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      09-07-2010, 06:26 PM   #1
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M3 vs. STi

Hey guys, I drive a 2008 STi myself, but my dad had an m3 in the past and have a couple buddies w/ m3's and 335's etc. After having extensive time with both of these cars, I already have a preconceived opinion on the subject. But I would LOVE to hear what you guys think? Straight line performance, handling, modifications may also play into the subject.

So lets hear it! I am extremely curious as to your guys point of view.
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      09-07-2010, 06:30 PM   #2
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whats an sti?
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      09-07-2010, 06:33 PM   #3
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What's straight line performance? I know about this thing called handling, and I know that both the STI and the M3 were built with this in mind....

Really, the STI is a teriffic bargain performance vehicle. It does speed and handling very well (and roominess too, as a hatchback!). But in the words of Jeremy Clarkson, "the M3 does everything well". I'm of that opinion.

However, if you're just looking to go mod crazy, get the STI. The M tax is just straight up depressing.
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      09-07-2010, 06:43 PM   #4
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M3s are awesome...period. Consider the comfort, handling, power, speed, looks, daily driveability, near p-car performance, backseat, good trunk space, and a nice interior to top it off. For the price, the M3 is a bargain when you look at it from an engineering aspect. The engine alone is a masterpiece
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      09-07-2010, 06:57 PM   #5
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I was recently at a HPDE with both an STI and an EVO. Neither could keep up with my M3 and I don't think it was because I was a better driver. In the straight stretches, I would pull by a margin. On long sweeping corners, same thing. I think it would take a very good driver in an STI to run with an M3 on a track IMO.
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      09-07-2010, 07:03 PM   #6
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whats an sti?
honda civic STI
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      09-07-2010, 07:07 PM   #7
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What's straight line performance? I know about this thing called handling, and I know that both the STI and the M3 were built with this in mind....

Really, the STI is a teriffic bargain performance vehicle. It does speed and handling very well (and roominess too, as a hatchback!). But in the words of Jeremy Clarkson, "the M3 does everything well". I'm of that opinion.

However, if you're just looking to go mod crazy, get the STI. The M tax is just straight up depressing.
My kind of man, to me handling is the #1 performance factor i consider. STi's handle very well (while they do need the slightest bit of help from the factory). When I compare the m3 to the subie in the corers, the bottom line is the subie has more mechanical grip. The awd system allows you to put the power down at any point, and when driven correctly is neutral for the most part. Now when you talk about chassis dynamics? As in understeer/oversteer and being able to intentionally induce these things, the m3 would have to take that. This in large part has to do with the rwd chassis, (a good one at that). But in my humble opinion, the m3 just has this "fat" feeling it can never shake.
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      09-07-2010, 07:08 PM   #8
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whats an sti?
hahahah .. yah what's that
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      09-07-2010, 07:08 PM   #9
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honda civic STI


