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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just got the latest edition of Road & Track, and within they test and rate 8 cars for best all out handling. As you can imagine the M3 is featured. But you may be surprised where it ranked.

Final results - rank:

1. Ferrari 360 Modena
2. Lotus Elise
3. Porsche 911 Turbo
4. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII
5. Chevy Corvette Z06
6. Porsche Boxster S
7. BMW M3 Coupe
8. Mazda MP3

Sacrilege! The M3 ranked nearly dead last with a frigging MAZDA?? What is this world coming to? :tsk:
 

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we argued the merits of this article on the M board.

it means (1) that the M3 isn't quite a pure sports car as some of the other cars in the test, (2) the competition is fierce and the e46M3 isn't quite the handling quantum leap forward (how can it be?), (3) lightweight and mid-engined seemed to be the most desirable setup.

the 996 turbo is a beast, and they acknowledged that. pushes on entry, loose on exit. and it's heavy. but the elise and the 360 modena....well. what precisely would handle better than those 2?

it should be telling that the z06 did not fare all that well, either. and it's an absolute M3 eater of a car on the track.
 

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Quite frankly, I'm more than a little surprised (and disappointed) that the MP3 lost out to the M3.

What is the world coming to?

:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: we argued the merits of this article on the M board.

blackdawg said:
it means (1) that the M3 isn't quite a pure sports car as some of the other cars in the test, (2) the competition is fierce and the e46M3 isn't quite the handling quantum leap forward (how can it be?), (3) lightweight and mid-engined seemed to be the most desirable setup.
I've read a few other reviews about the Elise. Most say the handling is incredible. And although it's engine only produces 122hp/124ft, the car only weights 1900lbs! It's a pure sports car, not intended for the daily commute. The Elise will go on sale here in the US next year for around 30K. But performance aside, I also have read the build quality is terrible - rattles, squeeks, poor fit of materials, leaks, etc, etc.
 

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Re: Re: we argued the merits of this article on the M board.

geomax said:


I've read a few other reviews about the Elise. Most say the handling is incredible. And although it's engine only produces 122hp/124ft, the car only weights 1900lbs! It's a pure sports car, not intended for the daily commute. The Elise will go on sale here in the US next year for around 30K. But performance aside, I also have read the build quality is terrible - rattles, squeeks, poor fit of materials, leaks, etc, etc.
Not to mention the most spartan interior of any car I've ever seen before!! (I'm not even sure if carpeting is included--I'm pretty sure the test-drive I saw on TV recently had a metal floor w/o carpeting).

Of course, if pure performance is your cup o' tea...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Re: Re: Re: we argued the merits of this article on the M board.

hts said:


Not to mention the most spartan interior of any car I've ever seen before!! (I'm not even sure if carpeting is included--I'm pretty sure the test-drive I saw on TV recently had a metal floor w/o carpeting).
Yeah, no kidding! In this issue of R&T, there's an interior shot of just what you mention: the foot rest on the passenger side is sans carpet, and is even drilled to "save weight".
 

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Overall, I'd still take an M3 on the track. Did the article mention which was easiest to drive at 10/10ths? I am sure the BMW is near the top of that.

BMW could make the M3 handle better, but they would sacrafice the neutral feel of the car, and the tendency to make it understeer for idiot drivers.
 

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I am not too surprised. The M3 is really a GT car, and the rest of the field, with the exception of the Mazda, are "pure" sports cars. I think the M-Coupe, though old, would have been a better competitor.

Ed
 

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ed.....

....the M coupe would have been slammed and relegated to dead last had it been included in that recent battery of testing by road and track.

their primary complaint about the M3 was (1) weight and (2) grip. most explicitly mentioned that it was tail happy over the buttonwillow (?) road course. the pro, bryan herta, said it was the only way around the track, sideways.

my prior point on the M board was: if that's their complaint about the M3, man oh man, it would be even more so to the M coupe.

as i understand it (i will find out firsthand in september when mine arrives), the M3's tendency to understeer is only on slow sweepers and/or turns, it is neutral and gradual at the limit, with a tendency to kick the rear out in "a controlled" manner.

again, not the fastest way around the track.
 

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Re: we argued the merits of this article on the M board.

blackdawg said:
it should be telling that the z06 did not fare all that well, either. and it's an absolute M3 eater of a car on the track.
Yup! and a used Z06 will be very cheap as most 'vettes. hmm... maybe i'll pick up a used one as my track car?? ;)

--Andrew
 

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Buttonwillow is a great track - one of my favorites. Many magazines test there. It is near Bakersfield.

I like it for the runoff... just soft dirt. No walls to hit either!

This was the track I left at 80 mph in my 330i and spun around, and around, and around.... and hit nothing!
 

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In fairness, look at all the cars that came ahead of the M3. Ferrari 360 Modena, Z06, 911 Turbo, Elise, etc. As great as the M3 is, I don't think it can beat any of the above cars at the track. Ok, it probably should have ranked ahead of the Boxster S, and "maybe" the Lancer Evo VII (though I doubt this one based on numerous mags and drivers who have compared them). Really, the competition was tough in this comparo.
 

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cal: good point.

the M3 is nowhere near as visceral as any of the other cars listed.

the lancer evo is going to be grouped in that niche like the upcoming WRX STi which makes car guys say, "why?" as in: why would i need to spend more money than this? but when you sit in the car, you see where the money is spent by the manufacturer, as in: not on the interior. which is fine, too.

while the M3 is a "technological" marvel, it needs some work. it's already world class, just not a world class beater.

we can argue this until we're blue in the face, but the fact is: a CSL and/or lightweight version is coming for a reason......because in getting the car out the door, they skipped some things which they will eventually get around to adding back.

i just saw a gorgeous C4S last night in the showroom. it made my heart ache that i cancelled by C4S order. but there are tons of other fun things i can do with the 40k in my pocket i'm gonna have in september. that's a lot of the appeal of the car, isn't it?
 

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just thought about this while walking dogs at 6am...

i was out walking the dogs this am. pretty early.

and it dawned on me.

how much of the handling test and speed carried into the various curves for which they have telemetry is tire-dependent, too?

i am not sure what tires the m3's are shod with now, but i imagine they're either the mich. pilot sports or conti sport2's. both very mediocre tires. the premium on those tires is an OEM level of consistency in the rubber, but well.....they're not exactly BFG KD's, are they?

i wonder how the handling test might have differed, even a tad, if the M3 was on those K(iller) D(ry) tires from BFG. or even the older MXX3s?

anyway, just a thought. tires play such a huge difference in my driving, so it would be interesting to see how it would alter the M3. if the M3 comes in september with either of above listed tires, they're being sold via EBAY ASAP. i would bet anything the low lateral g's has to do with directional treaded tires. moving back to a barely street legal tire would reap dividends.
 

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Re: we argued the merits of this article on the M board.

blackdawg said:
it should be telling that the z06 did not fare all that well, either. and it's an absolute M3 eater of a car on the track.
Actually, there were 3 ratings totals. One for objective performance, 2 that were subjective ratings. Performance-wise the Corvette finished 3rd---behind the Ferrari and Lotus. It only fell back on the subjective ratings which were based more on "feel".

Actually, the Corvette finished first or 2nd in alot of the performance areas. 1st in exit and straight speeds. 1st in skidpad. Slalom it fell back a bit performance wise to 6th. M3 finished 5th there.

Eric
 
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