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  #1  
Old 06-11-2004, 07:13 AM
JPinTO JPinTO is offline
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Test Drove CTS-V

Just got back from test driving the CTS-V

THE GOOD
The LS6 motor is fantastic. The motor gives you *NOW* acceleration at any rpm and any gear. Fantastically flexible motor yields a SAG grin and a very entertaining drive. There is no problem putting the power to the ground--- Traction control doesn't intrude excessively.

YOu can feel that the drive train has to deal with a lot of power. It grunts and balks almost like an M3's drivetrain at some power transitions... quite a bit less than the M3, but it's there.

The brakes are Extremely responsive. Much moreso than the M3's, IMO. Perhaps the numbers show differently, but those Brembo's can haul that car down viciously.

A "regular" CTS pulls up beside while stopped at a light, rolls down the window grinning and says "THAT's THE ONE!". Big smiles all around!


THE OK
The interior is acceptable. Nowhere near the style and refinement of the E46M3. Probably more in line with the newer BMW's. It won't win an E46M3's drivers heart, but it's not bad either.

A small thing, but the shift knob is too wide. It's meaty, but even with large hands, it's not easy to get your hand around it the way that you can on the M3. As a result, your hand positions don't come naturally.

The exterior styling is subtle, the wheels are nice, but don't look like 18"s. The CTS is a big car, so it could do with even bigger wheels. Subtle sedan makes for a bit of a sleeper car, considering the bruiser under the hood.


THE BAD
Once you are used to Euro car's hoods where the outside hood lines roll away form your sight line, it's bizarre to see the hood corners so prominent displayed on both sides. They protrude upwards almost as much as a Corvette's. It's like a pair of hood "hips" up there. Visually, driving it conveys a "big car" mass rather than a "sports car" lightness.

More than "visual mass", there's a noticable increase in actual mass over an E46M3. A LOT of extra mass. Nowhere near as tossable, nowhere near as nimble, the CTS-V fails to be a "driver's car". The weight bogs the vehicle down. The motor makes up for alot, but you've got to USE the LS6's brute force to compensate for the lack of fluidity. I don't know it's curb weight, and it could actually be less the weight and more chassis lethargy... but motor and brakes aside, there is no comparison between the 2 vehicles chassis.

The CTS-V's weight results in a driving style that is more comparable to a high powered SUV than a sports car. Of course, with enough time and familiarty, one would adapt one's driving style to work harmoniously with the CTS-V.... but a BMW it wasn't.
IMO, the M3 is like a scalpel, the CTS-V's is like a chainsaw.



THE CONCLUSION
I can see Corvette drivers being swayed by this 4-door cousin of Corvette. However, I can't see too many M3 drivers being swayed by the CTS-V. If you think your M3 is a overweight "pig"... you ain't seen nothing yet. The M3 is a comparative featherweight in tossability and drivability.

I'm not sure how Cadi is doing with CTS-V sales, but if they are low, I'm guessing that it's because of the 6-speed. The 6-speed wasn't anything to get excited over and was a bit of a contradiction with all that weight. They aren't going to attract the M3 buyer, so IMO a automatic is a must. I would think that SMG gearbox would do better with that vehicle.

It's good that Cadillac is building these types of vehicles, and I hope they do well with them. Unfortunately, while it was an amusing, highly entertaining test drive--- in the end, you walk away without much of a second glance. What it did though, was wet my appetite for the next gen V8 M3. That V8 torque and growl is intoxicating and is unlike any 6, even one as nice as the S54. Bring on the M3V8.

