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·clyde·
11-15-2003, 07:30 PM
So, JST and I swapped cars for today’s autocross. Interesting.

Overall, while I have better insights into the E46 M3 than I did before, the exercise mostly served to reinforce my initial impressions. It’s a fine grand tourer and it would make for a very nice commuter car, but it would never make the long list of choices for my “fun car,” let alone the short list. After pressing the car hard (but still just a tad shy of 100%…which is not to say that I got just under 100% of its max potential out of it) I can comfortably say that it’s too soft, too numb, too refined and filled with too much non-essential crap that makes it too nice as well to be capable of being fun for fun’s sake.

I think that BMW may have made a car that’s too good for it’s own good (expect the sunroof SUCKS!!!).

Hopefully the M1 or M2 will make for a spiritual successor to the E30 M3. The E46 just ain't there.

glaws
11-15-2003, 09:04 PM
Hmph - well I have a different view, of course. The M3 is a compromise and, I think a very good one. I can only afford one car and the M3 fills a lot of rolls for me. Is it a supurb grand tourer? No, a little too stiffly sprung and noisy. Is it an excellent commuter car? No, too expensive to maintain for that. A pure track car? Nahh. I will tell you what I think it is - simply the best all around Sports Coupe in it's price range in the world. When I drive the car I am aware that I am faster than almost anything out there. That I can take corners at speeds that would have most folks hanging upside down from their seatbelts trying to breath around their airbags. And I can stop shorter, if need be, than most anything else. Oh, and by the way, I dont have a sunroof. :D

·clyde·
11-15-2003, 09:27 PM
Hmph - well I have a different view, of course. The M3 is a compromise and, I think a very good one. I can only afford one car and the M3 fills a lot of rolls for me. Is it a supurb grand tourer? No, a little too stiffly sprung and noisy. Is it an excellent commuter car? No, too expensive to maintain for that. A pure track car? Nahh. I will tell you what I think it is - simply the best all around Sports Coupe in it's price range in the world. When I drive the car I am aware that I am faster than almost anything out there. That I can take corners at speeds that would have most folks hanging upside down from their seatbelts trying to breath around their airbags. And I can stop shorter, if need be, than most anything else. Oh, and by the way, I dont have a sunroof. :D

It's a BMW...like pretty much all the rest of them, it's an Ultimate Compromise Machine. Haven't we all reached a common understanding on that yet? :dunno: :D

It may be purely a function of the tires, but the M3 did not feel like it was getting around turns at noticeably higher speeds than my wagon and it certainly didn't stop as short as my wagon. It has a hell of a lot more power, though, so it gets out of the turns faster and gets you to the next corner sooner.

Smart guy on foregoing the sunroof :thumbup:

Parrain
11-16-2003, 04:26 AM
Ok, I'll bite; what isn't a compromise?? Other than an F1 car, I don't really know of any.

Ferrai has started to sell functioning F1's and will provide mechanical repairs, so there's always that option. Other than that there are pro shifter karts and of course the Ariel Atom and the Elise. None of those options are practical though.

AF
11-16-2003, 06:16 AM
I don't think you are giving it a real chance . .. you are judging the M3 by how it drove on the Autocross . . .
How about driving it in the in the real world where there are bumps in the roads, curves that are long and sweeping, cars on the road that you need to avoid or just in general 'real world' driving.

A race car which has no compromise on the race track is not the kind of car you want to drive around in for 99.9% of your daily driving which is done off the track.

Drive around an M3 for a week in your daily life and then tell me what you think . . .

Parrain
11-16-2003, 06:33 AM
"concept that was the e30 M3 is alive and well...it just happens to be made in japan, by subaru and mitsubishi."

The WRX and forgive me, what mitsu?

The WRX is a great drive (so I've read) and is probably one of the most awesome cars around in terms of having a high limit, but it can't be compared to a Bimmer. They are just different animals, no? Have you seen the WRX interior? They had to compromise on the comforts of the car (the looks too...I'm biased). So it's still a compromise, which is what seemed to bother Clyde.

I agree with AF330i, no car can be judged on one drive and all (vast majority of) cars should be seen as a compromise among practicality/looks/safety/performance, etc. Wouldn't you agree that an Atom and an Elise are even more of a go kart on steroids?

Alex Baumann
11-16-2003, 07:06 AM
The WRX and forgive me, what mitsu?


I think he was referring to the EVO.

rost12
11-16-2003, 07:15 AM
I think he was referring to the EVO.