are you going to call it a sexually transmitted infection as well????
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      09-07-2010, 07:10 PM   #10
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I was recently at a HPDE with both an STI and an EVO. Neither could keep up with my M3 and I don't think it was because I was a better driver. In the straight stretches, I would pull by a margin. On long sweeping corners, same thing. I think it would take a very good driver in an STI to run with an M3 on a track IMO.
I was expecting this to be the biggest argument for the m3. 100% the m3 will pull away above 60 mph. A big track will suit the m3, a smaller track should at least even it out.
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      09-07-2010, 07:25 PM   #11
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I'm sure most M3 buyers cross shop Subaru's with BMW before they buy, just the way Mercedes buyers cross shop Honda, and Audi buyers cross shop Suzuki.
I had a really hard time deciding. After all, take away the leather interior, Sports seats, 414HP NA V8, carbon roof, EDC suspension, DCT transmission, and the ability to program all that to "M Mode, and you almost have a Subaru. And the STI is such a class act, with the modern spoiler and all. It doesn't scream wanna be racer at all.
In the end, I blew it and went for the M3. If my parents still gave me an allowance I would have bought an STI though, so I could have spent it modding the STI and revving my engine every time I pulled up next to an M3.
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      09-07-2010, 07:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
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I already have a preconceived opinion on the subject.
Based on your username, I already have a preconceived opinion that you are trolling.
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      09-07-2010, 07:44 PM   #13
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STI over here, besides the OBVIOUS differences behind, there's an 80,000USD gap, so there has to be a difference between the two
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      09-07-2010, 07:49 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Advskier View Post
I'm sure most M3 buyers cross shop Subaru's with BMW before they buy, just the way Mercedes buyers cross shop Honda, and Audi buyers cross shop Suzuki.
I had a really hard time deciding. After all, take away the leather interior, Sports seats, 414HP NA V8, carbon roof, EDC suspension, DCT transmission, and the ability to program all that to "M Mode, and you almost have a Subaru. And the STI is such a class act, with the modern spoiler and all. It doesn't scream wanna be racer at all.
In the end, I blew it and went for the M3. If my parents still gave me an allowance I would have bought an STI though, so I could have spent it modding the STI and revving my engine every time I pulled up next to an M3.
eh..
"take away the leather interior"- while the interior is much better on the bmw, they both have leather
"Sports seats"- the seats are not more sport oriented in the m3, better yes, but not more sport oriented
"414HP NA V8"- 415 can be had in an sti for about $600, but the 300+ wtq at 3000 rpm cannot be had in the m3 for any price.
"carbon roof"- yeah, its cool
"EDC suspension"- whtvr, im in sport at all times
"DCT transmission"- NOT i plus imo
"and the ability to program all that to "M Mode"- there is the si drive in the subie that is similar, only controls the engine mapping though.
"and you almost have a Subaru"- so take the do-hickeys, but leave the performance?
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      09-07-2010, 07:53 PM   #15
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Based on your username, I already have a preconceived opinion that you are trolling.
Naww i'm not trying to troll, i just like to hear both sides. I hear sti drivers opinions on m3's all the time, i would like to hear the contrary. The username, lol, I made it maybe 6 months ago. I have a respect for all cars, i'm not sure everyone here does.
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      09-07-2010, 08:18 PM   #16
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M3 drives like a fat car?? I am afraid you indeed are a troll.

An 8400 rpm redline and piston speeds approaching F1 racing cars cannot be had in your STI. Everytime I hear an STI with or without that big fart can, the boxer engine sounds just about the worst thing south of the ricer clan.

For some objective view, compare professionally tested lap times and they simply are not even in the same league on any level.

To start off, Lightning lap of 2008 chart

#21 - BMW E92 M3 3:05.6
#48 - Subaru WRX STI 3:19



I agree with the M3 guys, "M3 does everything well" so much so that the old E46 M3 was the Japanese JDM Spec C STI benchmark for development according to the chief engineer.


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Originally Posted by M3LOL View Post
eh..
"take away the leather interior"- while the interior is much better on the bmw, they both have leather
"Sports seats"- the seats are not more sport oriented in the m3, better yes, but not more sport oriented
"414HP NA V8"- 415 can be had in an sti for about $600, but the 300+ wtq at 3000 rpm cannot be had in the m3 for any price.
"carbon roof"- yeah, its cool
"EDC suspension"- whtvr, im in sport at all times
"DCT transmission"- NOT i plus imo
"and the ability to program all that to "M Mode"- there is the si drive in the subie that is similar, only controls the engine mapping though.
"and you almost have a Subaru"- so take the do-hickeys, but leave the performance?
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      09-07-2010, 08:33 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by M3LOL View Post
Hey guys, I drive a 2008 STi myself, but my dad had an m3 in the past and have a couple buddies w/ m3's and 335's etc. After having extensive time with both of these cars, I already have a preconceived opinion on the subject. But I would LOVE to hear what you guys think? Straight line performance, handling, modifications may also play into the subject.

So lets hear it! I am extremely curious as to your guys point of view.
I drove an 04 STi for 5 years, so I'm pretty qualified to answer.

Acceleration/Engine - very similar up to around 100ish, then the M3 will start to walk away. Obviously you have to be busier shifting in the STi. There are also a lot of situations where the engine in the M3 is an advantage...like on a racetrack or in turns - situations where you have to shift in the STi, and not in the M3. The exhaust note of the M3 is pretty amazing; especially when you open it up with an exhaust - it sounds like a racecar. I always like the STi's exhaust note as well.

Braking - The M3 has better brake feel stock than my STi did, but the STi stopped better. Actually, at the time the 04 was released, I think it was #1 or 2 in the world in terms of 60-0 braking. Both need a fluid change and a brake pad change if you want to crush it at the track.

