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Of course, I am VERY curious as to your impressions of the two cars and how they compare.

They are both beautiful. In these pics, the two truly look like family.
 

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Elected by grace
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One of the best examples that I've ever seen of why life truly just isn't fair.

However, I do find it poetic justice that you do have to decide which one of the two to drive! :p :D

Of course, if you've decided you made a mistake you only have to return home and exchange keys. :cry: :cry:

You'll have to excuse me if I appear to have a 'red' a$$ about this. I'm just jealous as all getout, that's all.

All kidding aside, like TD, I also am interested in how the two rate in your eyes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
1998 E36 M3 Mods:
- lots of track events for the driver :thumbup:
- PF97 brake pads w/ ATE super-blue fluid
- Bimmerworld brake ducts
- Kuhmo Ecsta Vista 235/40 R-compounds
- 17X8.5 SSR-Competition wheels all around
- Schroth harness belts
- UUC short shifter
- UUC clutch stop
- BMW aluminum pedals
- X-brace
- Conforti cold air intake
- Conforti Sharked
- Otherwise still completely stock

2002 E46 M3 Mods:
- Valentine 1 radar detector... :D
- BMW aluminum pedals

So how do they compare? Well, the E36's brakes squeal, rattle, are incredibly dusty, attack the rims with glowing sparks flying around and don't brake very good when cold... But I guess that may have something to do with the brake "upgrades"... :D For track pads, the PF97's are excellent however and can stop the car on a dime without any fade (also thanks to the ducting)!

On downshifts, the E36 is often not very smooth. Sometimes the tires chirp and other times the car feels like it wants to accellerate under braking! The E46's SMG downshifts are silk smooth though... Perhaps for the E36 the driver needs further "heel-toe" braking techniques upgrades... :D

So how do they really compare? Obviously the E46 has noticably faster accelleration and an even more usable rev-range. Even though I haven't taken the E46 to the track yet (I plan on waiting at least two years or so), the E36 feels more nimble on its feet thanks to its lower weight. During "sporty" driving on windy roads I also do get the feeling that the E46 understeers more heavily than the E36, but that's of course something that can be fixed later when I take it to the track.

In general, as expected, I'd say the E46 has the edge over the E36 on almost every front. The thicker E46 steering wheel is great, the seats are (even!) better, the SMG is fantastic and the fact that the engine revs all the way up to 8000 RPM is absolutely amazing!

Having one for the road and one for the track is great however as IMO track driving is very hard on the car and the further you optimize your car for the track, the more compromises you have to make for regular street driving. For the E36 you should see the angry looks I get when coming to a stop for a traffic light with squealing brakes. The thing sounds like a school bus! :yikes: For this reason, I intend to apply the mods to the E36 M3 and keep the E46 "as is" for now. The upgrades will come later there... :)
 

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A sudden sense of liberty
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TD said:
Of course, I am VERY curious as to your impressions of the two cars and how they compare.

They are both beautiful. In these pics, the two truly look like family.
See, Tom, he's got his grille badge on the correct (right) side, too. I'm telling you, by having your badge on the left, you're giving up about 15 horsepower.
 

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Thnnks for the write up. I've heard nothing but great things about SMG from friends who own them. Unfortunately, they don't live here so I can try it out.
 

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I like cookies.
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Gorgeous cars. You are very fortunate to have two cars like this to choose from :thumbup:

As for the understeer issue on the E46, I haven't been able to get a good answer to the charictaristics of the car. I have spoken to a guy that auto-x'es his E46 M3 on 265s all around and he claims that it still understeers. Then you read Roundel and Road & Track who say the car is balcanced or even has an OVERsteer bias in faster turns. Bryan Herta claimed that he had to drive it tail out. :dunno: I guess that it all does depend on your driving style, turn radius/speed, and other factors. You'll figure it out on the track when you finally get a chance to keep it is S6 and find out what the car is made of :thumbup: Besides, M cars, espcecially modern ones are too fast to push the limits of on public roads :)
 

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Understeer is built into all cars for safety. When the average idiot gets into trouble and the car understeers the natural response is to hit the binders. Correcting for oversteer is not natural and requires training, it is counter intuitive to many people.

The new bimmers do seem to understeer more than their older counterparts.
 

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Nice write up and great pix! :thumbup: Did you notice a substantial difference on the e36 when you went from OEM wheels to the SSR's..?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
> Did you notice a substantial difference on the e36 when you went from OEM wheels to the SSR's..?

Well, actually that's hard to say because I've only had regular street tires on the OEM wheels and R-compounds on the SSRs. This makes it very hard to contribute differences in "feel" specifically to the different wheels. Of course, the difference between street and track-tires is enormous and the (unsprung!) weight savings with the SSRs is considerable. I recently got a hot-lap timer and simply doing sessions with and without a passenger easily makes a full second or more of a difference in lap times. This makes you realize that for track driving, weight really is everything. Note that I understand from others that the SSR rims are somewhat prone to bending, but I haven't had any problems myself ( yet :confused: ). I consider this to be another compromise to be made between street and track driving and would not recommend very lightweight competition wheels for regular street driving. One bigger pot-hole could be sufficient to bend a wheel...
 
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