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      09-01-2010, 01:13 PM   #1
Neon01
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Is is worth driving a CTS-V, C63 AMG, or IS-F before pulling the trigger on an M3?

Title says it all, really. I know it sounds closed-minded, but I'm just not sure it's worth the trouble. I've looked at the S4 and M3 extensively, but thought the others on the list were a bit out of my price range (since I plan to do ED on the M3 if I go that way).

The IS-F doesn't look like it's anything special, the AMG isn't really my style on the interior, and the CTS-V supposedly has a terrible manumatic (a must), so I haven't really given them much thought. Are any of these cars really competitive on an all around (handling, power, transmission, interior) basis that they are good competition for the M3 (or S4, for that matter)?
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      09-01-2010, 01:15 PM   #2
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up to you. I knew the others you listed would never make me happy like the M3, so I didn't bother. But if you have the time, what's not to like about test driving cars?
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      09-01-2010, 01:16 PM   #3
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Its a big purchase. If you have the ability to test drive them, do it.
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      09-01-2010, 01:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brosef View Post
up to you. I knew the others you listed would never make me happy like the M3, so I didn't bother. But if you have the time, what's not to like about test driving cars?
Ordinarily I would agree with you, but here are just a few things I don't like based on recent experience:

- finding a dealer with the car equipped roughly how I would want it so the test drive is representative.
- driving to the dealership (and home). This always involves a drive of about 35-50 mins each way, considering most dealerships near me with reasonable high dollar stock are closer to Baltimore
- If I bring my wife (which I tend to like to do on a big purchase like this - though she doesn't really care), leaving her to deal with my 18 month old son with lots of shiny cars around that I don't want him to leave fingerprints or slobber on.
- Dealing with idiotic salesmen. I'm not trying to stereotype at all, some of them (like David Aviles at Northwest BMW, who I'm currently working with on an M3) are phenomenal. Sadly I'm batting about .100 on good salespeople who are actually both knowledgeable and don't want to rake me over the coals with a hard sell for full MSRP.
- Taking the time to do all of the above, only to find out the "test drive" means driving 3/4 of a mile through a residential zone at 35 mph, then through about 2000' of "twisties" followed by a turn around in a parking lot to come straight back. Obviously I prefer to go without the salesperson so I can be truly comfortable, but this rarely happens (not that I'm expecting it).

On the other hand, driving interesting performance cars is certainly the fun part, like you said.

oh, LOVE your avatar btw. GOB is by FAR my fav character.
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      09-01-2010, 01:26 PM   #5
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if you are considering the DCT for the M3
Then go drive the C63 first

Last edited by DCC; 09-03-2010 at 04:31 PM.
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      09-01-2010, 01:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neon01 View Post
The IS-F doesn't look like it's anything special, the AMG isn't really my style on the interior, and the CTS-V supposedly has a terrible manumatic (a must), so I haven't really given them much thought.
Listen to yourself!! Read your own quote! I think you've already made your mind to buy the M3. I'll just add one more thing for you to think about. If you don't buy the M3 and end up buying any of the above. When you drive your CTS next to an M3, will you feel any regrets for not buying it when you could afford it? if you can anser this no (no regrets). then test drive any car you want, otherwise don't waste your time and start enjoying the vroom we hear every morning when we start our M3s. Good luck
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      09-01-2010, 01:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCC View Post
if you are considering the DSG for the M3
Then go drive the C63 first
+1.

On the reverse side, if the C63 had a manual tranny I might have ended up with one.

Don't care about the Caddy (heavy) and IS-F (wannabe).
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      09-01-2010, 01:33 PM   #8
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you have to focus on purpose. the m3 is great but sometimes i wouldnt mind being in an amg. even though the amg's are automatic, more so than DCT, i feel it would be easier for my day to day stuff.

i tend to cross caddy's off the list right off the bat.

if i were to start over i would prob get the m3 again but sometimes its a pain dealing with daily driving IMO
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      09-01-2010, 01:42 PM   #9
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If it's not too much trouble, test drive whatever you can. It gives you a better angle on things and you'll be less likely to settle. If nothing else, and you end up hating the others you'll appreciate your M3 more than ever. Or, you might realize there are shortcomings which some of the other don't have.
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      09-01-2010, 01:53 PM   #10
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Too many M on the road already. Buy a C62.
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      09-01-2010, 02:16 PM   #11
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Here is some real-world perspective for you:

I test drove a 2010 Nissan GT-R this year, before placing an order for a 2011.5 E92 M3, and felt that an M3 was the best vehicle for me.

