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      06-26-2019, 10:01 AM   #1
astefanidis1
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E46 vs E92 vs Camaro SS

Hey guys! This is my first official post on here so stay with me (could've sworn I already had an account but I guess not).

Okay so this isn't reallyyyy E46 vs E92 vs Camaro ss. Here let me explain...

I've been a happy owner of an E46 M3 competition package for about 3 years now. I am in love with this car and will never sell it, but it is getting up there in age and I have the itch for a new car. Just got a job and am looking to spend up to 45k lets say.

I've done tons and tons of research, I'm a data analyst so I take my time and make sure I'm certain of things before I make any decisions. I'm pretty much set on buying a competition package E92 M3. It's an amazing car all around and I think it'll compliment owning an E46 besides it well.

Then something happened. I was test driving cars at local dealerships with my friend (he wants a new wrx sti, they only had a wrx though so we drove that and it was sadly disappointing, hes hoping the sti is a more dramatic improvement) and afterwards decided hey I want to test drive something too just for fun really. So there was a dodge dealer next door and I was like hell let me try the SRT 392. They did not have any v8's available (I call bs but whatever lol). I've rented an R/T Challenger before though so I didn't care too too much to try the SRT, although I'm sure its a beast.

Across the street was a Chevy dealer, so I asked to test a camaro SS. They let me drive a 2019 Camaro SS automatic with 4 miles on it. Literally brand new.

I drove it, and drove the balls out of it (Break in period I know I know don't hate me).

Got back from the test drive, went home, and thought. That camaro was... well. It was fast as hell thats for sure. The torque and pickup was unreal, and the transmission surprised me for sure shifted super quickly. Interior was not bad at all, none of that garbage "Cheap" interior everyone always talks about. And the sound, omg the sound was amazing.

But.

I just didn't like it. Okay maybe thats the wrong way to put it, I didn't love it. It was fun and cool for sure but, I was definitely disappointed.

So then I thought well, if I love how my e46 drives, and wasn't a fan of the SS... is the E92 going to be more like the SS? Am I not going to like it?

I know that's not rational since the M3 is and M3 lol not a camaro, but I couldn't help think about it since it'll now be a dual clutch instead of single, be a larger and heavier car than the e46, and also have a v8.

So then I thought okay well what is it that makes me genuinely love the e46 drive so much more than the brand new, more powerful and lots faster camaro.

Is it the weight? The e46 is pretty damn light and the camaro is a big muscle car. So I looked up the numbers and the E46 was around 3,350 while the camaro I think was 3,700. Solid difference for sure but... definitely not as dramatic of a difference as I expected.

Maybe just the size of the car? Maybe I like smaller cars? Well the camaro isn't necessarily a boat, and I'm also 6'4 and weigh 275 pounds so I should enjoy larger cars anyways (seeing me get in and out of my e46 is hilarious)

Maybe its just the experience of the e46. It's older, more raw, more mechanical, more thrilling, single clutch feeling of a car than the new camaro. My father owns a nissan gtr, ferrari f430, and a maserati gran turismo. The gran turismo is a hell of a car but as far as fun to drive, does not compare to the others, even my e46 is more fun to drive. The GTR and F430 are completely different animals, the GTR is insanely quick and you cant help but smile every time you put your foot down, even around turns it handles amazing and is overall just such a fun car to drive. The F430 however, is my favorite. It is not as fast as the GTR, but somehow it just feels so much more thrilling to me. Everytime I drive it, I'm not stepping on the peddle and giggling, I'm holding the steering wheel tight and focusing intensely on the road in front of me for dear life, feeling the hard shifts every time I pull the paddle. My father truly enjoys the gtr drive more as im sure plenty others do too, but for me, the f430 is the most fun to drive.

Considering the gtr is all wheel drive, turbo'd, and weighs around 3,800 pounds, meanwhile the f430 is older, single clutch, NA, rwd, raw and light... it makes sense to me that I would enjoy that experience more because it is a lot closer to the e46 in those senses, just dialed up to 10 on each.

So I was like okay I guess that's what I enjoy. NA, RWD, Light, Small, Older raw and almost scary.

Then I drove my cousins BMW M4 Coupe, and... while I'm sure plenty will disagree with me... it was fun as hell.

I loved it. It was large yes but felt light and nimble, had loads of torque and power, steering felt tight, suspension, everything. I just truly enjoyed it.

Maybe I'll add an M4 to the stable one day in the future but not yet, not now.

The M4 though is large-ish, not NA, definitely modern and less raw and scary, has a great dct... if it's actually fairly different than the e46, why did I enjoy it so much more than the camaro? And will the e92 be just as fun as the other two M's? Or will it be like the camaro and I'll regret my decision of buying it.


