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      05-31-2012, 06:36 PM   #1
SanFranciscoM3
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M3 vs. C4S for Northeast Winters?

I'm moving to Boston from San Francisco and am debating whether to ship my 2008 e92 M3 cross country or sell it and pick up 7-8 year old Carrera 4 or 4s when I arrive in Boston.

What do you guys think? Anyone have experience with both cars in the Northeast Winters? I'm going to live in central Boston and the car will be used mainly on weekends to get across town and to go skiing in the winter.

I took the M3 skiing once to Lake Tahoe with the PS2s and even though there was little snow, the car was totally unsafe.

So for Northeast winters - e92 M3 with snow tires or older 911 C4?

Last edited by SanFranciscoM3; 05-31-2012 at 06:43 PM.
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      05-31-2012, 06:44 PM   #2
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M3 would be the better car, but you have to have snows (summer rubber like PS2s + snow = suicide.) I drive my car to go skiing here (not to mention driving every day regardless of the weather) and with the right tires its been great. The M3 will get you better weight distribution, LSD, better/more modern traction/stability control (this was a noticeable improvement over my E46 M3.) Also more room and modern features, probably better ride height. This is before you even consider warranty and other benefits of a more modern car.
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      05-31-2012, 06:45 PM   #3
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Btw I did search this topic extensively. What I've found is that the M3 does well with serious snow tires (e.g. Haka R), but I'm wondering if anyone has personal experience with the M3 vs. the Porsche AWD system.

Thanks!
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      05-31-2012, 06:46 PM   #4
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Thanks Signes!
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      05-31-2012, 07:04 PM   #5
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You drove on PS2's in the snow? It doesn't matter how many wheels are spinning if your tires are frozen...

If you're driving mostly in the city, then M3 is fine with snow tires. If you're intent on doing a lot of skiing then get another car with better height clearance. Think of it this way, the best days to ski will be the days where there's so much snow on the ground that your front dam will be a snowplow (with either car).
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      05-31-2012, 08:16 PM   #6
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i live in mass, winter isn't a big deal with a set of blizzaks. seeing you have no snow driving experience you may want to rethink your car choices. can't offer anything constructive about the p-car as i have yet to see one with snow tires doing winter duty here. gl
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      05-31-2012, 08:31 PM   #7
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A C4 or C4S, with proper snow tires, would be an very good winter car. Can't blaze a trail with one, but will get you through several inches of snow with little fuss.
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      06-01-2012, 02:16 AM   #8
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Thanks guys. Actually I do have several years of winter driving experience (driving to Tahoe in heavy snowstorms) in a 4wd Chevy Suburban. I tried bringing the M3 skiing on a day with minimal snow and it was horrible. I have since learned that the PS2s hate the cold even on dry roads.

Anyone done a start from a stop on an incline in packed snow with the Haka R's or other serious snow tire? Will the car move forward or fishtail out?
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      06-01-2012, 08:33 AM   #9
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I live in the Northeast and travel to the various mountains in NH and VT for skiing. First, the PS2's are ineffective when temperatures reach 40F or lower. With either car snow tires are a must for adhesion to the road in the cold. While I don't own (yet) an M3, I have driven many RWD cars in the winter. All were similar with low ground clearance and high HP/torque engines. With proper snow tires/rims, I never had an issue in getting around. Most of the main roads are plowed and it's simply the flow of traffic. The biggest challenge with Boston and the surrounding areas are with the numerous potholes.

If you plan on traveling to the mountains, ground clearance could be an issue. Again this would depend on the roads traveled. There are a lot of steep hills in VT. Subaru has become the unofficial state car (in VT). AWD will certainly help.

Do you have the option off buying a second car for winter use? If so it would be better for this to take the rigors of winter including salt, potholes, etc.
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      06-01-2012, 09:29 AM   #10
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as others stated, with snow tires, the M3 is very capable. From my experience, if there's more than 2 ft of snow, it's going to be difficult with RWD regardless of tires. I only recall getting stuck once in the snow in the M3, and it was easy to wedge yourself out if you turn DSC off. Personally, I would leave DSC on while driving in the snow, it manages your power on traction fairly well and conservatively.

That said, I use to drive a AWD (Evo 8) car in the winter. Power on traction is fantastic with AWD and that's where the difference is. Remember, braking in the snow/ice is the same regardless of your drivetrain, you're at the mercy of friction of your tires with the road!
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      06-01-2012, 10:45 AM   #11
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If clearance is the same, and both have winter tires (anything other than winters is stupid) the C4/S will be the better car. That's a no-brainer.

There are 2 questions here that I think are relevant:

1. Does either car offer you sufficient clearance? Someone mentioned 2 feet of snow. I highly doubt that you'd ever get through 2 feet of snow with either car.

2. If you think the answer to (1) is 'yes', then the question is whether the M3 would be sufficient. I've driven an M3 in Canadian winters with Blizzak WS-60s, and I would venture to say that it would (but again, if clearance is the same, the C4/S would probably be better). The WS-60s provided excellent snow traction (considerably better than my current Michelin Alpins), but not very good dry pavement performance (considerably worse than my current Michelin Alpins).