Just a random fact - Evo VII FQ 300, got second place in Car UK's "Performance car" shoot-out. Well about M3 CSL, I might add :)

Alex Baumann
11-16-2003, 07:21 AM
Just a random fact - Evo VII FQ 300, got second place in Car UK's "Performance car" shoot-out. Well about M3 CSL, I might add :)

Yup, the CSL smashed almost every record on the handling course :)

That being said, I'd prefer a BMW on the Autobahn over a Mitsu, Subaru, Kamikaze or Harakiri any day.

Betcour
11-16-2003, 07:59 AM
There's one and only one thing I hate about this car : it's the #2 most stolen car here (relative to the number of cars on the roads), which means you have some chances to get real troubles from it. Plus, all the (successful) 20 yo drug dealers drive one, so it doesn't carry that much of a good image :eek:

nowonder
11-16-2003, 08:55 AM
Back to the original topic... This is a problem for BMW. They would like to build no-compromise racers for the road, but the market for specialty versions of the cars is too big to be ignored...

This is how they could do it: Bring Alpina to the US in greater numbers. Make it the luxury-performance-specialty brand that people drool over (wouldn't be hard to do). Then change the M cars back to what they were mean to be, the racers... Drop the leather, remove the weight.

--nw

glaws
11-16-2003, 09:03 AM
Back to the original topic... This is a problem for BMW. They would like to build no-compromise racers for the road, but the market for specialty versions of the cars is too big to be ignored...

This is how they could do it: Bring Alpina to the US in greater numbers. Make it the luxury-performance-specialty brand that people drool over (wouldn't be hard to do). Then change the M cars back to what they were mean to be, the racers... Drop the leather, remove the weight.

--nw

Nahhhh, Alpina is a very small specialty car mfg. and doesn't have the capacity to import to the US in any large numbers.
The M3 has been very successful and BMW has no incentive to change anything.

ObD
11-16-2003, 10:02 AM
Ok, I'll bite; what isn't a compromise??

The only thing that is compromised is a lack of objectivity. :rofl: The bottom line is the M3 is faster.

jderry
11-16-2003, 01:03 PM
I agree with Clyde. BMW is compromising in many departments. I think BMW enthusiasts (ones that actually track their cars) make up maybe 10% of the sales (being optimistic here). 90% of BMW owners care more about 20 way power seats (did you see that option for the E60 5-series?? :yikes:) ... adequate cup-holders, rain-sensing windshield wipers, heat seaters, NAV, etc, etc.

My coworkers -- although I've dragged them to HPDE's and auto-x's (fighting and clawing mind you) -- could care less about handling. I took a 1993 2.6 190 MB and outhandled them in their E46 M3's just to prove my point that they needed to come out to the auto-x and HPDE events.

Many people these days want creature comforts and I can't blame them. I sit in beltway traffic (clear day) sometimes up to 1-2 hours for no damn reason. Cars come with more power; but, with increased traffic, where can you utilize it? From stoplight to stoplight?

Handling wise ... you can't trust anyone on the roads to not cut you off, slam on the brakes in the middle of a turn, etc. Look at BMW sales, do you think they really care about so-called purist driver's???

Mr. The Edge
11-16-2003, 01:07 PM
so, stop buying BMW's.

what's the big deal? they're just a car company--you have no reason to stay loyal to a brand that you feel does not make the kind of car that you want.

Pinecone
11-16-2003, 04:01 PM
Funny you should think the M3 stops not as well as your wagon. All the tests put it as one of the best stopping cars available.

Maybe because you were going faster? :)

I just got back from VIR, where a basically stock M3 was able to keep up with and pass full race cars. Not bad for a GT car. :)

Nick325xiT 5spd
11-16-2003, 04:20 PM
Funny you should think the M3 stops not as well as your wagon. All the tests put it as one of the best stopping cars available.

Maybe because you were going faster? :)

I just got back from VIR, where a basically stock M3 was able to keep up with and pass full race cars. Not bad for a GT car. :)
I think it has something to do with the fact the 225 contisports are never going to slow a car as well as 225 Azenis Sports.

glaws
11-16-2003, 04:29 PM
This argument of E30/E36 M3's vs E46 M3's will probably never be resolved. But hey - they are all BMW's :D

JST
11-16-2003, 06:23 PM
Here are my thoughts from the event (from a post on another board):

The 325xiT (which is what Clyde has) is a very competent autocrosser. The AWD system offers a pretty noticeable advantage, even for a relatively underpowered car on dry pavement. The chassis balance is quite good, and the steering feel is actually better than in my car (though there is a bit more boost on tap). It's unclear how much of this is down to the tires (Azenis v. Conti), but that's probably some of it.