Last edited by JPinTO; 06-11-2004 at 07:22 AM.
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  #2  
Old 06-11-2004, 07:22 AM
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Thanks for the review...but isn't it better to compare the CTS-V to an M5?
  #3  
Old 06-11-2004, 07:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJAX
Thanks for the review...but isn't it better to compare the CTS-V to an M5?
Nice write-up and my thoughts exactly. CTS-V isn't going after the M3 market, although there will be many takers.
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  #4  
Old 06-11-2004, 07:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPinTO
I'm not sure how Cadi is doing with CTS-V sales, but if they are low, I'm guessing that it's because of the 6-speed.
CTS sales are blowing out expectations. This includes the V series. Cadillac sales in general are up over 30%.
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  #5  
Old 06-11-2004, 08:00 AM
JPinTO JPinTO is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJAX
Thanks for the review...but isn't it better to compare the CTS-V to an M5?
From the price point, I'd say the M3 and CTS-V would be cross shopped. Plus, I've never driven an M5, and thus can only give my subjective impressions against my M3.
  #6  
Old 06-11-2004, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPinTO
Just got back from test driving the CTS-V

THE GOOD
The LS6 motor is fantastic. The motor gives you *NOW* acceleration at any rpm and any gear. Fantastically flexible motor yields a SAG grin and a very entertaining drive. There is no problem putting the power to the ground--- Traction control doesn't intrude excessively.

YOu can feel that the drive train has to deal with a lot of power. It grunts and balks almost like an M3's drivetrain at some power transitions... quite a bit less than the M3, but it's there.

The brakes are Extremely responsive. Much moreso than the M3's, IMO. Perhaps the numbers show differently, but those Brembo's can haul that car down viciously.

A "regular" CTS pulls up beside while stopped at a light, rolls down the window grinning and says "THAT's THE ONE!". Big smiles all around!


THE OK
The interior is acceptable. Nowhere near the style and refinement of the E46M3. Probably more in line with the newer BMW's. It won't win an E46M3's drivers heart, but it's not bad either.

A small thing, but the shift knob is too wide. It's meaty, but even with large hands, it's not easy to get your hand around it the way that you can on the M3. As a result, your hand positions don't come naturally.

The exterior styling is subtle, the wheels are nice, but don't look like 18"s. The CTS is a big car, so it could do with even bigger wheels. Subtle sedan makes for a bit of a sleeper car, considering the bruiser under the hood.


THE BAD
Once you are used to Euro car's hoods where the outside hood lines roll away form your sight line, it's bizarre to see the hood corners so prominent displayed on both sides. They protrude upwards almost as much as a Corvette's. It's like a pair of hood "hips" up there. Visually, driving it conveys a "big car" mass rather than a "sports car" lightness.

More than "visual mass", there's a noticable increase in actual mass over an E46M3. A LOT of extra mass. Nowhere near as tossable, nowhere near as nimble, the CTS-V fails to be a "driver's car". The weight bogs the vehicle down. The motor makes up for alot, but you've got to USE the LS6's brute force to compensate for the lack of fluidity. I don't know it's curb weight, and it could actually be less the weight and more chassis lethargy... but motor and brakes aside, there is no comparison between the 2 vehicles chassis.

The CTS-V's weight results in a driving style that is more comparable to a high powered SUV than a sports car. Of course, with enough time and familiarty, one would adapt one's driving style to work harmoniously with the CTS-V.... but a BMW it wasn't.
IMO, the M3 is like a scalpel, the CTS-V's is like a chainsaw.



THE CONCLUSION
I can see Corvette drivers being swayed by this 4-door cousin of Corvette. However, I can't see too many M3 drivers being swayed by the CTS-V. If you think your M3 is a overweight "pig"... you ain't seen nothing yet. The M3 is a comparative featherweight in tossability and drivability.

I'm not sure how Cadi is doing with CTS-V sales, but if they are low, I'm guessing that it's because of the 6-speed. The 6-speed wasn't anything to get excited over and was a bit of a contradiction with all that weight. They aren't going to attract the M3 buyer, so IMO a automatic is a must. I would think that SMG gearbox would do better with that vehicle.

It's good that Cadillac is building these types of vehicles, and I hope they do well with them. Unfortunately, while it was an amusing, highly entertaining test drive--- in the end, you walk away without much of a second glance. What it did though, was wet my appetite for the next gen V8 M3. That V8 torque and growl is intoxicating and is unlike any 6, even one as nice as the S54. Bring on the M3V8.

