e46 M3 - thoughts?

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by micbain, May 27, 2008.

  1. visionology

    visionology Senior member

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    friend has an 04' Laguna Seca M3 and he's so so on it. Sure it's fast and corners like a champ but he hates driving it in traffic (the highways here are basically parking lots) and he said he was lucky he got the extended warranty up to 100,000 miles because the maintenance is high, he had to replace something in his front bumper and it was almost $2000. I think he is leaning towards dumping it for something else.
     
  2. micbain

    micbain Senior member

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    friend has an 04' Laguna Seca M3 and he's so so on it. Sure it's fast and corners like a champ but he hates driving it in traffic (the highways here are basically parking lots) and he said he was lucky he got the extended warranty up to 100,000 miles because the maintenance is high, he had to replace something in his front bumper and it was almost $2000. I think he is leaning towards dumping it for something else.

    Hmm. I suppose its all a trade off - I dont (won't) drive it for daily purposes. I intend to use public transit for work purposes and the car for play purposes. Even when I drove for work on a daily basis, I only put on 10,000 KM per year (about 6,000 miles). I gather if I use the car for pleasure only, I'd only put 5,000 KM per year. I don't think wear and tear would be that much nor would I need major servicing that often....or atleast thats what I assume...
     
  3. Huntsman

    Huntsman Senior member

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    It has always seemed to me that the greater beauties come with greater costs. The performance of a Ferrari doesn't come with the reliability of a Toyota. So we compromise....
     
  4. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

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    It has always seemed to me that the greater beauties come with greater costs. The performance of a Ferrari doesn't come with the reliability of a Toyota. So we compromise....

    And then, there's the NSX, which drives almost like a Ferrari, but has the reliability of a Honda.

    Jon.
     
  5. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    One more reliability thing I forgot to mention about the E46 BMWs: the various rubber bushings (especially in the steering system) tend to die pretty quickly. Some people use harder bushings to stiffen up the car and perhaps get more durability, but that can change the car's ride and handling significantly for the worse as all of the car's compliance (bushings, tires, as well as springs and damping) is tuned as a system.

    --Andre
     
  6. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    And then, there's the NSX, which drives almost like a Ferrari, but has the reliability of a Honda.

    Jon.


    An NSX does not drive like a Ferrari. Not even close. You are looking at 0-60 in the 4.8 to 5.8 range with an NSX, and trap speeds at the high end are going to feel very antique, very 1980s. An NSX might be said to handle like a Ferrari in slow speed events, say, autocross. Many mom and pop econo sedans circa 2008 are going to dust a typical NSX in a straight line.

    And who says an NSX is reliable? It doesn't "break down" a lot, but you are still looking at a maintenance commitment. It's the nature of the rare avis.

    Personally, I would much rather have a Honda S2000 than a Honda (or Acura) NSX.

    - B
     
  7. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    One more reliability thing I forgot to mention about the E46 BMWs: the various rubber bushings (especially in the steering system) tend to die pretty quickly. Some people use harder bushings to stiffen up the car and perhaps get more durability, but that can change the car's ride and handling significantly for the worse as all of the car's compliance (bushings, tires, as well as springs and damping) is tuned as a system.

    --Andre


    Yeah, bushings: that's how BMW gets things to handle well but feel compliant. Bushings are cheap to replace and improve though.

    My opinion is that the tuning of the stock E46 M3 sucks, and that you can spend less than $1K and make dramatic improvements. The stock E36 was a much better balanced car than the E46, despite being crippled in horsepower for the American market. BMW did not get it right with the E46 M3, except in the chassis and engine.

    Let's keep in mind that the E46 M3 is a souped up economy car, and that it's not like getting an Aston or a Ferrari.

    - B
     
  8. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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  9. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    An NSX does not drive like a Ferrari.

    I wouldn't claim that either, and handling like a Ferrari isn't necessarily a good thing. I would get an NSX because it's a relatively practical mid-engined, rear-wheel drive car, and all that implies. Its suspension design and tuning is also pretty singular. I'm not sure straightline drag racing is a fair assessment of its unique capabilities.

    My opinion is that the tuning of the stock E46 M3 sucks, and that you can spend less than $1K and make dramatic improvements.
    (snip)
    Let's keep in mind that the E46 M3 is a souped up economy car, and that it's not like getting an Aston or a Ferrari.


