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      03-14-2010, 02:27 PM   #1
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question for e9x owners who previously owned an e46 m3

Does the e90/2 m3 have the same "soul" or sheer balance that the e46 m3 did?
I know the v8 produces much more power, but the e46 was in equilibrium with a high revving straight 6 and outstanding handling and that is why it was so successful.

I might be giving up my 335i for an e46 m3 or maybe if im lucky I can get a good deal on an e90/2.
Just wanted to get some opinions...

Thanks in advance!

I know this is in a way a very stupid question, as it is still an M3 and really such a beast... But I want advice from some of you who have first hand experience
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      03-14-2010, 04:12 PM   #2
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Handling, as far as I can tell for the little time I've had my E92 M3 is better than the E46 M3. The V8 engine is obviously much better -- power, torque (even better down low despite what some have said) and sound -- than the I6. Both are great engines though.

The E92 M3 is more comfortable and a bit quieter inside. If you like a more "raw" car the E46 M3 is it. But you could get even more of that (if that's what you're going for) with the Z4M coupe.

The new M3 is better is almost every way. It does not get as good gas mileage, but it's not that much worse. The steering on the new car is much lighter and does not have as much feel as the E46 M3 but you don't really notice it unless you're in a tight turn. I don't have the M button and so don't have the option of the harder steering so I can't comment on that. The E92 is a heavier car but you really don't feel it as much. I also have to say that I don't have DCT (40 some odd pounds I believe), nav, and I have the CF roof so my M3 is probably among the lighter (non-modded) new M3s.

I don't have the DCT but I've driven it a few times on test drives. I had the SMG in my E46 M3 and I can tell you there is no comparison -- the DCT is way better than SMG. That is, except when running all out, the SMG shifts were brilliant. The DCT doesn't give the same feel but it is still much faster and smoother shifting. It's just that the hard SMG shift at redline was special.

All in all, yes, the new M3 has soul. The two cars are different, but each in their own way are very special cars and I feel very lucky to be able to have driven both.

Cheers.
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      03-14-2010, 06:45 PM   #3
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I had 3 E46 M3s with SMG and much as I loved them all, I wouldn't go back to one from my E92 M3 DCT, its the better car in almost every respect...with more front end grip, better turn in, faster steering, more brutal acceleration, more grip overall, better brakes, better ride, more stable at high speed on uneven roads, quieter when cruising...plus other stuff.
On the down side the E9x range M3 uses more fuel.
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      03-14-2010, 06:51 PM   #4
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The E92 M3 is a better car on paper. The E46 M3 (i had a competition model) has more M3 soul and sheer driving pleasure. Its more raw than the E92. Its lighter, its got the legendary inline-6 which is a much more special engine than the new V8.

Theres tons of cars out there with V8s that pump out crazy power. The E46 M3 was special because of its I6.

With that said, you will not be disappointed with a E92.
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      03-14-2010, 07:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3XTR3M3 View Post
The E92 M3 is a better car on paper. The E46 M3 (i had a competition model) has more M3 soul and sheer driving pleasure. Its more raw than the E92. Its lighter, its got the legendary inline-6 which is a much more special engine than the new V8.

Theres tons of cars out there with V8s that pump out crazy power. The E46 M3 was special because of its I6.

With that said, you will not be disappointed with a E92.
Absolutely.

I have both. They are weekend toys. The E46 M3 feels a lot more special and an "occasion" to drive with its frenetic personality. The S54B32 inline-6 engine is a lot more eager to rev and feels more torquey on the low end. However, being 10 years old, it is rougher, louder, slower, and has less grip. The E90 is a good daily driver that's fast and smooth. It also has a quicker steering ratio and a lot of cool features like EDC, Bluetooth, HD radio, great Enhanced Premium audio (much better than the E46 base or HK), and a decent navigation system.

Now does the E46 have more soul... yes. But it has less balance in terms of handling; the E9x's wider front tires and superior front-end geometry reduce the amount of understeer at corner entry compared to the E46 M3.

If you want a daily driver, get the E90. If you want a weekend car, get the E46.
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      03-14-2010, 08:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3XTR3M3 View Post
The E92 M3 is a better car on paper. The E46 M3 (i had a competition model) has more M3 soul and sheer driving pleasure. Its more raw than the E92. Its lighter, its got the legendary inline-6 which is a much more special engine than the new V8.

Theres tons of cars out there with V8s that pump out crazy power. The E46 M3 was special because of its I6.