Nice review. I agree generally with your sentiments. However, I am both an M3 owner and someone who would never buy a new M3 over a new CTS-V.

You are correct that the CTS-V is a bigger, heavier car than the M3. It is, in fact, much closer in size and intent to the M5 than the M3. But at least in normal driving, I did not find the size to be such a burden. It feels a bit bigger, heavier and more sluggish in the handling department than the M3, but not much...

...and look at what you get in return. 5 usable seats. A cavernous trunk. And grand touring highway manners that simply blow the M3 away. The M3 is already fairly compromised on the lightness front--if I'm going to buy a luxury-biased car, I might as well buy one like the CTS-V.

Moreover, comparably equipped the CTS-V is substantially cheaper than the M3. A loaded M3 will run 55 or 56 grand, whereas a CTS-V (which has much of the same equipment) is 52. Cadillac gives you a functional, easy to use nav system and XM standard, things that cannot be had on the M3 for any price. And the little touches (6 lug wheels, electronic tire pressure display, g meter, tranny temp gauge, etc.) are just so damn cool.

What it comes down to for me is this: The M3 is too big and heavy to be a really fun car to toss around. It excels as a day to day commuter, and is faster than snot, but doing things like autocrossing with it feels like teaching a pig to dance. The CTS-V is a better commuter and is faster. Sure it won't be a good autocrosser, but the M3 isn't, either, so what do you get going with the smaller, more expensive BMW?

I think that there are lots of folks like me who'll buy a CTS-V over an M3 (and certainly over an M5), use it as their touring car, and get their sports car fix with something really fun, like a WRX or RX-8.
  #7  
Old 06-11-2004, 10:15 AM
JPinTO JPinTO is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jw
CTS sales are blowing out expectations. This includes the V series. Cadillac sales in general are up over 30%.
Cool--- I hope GM does well. I know there are several in stock--- no wait time.
  #8  
Old 06-11-2004, 10:18 AM
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is Cadillac in trouble?

http://www.ls1tech.com/forums/showth...87#post1443687

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums...044#post110044

http://www.z06vette.com/forums/showthread.php?t=38736
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  #9  
Old 06-11-2004, 10:33 AM
JPinTO JPinTO is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JST
Nice review. I agree generally with your sentiments. However, I am both an M3 owner and someone who would never buy a new M3 over a new CTS-V.

You are correct that the CTS-V is a bigger, heavier car than the M3. It is, in fact, much closer in size and intent to the M5 than the M3. But at least in normal driving, I did not find the size to be such a burden. It feels a bit bigger, heavier and more sluggish in the handling department than the M3, but not much...

...and look at what you get in return. 5 usable seats. A cavernous trunk. And grand touring highway manners that simply blow the M3 away. The M3 is already fairly compromised on the lightness front--if I'm going to buy a luxury-biased car, I might as well buy one like the CTS-V.

Moreover, comparably equipped the CTS-V is substantially cheaper than the M3. A loaded M3 will run 55 or 56 grand, whereas a CTS-V (which has much of the same equipment) is 52. Cadillac gives you a functional, easy to use nav system and XM standard, things that cannot be had on the M3 for any price. And the little touches (6 lug wheels, electronic tire pressure display, g meter, tranny temp gauge, etc.) are just so damn cool.

What it comes down to for me is this: The M3 is too big and heavy to be a really fun car to toss around. It excels as a day to day commuter, and is faster than snot, but doing things like autocrossing with it feels like teaching a pig to dance. The CTS-V is a better commuter and is faster. Sure it won't be a good autocrosser, but the M3 isn't, either, so what do you get going with the smaller, more expensive BMW?

I think that there are lots of folks like me who'll buy a CTS-V over an M3 (and certainly over an M5), use it as their touring car, and get their sports car fix with something really fun, like a WRX or RX-8.
As I said, I can see a market for those wanting a 5-seat corvette.

