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      01-18-2012, 08:45 AM   #89
stefan
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1999 VF BMW M3  [5.00]
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OP: Agreed on all fronts. I had very similar thoughts to you when I test drove the S4. I came in with high expectations and was quite disappointed. I completely mirror your thoughts on the interior.. just too much going on in there. I'll take the less-blingy but more ergonomic interior any day.

The other problem I had the S4 was steering feel. You didn't comment on it but I found it to be absolutely pathetic for a sporty sedan. Really nice steering wheel - I'll agree with you there. But the feel was off.
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      01-18-2012, 10:09 AM   #90
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First off, congrats on the new to you M3. I too have an LCI sedan and love it. I have had my m3 for about 4 months now. I moved on from an e46 m3 and like you, wanted a sports sedan. My test cars were the LCI e90 m3, the new S4 and the c63 amg.

Without discussing the amg (which I loved btw, just no MT killed the deal for me ultimately), I was really disappointed with the s4.

Going into my test drives, I was certain that the s4 was going to be the car for me. I was a little tired of the high strung nature of my old e46 m3 and tired of the lack of torque around town.

I got to the dealer and was immediatley a little disappointed because I couldnt even really tell the difference between the s4 and the regular a4. No fender flares, the wheels were ugly, and it had some chrome / aluminum accents which I really dislike on a sports car.

The interior was OK, the materials (as you mentioned) seemed a bit cheaper and sort of had a plasticky look and feel to them. The MMI system IMO was confusing and just too much to deal with as I prefer simpler setups in cars.

I fired the car up, and the lack of sound was kind of a let down, but Im not too into the sound of cars so it wasnt a big deal. The clutch feel and shifter feel was very good, so that was a good start. It was easy to just hop in and start driving smoothly. The seats were also quite comfortable.

The power was very good. I would say that it was comparable to my 335i with better top end pull. I very much liked the style of power delivery on this car. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there.

My last two cars were a modded 335i and a modified e46 m3. Both had awesome steering feel, especially the m3. The s4 had the WORST steering feel ive ever felt in a sports car in my life. It felt like my roomates nissan altima. No feel, and super super light and very imprecise. That, combined with a healthy dose of body roll and dive into any sort of moderate cornering was a huge disappointment. I began to basically feel like I was driving a fast, fat, heavy and large honda accord. It compares much more to the 335 in driving experience than m3 to me (and not well, id rather have a 335i personally).

The size of the car and weight could not be overcome. Very disappointing test drive. After returning the car to the dealer I was no longer interested in the car.

As far as the m3 goes, its a great car with two shortcomings in my opinion. One, the engine is good but not great. Sure, it makes great sounds and great power up top. But it is not balanced (when used as a daily driver as most do) in my personal opinion. It sacrifices too much low end pull for power up top. The c63 amg (for you NA purists on this site) is an excellent example of a motor that has both massive low end torque, monstrous midrange, and rips all the way to redline. After driivng that, the m3s motor seems lacking. The other shortcoming is that the clutch is too light and doesnt feel like a sports car. In addition, the gas mileage is horrific.

The styling and handling and everything else on the m3 totally destroys the s4 and thats why I drive one and love it. But you better believe that I cannot wait for the new FI motor in the m3. Just like the GTR, 911 turbo, GT2 etc....this motor is going to take the new m3 to the top. I cant wait, and will be getting one as soon as I can.

Good luck with the m3 OP, and good decision!
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      01-18-2012, 11:38 AM   #91
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I test drove a S4 ten days ago...didn't impress me with the torque you all guys are talking about....yes, good traction, it's awd, but torque didn't impress...and at 6k rpm the pulling power is gone.

I jumped back in my M3 shortly after that....wow
M3 is a fiercy beast in comparison....I mean, no comparison
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