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      01-12-2011, 10:57 PM   #1

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Which Would You Rather Have? 2009 BMW 135i (Steptronic) or 2004 BMW M3 (SMG)?

I would love some feedback from my fellow 1Addicts and Bimmerposters on a decision that has once again risen again. I currently own a 2009 BMW 135i with Steptronic and a few BMW Performance goodies (Performance Power Kit, Steering Wheel, Spoiler, Diffuser, Selector Lever, Rotors, and Kidney Grills). In addition I have a Sprint Booster, APEX ARC-8 wheels, and Dunlop Direzza Z1 Star Spec tires. The car I am considering trading my 135i for is a 2004 BMW M3 with SMG. For a long time I have loved my 135i,I loved that with my power kit (or piggyback or reflash) that I could beat most E46 M3s in a drag race (SMG or manual). I love the 1 series because I loved how easy it was to park, that it offered better brakes then most cars through out the lineup, and was very quick and not too bad to pick up new.

In the next few months I will be leaving Hawaii soon and would like to make my 135i more track oriented but after calculating my budget (roughly 20-30k) on mods and the associated labor I am not so sure if modding my 135i will make me as happy as if I do the same to an E46 M3 with SMG. I am very familiar with the 135i after owning it for over two years and lurking around on 1Addicts before the car ever hit US shores, but the E46 M3 I am not as familiar. I know its a NA 3.2 inline six with six individual throttle bodies, that it comes with a mechanical LSD standard, that it was either equipped with a 6-speed manual or SMG, and that it comes with single piston floating caliper brakes.

My intent is to either turn my current 135i (if I keep it) or the SMG M3 (if I trade) and improve the cars with AST suspension, Stoptech BBK, full exhaust system, replace the seats with Recaro Pole Positions and Schroth harness, intake, vented hood, and carbon fiber trim. I know that not all of these things can or will be done with the budget I've given myself, but mod for mod which car do you think will be more rewarding? Which car would you rather mod. I am open to both sides as I love the thrill of acquiring an E46 M3, but at the same time I love my 135i and the adventures I've had with it. I don't know how to make a poll here. If anyone can tell me how to I'd appreciate that too. Thanks to all my fellow Bimmerposters in advance.
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      01-13-2011, 02:25 AM   #2
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I owned an 06 SMG M3 for a few years and that car was awesome. It has such a raw feel to it that I think you would prefer on the track over a 1 series. Iirc the 1 series chasis was based of the e46 so they are pretty comparable.

I test drove a steptronic 135i when they first came out and it was a really fun car but the m3 just gives you a better driving experience. Plus the SMG tranny is amazing and so fast. Some of the smg pumps have been known to go out on them though so watch for that.

If I had the choice I'd pick the e46 again.
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      01-13-2011, 11:02 AM   #3
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I like N/A power for track use.

The immediate torque of a modern fi engine is nice for the road, but I like the foreplay of a good high revving engine, I need my balls tickled a little.
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      01-13-2011, 02:02 PM   #4

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Having driven both on the track, the M3 is more enjoyable. I had 2 of the SMG ZCP e46 (05,06) and they were phenomenal. The 135 was a blast too, but if you're comparing... M3

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      01-13-2011, 02:05 PM   #5
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      01-13-2011, 02:27 PM   #6

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m3 6 speed would be my ideal, but I guess I would say SMG M3.
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      01-13-2011, 02:54 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by bavarian19 View Post
m3 6 speed would be my ideal, but I guess I would say SMG M3.
///M - Some Mods 'N Stuff
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      01-13-2011, 03:08 PM   #8
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I would say the M3, but only if it was a 6-speed. I can't stand SMG, I'd rather have a steptronic 135i.
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      01-13-2011, 05:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jaypod View Post
You sound like my buddies who have AMG's - Slam the gas, slam the brakes...
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      01-13-2011, 06:00 PM   #10
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I drove an e46 with SMG and it didn't impress me. I've heard from frustrating stories about SMG repairs... buuuut I guess dying fuel pumps are no fun either, lol. Sounds like you want a track car, so I'd say check out the e46 then.
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      01-17-2011, 02:07 AM   #11
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This is a tough choice. I would go for the M3 because it's a M after all.
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      01-17-2011, 02:39 AM   #12

