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      03-19-2010, 05:15 PM   #1
ss134
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M3 Owners - Your help please!

Hello M3 owners!

I am posting here to hopefully receive insight into some questions i have - not from magazines or online reviews but from fellow enthusiasts who actually own this car. I cannot get a test drive as my local dealerships in Germany have no M3s and are unwilling to get one in because i will be ordering my car UK spec (ie from the UK and not from them!) so your opinions/experience is invaluable to me.

OK......I bought my 335i M sport new almost a year ago, it is a great car but truth be told did not deliver the 'feel' i was looking for. With the depreciation of my car and the high cost of an M3 in the UK (it will cost me around $40000 to change) i need to be sure that the M will give me what im looking for.

Please note this is not another 335 v M3 thread so dont turn it into one! I know i can make my car almost as fast in a straight line but this does not interest me (my car is not tuned).......i want to know how the M3 differs in 'FEEL'.

1. I always found the steering in the 335 to be a bit vague (not tight) around the straight ahead, although it is well weighted it does not inspire as much confidence during hard cornering as it should.

Q - I have read conflicting views on the steering feel in the M3, please give me your opinion/description. When you change the steering weight in M dynamic mode can you make it much heavier or is the difference slight?

2. The 335 sometimes feels disconnected/floaty on less than perfect roads (RFT maybe part of the problem)

Q- Does the M feel planted and composed on similar roads or does it bounce and skip? Also what is its high speed (150mph+) stability like?[/COLOR]

3. There is too much body roll during hard cornering in my car and when changing lanes at speed it pitches and leans too much for my liking.

Q - Does the M3 suffer from this or does it have that 'go cart feel' in the corners/lane changes?

4. I have no problem with the power in the stock 335 - its a great engine, if some what muted in sound department (even compared to a 330i IMO)

Q - Like i said earlier i am more interested in the dynamics of the car than power outputs but for anyone that has owned both cars .......how much faster does the M feel when you plant the throttle and at what Rpm does it start to pick up?

Q - EDC - should i spec it, are the 3 settings that much different?

5. I have always driven a manual but i am considering the DCT. Anyone with DCT with retrospect wish they had gone 6MT or vice - versa? Does it still give you that full control and fun that a manual can?


Finally, anyone who has gone from 335 to M3 your experiences on the difference you felt between the 2 cars would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for you help!

Last edited by ss134; 03-19-2010 at 06:29 PM.
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      03-19-2010, 05:40 PM   #2
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Come on gents ...help me out here
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      03-19-2010, 05:57 PM   #3
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Hi. It really looks like you need to test drive the M3. But for what it's worth here is what I think about your questions:

Q2: The M3 is the most planted car I have ever driven. However, our roads are so bad that it skips also. I have achieved 170kph so far and it wasn't even sweating.

Q3: Don't worry. No body roll, even at the Comfort setting with the EDC.

Q4: I recommend the EDC. On bad roads, Comfort settings does make a difference on your back and ass.

Cheers.
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      03-19-2010, 06:01 PM   #4
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My friend across the pond....perhaps I could opine with a recent story that happened to me this week.....

The M3 is a masterpiece of engineering....the perfect combination of luxury and performance. It exudes class and has a downright menacing presence when you see it on the road. The 335 is a wonderful machine, but once you sit behind the wheel of the M, believe me, you will never look back. The sound of the V8 as you build up revs is absolutely intoxicating. And as any M car, its handling is sublime.

Although I cannot offer some of the technical aspects of the M3 as well as other forum members here....

I can tell you this.....

I recently started a new job, occasionally I will take the M to work when the weather is cooperating....no lie....several people have come up to me, introducing themselves.....people I have never met, all....saying..."I heard you drive the new M3"...."that car is amazing".....etc...(and the garage is filled with p-cars, benzes, bimmers, audis...etcs).

I wouldn't believe it at first and not that it really mattered to me, but most people do in fact know...what M3 means and what it symbolizes....the car strikes up conversations that would have never had happened in the first place.

My point is, its a very special and unique car....

