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      08-10-2009, 07:36 AM   #1
Hyperspaced
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More M3 v. M5 (Still Deciding--Very Hard Question!)

I would have posted this in the M3 v M5 thread, but I see that is closed and this isn't really and M3 v. M5 question: I love both cars and think each has something better than the other.

As some of you know, I have been deciding between an M3 and an M5 for awhile now. This has dragged on because my dealer still cannot actually order my 2010 M3. If they could have done that, I woul just be waiting impatiently.

Last weekend, I poked around the BMW web page and just ran the lease numbers on the M5, thinking it would be much more expensive. Since I already preferred the M3, that would make it easy to exclude. Nope. Probably because of residuals, the price difference is pretty small, like $60/mo. (I am using 2009 M3 numbers, so I could be wrong in this comparison. When they get the leasing info on the 2010 M3, maybe the residuals have gone back up and the money factor will be like the M5s.)

On Saturday, I went and drove both back to back. DCT beats SMG, at least if there are no real DCT problems. The SMG shift takes long enough that you wonder a little if you could do as well with manual (though the SMG does blip the engine automatically, which I can't do, at least not well). I am sure that SMG is far faster than I am actually, but it is not as fast as the DCT. So if I got an M5, I would consider manual, but I understand the manual just isn't great for the M5.

The M5 does not feel as fast as the M3 because of the wheel base. It is faster going straight. I got both cars up to let's just say X speed without effort, so they are both stupid fast for the street. But the M5 felt a lot less like it was moving. This isn't clearly a good thing, but it is amazing. The M5 clearly has more room and more creature comforts. The trunk actually has enough space that even if I put a spare in there, I can still use it.

Cornering, the M3 is just better. And I think it wins on "fun factor." You feel like you are driving more than with the M5.

I guess it comes down to this: Do I want a sedan that is really a sports car and that I will think of as a sports car (M3) or would I prefer a fairly luxurious and relatively spacey sedan that feels a little like a sedan but is much faster than almost every sedan out there (M5)?

This is actually one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make about something that isn't a real "life decision." I probably can't go too wrong here.

I keep thinking that some of you will say that if it is a hard call for me, then I should just get the M5. That is, if I am actually weighing creature comforts against performance, I should get the comfy car. Every time I think that myself, I hear the M3 calling.

Any advice? Thank you

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      08-10-2009, 08:01 AM   #2
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My two cents....

They are both beasts in their own regard. The M5 has tons of torque and pulls like tug boat at speeds exceeding 115-130mph; however, its a little heavier/bigger than the M3 and not as nimble around the corners.

The M3 doesn't have as much torque but it is better balanced and lighter, therefore, I don't think you'll have any problems in the power department because it is a freaking beast all-around.

Ask yourself:

1. Do you need 4-doors?
2. Are going to be carving some roads or attending track events?
3. Do you need the extra space?
4. The M3 drinks fuel but the M5 inhales it. What are your feelings about fuel consumption?

Honestly, you can't go wrong with both. While the M3 has a more sporty feeling the M5 is a little classier but they are both at the top of their game.

I may consider an M5 when I'm older but not for now. Ideally, I would have an M5 parked next to my GTR and M3 but not for few more years or until I hit the Lottery...LOL.

Cheers,
-SZ
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      08-10-2009, 08:03 AM   #3
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Not to sound frivolous, but if you test drove both cars and money isn't an issue with either car, then I would probably just go with the car that is easier to buy at the moment (sounds like the M5, since you are waiting for a 10 M3 you said). It seems both cars are a draw for you, so go with the last option - "which car can I get a hold of first".

Personally, if I was in your shoes, I would probably buy the M5. I have the M3, but I got it because I wanted the smaller 'footprint' and the sporty feel of the car (I want to track the car also). Since it was not a requirement of yours (cause if it was, the M3 would be the winner), go with the M5.
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      08-10-2009, 08:48 AM   #4
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I dont think you can go wrong with either. They are both top notch cars that exude class and have a menacing presence when you see them on the road. Its all a matter of what you want and what your looking for at this particular stage of your life. I've always wanted an M3, hence I got one....when I'm older...then its M5 time!!!

But if I had to give you my .02...get an M3...it truly is a special and unique car.
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      08-10-2009, 08:51 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MJC///M3 View Post
I dont think you can go wrong with either. They are both top notch cars that exude class and have a menacing presence when you see them on the road. Its all a matter of what you want and what your looking for at this particular stage of your life. I've always wanted an M3, hence I got one....when I'm older...then its M5 time!!!

