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E46 M3 (2001-2006)

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  #1  
Old 12-23-2005, 07:16 AM
Ventoux Ventoux is offline
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Question I want an M3. Opinions? Thoughts?

Hello there.
allow me to ramble. Im in my late 30's and am being told im undergoing a midlife crisis. Its great! Ive never been a 'car person', that was until i decided to buy a BMW.

Anywhow. I bought an '03 525i a few months back, and since the day i got it; 1. I never knew driving could be enjoyable and, 2. i knew i wanted a car with more power. So basically ive decided to sell the 525 and get a used M3 Coupe an '02-03.

A few questions. Ive yet to drive the M3. I realize the ride quality wont be as smooth as the 525, but is it harsh? Will it be a chore to drive on roadtrips over 2 hours? This will not be my daily vehicle that i work in. It will stay in the garage for the most part during the day.
How cramped is the back seat? Is it tighter than the 3 Series? The same? One reason i got the 525 over the 3series was back seat room. But, im finding that i rarely have back seat passengers, besides, im always in the front driving.

am i crazy?
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  #2  
Old 12-23-2005, 07:43 AM
Capial Capial is offline
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No you are not crazy!

I have not been or driven a 525 before. I got my car a week ago and love it so far. I came from an EVO, so the car feels very comfortable to me. My understanding is that with 05 they changed the suspension and the car feels softer, I canít tell you if that is a fact! If you are going to buy used, you may want to go with 18' wheels, I heard they make the car ride better as far as comfort compared to the 19í.

Back seat space can be and issue if you need to put 3 people in the back seat. I have two kids, they fit Ok, but I can't see putting anyone else back there.

Good luck!!
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  #3  
Old 12-23-2005, 07:49 AM
Ventoux Ventoux is offline
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Thanks, I should have mentioned that my 5 has the Sport Package, which is a stiffer suspension than the regular. My father has a regular suspension and said he could really tell a difference. To me its plush.

another question. I definitely want the SMG. I have never owned a manual trans. automobile. I do use the Steptronic some on my 525. Will learning the SMG be a struggle?
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  #4  
Old 12-23-2005, 07:53 AM
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Remember the 02's had engine failure in some cars.

I would stcik to an 03 or newer.

FYI, the car will be stiffer, ride a little rougher, and you will get more engine groans.

However, when you open it up, bring an extra pair of underwear, it's an awesome ride.

http://yoy.com/yoy/auto/m3_failure_index.html
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  #5  
Old 12-23-2005, 08:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ventoux
am i crazy?
No.

The ride is firmer than your 525 but the car won't beat you up on long road trips at all. There is no appreciable difference in ride quality between the stock 18" and 19" wheels (the 19's do look more bad azz).

Back seat...definitely adequate for 2 adults. The biggest downside is to having 2 people back there is the reduced performance of the car.

Regarding the engine failures...the '02's were not the only ones affected by them and this issue, for all intents and purposes, has been resolved. Affected VIN ranges have 100K mile warranties...if it does blow up, you get a new engine (if you think about it, that's not such a bad thing (and the dealers already have a lot of experience with that)).

SMG is not an automatic alternative; keep that in mind. You'll have to drive it yourself to determine whether you like it or not. Learning it is easy...but please don't baby the car by shifting under 4,500 RPM or cruising at under 2,500.
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  #6  
Old 12-23-2005, 08:53 AM
Ventoux Ventoux is offline
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i thought the SMG had an automatic mode? Is it similar to using the steptronic?
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrp
SMG is not an automatic alternative; keep that in mind. You'll have to drive it yourself to determine whether you like it or not. Learning it is easy...but please don't baby the car by shifting under 4,500 RPM or cruising at under 2,500.
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  #7  
Old 12-23-2005, 09:04 AM
LinkF1 LinkF1 is offline
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It is similar to driving a steptronic in manual mode when SMG is in manual mode, similar to a regular auto when in auto mode. My father is a long time manual driver and has absolutley no problem with the SMG and my mother has been a mostly auto driver (but she knows how to drive manual) also has no problem with it. You really need to go drive the SMG to tell if you like it. Honestly my dad thinks it is the greatest thing since sliced bread and doesn't see the need for an automatic transmissions at all anymore. That is his opinion and you have to drive it to form your own opinion.
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  #8  
Old 12-23-2005, 09:24 AM
sfca-325i sfca-325i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ventoux

another question. I definitely want the SMG. I have never owned a manual trans. automobile. I do use the Steptronic some on my 525. Will learning the SMG be a struggle?