In the end it is up to you, as it is your money.....but from my experience with the M, GET IT!!!
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      03-19-2010, 06:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmeloche View Post
Hi. It really looks like you need to test drive the M3. But for what it's worth here is what I think about your questions:

Q2: The M3 is the most planted car I have ever driven. However, our roads are so bad that it skips also. I have achieved 170kph so far and it wasn't even sweating.

Q3: Don't worry. No body roll, even at the Comfort setting with the EDC.

Q4: I recommend the EDC. On bad roads, Comfort settings does make a difference on your back and ass.

Cheers.
Thanks for the response, really appreciate it. At 170kph most cars feel planted to be honest, im talking Autobahn planted! Youre right about the test drive but as i am a Brit living in Germany i will be ordering the car from the UK and like i said the German dealerships have no M3's and are not bending over backwards to get one for me as they know i'll be ordering from the UK.......dont blame them to be honest, hence this thread.
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      03-19-2010, 06:14 PM   #6
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Not exactly what you are looking for, but in Sept last I traded my '08 535xi for a E90 M3. The 535 had the same engine as the 335 does (in NA at least).

I liked my 5er, I love my M3. A whole new set of experiences happen with the M3; not the least of which is the blistering acceleration and sound of the 4L V8 as it winds thru the gears. I have the M-DCT you are asking about. All my previous BMWs before the '08 5er were standard trannies. I really enjoy the DCT in that you can drive it quiet and staid in "D" mode, you can drive it more aggresively in "S" mode with the paddles, or you can beat on it in your "M" settings - which can transform the car totally. The car is a real Jekyll and Hyde, I love it.

I have only had mine to 195kph, but it had lots left and felt very planted on the road. It is the best handling BMW I have had of the 13 over the years. I cannot see how you would not enjoy an M3 (but that is a lot of difference to pay - only you can judge the value of that).
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      03-19-2010, 06:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuco44 View Post
Not exactly what you are looking for, but in Sept last I traded my '08 535xi for a E90 M3. The 535 had the same engine as the 335 does (in NA at least).

I liked my 5er, I love my M3. A whole new set of experiences happen with the M3; not the least of which is the blistering acceleration and sound of the 4L V8 as it winds thru the gears. I have the M-DCT you are asking about. All my previous BMWs before the '08 5er were standard trannies. I really enjoy the DCT in that you can drive it quiet and staid in "D" mode, you can drive it more aggresively in "S" mode with the paddles, or you can beat on it in your "M" settings - which can transform the car totally. The car is a real Jekyll and Hyde, I love it.

I have only had mine to 195kph, but it had lots left and felt very planted on the road. It is the best handling BMW I have had of the 13 over the years. I cannot see how you would not enjoy an M3 (but that is a lot of difference to pay - only you can judge the value of that).
Thanks for your input, i've read a lot of positive thing about the DCT. Sounds like eveyone loves their M3!
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      03-19-2010, 06:47 PM   #8
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Since you're gathering opinions I'll add mine. I think the M3 is the best overall compromise between handling, balance and performance I've driven (no, I've never driven an F430).
Steering feel is one point where I think the BMW motorsport division fell down. A friend of mine has a 328i (with sport suspension) and I think the steering feel on his car is sublime. At idle you can feel the pulses of the engine. On the road, without being harsh, you can tell what kind of pavement you are driving over blindfolded if you had to. The M3 does not have this sort of steering feel. It's much better than average, but not at the level of the best BMWs or most 911 Porsches. I can live with it however. I don't detect any appreciable difference between the different steering modes other than more or less assist.

Handling is where I think the car is exceptional. I've driven the 335 which is very nice and competent car but the M3 is at a whole different level. It's very forgiving and lets you make medium sized mistakes without punishing you. The grip is very good and it's set up like most other vehicles that if you push too hard or have too much corner entry speed you'll have understeer. The rear of the car is incredible planted and solid. Lifting the throttle at corner entry brings the nose of the car around nicely to tighten up the line. Late braking is equally forgiving and very responsive. I've never had the vehicle do anything I didn't expect on the track or street. Related to this I think tire wear for a vehicle of this performance is also very good (see related threads). So far I'm finding pretty even wear between the front and rear tires. I don't care for burnouts so that might have some effect.