Okay I wrote way more than I originally intended to lol, sorry about that.

Things to note, my e46 is lowered on H&R springs, and it is an SMG. My first car ever was a manual so when I buy the E92 I honestly wouldn't mind going back to a manual because I do miss it, but the DCT I've heard great things about so I'd go either way. And I've driven a manual e46 before and had loads of fun but the SMG gets way too much hate, sure it has plenty of reliability issues but in terms of pure experience I do enjoy it plenty.


Thanks!
Let me know what you guys think
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      06-26-2019, 10:02 AM   #2
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Side note, if you are going to try and convince me to buy something other than the E92, it will take a lot of convincing lol. M2, M4, C63, GranTurismo, C6 ZR1, etc I've considered plenty of other options but I'm pretty stuck on the E92. I just recently had this wake up call from the camaro test drive and am wondering if I should rethink the E92, or if I'm overreacting and will love it
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      06-26-2019, 02:57 PM   #3
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I like the E9xM3 and think it is a great buy at todayís prices. I bought mine over 8 years ago. Were I buying today, I might get a used F80 M3. Faster, handles better, more modern, easily and relatively cheaply modded for significantly more power. I might also look at the F10 M5 if I was looking today because I like power and would be willing to trade some handling for more comfort.
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      06-27-2019, 08:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbonsalb View Post
I like the E9xM3 and think it is a great buy at todayís prices. I bought mine over 8 years ago. Were I buying today, I might get a used F80 M3. Faster, handles better, more modern, easily and relatively cheaply modded for significantly more power. I might also look at the F10 M5 if I was looking today because I like power and would be willing to trade some handling for more comfort.
I do agree those are more liveable and practical cars, lot more comfortable, but that's not exactly what I'm really looking for right now
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      06-27-2019, 08:48 AM   #5
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Drive one and decide for yourself.
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      06-27-2019, 08:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M43S7RO View Post
Drive one and decide for yourself.
Don't you think I would've by now if I could :')
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      06-27-2019, 02:00 PM   #7
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All good cars and all distinctly different. I looked at some of the same cars before deciding on the e92 M3.

I was VERY compelled by the new camaro, and like the way it drives better than the m4, mostly because itís just more fun and characterful. My issues with it were I donít like itís looks at all, and the interior was just too small and impractical for my uses.

The m4 I drove was a supremely good car overall, gets sideways the way I like it, but was too big feeling and didnít feel special in normal conditions (when not flooring it or going sideways). It sounded plain awful too, but thatís subjective. If you want a car that settles down and has lots of space, itís a great option and looks great too, while being so capable and fast performance wise.

The e92 m3 had the character and space and looks I wanted, and the engine characteristics and sound I really wanted, and is lots of fun to drive even at normal speeds. Great handling balance. It was, in the end, inevitable for me to get one despite my best efforts at playing devils advocate.
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      06-27-2019, 02:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 14_deltaM3 View Post
All good cars and all distinctly different. I looked at some of the same cars before deciding on the e92 M3.

I was VERY compelled by the new camaro, and like the way it drives better than the m4, mostly because itís just more fun and characterful. My issues with it were I donít like itís looks at all, and the interior was just too small and impractical for my uses.

The m4 I drove was a supremely good car overall, gets sideways the way I like it, but was too big feeling and didnít feel special in normal conditions (when not flooring it or going sideways). It sounded plain awful too, but thatís subjective. If you want a car that settles down and has lots of space, itís a great option and looks great too, while being so capable and fast performance wise.

The e92 m3 had the character and space and looks I wanted, and the engine characteristics and sound I really wanted, and is lots of fun to drive even at normal speeds. Great handling balance. It was, in the end, inevitable for me to get one despite my best efforts at playing devils advocate.
Respect the decision

Would you say the camaro felt more engaging to drive? I know thats subjective but in your opinion, lets say you had some nice backroads to drive down, which would you take?
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      06-27-2019, 02:46 PM   #9
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The camaro was very engaging and tons of fun. Engine power and sound, and handling balance, were excellent.

I think though it becomes very subjective very fast, because despite how well it handled and drove, you never forget youíre driving something that is very wide and also very restrictive in terms of view. If you have narrow country roads, it might be an issue, if you have all freeways and nice and wide curved roads, itís probably fine. So for me, while it was very engaging it didnít feel or drive the way I wanted it to.

To be honest, those two issues got in the way of my full enjoyment of the car, and made me wish they made the Cadillac ATS-V (the camaro chassis with the eLSD but a turbo 6 instead of the v8) with the V8.