    That's a bit harsh, and I'm not sure anyone would make that kind of comparison. The tuning of the E46 M3 suspension does tend to the harsh side, but the E46 M3's capabilities in stock form is a big improvement over the E36 M3's, stock suspension or otherwise. The speeds you can carry into corners in a stock E46 M3 far outstrip what the E36 could do. And the stock E36 M3 is still one of the best handling cars today.

    As for the E46 3 series being an "economy car", I hope you were just using rhetorical hyperbole. Having worked on your car, I'm sure you've seen many things in the E46 that are not economical to implement.

    --Andre
     
  10. Roikins

    Roikins Senior member

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    friend has an 04' Laguna Seca M3 and he's so so on it. Sure it's fast and corners like a champ but he hates driving it in traffic (the highways here are basically parking lots) and he said he was lucky he got the extended warranty up to 100,000 miles because the maintenance is high, he had to replace something in his front bumper and it was almost $2000. I think he is leaning towards dumping it for something else.

    I got my '02 M3 new and drove it from the Perf Center in South Carolina back home to the SF Bay Area. 6 years later, I have over 135k and have taken the thing to the track on average of about once a month, although, this past year, I haven't been able to go at all due to a temporary relocation for work. Maintenance outside of warranty is costly, mostly for the Inspection services. I do all my own oil changes and brake work, and swapped out my suspension long ago for a more track friendly set-up. With that said, I probably spend about $1.5k/year on maintenance due to the 15k service intervals. If I only drove the car on weekends, I'd probably only be spending that 1.5k every 2 years.
     
  11. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    I wouldn't claim that either, and handling like a Ferrari isn't necessarily a good thing. I would get an NSX because it's a relatively practical mid-engined, rear-wheel drive car, and all that implies. Its suspension design and tuning is also pretty singular. I'm not sure straightline drag racing is a fair assessment of its unique capabilities.

    Your opinion is balanced and I do not disagree with it. For me, an NSX's merits just does not make up for the lack of umph. It is a wonderful car, nonetheless.


    That's a bit harsh, and I'm not sure anyone would make that kind of comparison.

    I indulge in owner's love/hate hyperbole.

    The tuning of the E46 M3 suspension does tend to the harsh side, but the E46 M3's capabilities in stock form is a big improvement over the E36 M3's, stock suspension or otherwise. The speeds you can carry into corners in a stock E46 M3 far outstrip what the E36 could do. And the stock E36 M3 is still one of the best handling cars today.

    Dang...how can I argue with a guy who knows his shit? I agree with all that, too, and the stock comparison becomes closer if we're talking the Euro E36, but still, I don't think that the stock E46 M3's handling is as magical as the stock E36 M3, even if it can brute force an ass-kicking around a course. An E36 is kinda...NSX-like.


    As for the E46 3 series being an "economy car", I hope you were just using rhetorical hyperbole. Having worked on your car, I'm sure you've seen many things in the E46 that are not economical to implement.

    --Andre


    Hah...well, it's all relative. I meant to say that unlike an NSX or even an S2000, the E46 chassis is meant to be a basic people mover...sure, a basic BMW people mover, which is a good thing. It's not purpose-built like the two Hondas, and I think it shows most in the weight penalty.

    All in all, the car that has given me the greatest whoopee factor is the Elise, but I can't imagine living with it every day like the M3...the M3 remains a brilliant compromise at its price point.

    And I really mean it when I say you can take about $1K and improve the experience of how the E46 M3 drives considerably.

    - B
     
  12. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    6 years later, I have over 135k and have taken the thing to the track on average of about once a month, although, this past year, I haven't been able to go at all due to a temporary relocation for work.

    You really rocked that M3, dude...that's great.


    - B
     
  13. jet

    jet Persian Bro

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    My M3 has been a huge commitment financially with lots of things going out/needing replacing as is typical with bmw motors. Do not take maintenance lightly and expect to spend a few thousand a year to maintain it.

    Nice RACs, my buddies were the ones who designed and had the wheels built.
     
  14. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    Nice RACs, my buddies were the ones who designed and had the wheels built.

    Chuck and Ralph are great guys.

    My RG-4s were the first in the country...I had them airshipped from Japan so I could get mine before Chuck got his.

    - B
     
  15. Roikins

    Roikins Senior member

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    You really rocked that M3, dude...that's great.


    - B



    And using RA1s wrapped around RAC RS110s at the track too. [​IMG]
     

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