But if I had to give you my .02...get an M3...it truly is a special and unique car.
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      08-10-2009, 12:01 PM   #6
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I'd rank them as follows:

E92 M3 6MT
E92 M3 DCT
M5
E90 M3 DCT

PS: last car was an M5, before that E46 M3.
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      08-10-2009, 12:56 PM   #7
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m3 looks better and unique, handle better, smaller, lighter, engine has the deep rumble down low and sing up high unlike the always screaming nature of the m5. I would go m3 hands down regardless you track it or not.

I don't feel the look of the m5/m6 at all.

Since you are not tracking, get the e93 m3 vert. Or atleast get the e92 m3. unless you really need the 4 doors and seat 5 people, then e90 m3.

oh and I just noticed i got promoted to first lieutenant, yeah haha
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      08-10-2009, 01:00 PM   #8
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Ken: Is your point that if you are going to get a sedan, might as well go with the M5? Not sure why, though. The M3 sedan is a lot more like the M3 coupe than it is like the M5. In handling, the two M3s are almost identical. The M3 sedan feels a lot more like a sports car to me (and very much like the coupe, which I have also driven). The M5 does not feel like a sports car. It feels like a sedan--but a very, very fast sedan.

The M3 sedan feels tight and small.

This sucks, since what I keep focusing on that I like about the M3--that it is more of a sports car--the opposite is also what I like about the M5--it is roomy and comfortable.

That was just a confused way of saying: I should figure out what I want out of the car. And that should make this easy. But I can't!!!
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      08-10-2009, 01:04 PM   #9
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Gen. Graider:

I just got promoted to private, sir.

No use for verts. I like speed and maneuverability over air, which just gets everything dirty where I live.

Four doors would be a help (this is in part why I started to look at he M3 as well). Plus I am one that just likes the way the sedan looks. I also like the coup. But the M3 sedan looks more powerful to me.

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      08-10-2009, 05:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hyperspaced View Post
Ken: Is your point that if you are going to get a sedan, might as well go with the M5? Not sure why, though. The M3 sedan is a lot more like the M3 coupe than it is like the M5. In handling, the two M3s are almost identical. The M3 sedan feels a lot more like a sports car to me (and very much like the coupe, which I have also driven). The M5 does not feel like a sports car. It feels like a sedan--but a very, very fast sedan.
!!
Nevermind Ken. His prejudice against M3 sedan has been well documented since if he could, he would ban the M3 sedan for no reason. I think in general coupe fans have had psychological issues coming to terms with the fact that the sedan performs identically with two more doors. You buy an M3 over the competition for its suspension tuning, engine, handling, performance, comfort and not how many doors it has.

Quite opposite to the M5/M6 comparison, where there is a significant difference in weight and performance, the M3 sedan does everything the coupe does. The performance and handling is identical. You get two extra doors and more practicality. In some people's eyes, you get a more aggressive looking car than the M3 coupe due to the shorter length, but that is completely subjective. I like both of them equally.
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      08-11-2009, 03:55 AM   #11
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Since you can't pick between the two... go buy a M6.
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      08-11-2009, 04:15 AM   #12
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Nevermind Ken. His prejudice against M3 sedan has been well documented since if he could, he would ban the M3 sedan for no reason. I think in general coupe fans have had psychological issues coming to terms with the fact that the sedan performs identically with two more doors. You buy an M3 over the competition for its suspension tuning, engine, handling, performance, comfort and not how many doors it has.

Quite opposite to the M5/M6 comparison, where there is a significant difference in weight and performance, the M3 sedan does everything the coupe does. The performance and handling is identical. You get two extra doors and more practicality. In some people's eyes, you get a more aggressive looking car than the M3 coupe due to the shorter length, but that is completely subjective. I like both of them equally.

Oi - I can give my own opinions LOL !! Hyperspaced, in answer to your question, yes, if i fancied a 4 door I go an M5. And FTR I wouldn't ban the E90, that's just being silly !
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      08-11-2009, 04:49 AM   #13
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My two cents....

They are both beasts in their own regard. The M5 has tons of torque and pulls like tug boat at speeds exceeding 115-130mph; however, its a little heavier/bigger than the M3 and not as nimble around the corners.

The M3 doesn't have as much torque but it is better balanced and lighter, therefore, I don't think you'll have any problems in the power department because it is a freaking beast all-around.

