I have owned my BMW M3 for two years - it's a 2003 model. There have been a couple of little niggles - it needed a new starter and two new rear springs (the warranty covered these).
I'd suggest you get yourself RAC's Gold cover. Otherwise, it's superb.
Running costs are on the high side, but you don't buy an M3 for economy. It's by far the fastest non-turbo car I have ever driven, and although it kangaroos when cold, I can't find anything else to moan about. It's reliable, very fast and practical for the family.
I can't fault BMW's aftersales (brilliant). Will I sell it? Not on your nelly. Well, maybe for the new V8 version. (Neil Willerton, you should have bought the 911 4S if you wanted a turbo).
I agree with everyones problems with the SMG when engine is cold, so i what i do now is drive it in manual (mostly 2nd) until engine is warm - then enable SMG, and only use sport mode when 'playing'.
I have a 2003 model, that came with everything on.
My last car as a 2000 Ford Mondeo ST200; 205bhp, which was a good car (wolf in sheeps clothing) but this M3 is probably the best car i have ever owned. I even play with motorbikes.. and in some conditions win!
Negatives - well I accept like others that 24mpg is acceptable, and two tyres (I was amazed that front and rear are different sizes) cost me £400. it has yet to have a service... but i have been saving, and raiding the piggy bank.
The only other negative is that other 'sporty' drivers expect you to have a go --- unfortunately, i do.. hee hee.
Will i sell it ... i doubt it, unless my circumstances change ... but then i would sell the house first!
I own a manual, but I agree with the other drivers that you do get the odd misfire when the car is cold. I think it is related to the electrics as it always happens at the same point in my journey.
Performance :I can honestly say I need no more power. The car is faster than I am. The first few weeks I found myself driving around thinking "I am going to kill myself very quickly in this." but once I realised that the "Sport" button is not really necessary unless you are being pestered by a 911, then I started relaxing.
Economically : sure a Micra is cheaper to run, but you don't buy an M3 if you are trying to save cash. You know you are going to be buying fuel more often, and that any new rubber is going to be pricey. In the first few weeks I was getting 16 mpg, which was worrying. But once I started turning off the "sport" mode and gave up trying to do a "Hammond" every time I went out, it settled down to a more sedate 23.5, which I can live with.
The practicality is top. Let's face it, what else is going to give you this performance with room for the wife, kids and shopping for less than £50k. OK, an Impreza/Evo, but I don't want a car that looks like it was designed by Lego, and relies 100% on a Turbo charger the size of a Dyson.
In Summary - this is a car that will very happily port you and your loved ones down to Tesco's and then carry you all and your shopping back afterwards, drop them off, and then go out and re-enact the best bits from Gran Turismo.
I've had my M3 for 3 months (bought for girlfriend as our second car).
I echo everyones opinions re the kangarooing and its not even cold yet. It's very fast when you wind it up but thats the problem you have to wind it up, sometimes I wish it was turbo'd as well so you didn't have to change down for seriously rapid overtaking. But having said that the engine sounds great after 4000rpm.
The ride is very twichy on broken/poor surfaces at low speeds and that coupled with the drive by wire throttle probably explains some of the low speed kangarooing as your foot can bounce on the accelerator esp in sport mode.
The SMG box for me is great. Sure you have to concentrate to make smooth changes (like a manual) however nothing beats the feeling of setting the box to shift pattern 6 (DSC off) and changing gear at 8000rpm in 80 milliseconds just like Jenson!
19" wheels a must for looks 18" look puny
Will I get another? well its too early to tell but the forth coming V8 M3 looks tempting......
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