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      06-27-2010, 06:37 AM   #1
crazy08
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Question M3 or 550i

Another comparison thread.

Even though the two cars not really in the same league, I'm undecided between the 2011 M3 Sedan and the 2011 550i.
  • Price is about the same
  • It will be my daily driver (all four seasons)
  • Wife will drive it occasionally (needs DCT)
  • I have more kids than seats for either one
  • Would like to go to the track (Nürburgring) don't know if I'll get to go more than a few times
  • I am in Germany with lots of Autobahn
  • No all inclusive BMW warranty over here for us US Spec buyers

I've only been able to find a M3 Coupe and a '11 528i to test drive.

Any advice/info out there to sway me one way or the other?
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      06-27-2010, 08:10 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazy08 View Post
Another comparison thread.

Even though the two cars not really in the same league, I'm undecided between the 2011 M3 Sedan and the 2011 550i.
  • Price is about the same
  • It will be my daily driver (all four seasons)
  • Wife will drive it occasionally (needs DCT)
  • I have more kids than seats for either one
  • Would like to go to the track (Nürburgring) don't know if I'll get to go more than a few times
  • I am in Germany with lots of Autobahn
  • No all inclusive BMW warranty over here for us US Spec buyers

I've only been able to find a M3 Coupe and a '11 528i to test drive.

Any advice/info out there to sway me one way or the other?
X5 with third row.
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      06-27-2010, 08:23 AM   #3
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I looked at both as well but I only have one kid. I found the inside space of the two cars closer than I would have thought. With you having more kids than seating in either car, I wouldn't look at the marginal extra room in th 550 as doing anything for you.

I would look at which is more fun for you to drive. The 550 has a little better ride, but not nearly the handling of the M3. The new 550 is stunning, but this M3 with the V8 is likely going away. If you like the V8 in the M3, it's only going to be around another year or two. I went with the M3 mainly because I loved the V8, DCT, handling options and the extra room in the 550 wasn't enough to sway me.

Ask the wife too, see which one she likes. Have her test drive them both. Women tend to like smaller cars and the M3 feels much smaller than the 550.
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      06-27-2010, 09:37 AM   #4
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In the mst recent Car and Driver (August '10) a 2011 535 finished third of three cars behind an Infiniti M37 and an Audi A6 3.0T. Big knock was lack of steering feel and excessive pork. These traits would probably also exist in the 550 since they are inherent to the platform. My M3 is a rockstar on the road but the 5er may be a more wife/child friendly transport now that it shares many aspects of the 7 series. Trust me, if you are looking for hair raising adventures the M3 will deliver in spades.
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      06-27-2010, 10:50 AM   #5
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Just wen through this last weekend.

My wife is in the market for a new car and we made the long trek to the dealer (it's a 2 hour drive to/from my dealer) to look at the E90 M3. She had been driving the E60 M5 for a while, but was getting frustrated with the behavior of SMG and coveted the DCT in the M3.

We went on a very frightening test drive in the E90 M3 (I'm so proud!) and it seemed that everything was good to go for an additional M3 for her.

Just for fun we also drove the 550i and we were both very impressed. I've owned about 8 or 9 variants of the 5 series from the E34 540 to the E60 M5 and it's very easy to see / feel the lineage in the F10.

The two cars are completely different. Other than being BMW sedans I don't think that there's much to compare between the two. I will say that I REALLY like the 550i and was thrilled to find out that my wife preferred the it.... so now we'll have the best of both worlds

I know that you are having trouble finding a demo 550i in your area but continue trying as you really need to spend some time driving it before you make a decision. It is very different from the E90 M3, but not at all in a bad way.
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      06-28-2010, 04:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3Bliss View Post
In the mst recent Car and Driver (August '10) a 2011 535 finished third of three cars behind an Infiniti M37 and an Audi A6 3.0T. Big knock was lack of steering feel and excessive pork. These traits would probably also exist in the 550 since they are inherent to the platform. My M3 is a rockstar on the road but the 5er may be a more wife/child friendly transport now that it shares many aspects of the 7 series. Trust me, if you are looking for hair raising adventures the M3 will deliver in spades.
Actually, if you didn't like the 535i, you'll dislike the 550i even more. The added weight (about 300+lbs) over the 535i is very prominent, especially around corners.



Quote:
Originally Posted by AMP View Post
Just wen through this last weekend.

My wife is in the market for a new car and we made the long trek to the dealer (it's a 2 hour drive to/from my dealer) to look at the E90 M3. She had been driving the E60 M5 for a while, but was getting frustrated with the behavior of SMG and coveted the DCT in the M3.

We went on a very frightening test drive in the E90 M3 (I'm so proud!) and it seemed that everything was good to go for an additional M3 for her.

Just for fun we also drove the 550i and we were both very impressed. I've owned about 8 or 9 variants of the 5 series from the E34 540 to the E60 M5 and it's very easy to see / feel the lineage in the F10.

