Review of the F80 M3 and how it compares to E90 M3 and F10 M5
I have been waiting a long time to write this review. Initially I was going to post lots and lots of pictures and videos, but I wanted to keep everyone's focus in the content rather than the pictures and videos. So for now I am just posting 3 pictures, however I will be posting a separate thread for pictures AND videos of the various bits and pieces of the car. I'm an amateur photographer and videographer, therefore I believe these deserve their own threads!
Now that's out of the way, where do I start?
I went from a 2011 E90 DCT ZCP M3 to 2014 F10 M5 DCT ZCP to a 2015 F80 M3. Yeah I know. A lot of cars, a lot of expensive cars, in a short period of time. I have been very fortunate in that, I was able to drive all of these cars to their fullest extent and experience them.
Before I go into specifics, I'm going to summarize what I'm about to say and be blunt about it.
Of all these 3 cars, hands down, no doubt, in my mind, the best car out there was the E90 M3. I'm not a professional driver. I'm not a competitive race track driver. I'm a car enthusiast. For someone like me, the engine and the sound of a car (as I now realize) plays a very key role. In these two areas, both the M5 and the new M3 fails miserably. Both of them lack induction noise (i.e. the engine note), both of them have horrifying exhaust notes with M5 having an edge (since it's a V8 and I had a comp package with no muffler). The M3 exhaust is just utterly disgusting.
So why didn't I keep my M3 then? Well simple, it was a lease, lease was up, keeping it beyond lease and getting warranty/maintenance, new tires, etc would result in me paying more money per month for the next 5 years than I am paying now in my M3. All in all, in 8 years (3 years lease + 5 years finance for residual), the amount of money I paid for the M3 would be outrageously high (over 90k with interest) for a car that will be worth maybe 20-22k at the end of those 8 years. It just made no financial sense. I always told myself that it cannot be this bad and I'm sure I'll love these new turbo cars and I do, but I guess deep down I always suspected this would have happened, the regret would have hit me.
That being said, there are many good things about these cars:
Steering: The steering in the new M3 is the best of all 3. Then comes the F10 M5, then the old M3. I'll give it to BMW, they have done a fantastic job with the new EPS steering. It's so precise, yet at the same time so modern. Bravo.
Performance: The new M3 destroys the old one hands down. No contest there. It will smoke the E90, even with a supercharger on it from 0-60, 1/4 mile, you name it. I had both the M5 and M3 back to back and they accelerate very similar. They have the same 0-1000m time, same 0-60 time, and same a lot of numbers. In extreme cases where you are doing a race from a roll say 60mph to 140mph, M5 will win due to its larger displacement engine. But overall, they are extremely similar. Now M6 though is another story, M6 will eat the M3/M4 alive.
Exterior: I hated the look of the M5. So classic, so understated. First I liked it, yeah "wolf in sheep clothing". But then more and more I realized it looks nothing like a true M car. No extended wheel arches. No carbon fiber roof. No aggressive bumper. No power dome. It just looks too standard. The new M3 looks amazing in person. Unbelievable. And white is stunning. Shows the curves of the car so well. I love the looks of the new car so much.
Gas mileage: Oh my god. 27 mpg in an M3 is not a dream anymore. Under similar driving conditions, this car gets 40% or so better mileage than my M5 and %25-30 mileage better than my old M3. Unbelievable. The problem is, it has a smaller gas tank than the regular 3 series, roughly 1 gallon less. Not good. M5 on the other hand had a massive 21.1 gallon tank, a full 5.1 gallons more. When all said and done, M5 would get more range with a full tank of gas, which was very convenient.
Interior: M5 hands down has the best interior out of all 3. The entire car is covered in leather. Doors from top the bottom, dashboard, back of the seats, everything. Even the roof is suede. The new M3 is a huge improvement over the old one, but still a lot of 3 series cheapness. A lot of plastic and not 5 series plastic, but bad low quality plastic. Doors are really light and have to be slammed. The radio buttons are low quality plastic. For some reason I think the plastic they used is worse in this M3 than the old one. But interior is still an improvement.
Technology: Both M5 and M3 share same technology as far as HUD, M views, M buttons, driver assistance features and so on. M5 has more luxury features such as massaging seats or ventilated seats and things like trunk closing with swiping the foot (M3's trunk opens if you swipe your foot, but closes manually). These new Ms are fairly advanced in this area. However, a lot of these features are extremely unnecessary, at least in the M3. You dont need the cameras, the driver assistance features, and especially the HUD. They are all waste of money. In M5, I can see the argument, parking that car is near to impossible without cameras. You need the blind spot detection because seats are so thick that it's hard to see your blind spot, but M3 does not have these issues.
Overall: If you want luxury, go with M5. If you want pure performance go with new M3. If you want spirited driving, soul, pure joy and don't care much about lapping a track 5 seconds slower, go with the old M3.
In terms of M3 vs M5, M5 is a very different type of car. Just because 5 is greater than 3 does not mean M5 is the next step from an M3. It's more like it's a more appropriate car for older people with different needs from a car. I am associating it with age simply because as men age their needs change too. But you can certainly be 25 and like an M5. It's an extremely expensive car to own and maintain. I do a lot of my own maintenance myself and M5 is not practical in that sense. It's huge, heavy, parts are very expensive, there is little to none DIY information available, and you are stuck going to dealership for everything. It's tires and wheels are huge, aftermarket parts are extremely expensive and limited. It's a more exclusive car certainly, but very distant and silent. You don't hear the engine much (or not as much as the new M3) unless you are above 4k rpm. It's very hard to enjoy it also. You can enjoy the new M3 just shifting at 2500 rpm, in the M5 you have to be driving at dangerous speeds to get some adrenalin pumped into your blood.
Please let me know if you have any questions. Overall I am happy with the M3. If I went directly from E90 to F80, I'd be miserable. But after seeing the F10, I am telling myself, this is the better of the worst. Having seen the M5, and since it was the last car I owned before this M3, it sort of makes me feel better owning this car.
In reality, there is a lot of cool technology and lots of optimizations that are in the new M3. So many improvements, so many new ideas and I quite like it. But they are all very minor changes. It's not like we have a car that has GT-R like performance and sub 3.0s 0-60 time. It's still, well, relatively slow compared to those super cars. It's not leaps and bounds better than the old car. It is BETTER, don't get me wrong. Aside from sound, everything is better. But is it really worth the upgrade to the point where one should lose 20k during the process and give up the sound of the old engine? Most definitely not. If you own your M3 outright and not leasing it, I'd say keep it and modify it and maintain it for as long as you can.
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