With that said, you will not be disappointed with a E92.
Did you have 6MT or SMG? If 6MT, how does the gear box on the E46 compare to the 6MT box on the E92?
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      03-14-2010, 09:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeldorian View Post
Did you have 6MT or SMG? If 6MT, how does the gear box on the E46 compare to the 6MT box on the E92?
It has longer throws, but it notchy and difficult to drive like the one in the E90.
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      03-14-2010, 09:05 PM   #8
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To the OP, not a stupid question at all. I was very torn when I got my E90 and still have thoughts of getting an E46 again. I would sum it up like this: E46 has more spirit, finesse, and a more raw feel. E90 is overall more capable but has more of a brute force feel (a little more numb than the feedback you get in an E46.) Each is an extraordinary car, I sometimes look back on my E46 as the perfect blend of handling, power, steering feel, etc.
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      03-14-2010, 09:33 PM   #9
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E90 w/DCT vs. E46 w/SMG

I'm going to agree with others and say that my E90 is a much better daily driver than the E46. The EDC really works. The comfort setting is almost supple. Your passengers won't be doing the head jerk (SMG shift phenomena that you can mitigate but not completely control). I think the E46 is a bit better felling in the twisties because of less weight and a more connected (maybe direct) feel at the expense of substantial low speed suspension harshness. One thing about the SMG (especially when you are pushing it) is that you can tell there is a manual transmission and a regular clutch that you can control fairly directly with the throttle and the shift paddles. The DCT is much more like a true automatic in driving feel. Engagement of the wet clutch from start is very vague. It takes some getting used to.
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      03-14-2010, 10:33 PM   #10
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the only negative is the weight....everthing is better compared to an E46, 6MT about the same clunkyness nothing to frown upon though
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      03-14-2010, 10:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3XTR3M3 View Post
The E92 M3 is a better car on paper. The E46 M3 (i had a competition model) has more M3 soul and sheer driving pleasure. Its more raw than the E92. Its lighter, its got the legendary inline-6 which is a much more special engine than the new V8.

Theres tons of cars out there with V8s that pump out crazy power. The E46 M3 was special because of its I6.

With that said, you will not be disappointed with a E92.
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      03-15-2010, 12:03 AM   #12
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Very nice feedback guys... as a person coming from an e46 M3 and going to a e92 M3, its nice reading the feedback and experience from other E46 M3 owners to new E92 M3 owners like myself with the same situation!!! Very good info, especially as I'm waiting for my e92 M3.
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      03-15-2010, 12:05 AM   #13
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The only thing I miss is the steering feel on the E46 M3. The E92's steering feels softer but somehow makes me feel more confident when handling the curves.
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      03-15-2010, 12:36 AM   #14
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IMO the E9x handles a lot better than the E46. Much sharper.
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      03-15-2010, 12:46 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeldorian View Post
Did you have 6MT or SMG? If 6MT, how does the gear box on the E46 compare to the 6MT box on the E92?
I had SMG on the E46 so I honestly have no idea how it compares to my current 6MT. I have driven a E46 6MT a few times and if I remember right it felt a lil more brute compared to the softer E92 6MT.

Ive driven a E92 DCT a few times as well and that felt sooo much smoother in shifting than SMG, almost too smooth. I know the DCT M3 is faster than the 6MT but i swear the 6MT FEELS faster. The DCT shifts are so effortless its like a continuous glide. Whereas the SMG felt JUST like a stick does; disengaging clutch, pulling out of gear, putting back in and engaging... but really fast!
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      03-15-2010, 04:26 AM   #16
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When the SMG was working at its best (my three SMG M3s were in and out of the shop for new clutches or clutch teach-ins on a regular basis) it was a brilliant system, feeling like a manual with the changes being quite controllable by the throttle pedal. At its worst its was a clunky system in traffic with slurred (clutch eating) changes at high speed when the system was out of adjustment or the clutch was starting to wear (@ ~15k miles).
OTOH the DCT is smooth and consistent and totally at home in traffic or blasting down country roads, blatting down the gears when hard on the brakes into a tight corner. For the money its the closest thing you can buy to racing car thats also good as a daily driver.
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      03-15-2010, 05:37 AM   #17
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I came from an E46 M3 -> Z4M Coupe -> E92 M3 in about a 1.5-2 year period so I still have all 3 somewhat fresh in my mind. The E46 M3 & Z4M felt a bit similar. I wrote a comparison for the Z4M -> E92 M3. So I'll quote it here.. Having now owned the E92 M3 for 2-3 months, I can safely say if I could only own one of those 3 I would pick the E92 M3. Maybe because I have a bit more experience now (E46 M3 was my first manual car, and I was 19 when I bought it), this is the first car I have had the desire to really get into modding for. Perhaps that is because I now have the experience to know exactly how I want my car to feel, sound, look, etc. Maybe because I love it a bit more than the others?

Anyway here is the comparison:

Quote:
Z4M:
-The cockpit makes me feel like I am in much more of a 'weekend racer'. The steering wheel, shifter, e-brake, pedals are exactly where I want. (Maybe because I haven't adjusted completely to the M3 yet). I just feel like its much more purposeful to this than the M3
-The steering on the Z4M I MUCH prefer. I hate servotronic. I am pretty sure it's not because Im used to the old Hydraulic.. I actually just really don't like servotronic; I don't want it to be light around town. I like the direct steering much more
-When I go WOT in 2nd gear, I feel more of a violent 'punch in the gut' in the Z4M.. I think I can attribute this to much more compression braking coming from the S54 engine in the Z4M. The car slows down more when I let go of the gas in 2nd, so when I press the gas I feel a push into the back of my seat from braking -> acceleration
-The car feels nimbler. But on the limit I feel like it feels more 'twitchy'
-The Z4M is harder. Much harder.. Everything about it: shifter, clutch, suspension, steering. Sometimes I prefer this, sometimes I don't.
-I think I may prefer the sound of a high-revving 6 over the 8. (Love the GT3 sound).. I am not completely decided on which car sounds better though.
-The Z4M just makes it feel like the car is 'working hard' and is loving it. The M3 admittedly is faster, but the car doesn't really 'feel' like it's taking a beating from me and is laughing at me at the same time. I don't know if I just sound crazy for typing that lol, maybe some of you know what I mean.