The two cars are completely different. Other than being BMW sedans I don't think that there's much to compare between the two. I will say that I REALLY like the 550i and was thrilled to find out that my wife preferred the it.... so now we'll have the best of both worlds

I know that you are having trouble finding a demo 550i in your area but continue trying as you really need to spend some time driving it before you make a decision. It is very different from the E90 M3, but not at all in a bad way.
I came away with a complete opposite decision. I went to test drive the 550i, and i was surprised how big it looked, and more important, how big it felt. 4300+ lbs for a sedan? That's rapidly approaching the SUV territory. So, now I am in the process of ordering a '11 M3.
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      06-28-2010, 04:24 AM   #7
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  • Price is about the same
  • It will be my daily driver (all four seasons) - Adv 550i
  • Wife will drive it occasionally (needs DCT) - Adv 550i although 550i doesn't come with DCT (just Steptronic)
  • I have more kids than seats for either one
  • Would like to go to the track (Nürburgring) don't know if I'll get to go more than a few times - Adv M3
  • I am in Germany with lots of Autobahn - Adv M3
  • No all inclusive BMW warranty over here for us US Spec buyers
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      06-28-2010, 05:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enigma01 View Post
  • Price is about the same
  • It will be my daily driver (all four seasons) - Adv 550i
  • Wife will drive it occasionally (needs DCT) - Adv 550i although 550i doesn't come with DCT (just Steptronic)
  • I have more kids than seats for either one
  • Would like to go to the track (Nürburgring) don't know if I'll get to go more than a few times - Adv M3
  • I am in Germany with lots of Autobahn - Adv M3
  • No all inclusive BMW warranty over here for us US Spec buyers
So it's a toss up.... DAMNIT!!!

I'm starting to think the the M3 now and as I get older and less risky switch to the 550i. Or should I do that the other way around to keep from killing myself? DAMNIT!!!

BMW safety features FTW.
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      06-28-2010, 05:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buschy View Post
X5 with third row.
Already have a Grand Caravan for the people mover and long trips.
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      06-28-2010, 06:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enigma01 View Post
  • Price is about the same
  • It will be my daily driver (all four seasons) - Adv 550i
  • Wife will drive it occasionally (needs DCT) - Adv 550i although 550i doesn't come with DCT (just Steptronic)
  • I have more kids than seats for either one
  • Would like to go to the track (Nürburgring) don't know if I'll get to go more than a few times - Adv M3
  • I am in Germany with lots of Autobahn - Adv M3
  • No all inclusive BMW warranty over here for us US Spec buyers
The M3 can also be used as a daily driver and can also be specced with DCT. The 550i on the other hand is not designed at all with hot lapping of the 'ring in mind.

The M3 sedan is the only car of the 2 that will give the OP everything he is looking for.

I
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      06-28-2010, 06:57 AM   #11
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Dont settle for what you dont want..... the heart KNOWS what it wants and you will not be happy if you go with the logical (mind) decision. I am a living breathing example....... hence why I have gone through 6 cars in 2 years.

BMW 530i (Bought new SOLD)
BMW X3 (bought new Still have)
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Mini Cooper S (Bought new SOLD)
Dodge Ram 1500 (Bought new SOLD)
Dodge Challenger R/t (Bought new SOLD)

I was really trying to play a WIDE field to see what made me happy........ then I test drove an M3 and now I am SOLD!!!
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      06-28-2010, 08:39 AM   #12
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I do think this, 6 months from now driving around in an M3 you won't look at 550i's and think to yourself, "damn, I should have gotten the 550i". But I will bet 6 months from now in a 550i you'll look at an M3 and say to yourself, "Damn, I should have gotten an M3". I would probably kick myself and blame the wife for making me go soft.
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      06-28-2010, 10:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazy08 View Post
Already have a Grand Caravan for the people mover and long trips.
then its easy, get the M3. I love the 5 and I almost got a 550 and almost got a M5, but M3 is where its at.
I tried to get my Wife a 550, I thought she would like the more subtle ride and size. but she picked a 335 instead.. even though when I had my 335 she said she didnt like it. haha

get the M3 you wont regreat it.
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      06-28-2010, 04:29 PM   #14
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Some very good points made.
I fell in love with the E46 back in '05 but had to sell because of deployments and stuff. (Bought that one in Bamberg, btw) And I've been aching to get back into one ever since.
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      06-28-2010, 05:53 PM   #15
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I just test drove the new F10 550 at the BMW sponsored Ultimate Drive Event that's making its way around the country.
Impressions...
Power was excellent. Probably more than most of us will ever need.
Steering feel was very good. The car felt smaller than it looked.
Suspension was much more compliant/comfortable than the E60 M5, but yet still held the turns well with little sway.
Exhaust note...was totally absent. It was too quiet in the cabin, felt like I was driving a 7 series.
All in all an excellent car. Better than the previous E60 series in all aspects.
Eagerly await the F10 M5 when it comes out...