If the turbo 6 doesnít bother you, the ATSV is slightly better in handling (or at least as good) than the camaro based on my drives, without the interior space and ergonomics compromises and feeling of size overall.
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      06-27-2019, 03:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 14_deltaM3 View Post
The camaro was very engaging and tons of fun. Engine power and sound, and handling balance, were excellent.

I think though it becomes very subjective very fast, because despite how well it handled and drove, you never forget youíre driving something that is very wide and also very restrictive in terms of view. If you have narrow country roads, it might be an issue, if you have all freeways and nice and wide curved roads, itís probably fine. So for me, while it was very engaging it didnít feel or drive the way I wanted it to.

To be honest, those two issues got in the way of my full enjoyment of the car, and made me wish they made the Cadillac ATS-V (the camaro chassis with the eLSD but a turbo 6 instead of the v8) with the V8.

If the turbo 6 doesnít bother you, the ATSV is slightly better in handling (or at least as good) than the camaro based on my drives, without the interior space and ergonomics compromises and feeling of size overall.
Interesting! Yeah I'm not the biggest fan of the ats v personally but that does sound like itd be fun. Where I live there are tons of narrow country roads through woods, so I feel like thats party why I don't want a huge car too
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      06-28-2019, 08:59 PM   #11
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This post has me going

What are you asking?
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      06-28-2019, 10:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by spazzyfry123 View Post
This post has me going

What are you asking?
Yeah, I couldn't make heads or tails out of it. I can say one thing, unless I was a M3 fanatic (which I'm not), I would never own both an e46 and e92 together. They are just too similar. I'd rather go with something vastly different (like a Wrangler) or just a different approach to performance---corvette, Mustang GT w/ PP2, Cayman.

I have a grand cherokee SRT and I love how differently it drives than the e92. And yet, both are really entertaining in their own way.
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      06-30-2019, 09:24 PM   #13
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I have owned many cars, particularly the cars listed in the OP. I would say I know exactly how each of these car stack up against one another. Just for perspective I've owned:

6 Camaro's total, the last one was a 2018 1LE.
2 E46 M3's
Currently my E92

My E46's were very special to me and that platform is very good handling car for its time. However, there is no denying that advancements in technology has made current cars just as good (performance wise that is).

Before I bought my current car I was considering both an E92 M3 and the 6th gen Camaro 1LE. I drove a very clean low mile stock E92, then the 1LE within a few days of one another. Fact is the 1LE chassis is simply amazing and made the stock E92 seem very underwhelming. The chassis was not as good as the 1LE and the sheer brutality of the power of the Camaro won me over. Frankly it was not close. The clincher was I paid $38K for a brand new car.

Fast forward 9 months and I had slight buyers remorse. While the car's driving dynamics were literally mind blowing, when not driving hard it was just not a nice place to spend time in. I had a heavily modified 5th gen as well (500whp) so i was used to the lack of visibility, but the 6th gen was even tighter inside which exacerbated a characteristic that is very poor to begin with. Also the body panel fit and finish (particularly the drivers door and front fender) at least on mine was horrendous. Pretty disappointing for a brand new car.

In March of this year I started trolling the internet for a perfect E92 (the car I have lusted after for a very long time). Despite how I felt on the test drive of the stock one, the E92 M3 provides the feeling I was looking for all along. I found my current car on Bring a Trailer. Honestly I felt like I won the lottery finding a car with only had 19K on it, in space grey, Brembo's, F14's, exhaust, etc. Plus the guy gave me all of the stock parts.

To sum it up the E92 is superior to the E46 M3 in every way, but the Camaro, at least the 1LE a far superior dynamically than both of the BMW's. I know there will be many here that will dispute this claim, but sorry to the close minded brand loyalists. It's true!
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      07-01-2019, 08:35 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3R1 View Post
I have owned many cars, particularly the cars listed in the OP. I would say I know exactly how each of these car stack up against one another. Just for perspective I've owned:

6 Camaro's total, the last one was a 2018 1LE.
2 E46 M3's
Currently my E92

My E46's were very special to me and that platform is very good handling car for its time. However, there is no denying that advancements in technology has made current cars just as good (performance wise that is).

Before I bought my current car I was considering both an E92 M3 and the 6th gen Camaro 1LE. I drove a very clean low mile stock E92, then the 1LE within a few days of one another. Fact is the 1LE chassis is simply amazing and made the stock E92 seem very underwhelming. The chassis was not as good as the 1LE and the sheer brutality of the power of the Camaro won me over. Frankly it was not close. The clincher was I paid $38K for a brand new car.