Driving a 325ix requires a big adjustment in driving style. With the M3, the primary concern is throttle modulation. You always have enough power to break the rear end loose, so getting the power down without swapping ends is your perennial balancing act. The xiT, OTOH, doesn't have much power, but is much more capable of using what it does have. Where caution with the throttle would be called for in the M3, it pays to boot it in the xiT--the AWD system digs the car out of the corner. It's kind of cool, actually. Launching is tough, though--I never did get a good launch, not wanting to beat the hell out of Clyde's clutch.

What would I change about the xiT? It *needs* more power. A 3.0 would be nice, and the 3.2 would be even better. It needs to be lowered a bit, too, and have stiffer anti-sway bars. Be nice if it didn't weigh so much. And it's a good thing throttle modulation isn't so important, because the throttle pedal is a lot less responsive than the one in the M3.

But the fundamental chassis is quite good, and people should not scoff at the advantages of AWD, even on dry pavement. I'd like to put a slightly siffer suspension on a 330xi and see what it could do.

Oh, FWIW, my fastest time was a 61.1XX. Clyde's was a 58.5XX, +1 cone. But those numbers are a bit deceiving--we were talking after the event, and agreed that the limits of the 325 are easier to approach than those of the M3, and thus its easier to go from an M3 to a 325 than vice versa.

_____________

The stopping and handling issues that Clyde identifies can largely be explained by the tires. Clyde has Falken Azenis tires on the wagon; I have ContiSport (originals), that have about 14K miles on them. Their grip has been deteriorating badly, and they're really hard and non-grippy when it is cold (it was about 45 deg. Saturday when we were running). I'll be replacing those before the next season.

The biggest problem *I* have with the M3 is how much it costs. Autocrossing the xiT reminded me just how solid even the basic E46s are, and in the value-for-money equation a 31K 325 is a much more compelling story than a 54K M3.

From a "you can only have one car to do everything" standpoint, there just isn't anything currently made that is even a realistic alternative to the M3. The S4 is heavier, bigger and slower. The various Mercedes (CLK55, C32) are softer and cost substantially more. The 911 is much more expensive, only marginally better performing, and offers no interior room (in comparison). Even the M5, though offering more room, isn't much if any faster, and is nowhere near as fun to drive.

Put simply, the M3 can do everything I want it to. It can carry four or five people if I need it to. It can carry flat packet furniture from Ikea. It can do a 250 mile DC-NY slog with ease. And it will slam you back into your seat at will.

OTOH, I understand what Clyde is saying. If what you want is a focused performance car, the M3 is not the right choice. It's too luxurious and costs too much. A Mini or something that starts with Z and ends with 06 would be more satisfying on the track (especially on the autocross course, which is ill-suited to the M3's strengths).

So, the M3 is a superlative compromise; really, this is just an extension of the M road car legacy, which started by bolting racing engines into big sedans and coupes in order to create very capable, very fast luxury sports tourers.* If BMW is the Ultimate Compromise Machine, then the M3 is the ultimate BMW.



* In this sense, the E30 M3 is an aberration, rather than the rule, and all this talk of getting back to the "roots" with the M2 really misses the mark. But that's for another thread.

·clyde·
11-16-2003, 06:55 PM
I don't think you are giving it a real chance . .. you are judging the M3 by how it drove on the Autocross . . .
How about driving it in the in the real world where there are bumps in the roads, curves that are long and sweeping, cars on the road that you need to avoid or just in general 'real world' driving.

A race car which has no compromise on the race track is not the kind of car you want to drive around in for 99.9% of your daily driving which is done off the track.

Drive around an M3 for a week in your daily life and then tell me what you think . . .

I have driven E46 M3s in regular, normal driving conditions. I've said that it's a great commuter and road trip car (provided my luggage would fit). It's precisely because of what makes it good at those tasks that prevent it from filling the role of a no nonsense, visceral "sports car" (or similar, depending on definition). Where the M3 is soft and muted like an iron fist in a velvet glove, I am looking for just the iron fist. A race car, in comparison would be an iron fist wrapped in barbed wire.