However, I only have one requirement for my car: High speed commuter. As such, the M3 is perfectly sized, perfectly agile and perfectly capacious. The CTS-V would do nothing for me. The step down in esthetics is noticable to me. On turns, placing the M3 tire inches from a curb is brain dead simple, the CTS-V couldn't negotiate it without weight transfer and inaccuracy. The chassis, tranny & motor just work more harmoniously and more seamlessly on an M3, than the CTS-V.

Regardless, it drove great and it's the nicest Cadi I've seen, and shows their getting closer than ever before.

Around here, the M3 is identical in price to the CTS-V, perhaps with minor option differences-- but effectively identical in price, a mistake IMO from GM Canada. Here's some of the big financial negatives in my mind: minimal residual values downstream compared to the M3. Cadi's are notoriously lousy residuals-- you can pick up a 2 year old Escalade wholesale for peanuts if one wanted. Other negatives: much thirstier V8 motor compared to the I6.

So---- you are looking to replace your M3 with a CTS-V, really? Or just hypothetically? I mean, hypothetically, I *COULD* replace mine with that car, but realistically, I have no need. The M3 is the best car I've had and I have no issues with it... why you don't see me here any more. It's nice to be happy, rather than ******ing about your car. (!@#* 323i I had!)
  #10  
Old 06-11-2004, 10:34 AM
JPinTO JPinTO is offline
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Side note: CTS-V is dynoing below 350hp and not 400hp.

http://www.autospies.com/article/ind...&categoryId=11

If true, that won't be good.
  #11  
Old 06-11-2004, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPinTO
As I said, I can see a market for those wanting a 5-seat corvette.

However, I only have one requirement for my car: High speed commuter. As such, the M3 is perfectly sized, perfectly agile and perfectly capacious. The CTS-V would do nothing for me. The step down in esthetics is noticable to me. On turns, placing the M3 tire inches from a curb is brain dead simple, the CTS-V couldn't negotiate it without weight transfer and inaccuracy. The chassis, tranny & motor just work more harmoniously and more seamlessly on an M3, than the CTS-V.

Regardless, it drove great and it's the nicest Cadi I've seen, and shows their getting closer than ever before.

Around here, the M3 is identical in price to the CTS-V, perhaps with minor option differences-- but effectively identical in price, a mistake IMO from GM Canada. Here's some of the big financial negatives in my mind: minimal residual values downstream compared to the M3. Cadi's are notoriously lousy residuals-- you can pick up a 2 year old Escalade wholesale for peanuts if one wanted. Other negatives: much thirstier V8 motor compared to the I6.

So---- you are looking to replace your M3 with a CTS-V, really? Or just hypothetically? I mean, hypothetically, I *COULD* replace mine with that car, but realistically, I have no need. The M3 is the best car I've had and I have no issues with it... why you don't see me here any more. It's nice to be happy, rather than ******ing about your car. (!@#* 323i I had!)
Really. The lease on the M3 is up next year, and I probably won't be getting another one. It's either the Caddillac or something much cheaper. The M3 doesn't really thrill me, for some reason. I want something that knocks my socks off or something that costs a lot less.

I see what you're saying about residuals, though I am hesitant to compare Escalade residuals to CTS-V residuals.

The horsepower thing is a bit troubling, but given that the same engine works fine in the Z06, I suspect there is a straightforward explanation and that the issue will be addressed by the time I make my decision next year.
  #12  
Old 06-11-2004, 12:20 PM
JPinTO JPinTO is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JST
Really. The lease on the M3 is up next year, and I probably won't be getting another one. It's either the Caddillac or something much cheaper. The M3 doesn't really thrill me, for some reason. I want something that knocks my socks off or something that costs a lot less.

I see what you're saying about residuals, though I am hesitant to compare Escalade residuals to CTS-V residuals.

The horsepower thing is a bit troubling, but given that the same engine works fine in the Z06, I suspect there is a straightforward explanation and that the issue will be addressed by the time I make my decision next year.
Watch the Cadi residuals... you are used to BMW residuals. You ain't seen nothing until you go over to GM.