The motor as you know is great. I'd describe it like a really good bike motor. Very flexible, not much torque production at low rpm, but perfectly tractable and never any bucking or hesitation at low rpm The engine sound of course is worth the price of admission.

Overall it's a great combination. I have the E90 sedan as I have to take business associates here and there at times and it's great for that. Overall, no regrets whatsoever. I would highly recommend this vehicle.
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      03-19-2010, 07:17 PM   #9
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I went from an E90 330 to an E90 M3, and here are my experiences.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ss134 View Post
1. I always found the steering in the 335 to be a bit vague (not tight) around the straight ahead, although it is well weighted it does not inspire as much confidence during hard cornering as it should.

Q - I have read conflicting views on the steering feel in the M3, please give me your opinion/description. When you change the steering weight in M dynamic mode can you make it much heavier or is the difference slight?
I've found the steering feel in the M3 to be more precise than my E90 330, probably about 20%.

As far as the difference in weight between when you set the servotronic (I think that's the correct spelling) to sport mode, the difference is slight.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ss134 View Post
2. The 335 sometimes feels disconnected/floaty on less than perfect roads (RFT maybe part of the problem)

Q- Does the M feel planted and composed on similar roads or does it bounce and skip? Also what is its high speed (150mph+) stability like?
The stock suspension definitely has a solid/stable feel. However, it was barely any firmer than the E90 330 with the sport package. I thought it felt too soft for the track, so I've gone to H&R springs. Now it feels like I think an M3 should feel.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ss134 View Post
3. There is too much body roll during hard cornering in my car and when changing lanes at speed it pitches and leans too much for my liking.

Q - Does the M3 suffer from this or does it have that 'go cart feel' in the corners/lane changes?
Again with the stock suspension, it's barely firmer than the E90 330 with the sport package. So in the stock form, there's a fair amount of roll.

Maybe you should consider the competition package.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ss134 View Post
4. I have no problem with the power in the stock 335 - its a great engine, if some what muted in sound department (even compared to a 330i IMO)

Q - Like i said earlier i am more interested in the dynamics of the car than power outputs but for anyone that has owned both cars .......how much faster does the M feel when you plant the throttle and at what Rpm does it start to pick up?
Well, in comparing my E90 330, which only had 255 HP, there really is no comparison. The M3 is sooo much faster it's not even close. The M3's V8 really starts to respond above 4000 rpm.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ss134 View Post
Q - EDC - should i spec it, are the 3 settings that much different?
The different settings are subtle but noticeable. I recommend it, especially if you're going to track the car.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ss134 View Post
5. I have always driven a manual but i am considering the DCT. Anyone with DCT with retrospect wish they had gone 6MT or vice - versa? Does it still give you that full control and fun that a manual can?
I was also a lifelong MT driver and one test drive with the DCT and I was sold. I've had the car for 9 months now, and I would definitely recommend the DCT. The DCT allows you to get maximum performance out of the car. The shifts are so fast, you're essentially ALWAYS on the power. It's brilliant on the track, and very good for daily driving. The only part you have to get used to is how it drives under 10MPH.

Personally, I haven't missed the 6MT one bit.
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      03-19-2010, 07:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garek View Post
I went from an E90 330 to an E90 M3, and here are my experiences.

I've found the steering feel in the M3 to be more precise than my E90 330, probably about 20%.

As far as the difference in weight between when you set the servotronic (I think that's the correct spelling) to sport mode, the difference is slight.

The stock suspension definitely has a solid/stable feel. However, it was barely any firmer than the E90 330 with the sport package. I thought it felt too soft for the track, so I've gone to H&R springs. Now it feels like I think an M3 should feel.

Again with the stock suspension, it's barely firmer than the E90 330 with the sport package. So in the stock form, there's a fair amount of roll.

Maybe you should consider the competition package.

Well, in comparing my E90 330, which only had 255 HP, there really is no comparison. The M3 is sooo much faster it's not even close. The M3's V8 really starts to respond above 4000 rpm.

The different settings are subtle but noticeable. I recommend it, especially if you're going to track the car.

