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      12-29-2011, 09:04 AM   #1
SamS
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M3 vs. 2011 E93 328i?

Hey guys,

Thanks to the nice folks at BMW of Dallas, I was sent home with a loaded Crimson Red 2011 328i E93, while my 2012 E92 M3 was getting scheduled service. Not sure how many of you have ever driven a standard E93, but it was my first time in such a car. The differences where fairly dramatic!

Things I like better on the E93:
  • Headlights - the shape looks great, and the LED coronas are beautiful
  • Front PDC - soooo nice! I know you could retrofit for an M3, but that is more effort and $$ than I'm interested in spending.

Thinks I like better on my M3:
  • Everything else!

Yeah, easy to make that statement, but it's true. The seats in the E93 were just terrible. You get used to them after 20 minutes, but they felt just like any other car seat, and not comfortable to me. The N52 didn't seem like anything great. There was no sense of power below 3500rpm. Maybe it is more fun in a 6MT? The stereo sucked, it just had bass/treble controls and was no good at any setting.

The steering was rather stiff. This was a big surprise to me considering the target audience for this car probably isn't looking for the most sporty feeling vehicle on the road. You could tell the tires were run flats. They rode rough, and the car did not feel at all planted like the M3. Taking a bumpy bend at 40mph, I felt as though I could lose the car. Also, the steering wheel leather just felt like hard plastic, not at all "premium".

I know BMW wants the E92/E93 to be their most premium offerings of the 3-series. I just didn't come away with that impression. And yes, the E9X interior really is starting to feel dated, to me. I have seen the F30 in person, and it can't get here soon enough. I bet the F33 with the N20 will be a step (or two) above this current E93. It just feels like there so much more potential for a great car, especially since it was stickered at $53K.

Last edited by SamS; 12-29-2011 at 10:00 AM.
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      12-29-2011, 10:04 PM   #2
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kind of useless and obvious comparison. You are taking the bottom of the barrel 3 series and the heaviest 3 series and comparing it to the top of the line m3 coupe which is 500 pounds lighter.

If you still have the car, try keep the engine up in the 6000k-7k range and drive it hard. N52 is a great engine if you drive it the right!
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      12-30-2011, 10:43 PM   #3
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cool story bro
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      12-31-2011, 12:01 AM   #4
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cool story bro
No Carfax for you.
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      12-31-2011, 12:42 PM   #5
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wait a second, we're comparing an m3 with a 328?

Oh.........
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      12-31-2011, 03:20 PM   #6
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deff go for the 328i
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      12-31-2011, 11:28 PM   #7
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I know a lot of folks love the N52, I just wasn't feeling it.
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      12-31-2011, 11:38 PM   #8
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The N52 is a wonderful engine paired with a manual transmission. Having owned both the only advantage my E92 328i had was weight and sometimes fuel economy. Yes, only sometimes because I don't have to use as much throttle with the M3 unless I want to.
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      12-31-2011, 11:47 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by PhillyNate View Post
The N52 is a wonderful engine paired with a manual transmission. Having owned both the only advantage my E92 328i had was weight and sometimes fuel economy. Yes, only sometimes because I don't have to use as much throttle with the M3 unless I want to.
The only issue with your statement is that manual transmission the n52 is paired with is rubbish. I drove my buddy's 328xi a few times while he was deployed and I did not enjoy that transmission at all.
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      01-01-2012, 12:38 AM   #10
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M3 vs 328, is this really happening?
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      01-01-2012, 07:06 AM   #11
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M3 vs 328, is this really happening?
Sadly.....yes
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      01-01-2012, 09:46 AM   #12
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the only suitable reply to this thread...
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      01-01-2012, 09:53 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by armyav8tor View Post
The only issue with your statement is that manual transmission the n52 is paired with is rubbish. I drove my buddy's 328xi a few times while he was deployed and I did not enjoy that transmission at all.
Well, IDK if the manual transmission in the "xi" all-wheel drive variant is the same but the Getrag I had is a very good unit. It's no Honda S2000 manual by any stretch but certainly not rubbish IMO.
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      01-01-2012, 10:40 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by SamS View Post
Hey guys,



I know BMW wants the E92/E93 to be their most premium offerings of the 3-series. I just didn't come away with that impression.
The 328i you tested is probably the worst one to go up against an M3.