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Provided that the M3 is well-cared for example with no issues then I would take it over an 135!
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      01-17-2011, 01:31 PM   #13

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      01-18-2011, 02:25 AM   #14

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Get the M3 and then get ESS software for the SMG system so you get the same as in Europe (higher revving launch control and faster shifts). Also get the ESS engine software to raise the rpm limit, a little better fuel mapping for a few more torques, and no speed limiter.
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      01-18-2011, 07:27 AM   #15
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135i because fuck the $1000+ valve adjustments on the M3
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      01-18-2011, 08:49 AM   #16

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having owned both (02 m3 vert 6mt, 03 coupe 6mt, 09 135 step) i'd say this.

regarding the 135
#1 step on the 135 is ok, but not great for the track, if you said DCT that's a no brainer, but step - while i have it in my dd it's not a track car...however with tons of torque shifting isn't as important

#2 susp on 135 sucks, you'll need not only the coilovers you're planning and sways but also the m3 control arms, and bushings all around, including rear subframes to firm it up a bit. supposedly with this the steering feel will be decent; i haven't done the bushings yet and it's still pretty vague.

#3 if you're going bbk, stock brakes aren't an issue, but similar from car to car

#4 135 chassis seems stiffer, and the car will be a bit lighter

#5 if you're tracking 135 you will NEED a LSD, big expenditure

#6 the 135 will maintain a big power advantage, but only appreciable on a very fast track

#7 potential cooling issues, esp on lower speed tracks, that oil will be boiling..

#8 you'll look silly when your hpfp craps out on the track...

about the M3
#1 looks better imho

#2 SMG can be problematic, i haven't had one, only driven them; not smooth for DD, good for track, yes, but expensive to fix. personally i'd steer clear of it, but that's just me.

#3 depending on milage you'll probably need bushings on the M3 as well, along with your coilovers

#4 better wheel choices for M3 and ability to put more rubber under the fenders

#5 I prefer NA power for the track, but there's not much to gain from the s54. sure full exhaust and intake and tune will get you 310 rwhp, but those kinds of mods on an n54 will get you 400 rwhp.

#6 there's better aftermarket support for the M3

#7 valve adjustments are pricey upkeep on the m3, but every 30k, 1000 bucks isn't bad.

In the end for track car, esp if you're going to work it over, i'd go M3 but would put my money into a manual trans car, not an smg.

Plus if you're lacking in power with your M3 a SC is about 6-7k vs the 3.5k you'll have to sink into LSD on the 135 and something you can do down the road if it becomes an issue.
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      01-19-2011, 02:08 AM   #17

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e46 m3 6mt + 1111111

smg sux sorry i hv to say it... get the M3 with 6MT is the way to go
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      01-19-2011, 06:34 AM   #18
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      01-19-2011, 04:15 PM   #19

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1999 VF BMW M3  [5.00]
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2008 135i  [5.00]
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2011.75 BMW M3  [4.17]
2009 STi  [3.83]
I sold my 135i for an E46 M3... so...
///M Power - 2011.75 LMB M3 6MT (fuelly)
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      01-20-2011, 12:06 AM   #20
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E46 M3.

Just picked up an 05 6sp M3, couldn't be happier.
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      08-19-2011, 11:08 PM   #21

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This is a long overdue update, but I did eventually trade in my '09 135i for an Imola Rot '04 M3 with SMG and Harmon Kardon stereo. Other than those everything else on the car was just standard fare, but that doesn't bother me one bit. I have owned the car for 5 months now and I don't regret making the trade. Only issue with it was a bad mirror which I replaced with the $4k given on top of my trade . So far other than having the Inspection I done and SMG fluid flush and replacement of the mirror I have fitted Turner Motorsport black out kidney and fender grills, APEX ARC-8 wheels in Satin Black (18x9 and 18x10) along with Dunlop Direzza Z1 Star Spec tires (245/40/18 and 275/35/18). Uninstalled and waiting for a good day is one Cobra Imola Pro GT seat with VAC sidemounts and Macht Schnell floor mounts.
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      08-21-2011, 12:38 AM   #22
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