I was also a lifelong MT driver and one test drive with the DCT and I was sold. I've had the car for 9 months now, and I would definitely recommend the DCT. The DCT allows you to get maximum performance out of the car. The shifts are so fast, you're essentially ALWAYS on the power. It's brilliant on the track, and very good for daily driving. The only part you have to get used to is how it drives under 10MPH.

Personally, I haven't missed the 6MT one bit.
very comprehensive reply - i appreciate your response - i'm slightly disappointed with the fact that you had do get aftermarket springs to reduce roll though. Many thanks!!
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      03-19-2010, 07:45 PM   #11
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Ironic you can't get a test in germany!

1. I've owned a 335i coupe and now have an e92 m3. The steering feels very similar in both cars, don't expect the M3 to be that much better - it has a heavier front end too.

2. I know what you mean about 335 floatiness, the m3 is way more stable/planted, especially under fast acceleration and high speeds.

3. m3 does have more body roll than it should for an M car IMO. Still much less than 335.

4. the m3 feels faster cos it is. The turbo lag on the 335 was annoying.

5. get a 6MT, DCT gets boring.

335 is a soft performance car. I see more women/real estate agents driving them these days...the M3 is better in every way and worth the extra money.

Just get one dude.
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      03-19-2010, 07:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IE#02 View Post
Ironic you can't get a test in germany!

1. I've owned a 335i coupe and now have an e92 m3. The steering feels very similar in both cars, don't expect the M3 to be that much better - it has a heavier front end too.

2. I know what you mean about 335 floatiness, the m3 is way more stable/planted, especially under fast acceleration and high speeds.

3. m3 does have more body roll than it should for an M car IMO. Still much less than 335.

4. the m3 feels faster cos it is. The turbo lag on the 335 was annoying.

5. get a 6MT, DCT gets boring.

335 is a soft performance car. I see more women/real estate agents driving them these days...the M3 is better in every way and worth the extra money.

Just get one dude.
Thanks -its interesting to see how may people have traded in their 335s for
M3s
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      03-19-2010, 10:39 PM   #13
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I traded in a 550i for my m3. I lost the cushy seats and extra space, and got a permanent grin planted on my face.
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      03-19-2010, 11:02 PM   #14
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This chart says it all about the M3's engine (a flat torque curve from ~2,500 to ~8,000rpm)
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      03-20-2010, 03:35 AM   #15
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I owned in the last 6 years an E90 330i, e92 335i, E92 M3 6mt and now an E92 M3 DCT.
So to go short the M3 gives me the best 'feel' of all. And if you want to feel more 1:1 with the gearbox you need a manual but if you learn to drive with the DCT in S mode you really appreciate it.
I drove the M3's flat out (270KM) on the highways in The Netherlands and Germany and they don't even sweat.
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      03-20-2010, 10:36 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dutchbaldeagle View Post
I owned in the last 6 years an E90 330i, e92 335i, E92 M3 6mt and now an E92 M3 DCT.
So to go short the M3 gives me the best 'feel' of all. And if you want to feel more 1:1 with the gearbox you need a manual but if you learn to drive with the DCT in S mode you really appreciate it.
I drove the M3's flat out (270KM) on the highways in The Netherlands and Germany and they don't even sweat.
Thanks for your response, how did you find the 335 flat out on the autobahn in comparison to the M3? For me the 335 starts to lose its composure above
220kph.
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      03-20-2010, 11:12 AM   #17
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I drive the last two years a M3 but what I can remember from the 335 is that the M is more sharp overall, specially in the top range it gives you never the feeling that it is on his max what you get a bit in the 335 I think.
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      03-20-2010, 12:15 PM   #18
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I went from a 2008 335 to a M3. I had less than 10K miles on the 335 when I traded it in. The 335 wasn't enough. I either had to mod the hell out of it to get it where I wanted it to be or get rid of it. After running the #'s & figuring what it would cost to get it to where I wanted it to be, it was less expensive in the long run to buy the M. Besides, there's way too many 335's on the road & I would have voided the warranty on the 335. The M3 out of the box is more than enough.

As stated here a couple times already, the M3 is much more planted at speed. Around 125-135 my 335 didn't hold the road & felt like a boat. It may be because of the RFTs, but I doubt it. I haven't found anywhere to take it over 140 yet, so I can only tell you up to this speed it holds the road & changes lanes very well without issue. You are in control of the M & feel the front tires through the wheel.