(a) auto tranny. The auto tranny in the 328i is a GM-sourced unit, whereas the one in the 335i is a ZF transmission. The GM one isn't bad, but it isn't as good as the ZF one and for enthusiasts is sluggish and can lag. It is *not* IMO well paired to the N20.

People who's tested both a 328i in auto vs. manual say the manual is more lively.

(b) weighed down with the heavy convertible hardtop. Probably the biggest factor here.

(c) possibly without the seats of the sports package? BMW's shouldn't come without sport seats IMO!
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      01-01-2012, 11:13 AM   #15
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Quote:
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The 328i you tested is probably the worst one to go up against an M3.

(a) auto tranny. The auto tranny in the 328i is a GM-sourced unit, whereas the one in the 335i is a ZF transmission. The GM one isn't bad, but it isn't as good as the ZF one and for enthusiasts is sluggish and can lag. It is *not* IMO well paired to the N20.

People who's tested both a 328i in auto vs. manual say the manual is more lively.

(b) weighed down with the heavy convertible hardtop. Probably the biggest factor here.

(c) possibly without the seats of the sports package? BMW's shouldn't come without sport seats IMO!
Yeah, I forgot about the two different tranny types on the 3er. No paddle shifters really made it suck even more. The car didn't feel extraordinarily heavy to me, it is after all more cruiser-like than a true sports car.

It just seems a bit strange that a $53K BMW can feel so "pedestrian". Not very sporty, except for the steering. The M3 and 328i don't even feel like they're built by the same manufacturer.
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      01-01-2012, 11:35 AM   #16
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Yeah, I forgot about the two different tranny types on the 3er. No paddle shifters really made it suck even more. The car didn't feel extraordinarily heavy to me, it is after all more cruiser-like than a true sports car.

It just seems a bit strange that a $53K BMW can feel so "pedestrian". Not very sporty, except for the steering. The M3 and 328i don't even feel like they're built by the same manufacturer.
  • The first time I test drove a 328i with auto and no sports suspension, I thought... "Wha... huh? This is the ultimate driving machine....??"
  • Then when I test drove a 335i, auto, sports pack, I thought, "Oh yeah!, now I see what you're talking about."
  • Then when I test drove an M3 (after I bought my 335i ), I thought, "OMFG, I want this car.... NOW!" Granted, I had just driven it very enthusiastically around an autocross several times, but still... that car is just in a different league.

So, you know, I totally agree with the direction M is (rumored) to be going in - distinguishing the M brand as a separate brand under the BMW group, similar to the future "i" (electric) BMWs. Perhaps the different internal model code designations (F30 vs. F80) were a hint of that debut.
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      01-02-2012, 02:39 AM   #17
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my daily is a 325i and when i test drove an E90 M3 the difference was so obvious, I hadn't even pulled the car out of the dealer's lot yet.
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      01-26-2012, 05:49 PM   #18
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I can't believe this is happening 328 or m3 ?? How abt this corola or m3 ? Damn hard to decide
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      01-26-2012, 08:30 PM   #19
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I can't believe this is happening 328 or m3 ?? How abt this corola or m3 ? Damn hard to decide
I have an '06 Accord. I'll send you a PM with my detailed shoot out vs. my M3!
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      01-27-2012, 12:21 AM   #20
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yah i would stay with Accord with Supercharge epic ride !
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I have an '06 Accord. I'll send you a PM with my detailed shoot out vs. my M3!
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      01-27-2012, 01:00 AM   #21
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Quote:
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M3 vs 328, is this really happening?
I guess in Europe people are comparing M3 vs 316. At least it is not that bad here
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      01-30-2012, 01:26 PM   #22
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these threads boggle my mind. like wtf are people thinking? I am going to drive a Scion Tc and then compare it to my M3.
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