I hear you about the M3. It's a little anesthetized, isolated feeling and doesn't really give you a "thrill". I drive mine 50 mph or 90 mph--- it's completely irrelevent except you run out of pavement so much quicker at 90mph which is annoying. The extra speed doesn't really thrill you in any way. The motor is so linear, that it's not mind blowing. I crave my old turbo charged eagle. What happened to turbos?

I'd love to find something that "knocks my socks off or costs a lot less". But, I struggle to come up with anything that would a) knock my socks off that doesn't cost a lot more or b) costs a lot less but doesn't annoy the crap out of me. I mean, I'm NEVER Driving a regular E46 aka "toyota". Brutally boring, underpowered vehicles, IMO.

On the other hand, the M3 gives you a lot of bang for your buck, does exactly what is asked of it driving wise, quite practical, looks great, sounds great... I can't think of any negatives other than insurance is too high, it's a bit isolated and draw too much attention to itself.

If the CTS-V will do it for you, awesome. It's a intoxicating burble from that V8... and those Brembos... Drool. No question, it's a beautiful machine.

What's cheaper that isn't dullsville? Unfortunately, nothing comes to mind. I drove a 300C last week and the Hemi is very entertaining. While no CTS-V, the Hemi 300C is ALOT cheaper, and offers similar stopping and going performance. It's a big brick, though.

Last edited by JPinTO; 06-11-2004 at 12:25 PM.
  #13  
Old 06-11-2004, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPinTO
Watch the Cadi residuals... you are used to BMW residuals. You ain't seen nothing until you go over to GM.
61% on 2/24 year lease, 53% on a 3/36. And that's just the CTS. I've seen better residuals for the V, depending on how you go.
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  #14  
Old 06-11-2004, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jw
61% on 2/24 year lease, 53% on a 3/36. And that's just the CTS. I've seen better residuals for the V, depending on how you go.
I forget how different US and Canadian pricing and lease structures are.
  #15  
Old 06-11-2004, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPinTO
Watch the Cadi residuals... you are used to BMW residuals. You ain't seen nothing until you go over to GM.

I hear you about the M3. It's a little anesthetized, isolated feeling and doesn't really give you a "thrill". I drive mine 50 mph or 90 mph--- it's completely irrelevent except you run out of pavement so much quicker at 90mph which is annoying. The extra speed doesn't really thrill you in any way. The motor is so linear, that it's not mind blowing. I crave my old turbo charged eagle. What happened to turbos?

I'd love to find something that "knocks my socks off or costs a lot less". But, I struggle to come up with anything that would a) knock my socks off that doesn't cost a lot more or b) costs a lot less but doesn't annoy the crap out of me. I mean, I'm NEVER Driving a regular E46 aka "toyota". Brutally boring, underpowered vehicles, IMO.

On the other hand, the M3 gives you a lot of bang for your buck, does exactly what is asked of it driving wise, quite practical, looks great, sounds great... I can't think of any negatives other than insurance is too high, it's a bit isolated and draw too much attention to itself.

If the CTS-V will do it for you, awesome. It's a intoxicating burble from that V8... and those Brembos... Drool. No question, it's a beautiful machine.

What's cheaper that isn't dullsville? Unfortunately, nothing comes to mind. I drove a 300C last week and the Hemi is very entertaining. While no CTS-V, the Hemi 300C is ALOT cheaper, and offers similar stopping and going performance. It's a big brick, though.
I could live with an STi. I was thinking about an Evo until Clyde clued me in to the fact that Mitsu has been dinging warranty coverage by looking at autocross results online.

The RX-8 is another one. Rotary is weird and fuel-inefficient, but the car handles so deftly it probably makes up for it.

I want a V8, though. I wrote the GTO off after driving one and finding it ponderous and slow, but next year they get the 400 hp LS2, so I'll reevaluate when I drive one of those.

Also, the Mustang is a possibility, depending on how well they execute the suspension.