I have Eibachs & EDC and haven't yet experienced any roll in corners. I would go for the EDC but some here my choose to go w/o EDC & add coilovers.

I think think the M needs a bit more exhaust note. I ran with a GT3RS today & that thing sounded great when I was trailing. I have no idea what the M sounds like from behind. I only hope it sounds as good, but seriously doubt it. Then again, the GT3RS costs twice as much w/o any options. .

I prefer to drive the DCT in S mode and the rev matching downshifts sound great. This car is best at high RPM's. When I first test drove one, I didn't get on it enough & came away thinking the 335 was comparable. I test drove another the next weekend & got in the higher RPM's & couldn't stop smiling. It takes a while to get used to the DCT, but when you do you'll definitely appreciate it.

It's nice to drop a couple gears on the autobahn and nail it. It responds nicely. The 335 was nice, but the M is much better.

Flame On

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      03-20-2010, 01:03 PM   #19
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The steering feel difference might be due to electric (or electrohydraulic?) steering on 3s, vs hydraulic (engine driven) on M3s. And unfortunately, this trend will probably continue. All new 5s have electric steering now. Besides being cheaper, it's needed for that idiotic parallel-parking option, so again, BMW found a way to charge more for less . Get an M3 while you can get a car with a NA V8 engine with proper hydraulic steering.
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      03-20-2010, 01:27 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elp_jc View Post
The steering feel difference might be due to electric (or electrohydraulic?) steering on 3s, vs hydraulic (engine driven) on M3s. And unfortunately, this trend will probably continue. All new 5s have electric steering now. Besides being cheaper, it's needed for that idiotic parallel-parking option, so again, BMW found a way to charge more for less . Get an M3 while you can get a car with a NA V8 engine with proper hydraulic steering.
The 335 (both i and d) has hydraulic steering!
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      03-20-2010, 01:41 PM   #21
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Okay, I'll bite.

I had a 335 with sport package. I had the same issues you're describing. The M3 will cure them. Then again, what do you really want out of a car? I'm asking that as it's a question I wrestle with having gone through several in the past couple years (after 15 years with 1 car)....

Do you need a sedan or the second set of seats? If so, you'd be hard pressed to find anything more wonderful--the M3 is simply the best out there IMO. But if you don't need that extra set of seats, there are other options. In that case I'd strongly recommend test driving the Cayman S or a used ///M Coupe. The M3 is brilliant, but the Cayman S at around 3,000 pounds and ///M Coupe at 3,200 pounds bring a level of fun and excitement a 3,750 pound car, not matter how sweet it is, can't match IMO. The Cayman's "feel" and steering is something to behold, and the ///M's steering is as well. Both are slower than the M3 flat-out, but offer other things besides raw speed. Buying either of these used (or a used M3) would also really help on the cost of trading out...

Again, it's about what you want/need in a car. And you really can't go wrong with the M3 in any case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ss134 View Post

1. I always found the steering in the 335 to be a bit vague (not tight) around the straight ahead, although it is well weighted it does not inspire as much confidence during hard cornering as it should.

Q - I have read conflicting views on the steering feel in the M3, please give me your opinion/description. When you change the steering weight in M dynamic mode can you make it much heavier or is the difference slight?

A: Difference seems fairly small to me M Dynamic vs. "Regular", but that's very subjective. Relative to the 335 it's far superior; relative to some earlier BMWs (or the ///M) it still leaves something to be desired in terms of feel. MDM (which allows more wheel slippage before the nanny kicks in), which comes with the package that includes both steering modes, is well worth it. It really ups the fun level and will still reel you back in (within reason of course).

2. The 335 sometimes feels disconnected/floaty on less than perfect roads (RFT maybe part of the problem)

Q- Does the M feel planted and composed on similar roads or does it bounce and skip? Also what is its high speed (150mph+) stability like?[/COLOR]

A: Relative to the 335--well, there really is no relative. Night and day IMO, with the M3 being in another class. Neither car (335 or M3) has seen above 150, but I will tell you that at high speeds the M3 is a much more assured and composed vehicle IMO.