When I first sat down inside the GT-R and closed the door, my first impression was that the car is BIG. Now, to some the size is probably relative, but coming from an E46 M3 the car felt big. After pulling off to begin the test drive, all I heard were whines, creaks, sounds, etc, coming from the dual-clutch tranny, suspension, and rear differential (I know, this is just characteristic of the car). The noises were not obtrusive but you can definitely hear them.

As I pull onto the expressway, I hit the throttle, the turbos' spool briefly, and then the car takes off! (yes, there is some minor, but noticeable turbo lag). The acceleration is definitely there and the tranny shifts ultra-fast. However, I cannot tell if I am driving the car or if the car is driving itself. Reports of the GT-R feeling like a video game-like experience are all true. The car-to-driver feedback is average at best. It felt like all I had to do is steer, depress the gas, pull the paddle shifter and the car does the rest. It is really hard to make a deep connection with the car.

I also hate that you cannot shift with the shift lever; all shifts are executed using the fixed-mounted paddle shifters. I think this omission from Nissan is part reason why the connection between the car and the driver is lacking. The car handles like a dream, but, again, I really didn't have to work hard to make this car go. Also, you can definitely feel the weight of the car at times; 3800lbs doesn't just disappear when driving the GT-R. It handles its weight well, but you can feel the heft of the car when driving in the twisties. Overall, the car drove well but I just could not make the connection with the car the same way I can with the M3.

Technically, I am financially able to purchase a GT-R, but I can say that I would not be completely happy with the purchase if I did.
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      09-01-2010, 02:31 PM   #12
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drive them all. all great cars.

c63 is a beast, and quite baller.

the ctsv is also killer, and from my understanding with a simple ecu tune can get up to over 600hp
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      09-01-2010, 02:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stingray23 View Post
you're never gonna know unless you drive them all.
+1

Doesn't matter what we think or say. You decision.
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      09-01-2010, 02:58 PM   #14
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none of the balance of speed/handling, sex appeal, praticality and history like the m3
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      09-01-2010, 03:09 PM   #15
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Go test drive. It can't hurt and in the end you will only end up appreciating the M3 more after seeing its competition.
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      09-01-2010, 03:11 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by double eagle View Post
+1

Doesn't matter what we think or say. You decision.
+1 As a rule of thumb I would say go through the hassle of test driving as many of these cars as possible. Make these dealers let you actually drive these cars too! Any dealership that doesn't let you "open up" a performance car on a test drive isnt really trying to sell you that car in my opinion and if nothing else you can use that as a bargaining chip. As an added bonus the perspective of driving these other vehicles will either confirm or deny what you already believe to be true about the E92...at any rate not a bad situation to be in
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      09-01-2010, 03:28 PM   #17
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Test drive all of them unless you really like the M3 that you will get one no matter what.
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      09-01-2010, 03:39 PM   #18
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Live with no regrets, test them all.
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      09-01-2010, 03:55 PM   #19
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test drive them. each car has its strengths/weaknesses. you may find things you like about the other cars that you can add to your m3 after purchase.
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      09-01-2010, 08:16 PM   #20
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decide which ones you wouldnt mind having then test drive them and compare them with the m3... this way you know you have made the best choice once you purchase your car.
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      09-01-2010, 09:05 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
+1.

On the reverse side, if the C63 had a manual tranny I might have ended up with one.

Don't care about the Caddy (heavy) and IS-F (wannabe).
the C63 is a rocket, and that exhaust sound is beastly... but I wanted a manual and a E90 M3 was my choice... the Caddy was not quite styled to my liking, but I could see that as something I would get in 5-10 years
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      09-02-2010, 12:25 AM   #22
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It definitely is worth testing all those you've named. You should put the GTR and a CPO'd 911 into the mix too.
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