I learned to drive on manual transmission cars and have a step in the X3. I can tell you that the SMG will not be a struggle to learn, other than aclimating your throttle foot. Off the line in first gear, the SMG is very sensitive to throttle movement. Easy to get the car bucking if you quickly release throttle. Other than that, don't be intimidated by SMG. It is a blast to drive and much more fun than the step.
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  #9  
Old 12-23-2005, 09:31 AM
Ventoux Ventoux is offline
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Anyone wanna buy an '03 525??
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  #10  
Old 12-23-2005, 12:39 PM
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I'm gonna buck the trend....YOU'RE F'N NUTZ! But you're the kind of nut we can appreciate around here.

My $.02:

Drive an SMG. As others have said, it is NOT a pure alternative to an auto, and there is/can be a very slight bit of a learning curve to get it smooth. The bucking off the line usually results from having the Sport mode 'on.' It has never happened to me off. This is a classic argument around here, but I find the SMG to be a great option, and I'm glad I got it. (do a forum search before the Crusties beat you down.) Plz plz plz don't buy one and drive it around in an A mode; unless you break your arm!

18"s vs 19"s. I have both, and switch them out from time to time. My butt at least tells me there is a difference, but 19"s certainly aren't going to be a ride nightmare. 19"s came equipped and they do fill the wheel wells nicely. If you are a frequent tire replacer for one reason or another, 18"s are more readily available, and cheaper.

It's not a people hauler. One adult in the back is about all I feel good about. I'm pretty tall though...and the weight!

When I first drove a friends M3 vert, I was underwhelmed by the performance. Because he isn't a 'car' guy, I didn't really wring it out. The S54 was designed to rev, and if you don't air it out, you WILL be disappointed. Let the banshee wail (or in this case rasp) and you'll have a bad (GOOD!) case of perma-grin.

I've had mine for a year and a half, and I gotta tell ya, I STILL just walk around it agog. Beautiful car and loads of fun.
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  #11  
Old 12-23-2005, 02:33 PM
Tp///M3 Tp///M3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ventoux
Hello there.
allow me to ramble. Im in my late 30's and am being told im undergoing a midlife crisis. Its great! Ive never been a 'car person', that was until i decided to buy a BMW.

am i crazy?
I'm 37 and don't sleep very well if I don't get to drive my m3 , get a test drive on the coupe, the handling is much better than your friend's vert.

I say go for an 03 with CPO for a peace of mind
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  #12  
Old 12-23-2005, 03:15 PM
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SMG is nothing like the Step. It is like riding in a manual tranny car while someone else is doing the shifting.
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  #13  
Old 12-23-2005, 04:42 PM
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Also the M3 interior is EXACTLY the same as the normal 3er 2 door. Same room, same seats, etc. A few mor eM badges though.

The SMG is NOT an auto and does not drive like one. MANY people who have bought SMG for its auto mode have NOT liked it. Most of those who bought it for its manual mode, like it or love it.

The M3 is a little harsher of sharp bumps, but is not a bad rie. I have done over 600 miles in one day and was ready for more. And for even more fun, slap on the TC Kline suspension for a better ride and better handling, a true win, win.

As for the engine failures, no big deal. All the cars in teh affected range have had a rod bearing service action done, and come with a 6yr, 100K mile engine warranty. Or in some cases, the engine went already and it has a BMW replacement engine, which was built to the newer specs. Either way, the engines seem to be lasting fine now.
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  #14  
Old 12-23-2005, 07:09 PM
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Mein Auto: 86 325es; 87 325iC; 06 M3
actually, the M seats make the interior a lot more comfortable for me over a 3 series.


I think my 06 M3 has cured my second midlife crisis....and I'll be 34 in March!

The first one was fixed by an 01 330i.
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  #15  
Old 12-24-2005, 04:10 AM
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The M seats are the same as teh premium 3 power seats.
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  #16  
Old 12-24-2005, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ventoux
another question. I definitely want the SMG. I have never owned a manual trans. automobile. I do use the Steptronic some on my 525. Will learning the SMG be a struggle?
This is the comment that worries me. Will learning SMG be a struggle? No, you'll get the hang of it sooner or later. But another critical question is "Will you enjoy driving the car with SMG?" This I'm not as sure of.

It seems to me that those who come to SMG from an automatic-driving background have often been less happy with SMG.
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  #17  
Old 12-24-2005, 10:10 AM
Stuka Stuka is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LMC
This is the comment that worries me. Will learning SMG be a struggle? No, you'll get the hang of it sooner or later. But another critical question is "Will you enjoy driving the car with SMG?" This I'm not as sure of.

It seems to me that those who come to SMG from an automatic-driving background have often been less happy with SMG.
If you are into gadgets and are a nerd, you will get a hang of SMG quickly. If you intend to buy it and use it in the auto mode exclusively or most of the time, I say get some other "sports cars" that can be had with a slushie, like the 350Z.