Handling - M3, no comparison IMO. You can certainly drive just as fast in the STi, but the feedback is not there in my opinion. I just like RWD more. The M3 is a pretty heavy car 3600+, but it feels like an overgrown go-kart to me. Obviously the STi has a huge advantage in adverse conditions. I use to look forward to bad snow in my STi; not so in the M3 ; )

Steering - This is a huge advantage for the M3. Again, the feedback is excellent. While I did definitely get feedback in the STi, the steering felt overboosted and a little loose. This was something that really stood out to me on the test drive.

Transmission - STi gear change is much better and more precise; also a much shorter throw. I added a SS to the M3 to try to help with this - which it did, but it still falls short compared to the STi.

Looks - M3; not really up for debate in my opinion. The STi can be made to look aggressive, but never really elegant. That's fine, I really enjoyed the looks of my STi at the time.

Interior - M3, no question. It isn't just about the materials used either. I've driven the crap out of my M3, year round, and there are zero rattles. The STi made a lot of noise...which I knew would be the case when I bought it. No regrets, just a different focus. The materials used in the M3 aren't just better than the STi, they're a step up from the regular BMW models - Novillo leather is really incredibly nice.

Comfort - The M3 is a lot more comfortable for me. I'm a big guy and the STi seats never fit me particularly well. This is actually a huge reason I bought the M3. I like to go on weekend trips, but anything over 3 hours in the STi would kill my ass and lower back. In the M3, I can go 5-7 hours with no issue. Still, I wish the M3 steering wheel telescoped another inch.

Stereo - My STi didn't come with one - haha! I put in a decent system, but the M3 is better. Still the premium audio in the M3 isn't as good as I expected, but it still beats the STi.

Service - No one has met my standards yet, but Subaru dealerships generally suck pretty bad and I had issues with a couple. Still, they tend to be far better than your average American brand.

That's what comes to mind off the top of my head. I'm sure I left some stuff out. I don't do a huge amount of mods since the STi was my daily driver, as is the M3 now. Obviously you can make an STi go very fast for a reasonable amount of money. For me, the STi, and now the M3, are plenty fast for me - on the road, track, etc. The final thing I would say is that there are a lot of intangibles that add-up on the M3 - little things that make the overall experience incredibly satisfying.
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      09-07-2010, 08:42 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by M3LOL View Post
eh..
"take away the leather interior"- while the interior is much better on the bmw, they both have leather
"Sports seats"- the seats are not more sport oriented in the m3, better yes, but not more sport oriented
"414HP NA V8"- 415 can be had in an sti for about $600, but the 300+ wtq at 3000 rpm cannot be had in the m3 for any price.
"carbon roof"- yeah, its cool
"EDC suspension"- whtvr, im in sport at all times
"DCT transmission"- NOT i plus imo
"and the ability to program all that to "M Mode"- there is the si drive in the subie that is similar, only controls the engine mapping though.
"and you almost have a Subaru"- so take the do-hickeys, but leave the performance?
The interiors are from different planets as far as I'm concerned. I actually liked the 04 interior better than the 08. The 08 feels like they tried to dress it up and fell short IMO. I liked the 05 interior the best our of the recent STi's.

The seats in the M3 are highly adjustable - does the new STi have adjustable seats? My 04 didn't and it kind of sucked. Specifically, I love the adjustable bolsters which hold you in place very well.

I didn't want the DCT personally, but the thing is freaking amazing.

The M mode could definitely be better done in the M3 - I wish they had multiple profiles instead of just on or off.

There's nothing wrong with a Subaru, but there is very little that is similar about driving an M3 and an STi - they drive totally differently.
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      09-07-2010, 09:49 PM   #19
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sti is a boys car, m3 is a mans car.
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      09-07-2010, 09:58 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Singletrack View Post
I drove an 04 STi for 5 years, so I'm pretty qualified to answer.

Acceleration/Engine - very similar up to around 100ish, then the M3 will start to walk away. Obviously you have to be busier shifting in the STi. There are also a lot of situations where the engine in the M3 is an advantage...like on a racetrack or in turns - situations where you have to shift in the STi, and not in the M3. The exhaust note of the M3 is pretty amazing; especially when you open it up with an exhaust - it sounds like a racecar. I always like the STi's exhaust note as well.

Braking - The M3 has better brake feel stock than my STi did, but the STi stopped better. Actually, at the time the 04 was released, I think it was #1 or 2 in the world in terms of 60-0 braking. Both need a fluid change and a brake pad change if you want to crush it at the track.