·clyde·
11-16-2003, 07:10 PM
"concept that was the e30 M3 is alive and well...it just happens to be made in japan, by subaru and mitsubishi."

The WRX and forgive me, what mitsu?

The WRX is a great drive (so I've read) and is probably one of the most awesome cars around in terms of having a high limit, but it can't be compared to a Bimmer. They are just different animals, no? Have you seen the WRX interior? They had to compromise on the comforts of the car (the looks too...I'm biased). So it's still a compromise, which is what seemed to bother Clyde.

I think that you mean the WRX STi. I have autocrossed an STi but not driven it on the street. In short, the STi knocked me on my ass. Everything about the car (except turn in) was manic. It really blew me away. It was a lot closer to that no compromise ideal that I want.

Hmm...maybe it would be more accurate for me to say that the compromise balance should be tilted much more heavily toward performance, leaving rough edges on much of the car and its experience. At the same time, much less emphasis ought to be placed on the luxury type appointments.

Wouldn't you agree that an Atom and an Elise are even more of a go kart on steroids?

Not familiar enough with the Atom, but the Elise turns me on...a lot.

racerdave
11-16-2003, 07:16 PM
Clyde-o,

Well, could it be that the M3 is just out of it's element a bit?

It's rather heavy for an autocross, where weight means a LOT. (not that the 325iT is light) But on a *track* I bet the M3 would be a lot more impressive... more room to stretch it's legs, less abrupt transitions to underscore it's pork and "soft" suspension.

BTW... how is an M3 *softer* than a 325iT?? Or was it just not as firm as you expected it to be?

FWIW, I have the autocrossing solution that would be a *perfect* fit for you and your 325iT. And there's no way on earth you'd ever call it "soft."

A F125 shifter kart!

It's easily towable behind a small car on a 5x8 flatbed trailer... and talk about a pure racing machine. I've never driven anything (including RX-7tt, Corvettes, ITS 240Z, SCCA GT3 car) that is as involving on an autocross course. Steering response is tremendous, acceleration is great, braking is great, cornering power is insane...

And it's pretty cheap to operate too, meaning you could just use your wagon as a daily driver and save the wear-and-tear of the autocross couse for the kart.

Oh, and it eats Z06s (which eat M3s) by about 3-4 seconds on a 60-second course. And lest you think it's slow on a road course, the 125 shifters at Road America run similar times to SCCA E-Production cars.

Ok, so I'm biased because I have one and I'm addicted to it.

But drive one... once you have, you'll never go back to "stock" cars again... even nice ones like the E46 M3.

:thumbup:

Jetfire
11-16-2003, 07:26 PM
JST is on to something here, and it jives with what I've been thinking recently. Let's consider all of the PRODUCTION-BASED M cars that BMW have produced over the years (leaving out the obscure ones):

-M5 (E28)
-M3 (E30)
-M5 (E34)
-M3 (E36)
-M5 (E39)
-M3 (E46)

Seriously, there is only one car in the family that sticks out: the E30 M3. I'm not saying this because I own one, either. All of the other cars were designed to be comfortable cars with class-leading performance -- basically, BMWs first, speed demons second. The E30 M3 was conceived and designed specifically for BMW's racing effort (like the extremely rare MB Evo from the same era). Yes, it came from the factory with all E30 options, but the engineers clearly had no intention of producing a sporty BMW. They wanted to produce a race car.

Of course, that was almost 20 years ago. A lot has changed, and today an E46 M3 can be faster than her E30 sibling while keeping the stereo volume comfortably low, the cabin cool, and seats comfortable. The tradeoff is that the car does not feel or drive like a race car, and from the sales numbers, it's more than obvious why BMW wants it this way. It's progress. The current M3 is an effective jack of all trades, just like all other M cars before it.

...all but one.

·clyde·
11-16-2003, 07:33 PM
Funny you should think the M3 stops not as well as your wagon. All the tests put it as one of the best stopping cars available.

Maybe because you were going faster? :)

Nick's a lot closer to the truth. If the comparison was between the M3 shod with the OEM ContiSports vs. my wagon with the OEM RS-A all seasons, it wouldn't be a contest.

I just got back from VIR, where a basically stock M3 was able to keep up with and pass full race cars. Not bad for a GT car. :)

Without details, what is that anecdote supposed to tell me? Tell me who the drivers of all the cars were (or, rather, their experience levels and backgrounds), what kinds of race cars they were (they weren't spec Miatas, were they?) and whether they were being driven full out and it becomes a bit more meaningful.