Ask yourself:

1. Do you need 4-doors?
2. Are going to be carving some roads or attending track events?
3. Do you need the extra space?
4. The M3 drinks fuel but the M5 inhales it. What are your feelings about fuel consumption?

Honestly, you can't go wrong with both. While the M3 has a more sporty feeling the M5 is a little classier but they are both at the top of their game.

I may consider an M5 when I'm older but not for now. Ideally, I would have an M5 parked next to my GTR and M3 but not for few more years or until I hit the Lottery...LOL.

Cheers,
-SZ
i needed 4 doors and got the M3 sedan. the reason i didnt consider the M5 was purely dollars
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      08-11-2009, 06:24 AM   #14
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If the choice is between an M3 with DCT and an M5 with SMG, then definitely get the M3. I haven't driven an SMG M5, but I drove an SMG Z4, and I hated it. DCT is vastly superior.

Another thing to consider is that the M5 is due for replacement less than two years from now, and I have a feeling that the next gen (with 8-speed DCT, KERS, and looks that are more consistent with the rest of the range) will suddenly make the current model feel very dated.

Having said that, I drove a manual M5, and I liked it a lot--although not as much as my DCT M3.
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      08-11-2009, 06:24 AM   #15
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Given the choices I think the decision has to be based on your indiviual requirements.

If space and practicality is king then either the M5 or M3 saloon.

If looks are more important then either M3, though the coupe has the slightly nicer lines.

If handling and balance is more important than outright pace then again pick either M3 as I don't think any is better than the other, though I did hear that the E90 has a slightly sweeter ride without affecting the handling.

If you want to shift gears yourself then pick the M3 manual as the M5 manual is the inferior car with this option, in fact there is no plus point for choosing a manual M5, apart from possibly price.

If you want the option of automatic then once again the M3 M-DCT is the superior option, lag issues aside which I hear are all but fixed now.

I'm guessing that your inclusion of an M5 instead of an M6 means 4 doors are important to you so I personally think the decision is a simply one ........... pick the M3 M-DCT saloon and be done with it.
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      08-11-2009, 06:29 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drivendriver View Post
If the choice is between an M3 with DCT and an M5 with SMG, then definitely get the M3. I haven't driven an SMG M5, but I drove an SMG Z4, and I hated it. DCT is vastly superior.

Another thing to consider is that the M5 is due for replacement less than two years from now, and I have a feeling that the next gen (with 8-speed DCT, KERS, and looks that are more consistent with the rest of the range) will suddenly make the current model feel very dated.

Having said that, I drove a manual M5, and I liked it a lot--although not as much as my DCT M3.
You will not see KERS for a very long time yet. It's a nightmare in F1 and even more problematic on something that is required to run long periods without constant attention. I also question the need for 8 gears, such a move will probably see the choice of D and S modes increasing from 11 to 18.
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      08-11-2009, 06:52 AM   #17
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If you want to shift gears yourself then pick the M3 manual as the M5 manual is the inferior car with this option, in fact there is no plus point for choosing a manual M5, apart from possibly price.

If you want the option of automatic then once again the M3 M-DCT is the superior option, lag issues aside which I hear are all but fixed now.
There's a difference between shifting gears and activating the clutch.

I don't understand why people still talk about DCT as if it were an automatic transmission. It's not. It's a manual transmission with an automated mode (which I've used for less than 5 minutes in 3 weeks). It gives you total control over the shift points, just as a traditional MT. And it provides engine braking, just as a traditional MT. The difference (the advantage for some, the drawback for others) is that it doesn't let you activate the clutch(es) or rev-match.

If you consider a perfect heel-and-toe downshift as the most satisfying part of driving (I don't, but I can understand why some people do), then you won't like DCT. But labeling DCT as nothing more than a fancy automatic is missing the point.

As for SMG, it also lets you decide when to shift, but the shifts literally gave me motion sickness. With a clutch pedal, I can shift MUCH smoother than SMG. But I have to admit I can't match the smoothness of DCT. Same thing for rev-matching: I can do it, but 90% of the time DCT simply does it better. Sometimes you have to admit that you're beaten.

And yes, you can call me a DCT fanboy .
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      08-11-2009, 06:58 AM   #18
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Thanks, footie. Yes, four doors are at least somewhat important to me--one kid here and another ano the way. I don't think they will be riding with daddy in the M much (if at all). But I need to make the showing that it is at least possible.

I have also heard that the M5 is no good in 6MT, though I don't really understand why.