Honestly, I could drive an R32 every day, too, though those won't be around next year.

There is a rumor that the 300C will get a 425 hp version of the Hemi in an SRT-8 edition. No word on whether there is a stick option.

The M3 is damn near perfect, as cars go. It's so close to flawless that it's kind of boring. Still, if the CTS just feels too big, the M3 is probably the best option out there.
  #16  
Old 06-11-2004, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jw
61% on 2/24 year lease, 53% on a 3/36. And that's just the CTS. I've seen better residuals for the V, depending on how you go.
That's not so good, but even BMW leases have been getting worse recently. I wonder what the most recent M residuals are.
  #17  
Old 06-11-2004, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPinTO
On the other hand, the M3 gives you a lot of bang for your buck,
Pardon me, but...





"Bang for your buck" and "M3" are not to be used in the same sentence unless "very limited" is also in there. It's a great car for what it is, but it's terribly overpriced for what it does and does not make for a good value (depreciation/residual not withstanding) for getting what it gives considering its price

Quote:
What's cheaper that isn't dullsville? Unfortunately, nothing comes to mind.
There's a lot out there that's a lot cheaper and isn't dullsville.

RX-8
Cooper (S and non-S)
CTS-V
Corvette
Mustang GT
Mustang Cobra SVT
R32
Elise
WRX
STi
Evo

And those are just what come to mind without even trying to think about it
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  #18  
Old 06-11-2004, 05:51 PM
JPinTO JPinTO is offline
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Originally Posted by JST
I could live with an STi. I was thinking about an Evo until Clyde clued me in to the fact that Mitsu has been dinging warranty coverage by looking at autocross results online.

The RX-8 is another one. Rotary is weird and fuel-inefficient, but the car handles so deftly it probably makes up for it.

I want a V8, though. I wrote the GTO off after driving one and finding it ponderous and slow, but next year they get the 400 hp LS2, so I'll reevaluate when I drive one of those.

Also, the Mustang is a possibility, depending on how well they execute the suspension.

Honestly, I could drive an R32 every day, too, though those won't be around next year.

There is a rumor that the 300C will get a 425 hp version of the Hemi in an SRT-8 edition. No word on whether there is a stick option.

The M3 is damn near perfect, as cars go. It's so close to flawless that it's kind of boring. Still, if the CTS just feels too big, the M3 is probably the best option out there.

I still haven't warmed up to the styling of the RX8. Styling is highly personal, of course, but realistically, if styling was irrelevent, we wouldn't be driving M3's, this would be a WRX board. I just can't get enthused at the froggy looking RX8.

The new retro Mustang is something to watch for. The styling is well done, and with the right motor, it could be a winner.

R32---- wow that's an expensive, underpowered VW. It's sad that VW can't get the power numbers up and get respectable performance numbers out of it. What happened to the "rocket" in pocket rocket? They need to supercharge the 3.2L and get some spice out of it. Subaru can do it-- VW is sleeping at the wheel.

Drive the 300C and see what you think. The current Hemi isn't lacking for power, I don't think more HP is what's needed there. It's the SUV of sedans, and I think Chrysler will do well with a smartly priced Hemi powered uber sedan. The classic american sedan reinterpreted by a German--- how bizarre is that. The CTS is a slender reed compared to the 300c. I'm not sure it's available with stick, but I'm not sure it requires a stick.

You didn't mention S4. I don't see many around here, so I don't know what's going on with that. I shudder thinking about the residuals.

The M3 may not be the ultimate in every single category, but it's up there in so many categories, and does everything well that it's a tough one to beat as an OVERALL package. At this point, there has to be some OVERWHELMING reason to NOT drive an M3. Lack of thrills isn't overwhelming enough in my book. Thrills diminish with age, you're just getting old!
  #19  
Old 06-11-2004, 05:56 PM
JPinTO JPinTO is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ·clyde·
"Bang for your buck" and "M3" are not to be used in the same sentence unless "very limited" is also in there.
In your opinion. In my opinion, it's worth every dollar, and the value is great. First car I've ever had that I have not complained about something (my wife loves the M3 for that) and has not tempted me to spend a dollar to modify in attempt to "improve" some facet. I didn't say it was cheap. Perhaps I should reword to "bang for my buck". It fits my needs better than any of the cars in your list.