M3
-The car just feels 'smoother' in general. Even though I am used to the Z4M I cannot drive it completely smoothly.. I suppose because of the feather clutch/shifter I can in the M3
-Car feels more forgiving
-It is noticeably faster
-I bought the car from a dealership 2 hours from my house. On the way home I discovered it is definitely much more comfortable
-The car is bigger and I can feel the weight. But it does feel a bit more composed at the limit
-The engine. Wow. It revs so freely.. I would say more-so than the S54. One little blip brings the revs very high (Is this contrary to popular opinion?)
-The sport throttle mapping is less aggressive and easier to drive than the Z4M
-Instead of the power delivery being a 'punch in the gut'.. It feels more like a 'surge of speed'
-Oh did I mention? I really do NOT like servotronic.
-The visibility looking out to other traffic is much easier in the M3. Making it an easier car to drive everyday
-The car feels like a 'grown-up' version of the Z4M.. More refined; but less edginess. Definitely still a sports car, but much more of a GT-Sports car split personality.
Two things that stick out in my mind 2 months after are this:

-I got used to the servotronic. I like it now. (At least in sport setting; since I never drive it without.)
-I had the Z4M and E92 M3 simultaneously for a while. Eventually I didn't drive the Z4M as much; I noticed when I went back into it; it was definitely noticeably lighter.. However it handled a little bit more 'weirdly', not as planted. So it was a little harder to drive.
-When I switched back to the Z4M I noticed I started hitting the rev-limiter in 2nd gear ALOT. 7800 vs. 8400 RPM actually made a very noticeable difference when I was driving hard.

Hope this helps!
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      03-15-2010, 08:35 AM   #18
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The E92 is definitely a nice and comfortable car to drive. But I miss owning and driving the E46 for its raw power. Everytime I see a E46 my heart just sinks. It will remain a timeless design ... a beautiful car overall. I concur with 3XTR3M3. I always pushed the E46 to its limits (or my limits) but I find it very hard to do so with the E92. Probably I am seven years older. I just don't feel the E92 has the same stability the E46 had especially at high speed. I feel the E92 has more body roll.
To feel the same soul and pleasure as the E46 you need to have the E92 in sports mode in every setting. Given the undulations and the pot holes we have in Australia it is a tough as to have the suspension on "sports" setting for a daily driver. This is my humble opinion.
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      03-15-2010, 08:45 AM   #19
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I have to agree with everyone who's posted here. I loved the feel of my e46. It was more of "my" car. The e90 is a superior car in every measureable way, but lacks the soul of the e46. For me, only able to keep one car, the e90 is a much better choice.


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      03-15-2010, 12:15 PM   #20
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I will disagree with some of the posters here, but if you are trying to get as many opinions as possible, here is mine:
- The E46 steering doesn't have more feel. The E90 is more boosted at low speeds but firms up very nice around 50-60mph which is very good, especially at speeds over 100 mph where the quick steering ration could have made the car very nervous/jumpy.
- The E46 engine did not feel as good around redline - felt harsher, as if it were straining a little. By comparison, the E90 seems to want to rip way past, its appetite for revs is much keener. I've always thought people who bumped up the rev limit on the E46 were crazy, but on the E90 I'd be inclined.
- The E46's performance envelope is much more accessible - I jumped in it and felt very comfortable throwing it around. The E90's limits are so high, it can get a little scary when you're really pushing. And the comparative lack of understeer means it feels very good, but you'd better be on your toes.

Did I like the E46? Hell yeah! I'm half thinking of getting a nice used example to go with a more extreme weekend toy (Caterham, Elise etc.). But as a daily driver / occasional trackday, the E90 beats the pants off the E46.

All in my opinion. I just drove my friend's E46 a few days ago, then jumped straight into my car - so the impressions are very fresh.
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      03-15-2010, 12:15 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radiation Joe View Post
I have to agree with everyone who's posted here. I loved the feel of my e46. It was more of "my" car. The e90 is a superior car in every measureable way, but lacks the soul of the e46. For me, only able to keep one car, the e90 is a much better choice.


Just amazing!...
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      03-15-2010, 01:10 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SenorFunkyPants View Post
I wouldn't go back to one from my E92 M3 DCT, its the better car in almost every respect...with more front end grip, better turn in, faster steering, more brutal acceleration, more grip overall, better brakes, better ride, more stable at high speed on uneven roads, quieter when cruising...plus other stuff.
On the down side the E9x range M3 uses more fuel.
what he said...
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