Still, I never said that the E46 M3 wasn't fast around a course (although imagine how much faster it would be if it weren't saddled with all of that foo-foo crap :D). That's not the point. It's about the feel and the experience.

·clyde·
11-16-2003, 07:46 PM
Clyde-o,

Well, could it be that the M3 is just out of it's element a bit?

It's rather heavy for an autocross, where weight means a LOT. (not that the 325iT is light) But on a *track* I bet the M3 would be a lot more impressive... more room to stretch it's legs, less abrupt transitions to underscore it's pork and "soft" suspension.

BTW... how is an M3 *softer* than a 325iT?? Or was it just not as firm as you expected it to be?

My xiT does not belong on an autocross course. It weighs ~200lbs more than the M3. The the entire E46 line does as well as it does is a testament to how well the platform works.

I expected it to feel more firm than my wagon, but it didn't. How BMW and the M division managed that, I do not know. :dunno:

A F125 shifter kart!


This is a future possibility.

·clyde·
11-16-2003, 08:08 PM
Put simply, the M3 can do everything I want it to.

This is critical. It does everything that you want it to do. I suspect that there are many, many more like you than there are of people like me. I would like it if they built a car for me and those like me (and offered it at a reasonable price), but I don't blame them for building the M3 that they do...that's the car that they can sell.

A Mini or something that starts with Z and ends with 06 would be more satisfying on the track (especially on the autocross course, which is ill-suited to the M3's strengths).

The MINI doesn't do it for me in this regard (if I remember correctly). It doesn't have that feel that I'm yearning for. OTOH, it has (autocross) class competitiveness that the E46 M3 does not. It's not the the E46 M3 is ill suited to autocrossing, it just isn't classed favorably right now. Remember that the Rosecroft/Bowie/PGCC courses that you drove this year were all on relatively small lots and were correspondingly very tight. The SCCA courses this year were much more open and flowing and would have allowed the M3 to have reached its sweet spot. It still would have been trailing the C4 Corvettes, and maybe the Evos and STis but the car would have been happy.

If BMW is the Ultimate Compromise Machine, then the M3 is the ultimate BMW.

My opinion is that the 325xiT is an even better compromise, but that's in the eye of the beholder. :D

and all this talk of getting back to the "roots" with the M2 really misses the mark.

Until it's shown otherwise, I will hope (and probably put my name on some lists in case my hopes come true). :D

·clyde·
11-16-2003, 08:11 PM
Somebody stop me. :eeps:

Jetfire
11-16-2003, 08:27 PM
Somebody stop me. :eeps:

:throw:

pdz
11-16-2003, 10:16 PM
:throw:

: popcorn:

overall, the E46m3 is a great car, and no one will argue that.

i think that it's also not arguable, based on amenities, curb weight, and sticker, that it is also a GT, and not a sports car. the difference being likely weight, LACK of amenities, more feedback and even greater cost.

:D

the problem is: a bunch of us would willingly pay the extra $$$ for the more focused car. but there isn't one that exists in BMW's lineup, and that is the root of the problem, more so than the lack of focus of a GT car that does many things well.

p.s. keep bringing up the CSL, wiseguys. until it comes to the US, it's irrelevant in all of these threads. the next person who brings up a CSL will get GT-TWO or GT-THREE right back at you. you can counterargue cost, but really, if you can spend $57k, why not $85k-100k on a car? it's just as impractical an expense. and many people don't even pay for them as personal cars, many, many, many use them as "business" cars.

Mr. The Edge
11-16-2003, 10:19 PM
Somebody stop me. :eeps:
go buy an Elise :D

·clyde·
11-16-2003, 10:35 PM
p.s. keep bringing up the CSL, wiseguys. until it comes to the US, it's irrelevant in all of these threads. the next person who brings up a CSL will get GT-TWO or GT-THREE right back at you. you can counterargue cost, but really, if you can spend $57k, why not $85k-100k on a car?

Even $57k is too much. Yes, people will pay that much and more, but it isn't worth it, IMO. In today's dollars, $40k is just about the upper reasonable limit (derived by applying a complex and proprietary formula based on the average and median prices of all new cars. :eeps: ). Funny how the Elise slots in just below that.

·clyde·
11-16-2003, 10:36 PM
That's one of my top two perfect world choices, but the world ain't perfect.