My suggestion is that you get yourself a used Jeep or other 4x4 that sits high up and gets you over the snowfall for trips to the ski hills and other bad days, and I would put winter tires on that too. 2 proper tools are always better than a single jack-of-all-trades when serious conditions might be encountered, and I would guess that the mountains of the NE would probably pose some serious conditions.
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      06-01-2012, 11:12 AM   #12
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I have been driving my M3 sedan in metro Boston for the past three winters. Really only two since we didn't get any snow this past year. I think either car with snow tires would be fine. I think the E92 is a better all around functional car. It has a real trunk and hopefully your have the fold down rear seats for hauling larger things.

Personally I think a rear wheel drive car is more fun and more predictable in the snow.
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      06-01-2012, 09:46 PM   #13
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Biggest issue with Pcar will be the low ground clearance, once the car sits onto of the snow, its game over. Good snow tires on either like others have said, and you should be fine. I would get which ever you enjoy more to be honest. How many days of the year do you really get heavy heavy snow fall.
I would get a 997 though, forget the 996.
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      06-01-2012, 10:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SanFranciscoM3 View Post
I'm moving to Boston from San Francisco and am debating whether to ship my 2008 e92 M3 cross country or sell it and pick up 7-8 year old Carrera 4 or 4s when I arrive in Boston.

What do you guys think? Anyone have experience with both cars in the Northeast Winters? I'm going to live in central Boston and the car will be used mainly on weekends to get across town and to go skiing in the winter.

I took the M3 skiing once to Lake Tahoe with the PS2s and even though there was little snow, the car was totally unsafe.

So for Northeast winters - e92 M3 with snow tires or older 911 C4?
I had my car in Boston for 2 years, and I was on PS2's the whole time. I lived in Cambridge, so the roads there and in Boston were cleared when it snowed. I also drove to the mountains for snowboarding on weekends. I had some close calls, so i would definitely get some snow tires for winter. It's a really good car and with the right tires you will never need anything else. Enjoy my favorite city in the US
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      06-01-2012, 11:09 PM   #15
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What sizes are people running for their winter setups?
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      06-02-2012, 07:10 AM   #16
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I drive my 08M3 in the winter in NH. Four snows, preferably on 18 inch wheels, are necessary. I run 235/255 on the stock 18 x 8.5/9.5. The tires are a bit pinched which means little or no rim protection. Narrower and higher profile is better in snow, but worse for handling in dry, so you have to choose or compromise and accept the pros and cons. Something like 18 x 8 wheels with 225s might be the best snow package, but would not be much fun in nice weather and we had a lot of that last winter.

My 08M3 on snow wheels has gone everywhere I have needed to go. Certainly an AWD car on snows would be better. My dream car would be a 996TT or 997TT, but I wanted a newer car with warranty and could not afford such a Porsche Turbo under warranty.
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      06-02-2012, 05:29 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I M STIG View Post
What sizes are people running for their winter setups?
I run 245/40 square on OEM 18s. Has worked great for the last four winters.
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      06-02-2012, 06:37 PM   #18
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You should be fine with a good set of snow tires. I am moving to northern Maine for a year or so and am going to run my AWD X5 for snow duty. M3 for Summer duty. If you have another SUV or truck just use that for the Winters. I have lived in very Northern Alaska and quite frankly the rest of the US states don't even come close to Nome, Arctic Village or Barrow Alaska weather and snow. I recall a paved road with 6 inches of ice above it for like a miles stretch. You could see straight down to the pavement through the clear 6 inch thick ice. No tire, chain or anything is safe on this type of road. Even when you walked you could really hurt yourself with a slip and fall.
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      06-02-2012, 06:50 PM   #19
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I live in Boston. I have a 95 m3 and it drives better than the range rover in snow when there's a set of snow tires on the car. Now have a 2012 m3 and not worried about this upcoming winter, but need to shop for another set of wheels.
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      06-02-2012, 11:14 PM   #20
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If you're seriously worried about snow, go with the C4/C4S. As someone else stated, its a complete no-brainer. What model were you looking to get? The 996? Depending on what your resale value is on the M3, you can probably pull off a 997 C4S without much loss. I've driven the Turbo in the snow with minimal issues.

To be honest, I feel like both the M3 and the Turbo were about the same height so there's your clearance question. There's a video on youtube with a Porsche Turbo driving around the parking lot with a decent amount of snow. "Minnesota Porsche Parking lot" or something. My driving experiences in snow were similar to that in the P car with snow tires.

Its a toss up. I personally think the M3 is definitely more "comfortable" with extra room here and there. The P cars on the other hand seemed a bit more barren but made me happy with its performance. Its a toss up. If I could afford to pick up a new 997 Turbo, I'd do it. Unfortunately for me, it seems I have a lot of expenses coming up my way. :P
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      06-03-2012, 07:28 AM   #21
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Winters in the northeast are so unpredictable that you shouldn't even use it as a factor.

Get the car you want and can afford. Get snows for either choice and you're fine. If a Nor'easter comes thru you'd be staying at home anyways.

Either car with snows is fine. Actual snow days are getting rarer and rarer. Snow tires and stay home during the big dumps of the white stuff.

I appreciate you're factoring in all sorts of things but snow shouldn't be something that makes you buy one car over the other. There's so many other things that should.
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      06-03-2012, 07:46 AM   #22
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