As for SMG v. DCT, I have driven both, and I definitely agree that the DCT is substantially superior (at least if there isn't a lag problem, which I don't think happens with the SMG). That said, the SMG is acceptable. It shifts faster than I can and also blips the engine, which I presently don't know how to do and probably will never have time to learn to do it right. I would prefer DCT, but I think SMG is livable.

As to the M6, I thought it was significantly more expensive and am not sure why. Isn't the performance of the M6 and the M5 basically the same? In any event, for a car that big, I definitely would want four doors. Then I really could think about using to drive family around.

So it still comes down to this: Do I want a sportier, more fun to drive car, that is faster except in a straightaway (and very close there), or do I want a roomier, more comfortable car?

Regardless, I really appreciate all the help you all have been and continue to be.

Thanks!

One more point: I know the M5 is at the end of its line. I believe the new one comes out fairly early next year. I hear that it will be a v8tt. But I also hear that it will be substantially more expensive than the current M5. If it is everything it could be, it will be a wonderful car--may get under 4 seconds in 0-60 (0, not 1 or 2 - 60). But I need a car now and I wouldn't be ready to spend a lot more money than the M3 or M5 at this point. Maybe next time, unless by then I am lucky enough to afford my dream car. At that point, I will dream and find out what that car is.
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      08-11-2009, 06:59 AM   #19
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Maybe you forgot that I have owned a M3 with M-DCT for a year now. I do know that it allows you to shift gears yourself but it also will (if you want) shift them itself like a traditional automatic will.

Also it is well documented but I am no longer a DCT fanboy, if I ever was one.
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      08-11-2009, 07:03 AM   #20
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So it still comes down to this: Do I want a sportier, more fun to drive car, that is faster except in a straightaway (and very close there), or do I want a roomier, more comfortable car?
If it really comes down to this, then get the M5. It may not corner as well as an M3, but it can still corner faster than the vast majority of drivers can stomach, especially in the street.
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      08-11-2009, 07:04 AM   #21
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There's a difference between shifting gears and activating the clutch.

As for SMG, it also lets you decide when to shift, but the shifts literally gave me motion sickness. With a clutch pedal, I can shift MUCH smoother than SMG. But I have to admit I can't match the smoothness of DCT. Same thing for rev-matching: I can do it, but 90% of the time DCT simply does it better. Sometimes you have to admit that you're beaten.
I didn't find the SMG to be rough in S mode, but I agree it isn't as smooth as the DCT. It felt like a very fast person who could blip the engine did the shifting. The DCT feels like a computer is doing it, and you can tell that there are two clutches.
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      08-11-2009, 07:12 AM   #22
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Thanks, footie. Yes, four doors are at least somewhat important to me--one kid here and another ano the way. I don't think they will be riding with daddy in the M much (if at all). But I need to make the showing that it is at least possible.

I have also heard that the M5 is no good in 6MT, though I don't really understand why.

As for SMG v. DCT, I have driven both, and I definitely agree that the DCT is substantially superior (at least if there isn't a lag problem, which I don't think happens with the SMG). That said, the SMG is acceptable. It shifts faster than I can and also blips the engine, which I presently don't know how to do and probably will never have time to learn to do it right. I would prefer DCT, but I think SMG is livable.

As to the M6, I thought it was significantly more expensive and am not sure why. Isn't the performance of the M6 and the M5 basically the same? In any event, for a car that big, I definitely would want four doors. Then I really could think about using to drive family around.
I assumed that the M5 was a secondhand purchase vs a new M3, I don't know what the States is like for the M6 but here the M5 secondhand is worth as much as the M6, so basically all that extra dosh you would have put towards the M6 was pissed down the wall over the space of a year.

I too drove the SMG but like drivendriver I disliked it's behaviour, in fact I rate the automatics in cars like the new RS6 to be much better behaved and appear to shift smoother and faster as all.

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So it still comes down to this: Do I want a sportier, more fun to drive car, that is faster except in a straightaway (and very close there), or do I want a roomier, more comfortable car?

Regardless, I really appreciate all the help you all have been and continue to be.

Thanks!
Well you see what you really need to ask yourself is whether you need the extra rear leg room of the M5 because as far as I am concerned the M3 saloon with EDC is actually a nicer ride both front and rear than the M5, especially so if you chose the 18" alloys, but even on the 19" is still a great car to drive and be driven in.

I would still pick the M3 saloon with M-DCT and EDC every time over an M5 but then that's just me and ultimately the decision is yours.
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