My buddy still can't drive a stick with a clutch pedal, but he understands the concept of downshift to get more power, and the fact that there is no torque convertor, so that if he tries to use the automatic mode, he knows that it is not as smooth. In fact, I don't think he has used the auto mode since he first got the car back in 04.

But really, who buys an SMG car and leave it in auto? I mean, how lazy can you get that you can click the paddle a few times in traffic?
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  #18  
Old 12-24-2005, 06:52 PM
Ventoux Ventoux is offline
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I dont plan to use the auto, but i was wondering if my GF would be able to drive the car. One problem is that there are no SMGs anywhere near me to even try out. For myself, im not that worried.

I have driven manuals before, but ive never owned one.

thanks for all the replies.
the fever is strong now. the 5 is already for sale.
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  #19  
Old 12-24-2005, 07:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ventoux
I dont plan to use the auto, but i was wondering if my GF would be able to drive the car. One problem is that there are no SMGs anywhere near me to even try out. For myself, im not that worried.

I have driven manuals before, but ive never owned one.

thanks for all the replies.
the fever is strong now. the 5 is already for sale.
Great thread and lots of helpful info has been offered already. Some of you guys are hitting the mid-life crisis pretty early. I think it's just an excuse to buy an M3 LOL

I have SMG II as well, and it took less than a day for me to get used to it. You're GF will do fine, but don't expect her to get the hang of it in 2 miles. It will probably help for you to get used to it and give her some tips. I've had numerous cars with manual transmissions, and I find the only difference is learning the timing of when to left of the throttle when shifting. You need to shift and then let off. If you shift and lift at the same time, the car will throw you forward just like if you lift before pushing in the clutch on a manual trans car.

I rarely use the automatic or assisted mode. I call that the Starbucks mode. LOL Up-shifting is fair, but downshifting sucks. I've found that if you anticipate the downshift and give it a little gas it will smooth out the downshift a little.

Go for it. You wont' be sorry. Feel free to contact us if you need anything and keep us in mind when the mod bug bites you.

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  #20  
Old 12-25-2005, 09:51 PM
SFLocalM3 SFLocalM3 is offline
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I've never been a 'car person' either. But I bought my bestfriend's M3 coupe and well...and I hate to admit it to him but...I am now officially a 'car person'. I haven't driven his 645i yet which may give me a closer comparison to your current car. But the M3 while an incredibly sporty ride, is a real pleasure to drive. I was worried myself since I drive in the City that it would be too...whatever. But it handles so well and it is just so comfortable to drive. The backseats are fine for most people...just put the 6'+ in the passenger side. The power and control of the car is what seems to have won me over.
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  #21  
Old 12-26-2005, 06:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinecone
The M seats are the same as teh premium 3 power seats.
No, they really are different. This is what happens when you ONLY drive M cars, you forget how the peasants live. The M3 seats have a different shape and extra bolstering around the hips & shoulders (I'm not sure if this applies to the vert though). Plus if you get leather with the M3 it's way better then the leather that comes in the regular 3 series.
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  #22  
Old 12-26-2005, 07:10 AM
Storm7 Storm7 is offline
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Mid Life Crisis

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ventoux
Hello there.
allow me to ramble. Im in my late 30's and am being told im undergoing a midlife crisis. Its great! Ive never been a 'car person', that was until i decided to buy a BMW.

Anywhow. I bought an '03 525i a few months back, and since the day i got it; 1. I never knew driving could be enjoyable and, 2. i knew i wanted a car with more power. So basically ive decided to sell the 525 and get a used M3 Coupe an '02-03.

A few questions. Ive yet to drive the M3. I realize the ride quality wont be as smooth as the 525, but is it harsh? Will it be a chore to drive on roadtrips over 2 hours? This will not be my daily vehicle that i work in. It will stay in the garage for the most part during the day.
How cramped is the back seat? Is it tighter than the 3 Series? The same? One reason i got the 525 over the 3series was back seat room. But, im finding that i rarely have back seat passengers, besides, im always in the front driving.

am i crazy?
================
I hope I'm around when you write about your mid life crisis at my age (59). Why not get it?
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  #23  
Old 12-26-2005, 11:03 AM
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I knwo the leather is different, but I thought that the sports seats were the same.
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  #24  
Old 06-08-2006, 09:19 AM
Ventoux Ventoux is offline
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Bumping this to remind myself why i need to get this car.
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  #25  
Old 06-08-2006, 04:57 PM
DJ_INHALE DJ_INHALE is offline
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just get one, its only a car, you will like it, they are fun, and dont let your wife (if you have one) tell you else.

do your research and look for a diamond~!


good luck
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