Parrain
11-17-2003, 03:13 AM
I like the iron fist/glove/barbed wire analogy http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/images/smilies/thumb.gif


I don't think that BMW will make something like what you want again (maybe 1 series) because isn't that what aftermarket modders are for?
With mods, the consumer has the choice of taking the gloves off, but they must pay for it--though not in an absolute sense.

Pinecone
11-17-2003, 05:46 AM
Actually for autocross, I think there is a better kart. An RM-1 kart. Two speed, 125cc kart. Almost as fast as a 6 speed shifter kart, but less to deal with on the autocross course. Remember most A Mod cars are CVTs, no shifting.

As to the M3 on an autocross course, a lot depends on the course. A slow tight course is not its place (but it is also not a Z06s place). A more wide open course would bring the M3 (and unfortunately the Z06) more into its realm.

And yes, it is easier to move to a less capable car than to a more capable car and drive it fast with less seat time. Whne the driver of the faster car moves to the slower car, they will work the throttle to get what response they want. The driver of the slower car moving into the faster car may not have developed those throttle skills to keep them in line.

WRT stopping, a combo of more speed and worn Contis would make the M3 stop less well than the XiT.

WRT the track, the M3 is in its element there. It is almost as quick as anything in the corners, and much faster down the straights. Well driven 325 require the M3 to brake to not run over them down the straights, even when the drivers are evenly matched in the corners.

Bottom line, is there a perfect car? IMO no. Every car (incluing the E30 M3) is a compromise. Some less than others. You just have to decide what is more inportant to YOU and then look at cars to those strengths.

And while a 325i is a very nice car, for ME the M3 is a MUCH better choice. :)

racerdave
11-17-2003, 06:22 AM
Even $57k is too much. Yes, people will pay that much and more, but it isn't worth it, IMO. In today's dollars, $40k is just about the upper reasonable limit (derived by applying a complex and proprietary formula based on the average and median prices of all new cars. :eeps: ). Funny how the Elise slots in just below that.

57K is too much... considering a very good shifter kart package is 3-5K.

Sorry, but that kind of bang for the buck was too much for me to pass up... but that's just me.

racerdave
11-17-2003, 06:29 AM
Actually for autocross, I think there is a better kart. An RM-1 kart. Two speed, 125cc kart. Almost as fast as a 6 speed shifter kart, but less to deal with on the autocross course. Remember most A Mod cars are CVTs, no shifting.


:nono:

Nope. RM-1 will never be the answer. Kart motors are way too peaky.

Trust me on this one... you gotta be relatively near the top of the power band ("on the pipe") from the apex to exit of most corners to be fast. Anything less is wasting time. I spent some time not too long ago experimenting with just that and you've got to *use* all 6-speeds to be effective. 2 won't cut it. It might seem like the way to go, but it's not.

Now, if someone takes an RM-1 to Kansas and wins Nationals, fine. But I suspect that will be a cold day in Hades. :)

·clyde·
11-17-2003, 08:56 AM
As to the M3 on an autocross course, a lot depends on the course. A slow tight course is not its place (but it is also not a Z06s place). A more wide open course would bring the M3 (and unfortunately the Z06) more into its realm.

M3 v Z06 in this context is somewhat moot as long as the M3 is in AS and the Z06 is in SS. ;) Your point holds true, though, in that same classed cars *should* be affected equally by course design. Of course, we know that isn't quite always the case though.

WRT stopping, a combo of more speed and worn Contis would make the M3 stop less well than the XiT.

But when those worn Contis (and driver inexperience with the M3 as well, if you like) conspire to keep your speed down below the xiT's through a section that ends with heavy braking, what is the M3's excuse? :confused: My xiT with the Azenis stops shorter than JST's M3 with his Contis from the same speed. The way our cars are optioned, I suspect that the weight difference is probably in the neighborhood of 100 lbs (the big difference being JST's sunroof). For single shot braking performance, I'll take the 100 lb weight penalty and stickier tires on cars in the 3500 lb neighborhood.

pdz
11-17-2003, 09:00 AM
go buy an Elise :D

on paper, the elise looks like the answer, doesn't it?

the only on paper complaint i would have a priori is that having driven that powerplant in a celica GT-S, it is really peaky. i would guess it's less of an issue with a car weighing only 2200 pounds, but it'd be nice to have a flatter power curve.

just a minor-i've-not-driven-the-new-elise-complaint.

edit: the reason why it was so easy to part with the 993 is for precisely the same problem: too peaky and underwhelming specific power output given its displacement. the water pumper 3.6litre has it all over the 993 naturally aspirated engines in terms of power delivery.