3. There is too much body roll during hard cornering in my car and when changing lanes at speed it pitches and leans too much for my liking.

Q - Does the M3 suffer from this or does it have that 'go cart feel' in the corners/lane changes?

A: The M3 does not have that much body roll compared to the 335, with EDC even less so. Go kart? Not really, the car's weight won't allow for that kind of feel. Strong, confident, brilliant lane change ability and cornering ability, check! It handles unbelievably well.

4. I have no problem with the power in the stock 335 - its a great engine, if some what muted in sound department (even compared to a 330i IMO)

Q - Like i said earlier i am more interested in the dynamics of the car than power outputs but for anyone that has owned both cars .......how much faster does the M feel when you plant the throttle and at what Rpm does it start to pick up?

A: The 335 runs out of air about 5K RPMs...that's the point where the S65 is just getting going and runs like hell to redline. At lower RPMs (1,500 - 3,500) the car is adequate but not in its element; at higher revs it's just a monster. The M3 revs and rev keeps going. You'll hit the rev limiter--it comes up so fast it's unreal and the car runs full-out right into it (it's a soft not hard limter). It's a rush. The M3 has totally different engine and performance dynamics than the 335. But if you like the low-end grunt and bottom torque of the 335, and low-end torque is your thing, the S65 probably isn't for you. The S65 lacks the same grunt in slower traffic (unless you keep the revs up) and from a standing start. But even from a standing start the M3 has an edge because 335 squats badly. Besides, if you want a drag-race car there are better options out there than either of these.

Q - EDC - should i spec it, are the 3 settings that much different?

A: Spec it. This makes the car warm and fuzzy when you want it (great on bad roads) yet you tighten things up when you want. In "Normal" mode the suspension is constantly adjusting, and IMO it's worth it unless you're planning on hard-core tracking and a set of coil-overs.

5. I have always driven a manual but i am considering the DCT. Anyone with DCT with retrospect wish they had gone 6MT or vice - versa? Does it still give you that full control and fun that a manual can?

A: Not IMO. I've had both, 6MT and DCT. 6MT is more engaging, there are fewer issues (I'm still having some issues with my DCT even after updates), I find the heavy slippage of the DCT clutch when parking or starting off super-annoying, I find having to go through all of the gears to get to the one I want annoying (I like the ability to go from 2nd to 4th; 6th to 4th; etc.). I guess I'm a control freak when it comes to the car--I want to control the clutch slippage, the gear choice selection, and not wait for the darn thing to want to engage 2nd gear when slowing, I like rev-matching (heel/toe) and kinda miss it. That said, the DCT does some thing really well, 7 gears are nice, it makes the car faster, and it's "cool" new tech, and the rev-match in S4 and S5 are pretty awesome (upshift smoothness in those modes, not so much).

Last edited by Finnegan; 03-20-2010 at 02:08 PM.
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      03-20-2010, 02:02 PM   #22
ss134
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finnegan View Post
Okay, I'll bite.

I had a 335 with sport package. I had the same issues you're describing. The M3 will cure most of them. Then again, what do you really want out of a car? I'm asking that as it's a question I wrestle with having gone through several in the past couple years (after 15 years with 1 car)....

Do you need a sedan or the second set of seats? If so, you'd be hard pressed to find anything more wonderful--the M3 is simply the best out there IMO. But if you don't need that extra set of seats, there are other options. In that case I'd strongly recommend test driving the Cayman S or a used ///M Coupe. The M3 is brilliant, but the Cayman S at around 3,000 pounds and ///M Coupe at 3,200 pounds bring a level of fun and excitement a 3,750 pound car, not matter how sweet it is, can't match IMO. The Cayman's "feel" and steering is something to behold, and the ///M's steering is as well. Both are slower than the M3 flat-out, but offer other things besides raw speed. Buying either of these used (or a used M3) would also really help on the cost of trading out...

Again, it's about what you want/need in a car.
Thanks for this excellent response! I need the rear seats though so the Cayman is out for me.....E90 M3 is looking like a great option, only other car i would consider is the C63 but like i have already said i am more interested in the feel of the car than straight line performance and every review i have read claims the M wins this hands down.
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