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      10-21-2013, 12:43 PM   #1
BFLJR
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Newbie to board needs help with M3 purchase!

Hey everyone. Greetings from North Carolina. I am in process of looking for a used M3 sedan (an E90!?). I confess that I am not a real "car guy" (you'll likely see that from some of my questions) but I love BMW's and I am especially intrigued by the "M" cars. I bought a 2011 335 IS convertible new but sold it a year or so ago after realizing that my wife was not really a convertible girl and that it did not satisfy my dream of actually owning an M.

I am hoping to get a used M3 sedan (2008 to 2011 and strong preference for Silverstone) with low miles and in excellent condition. I really prefer having 4 doors on the sedan after having the 2 door convertible before. I test drove one this weekend that I would have bought on the spot except that is was previously owned by a smoker. The smell actually wasn't as bad as I expected but I think I would always question my purchase in the back of my mind so I declined.

There is another one close by that I am going to look at later this week. It is a 2008 Silverstone with very low miles and clean carfax. The car is loaded with just about everything except for the dual clutch automatic trans. and I am very good with getting a manual. As far as i can tell, it is in excellent shape. My one concern is that it has had several mods done and that is where I have my questions for you guys. Keep in mind that I am a pretty conservative 51 year old and one of the things I like most about an M car-especially the sedan- is that it is really cool without screaming that its really cool. I have no problem with the guy who drives the red Ferrari or Yellow 911 but that's just not me. I like the fact that the M3 can be so cool and understated at the same time. With all that said let me share my questions with you:

1. It has a Gintani catback stainless steel race exhaust. From reading the boards here, I gather that many folks would consider this a good thing but I wonder if this may be a bit too loud for me- and especially for my wife?? The owner says that he still has all the stock parts so I guess I could go back to the factory set up? Is this easy to do? Were there any modifications made to do the Gintani that can't be easily undone? Bottom line is: if I wanted to, can I easily get it back to the factory set up and if so what would be the approx. labor cost to do this?

2. It has a lowered suspension with H and R springs. I guess this means it will ride lower and a bit stiffer??? Again, while we might end of liking this feature, it is one I would not have chosen on my own. Like with the exhaust above, would it be easy to go back to the original suspension set up? Is it likely that permanent changes have been made that would prevent this? How easy would it be and what would be the approx. cost?

3. He changed to 19" Linea Corse wheels. Front tires are 19x8.5 nittos 235-35-19 35mm offset with 95 % tread; Back tires are: 19x9.5 nittos 275-35-19 with 35mm offset 70% tread. Black chrome project kics r-40s lug nuts with wheel locks. Not being a real car guy, I am not completely sure what all that means but the wheels/tires do look pretty cool! But again, If I wanted to go back to the original wheels,i am assuming this would be easy to do??

4. It has 35% legal tinting all the way around. This looks really cool and even a conservative old geezer like me can handle this! But my question here is does this have to be redone at some point in the future? would there be any potential problems with tinting? can it easily be "untinted" if I desired?

Thanks for taking the time to read this and I really appreciate any help that you could give me!
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      10-21-2013, 12:52 PM   #2
Edward
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You can do better than that car.

First of all, you're going to dislike that loud exhaust and your wife will make you sell the car.

Lowering springs are simply not necessary in my opinion and really would be a negative for me.

You should focus mainly on 09-11 model sedans because the iDrive is significantly better after 2008. Plus the tail lights will be upgraded to the newer design.

Tint is fine. It's a plus if you prefer tint.

Reversing spring suspension would probably run you 200 or so in labor if you already have the stock springs. And then you need to get an alignment after which can cost maybe 130?

If he has the oem exhaust, I believe axle back exhausts are fully reversible. A competent muffler shop should be able to do it for a bit over 100.

Going back to original wheels is easy as long as you have the original wheels. Pretty straight forward swap. Can be done as fast as you can take off one wheel and put on the other.

Again, I'd honestly focus on 09-11 sedans if that's what you're in it for. Hope it works out.
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      10-21-2013, 12:59 PM   #3
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Yup, pass on that one. The exhaust will be too loud for you, the ride comfort poor, and the wheels/tires are somewhere between nothing special and complete waste of money. Since you sound like someone who may not do a whole lot to modify it and you probably want a clean OEM look, try to find a competition package (ZCP) car. Definitely focus on 09-11 and preferably something with 6 months to a year of warranty left if you can find it.
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      10-21-2013, 01:07 PM   #4
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As a pretty conservative guy in his mid 30's (though I don't think age really matters in this type of opinion), I would pass on any car that has signs of being modified in the past. Tint, and wheels don't concern me as much as the exhaust and suspension does. Despite what anyone else will say, I know that these two items will have tremendous impact on the ride quality of a used vehicle you're about to purchase that is comparable in cost to a brand new entry-level luxury sedan. Anytime you start loosening bolts on factory parts, you'll end up with unwanted rattles and noises in the future.

Stay away from those smoker cars, and do spring for a pre-purchase inspection (about $200 or less) before purchasing your next car. I can tell you from experience that CarFax is useless, with the exception of seeing how many people have owned the car. I once did $15k in body and frame damage to a $38k vehicle, which meant it wasn't going to be totaled. But this never showed up in any CarFax report.
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      10-21-2013, 01:15 PM   #5
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Thanks for the quick responses and the advice. As much as I really want to get one ASAP, sounds like it may be best for me to be patient until the right one comes along.
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