JST
11-17-2003, 09:19 AM
M3 v Z06 in this context is somewhat moot as long as the M3 is in AS and the Z06 is in SS. ;) Your point holds true, though, in that same classed cars *should* be affected equally by course design. Of course, we know that isn't quite always the case though.



But when those worn Contis (and driver inexperience with the M3 as well, if you like) conspire to keep your speed down below the xiT's through a section that ends with heavy braking, what is the M3's excuse? :confused: My xiT with the Azenis stops shorter than JST's M3 with his Contis from the same speed. The way our cars are optioned, I suspect that the weight difference is probably in the neighborhood of 100 lbs (the big difference being JST's sunroof). For single shot braking performance, I'll take the 100 lb weight penalty and stickier tires on cars in the 3500 lb neighborhood.


The key here is "single shot." On the autocross courses that we run, none of the speeds are high enough or the runs numerous or close together enough to really challenge the brakes on the xiT. They have plenty of time to cool and never really get that hot. Theoretically, the M3 should be able to maintain more *consistent* braking distances as speeds and heat build, but that matters on the track more than it does on the autox course or the street.

I'm curious, though--which section did you feel the M3 had to be kept slower through because of the braking? The first chute leading to the slalom? The uphill section leading to the slight dogleg before crossing in front of the stop box? It would be instructive to have in car telemetry, because without it it is hard to know, but I'd be very surprised if the xiT managed to reach the same speed as the M3 in either of those sections (or, more importantly, managed to maintain the same or higher average speed through those sections).

The xiT with Azenii can make up some time on the M3 through the corners, but the acceleration of the M3 is so much stronger than the 325 that even if you are feathering the brakes a bit more at the end due to lack of grip I bet you're going faster in the straight bits in the M.

Mr. The Edge
11-17-2003, 09:22 AM
on paper, the elise looks like the answer, doesn't it?

the only on paper complaint i would have a priori is that having driven that powerplant in a celica GT-S, it is really peaky. i would guess it's less of an issue with a car weighing only 2200 pounds, but it'd be nice to have a flatter power curve.

you mean, a car weighing under 2000 pounds, right? :D

pdz
11-17-2003, 09:46 AM
you mean, a car weighing under 2000 pounds, right? :D

i'd just prefer the turbo miata because of the greater torque of a turbo --same idea, though, of lightweight and nice engine.

you don't think they'll up the specs to 2000 pounds with "safety" equipment for US elises?

Mr. The Edge
11-17-2003, 09:48 AM
i'd just prefer the turbo miata because of the greater torque of a turbo --same idea, though, of lightweight and nice engine.

you don't think they'll up the specs to 2000 pounds with "safety" equipment for US elises?

it's supposedly going to be 1975, which already adds about 300 pounds to the previous Euro version.

The new engine and AC is a big chunk of that, plus airbags etc.

·clyde·
11-17-2003, 10:06 AM
The key here is "single shot."

Absolutely. I'd rather have the M3 brakes in any track situation, but that's not where I'd be using the car.

I'm curious, though--which section did you feel the M3 had to be kept slower through because of the braking? The first chute leading to the slalom? The uphill section leading to the slight dogleg before crossing in front of the stop box? It would be instructive to have in car telemetry, because without it it is hard to know, but I'd be very surprised if the xiT managed to reach the same speed as the M3 in either of those sections (or, more importantly, managed to maintain the same or higher average speed through those sections).

I'm sure that the xiT would have been significantly slower at the braking points for those sections that you listed. Coming out of the long right circle into the finish, though, was a different story. I would have been faster exiting the circle than in the M3 and the following straight was too short to make up the difference in the M3 before braking for the stop garage...I believe I would have hit the lights with a higher trap speed in the xiT than in the M3.

For any of those sections, if the approach speed was the same for both cars, the xiT would have slowed in less time/distance.

The xiT with Azenii can make up some time on the M3 through the corners, but the acceleration of the M3 is so much stronger than the 325 that even if you are feathering the brakes a bit more at the end due to lack of grip I bet you're going faster in the straight bits in the M.

Absolutely. I don't think that I ever said different (with the sole exception of a situation where the straight isn't long enough to make up the difference). If I did, I must not have said what I meant.

(edit- changed "left circle" to "right circle" :banghead: )