And being a BMW board, the frame of reference isn't supercharged Civic or PT Cruisers. Nobody is driving a BMW for true "value". The M3 is easily worth double the price of my old 323i. And double the price of any other E46 I've driven. That's how I determine value. Either the M3 is underpriced or the non-M E46's are overpriced. It's probably a little of both.

Last edited by JPinTO; 06-11-2004 at 06:01 PM.
  #20  
Old 06-11-2004, 06:11 PM
·clyde·'s Avatar
·clyde· ·clyde· is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPinTO
Perhaps I should reword to "bang for my buck". It fits my needs better than any of the cars in your list.
I agree..that would have been a better choice of words.
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  #21  
Old 06-12-2004, 02:04 AM
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TGray5 TGray5 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPinTO
In your opinion. In my opinion, it's worth every dollar, and the value is great. First car I've ever had that I have not complained about something (my wife loves the M3 for that) and has not tempted me to spend a dollar to modify in attempt to "improve" some facet. I didn't say it was cheap. Perhaps I should reword to "bang for my buck". It fits my needs better than any of the cars in your list.

And being a BMW board, the frame of reference isn't supercharged Civic or PT Cruisers. Nobody is driving a BMW for true "value". The M3 is easily worth double the price of my old 323i. And double the price of any other E46 I've driven. That's how I determine value. Either the M3 is underpriced or the non-M E46's are overpriced. It's probably a little of both.
I agree completely and recall seeing similar sentiments in various car magazines when the M3 was first introduced.

Now if all you want is 0-60 time for the buck or skidpad G performance for the buck, then yes, there are better 'values', but we all know that a BMW is much more than those pure stats, which is why we own them.
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  #22  
Old 06-12-2004, 04:51 AM
armstd armstd is offline
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I also agree that my M3 was worth every dollar I spent on it.

The German attention to detail is so obvious in every facet of this car it still amazes me when I find more examples. Nothing about this car, mechanically or otherwise, has struck me as cheap.

The same cannot be said for the cars on Clyde's list.

I was considering a STi, I was considering lots of other cars when I got the M3 instead.

Here's what I figured:

- $15k base car
- $15k strong drivetrain
- $15k quality interior

$30k gets you two of the above. STi or A4/325i/etc. $45k gets you an M3.

Maybe Clyde considers the M3 overpriced, and that's fine. But to me, I love driving a car all day long that doesn't feel "cheap".

Regarding "dullsville", I wonder about that. My truck leans back when I hit the gas, leans forward when I hit the brakes, and leans to the side when I turn the wheel. It's all wonderfully exciting. I figure I'm going to roll that truck on a cloverleaf some day, but what an adrenaline rush!

In comparison, the M3 is less exciting. I have to be doing 65 or so on the same cloverleaf to get the kind of thrill my truck gives me at 45. I hit the gas/brake, or turn the wheel, and the car just does what its told. No measurable lean, no complaint, no second guessing what I asked for.

Maybe the M3 is less of a thrill in that regard. It's the first car I've had that made me feel truly deficient as a driver. I'm sure I could get the same thrills out of the M3, but it would be at truly deadly speeds given my current lack of talent.

So, in my opinion, if you think the M3 is dullsville, perhaps you're just not a very good driver. I think when I have more talent the M3 will be much, much more interesting, and not just overly emotional or neurotic.

-Daver
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  #23  
Old 06-12-2004, 08:26 AM
JST's Avatar
JST JST is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armstd

Maybe the M3 is less of a thrill in that regard. It's the first car I've had that made me feel truly deficient as a driver. I'm sure I could get the same thrills out of the M3, but it would be at truly deadly speeds given my current lack of talent.

