consider the C63 or the RS4 as competitors
they are cars you might look at if you were thinking of an M3
but they are not competitors
they don't have the racing pedigree or history as an M3
it's enough for the M3 to have the E30 M3 in its bloodline
and don't start me on the IS-F
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      08-28-2008, 08:32 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TLud View Post
brand whore

i'm not
my earlier car before the Audi A5 was a Chrysler Crossfire
hardly a nice brand
and belive it or not that was a great car
more fun to drive than the A5
but then again i also owned a E30 M3 in Henna Red
that in iteself should absolve me of all blame
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      08-28-2008, 08:37 PM   #22
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Mercedes AMG =
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