Fast forward 9 months and I had slight buyers remorse. While the car's driving dynamics were literally mind blowing, when not driving hard it was just not a nice place to spend time in. I had a heavily modified 5th gen as well (500whp) so i was used to the lack of visibility, but the 6th gen was even tighter inside which exacerbated a characteristic that is very poor to begin with. Also the body panel fit and finish (particularly the drivers door and front fender) at least on mine was horrendous. Pretty disappointing for a brand new car.

In March of this year I started trolling the internet for a perfect E92 (the car I have lusted after for a very long time). Despite how I felt on the test drive of the stock one, the E92 M3 provides the feeling I was looking for all along. I found my current car on Bring a Trailer. Honestly I felt like I won the lottery finding a car with only had 19K on it, in space grey, Brembo's, F14's, exhaust, etc. Plus the guy gave me all of the stock parts.

To sum it up the E92 is superior to the E46 M3 in every way, but the Camaro, at least the 1LE a far superior dynamically than both of the BMW's. I know there will be many here that will dispute this claim, but sorry to the close minded brand loyalists. It's true!
Thanks for your input! Definitely can see how all of that is true
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      07-01-2019, 08:36 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spazzyfry123 View Post
This post has me going

What are you asking?
HAHA long story short I just want opinions from people that have owned or driven some of those cars mentioned so I can get a better feel for what they're like as opposed to just googling numbers and reviews etc.
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      07-01-2019, 08:40 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by New2Roundel View Post
Yeah, I couldn't make heads or tails out of it. I can say one thing, unless I was a M3 fanatic (which I'm not), I would never own both an e46 and e92 together. They are just too similar. I'd rather go with something vastly different (like a Wrangler) or just a different approach to performance---corvette, Mustang GT w/ PP2, Cayman.

I have a grand cherokee SRT and I love how differently it drives than the e92. And yet, both are really entertaining in their own way.
Fair enough! Yeah a Grand Cherokee SRT definitely sounds like a fun time haha
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      07-01-2019, 07:44 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3R1 View Post
I have owned many cars, particularly the cars listed in the OP. I would say I know exactly how each of these car stack up against one another. Just for perspective I've owned:

6 Camaro's total, the last one was a 2018 1LE.
2 E46 M3's
Currently my E92

My E46's were very special to me and that platform is very good handling car for its time. However, there is no denying that advancements in technology has made current cars just as good (performance wise that is).

Before I bought my current car I was considering both an E92 M3 and the 6th gen Camaro 1LE. I drove a very clean low mile stock E92, then the 1LE within a few days of one another. Fact is the 1LE chassis is simply amazing and made the stock E92 seem very underwhelming. The chassis was not as good as the 1LE and the sheer brutality of the power of the Camaro won me over. Frankly it was not close. The clincher was I paid $38K for a brand new car.

Fast forward 9 months and I had slight buyers remorse. While the car's driving dynamics were literally mind blowing, when not driving hard it was just not a nice place to spend time in. I had a heavily modified 5th gen as well (500whp) so i was used to the lack of visibility, but the 6th gen was even tighter inside which exacerbated a characteristic that is very poor to begin with. Also the body panel fit and finish (particularly the drivers door and front fender) at least on mine was horrendous. Pretty disappointing for a brand new car.

In March of this year I started trolling the internet for a perfect E92 (the car I have lusted after for a very long time). Despite how I felt on the test drive of the stock one, the E92 M3 provides the feeling I was looking for all along. I found my current car on Bring a Trailer. Honestly I felt like I won the lottery finding a car with only had 19K on it, in space grey, Brembo's, F14's, exhaust, etc. Plus the guy gave me all of the stock parts.

To sum it up the E92 is superior to the E46 M3 in every way, but the Camaro, at least the 1LE a far superior dynamically than both of the BMW's. I know there will be many here that will dispute this claim, but sorry to the close minded brand loyalists. It's true!
Its always the same story with GM cars. They look great on paper but the ownership experience eventually reveals the flaws that can't be overlooked.
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      07-02-2019, 09:04 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sephiroth View Post
Its always the same story with GM cars. They look great on paper but the ownership experience eventually reveals the flaws that can't be overlooked.
It's not really limited to GM though. I came to my M3 from a 2012 Mustang GT. Certainly not the handler that the 1LE camaros are, but with some mild suspension work, it was fun to toss around. And the coyote was fun to rev out. But when puttering around, it was a very spartan place to spend time. And then there were the details: surface rust on the entire underside of the car and no insulation or paneling under the dash board. It was a REALLY basic car. But then again, I paid $28k for a brand new car with 412 hp. Like for like, I would have needed an additional ~$35k to get 2 more hp and 100 lbs/ft less torque for the BMW.