So, in my opinion, if you think the M3 is dullsville, perhaps you're just not a very good driver. I think when I have more talent the M3 will be much, much more interesting, and not just overly emotional or neurotic.

-Daver
I don't think your conclusion logically follows.

The M3 is so competent that it can handle double or triple highway legal speeds in almost any circumstance without breaking a sweat. I appreciate that. And I get a certain intellectual satisfaction from being able to go so fast around cloverleafs.

But it's not terribly fun, because the car always feels like it's bored.

I don't think that driving skill has anything to do with it. Sure, if I were Senna I could push the car to within an inch of its limits and derive satisfaction from that. But is it responsible/sane/possible for ANY driver to drive an M3 that fast on public roads? I don't think so. By the time the M3 feels interactive and fun in a straight line, it's going 130 mph. That'll land you in prison.

So.

The M3 is much more comfortable, far more luxurious, and has a much better engineered feel than does my WRX. The WRX feels kind of like a very fast Kubota after driving the M3. The WRX's power band is razor thin compared to the M3's, the shift linkage itsn't as good, and fast shifts result in a neck snap unless you slip the clutch quite a bit. Of course, the interior is nasty next to the M3's, too.

But the WRX is actually more fun around town, because it's a lot more visceral than the M3. It feels more like an E30 M3 than an E46 M3. Have fun at slower speeds--that's not a bad quality in a street car.

Anyway, I don't think driver skill has the first thing to do with it.
  #24  
Old 06-12-2004, 08:30 AM
JST's Avatar
JST JST is offline
A sudden sense of liberty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JPinTO
I still haven't warmed up to the styling of the RX8. Styling is highly personal, of course, but realistically, if styling was irrelevent, we wouldn't be driving M3's, this would be a WRX board. I just can't get enthused at the froggy looking RX8.

The new retro Mustang is something to watch for. The styling is well done, and with the right motor, it could be a winner.

R32---- wow that's an expensive, underpowered VW. It's sad that VW can't get the power numbers up and get respectable performance numbers out of it. What happened to the "rocket" in pocket rocket? They need to supercharge the 3.2L and get some spice out of it. Subaru can do it-- VW is sleeping at the wheel.

Drive the 300C and see what you think. The current Hemi isn't lacking for power, I don't think more HP is what's needed there. It's the SUV of sedans, and I think Chrysler will do well with a smartly priced Hemi powered uber sedan. The classic american sedan reinterpreted by a German--- how bizarre is that. The CTS is a slender reed compared to the 300c. I'm not sure it's available with stick, but I'm not sure it requires a stick.

You didn't mention S4. I don't see many around here, so I don't know what's going on with that. I shudder thinking about the residuals.

The M3 may not be the ultimate in every single category, but it's up there in so many categories, and does everything well that it's a tough one to beat as an OVERALL package. At this point, there has to be some OVERWHELMING reason to NOT drive an M3. Lack of thrills isn't overwhelming enough in my book. Thrills diminish with age, you're just getting old!
The R32 doesn't have a lot of power on paper. In life, though, the car is a blast to drive. It handles very well, the exhaust note is diggity, the power is good, and the interior is a nice place to spend time. It feels kind of like someone plunked a VW Golf onto an E36 M3, actually, which is not a bad thing.

If I didn't care about a stick, I'd buy a 300C, I think. It's so goofy that it's cool.

The S4 is too heavy and too expensive. For the price, I'd take a CTS-V or an M3 long before an S4.

From most angles, I really like the RX-8, but I agree that styling is a very personal thing, and that its central importance should not be underestimated.
  #25  
Old 06-12-2004, 08:36 AM
flashinthepan flashinthepan is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
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I am excited for the new Caddy.

However

There seems to be a Cadillac stereotype -my opinion-

Men Caddy drivers seem to be either pansies or old retired guys going golfing.

or

Guys in the Hood.

--------

How often do you hear, " I am taking my Cadillac to the track this week-end" ??, perhaps this will change with the new models.
 

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