PS...Saw AwesomeM3 (Steve) while there
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      06-28-2010, 06:00 PM   #16
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^^^ My old 550 sounded 100x better than the new 550 - I couldn't even hear the new 550 exhaust???? LOL
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      06-28-2010, 10:44 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shchow View Post
I just test drove the new F10 550 at the BMW sponsored Ultimate Drive Event that's making its way around the country.
Impressions...
Power was excellent. Probably more than most of us will ever need.
Steering feel was very good. The car felt smaller than it looked.
Suspension was much more compliant/comfortable than the E60 M5, but yet still held the turns well with little sway.
Exhaust note...was totally absent. It was too quiet in the cabin, felt like I was driving a 7 series.
All in all an excellent car. Better than the previous E60 series in all aspects.
Eagerly await the F10 M5 when it comes out...

PS...Saw AwesomeM3 (Steve) while there
This pretty much echos my impressions completely. In fact I found the ride felt a bit more solid in the F10 than my E60 M5 (which I attribute to the lack of active roll stabilization on the E60 M5).

I completely understand a lot of the negative feelings toward the F10 as it's something new and different. The natural impulse is to compare it to the E60 as the natural impulse was to compare the E60 to the E39. Nothing wrong with that, but I do think that it short-changes the F10 (or the E60 in 2004 or the E39 in 1996).

I love my E39 M5 and I'll never get rid of it. I also love my E60 M5, but I can't bring myself to keep it.... there are just too many little things about the car that annoy me. In my case the E92 M3 is the perfect next step and in my wife's case (although given the option to keep the E60 or get an E90 M3) she chose the F10 550.

I really do think that BMW hit a home run with the F10 and aside from the E9X M3 it's the only other car in the current lineup that I actually like.... well, the 760 and B7 are pretty cool too
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      06-29-2010, 09:50 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoobe View Post
I do think this, 6 months from now driving around in an M3 you won't look at 550i's and think to yourself, "damn, I should have gotten the 550i". But I will bet 6 months from now in a 550i you'll look at an M3 and say to yourself, "Damn, I should have gotten an M3". I would probably kick myself and blame the wife for making me go soft.
I would agree.
The M3 is definitely a much more desirable car with much less production and rarer with a glorified history/past...
But I would also add that 5-series and 3-series owners are different breeds.
The 5 owner would most likely be older and a little more comfortable in his/her own skin.
The 3 owner will be younger and likes the flash. If you asked most M3 owners if they could go to an M5, would they?
I believe that they would still turn it down saying that the M3 tracks better and the M5 is a pig of a car. This despite the fact that the majority of M3 owners probably never been on a race track in their lives.
Don't get me wrong, I would pick the M3 over the 550 in a heartbeat. But I think the 2 cars are in different classes and therefore difficult to compare...
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      06-29-2010, 02:46 PM   #19
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Quote:
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I do think this, 6 months from now driving around in an M3 you won't look at 550i's and think to yourself, "damn, I should have gotten the 550i". But I will bet 6 months from now in a 550i you'll look at an M3 and say to yourself, "Damn, I should have gotten an M3". I would probably kick myself and blame the wife for making me go soft.
So true. My wife eluded to this after I test drove a Mini S, 135i, 335si, E350, C350, and SL65 Black Series.
Somehow all these are missing one or two of the many things the M3 delivers as a package.
People complain of low low end torque, but I'm not interested in smoking tires of the line and racing in a straight line. I prefer twisty roads.



P.S.: SL65 Black Series, just kidding.
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      07-01-2010, 06:42 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enigma01 View Post
  • Price is about the same
  • It will be my daily driver (all four seasons) - Adv 550i
  • How so? Both are RWG and have V8s making roughly the same power. The 550i Has the advantage of more weight to keep it planted.

    Quote:
  • Wife will drive it occasionally (needs DCT) - Adv 550i although 550i doesn't come with DCT (just Steptronic)
  • Again, what makes SMG better than M-DCT? On the plus side, teach her to drive a manual. It's not rocket science.

    Quote:
  • I have more kids than seats for either one
  • Would like to go to the track (Nürburgring) don't know if I'll get to go more than a few times - Adv M3
  • I am in Germany with lots of Autobahn - Adv M3
  • Agreed

    Quote:
  • No all inclusive BMW warranty over here for us US Spec buyers
AGREED!!!
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      07-01-2010, 09:11 AM   #21
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by 'needs DCT for wife' I meant that it needs some kind of automatic mode.

I've tried teaching her. She's fine once she gets going, but starts will break your neck and she'll kill the engine when stopping.

BMWNA needs to give us some warranty over here!!!
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      07-01-2010, 09:18 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazy08 View Post
by 'needs DCT for wife' I meant that it needs some kind of automatic mode.

I've tried teaching her. She's fine once she gets going, but starts will break your neck and she'll kill the engine when stopping.

BMWNA needs to give us some warranty over here!!!
I don't understand why people cant drive a manual, my son, who just turned 16 is a horrible driver, and has no common sense when driving, and is still learning, but He can drive a manual.

I think your wife probably shouldnt be driving at all..
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