Handling - M3, no comparison IMO. You can certainly drive just as fast in the STi, but the feedback is not there in my opinion. I just like RWD more. The M3 is a pretty heavy car 3600+, but it feels like an overgrown go-kart to me. Obviously the STi has a huge advantage in adverse conditions. I use to look forward to bad snow in my STi; not so in the M3 ; )

Steering - This is a huge advantage for the M3. Again, the feedback is excellent. While I did definitely get feedback in the STi, the steering felt overboosted and a little loose. This was something that really stood out to me on the test drive.

Transmission - STi gear change is much better and more precise; also a much shorter throw. I added a SS to the M3 to try to help with this - which it did, but it still falls short compared to the STi.

Looks - M3; not really up for debate in my opinion. The STi can be made to look aggressive, but never really elegant. That's fine, I really enjoyed the looks of my STi at the time.

Interior - M3, no question. It isn't just about the materials used either. I've driven the crap out of my M3, year round, and there are zero rattles. The STi made a lot of noise...which I knew would be the case when I bought it. No regrets, just a different focus. The materials used in the M3 aren't just better than the STi, they're a step up from the regular BMW models - Novillo leather is really incredibly nice.

Comfort - The M3 is a lot more comfortable for me. I'm a big guy and the STi seats never fit me particularly well. This is actually a huge reason I bought the M3. I like to go on weekend trips, but anything over 3 hours in the STi would kill my ass and lower back. In the M3, I can go 5-7 hours with no issue. Still, I wish the M3 steering wheel telescoped another inch.

Stereo - My STi didn't come with one - haha! I put in a decent system, but the M3 is better. Still the premium audio in the M3 isn't as good as I expected, but it still beats the STi.

Service - No one has met my standards yet, but Subaru dealerships generally suck pretty bad and I had issues with a couple. Still, they tend to be far better than your average American brand.

That's what comes to mind off the top of my head. I'm sure I left some stuff out. I don't do a huge amount of mods since the STi was my daily driver, as is the M3 now. Obviously you can make an STi go very fast for a reasonable amount of money. For me, the STi, and now the M3, are plenty fast for me - on the road, track, etc. The final thing I would say is that there are a lot of intangibles that add-up on the M3 - little things that make the overall experience incredibly satisfying.
You hit the nail on the head w/ everything you said. The subie is a very ugly car, but it looks purposeful which makes it look cool, not pretty lol. I appreciate the great answer and this is the type of conversation I was hoping to have, not to troll.

Honestly it's like you took my thoughts and put them in your words. I just hate the fact that the sti doesn't get the respect it deserves from certain people.

And btw, about the seats, they are adjustable, but everything is manual (I have a fixed back sparco in mine so i forgot what its like to adjust a seat haha).

I also agree about intangibles making a car go from good to great, my car is a rattle box w/ a dreadful stereo, but the sounds from the diffs, the boxer rumble, everything feeling so mechanical and analog make me forget the bad and love it!
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      09-07-2010, 10:17 PM   #21
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I had one experience in Ottawa Calabogie race track, I sat in a stock M3. It was instructor lapping period. He is a very good instructor. He demostrated the power of NA and the weakness of turbo in front of me. He kept at high RPM and fast momentum. There was STI. He passed STI during corning and STI kept on following behind.
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      09-07-2010, 10:18 PM   #22
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Quote:
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You hit the nail on the head w/ everything you said. The subie is a very ugly car, but it looks purposeful which makes it look cool, not pretty lol. I appreciate the great answer and this is the type of conversation I was hoping to have, not to troll.

Honestly it's like you took my thoughts and put them in your words. I just hate the fact that the sti doesn't get the respect it deserves from certain people.

And btw, about the seats, they are adjustable, but everything is manual (I have a fixed back sparco in mine so i forgot what its like to adjust a seat haha).

I also agree about intangibles making a car go from good to great, my car is a rattle box w/ a dreadful stereo, but the sounds from the diffs, the boxer rumble, everything feeling so mechanical and analog make me forget the bad and love it!
Yah the STi doesn't get as much respect as it should, but whatever - whatever makes you happy. My buddy still has his 04 he bought 2 months after he drove mine, and my other friend has a GC with a built motor that makes over 500whp. Different strokes for different folks ; )

I still miss the STi, especially in the wet and snow - which we get a fair amount of here. I wouldn't have sold it, but I needed the moolah for the M.
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