At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. Pony cars are about cheap speed--plain and simple. If you expect the full package (excellent performance and excellent attention to detail) you have to pay for it. So yeah, I don't think it's a GM thing. It's a pony car thing.
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      07-02-2019, 07:00 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sephiroth View Post
Its always the same story with GM cars. They look great on paper but the ownership experience eventually reveals the flaws that can't be overlooked.
Quote:
Originally Posted by New2Roundel View Post
It's not really limited to GM though. I came to my M3 from a 2012 Mustang GT. Certainly not the handler that the 1LE camaros are, but with some mild suspension work, it was fun to toss around. And the coyote was fun to rev out. But when puttering around, it was a very spartan place to spend time. And then there were the details: surface rust on the entire underside of the car and no insulation or paneling under the dash board. It was a REALLY basic car. But then again, I paid $28k for a brand new car with 412 hp. Like for like, I would have needed an additional ~$35k to get 2 more hp and 100 lbs/ft less torque for the BMW.

At the end of the day, you get what you pay for. Pony cars are about cheap speed--plain and simple. If you expect the full package (excellent performance and excellent attention to detail) you have to pay for it. So yeah, I don't think it's a GM thing. It's a pony car thing.
I agree it is a pony car thing. When i was younger the emphasis was on the performance only. Dollar for dollar, there is really no car that can compare. Out of the box my 1LE was a spectacular all around performance car. Now that I am getting old , I just don't "love" them like when i was younger...

This is just my opinion of course...
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      08-15-2019, 06:43 AM   #20
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I recently had the opportunity to drive a 2019 Camaro SS followed by F80 M3 both for 200 miles each within a span of 5 days. I daily drive an e92 M3 6MT.

Here are my thoughts:

F80 feels more raw, less GT feel, more connected to the road due to stiffer/solid bushings. It feels urgent because of turbos. Sounds good when driven aggressively but not when driven normally/cruising.
Fast, raw, urgent, agile but does not sound good!

Camaro SS feels more GT, less connected to the road feel (less feedback through the chassis) than F80 & maybe even e92. Camaro clearly feels bigger in the corners compared to both F80 & e92, therefore pushing hard into corners takes time getting used to.
V8 NA engine is smooth & linear response just like e92 but induction/engine sounds somewhat muted/muffled inside the cabin, in spite of having an induction tube between engine compartment & cabin.
Fast, NA engine feel but heavy, less chassis feedback but more comfortable cruiser.

E92 NA V8 feels & sounds special pretty much all the time. Induction/engine sounds louder as you rev higher, redlines at 8300 rpm. Drives more connected than SS but less so than F80. Does not feel urgent/fast when driving in traffic/less than 4000 rpm, so you'll have to downshift frequently in traffic which neither you nor the car would like but if you drive it on open roads where you are able to rev it out to 6000 rpm or higher in pretty much every gear, it's wonderful - S65 V8 truly feels special then & never gets old!
E92 also cruises comfortably for DD/long drives.
Nothing feels unnatural or artificial about it.
E92 - special feeling & sounding engine, fast & urgent & sounds great when able to rev over 4000 rpm frequently, less connected feel than F80 but more comfortable/natural feeling than F80 when cruising/commuting.

Have fun deciding which one you want.
I personally would choose e92 over SS every time!
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      08-20-2019, 08:16 PM   #21
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I can hopefully shed some light on your situation as I currently own both a manual 2005 E46 M3 ZCP and a DCT 2011 E92 M3 ZCP.

As some people have previously mentioned, the two cars are very similar on paper, yet I find that their driving styles are vastly different from one another. I would agree with your assessment of the E46 in that "it's older, more raw, more mechanical, more thrilling". I love the E46 for all of those reasons. It is a truly mechanical driving experience with just enough power to still be thrilling to drive.

As for the E92, the power, noise, and presence make it feel like a German muscle car. With that being said, I've driven the new Camaros, Mustangs, Challengers, and Chargers, and the E92 blows them all out of the water in terms of the precision and feel that I get from driving it. That's solely my opinion, but I wouldn't ever trade my E92 for one of them.

If you're afraid that the E92 is going to feel too much like the American muscle cars, I would tell you not to worry. Furthermore, I've loved having both an E92 and an E46. I can see how it might be nice to compliment the E46 with something a bit different (Jeep, Land Rover, etc), but if you want another sports car that is going to give you an equally fun yet different driving experience, pull the trigger on an E92.
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