I've owned my M3 since new April 2002 (it's not my first) and I won't be letting it go even as it approaches its fourth birthday. Bar a Porsche 996 Turbo or the new 997, or exotica costing over £100,000, its the best thing on 4 wheels you'll see or that most mortals could ever drive.
It doesn't score a five because there isn't enough about the interior to differentiate it from any other 3 Series coupe; reliability hasn't been perfect (rear suspension breakage; big-end change; passenger seat back fault; passenger seat belt housing change - all repaired under warranty). Also, the car can be so much better once you enhance the power output with some useful modifications.
Do get some high speed driver training, take the limiter off, find a track or go to Germany and beat a rich git and his exotica around the Nurburgring or just go for the experience. See how big your smile is... mine lasted for weeks.
Even the costs aren't bad (tyres £700-800 for a full set x 2; a set of new front discs; four oil/minor services £120-140 each; two major services £600-700 each (incl discs/pads once); lots of track days (don't tell the wife - cost hidden).
A lot more fun than a mistress. My last words - ditch most optional extras because they're unnecessary: 19-inch wheels look better but not for track days, and don't waste your money on a CSL/Cabrio if you're serious about driving it a lot. SMG is pants, too.
Like so many people before me in writing the report on the M3, it seems to kangaroo down the road when cold. My car which is now 3 years old has been in 3 times for this problem, yet the head technician has stated that all M3s do it.
It is also prone to pinking ie it is like having a bag of marbles shaking under the bonnet irrespective on what fuel I am running. It doesn't sound to cool if you are trying to impress people as you drive past.
I wish I had gone for the manual box instead of the SMG, the gear change can be violent, so much so my wife refuses to drive the car.
The plus points, It is very quick and looks stunning, and when you drive on motorways it commands respect on the road. Also servicing costs are reasonable.
Unfortunately it is not a day-to-day car and I am looking to change it. I paid £34k for it 18mths ago and was offered £23k yesterday. It has only done 37,000 mile and according to the dealer if it had had SAT/NAV he could have given me £24k WOW !!!
To summarise a great looking car, harsh ride, steer clear of the SMG box, get SAT/NAV and buy one that is 3 years old that is approx 50% cheaper than it was new.
I have noticed a couple of remarks regarding the resale value of these cars, and I can certainly add my own findings.
I have recently decided to change my 53-plate, 30,000 mile M3 coupe SMG. The best offer I've had was £24,000! Based on percentage values, this means that my partner's Alfa Romeo 147 which she part-exchanged for a new one in December actually did a lot better - now who would have thought that!
I was also somewhat upset because the part-exchange offer of £24,000 was from a Porsche dealer. My own local BMW dealer offered £23,000 despite having an almost identical M3 on the forecourt for £31,995 - so they wanted a £9000 mark-up.
I know Glasses Guide value the M3 SMG at a trade value of just under £29,000 this month, but where on earth they get that figure from I have no idea. I guess I'll have to find a new home for my M3 myself.
Bought the car new in Sept 2004, of the 8000 miles covered almost 1000 of these have been back and forth to the dealer for various problems, almost all electrical.
Last car was a BMW 325 Coupe, when sitting in the M3 you'd never know the difference between it or any other 3 series as the interiors are almost identical except for "chrome" surrounds to the clocks and an oil pressure gauge in place of the usual fuel economy gauge.
The "sport" button is a pain, there's no way of turning sport mode on permanently. I WANT my 343bhp and my crisp throttle response all the time, I dont want to have to remember to press a button to get it.
The Harman Kardon Hi-Fi upgrade is tosh. There's a button on the dash that (so the manual says) will widen my sound stage and provide an enhanced stereo field... the difference is so imperceptable it's laughable, except it's a 650 quid option.
I dont think the extra money for an M3 over say, a 330ci is justified. The M3 is a great car, but it's not 15K better than it's 3 litre sister.
There's plenty of grumble and grunt in both. I wouldn't call it a supercar either, it's not in the same league as a 911. Turn the key in an M3 and it's a 3 series with big wheel arches. turn the key in a 911 and you get butterflies.
Wouldn't buy anpther one, overall I'm not as impressed as I feel I should be for a near 50 grand car, I'd exchange it for an SLK 350 except it's lost 11 grand in 10 months, legendary BMW residuals indeed!
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