Marc, a co-worker (in-d-haus knows Marc) has an uncle that is a car tester for many auto publications. He resides in CA. Here's an email from "Uncle Bob" sent today.
Drove this one yesterday:
2002 BMW M3
Most hot rod versions of production cars are an imbalanced compromise.
Either too much performance with brutalizing daily discomfort, or some
slightly extra performance and handling, but still a regular sedan
underneath. Some previous M3¹s have been very fast but rather nasty to live
with. Not so with the latest M3. Crammed with virtually every luxury and
performance option, this compact coupe runs about $56,000. But what you get
is an astoundingly balanced compromise. Really clean looks devoid of any
racer-boy add-ons, leather interior luxury with a small fat rim steering
wheel, and a snug bucket seat that is very comfy. Raise the hood and the
serious stuff is all there; 333 HP 3.2 litre in-line six, big inlet ports,
direct drive fan, and a generous oil cooler. A big warning sign urges
service every 1200 miles and the use of 10W-60 racing or synthetic oil only.
Underneath is the all-wheel 330xi power train with the very trick M3
suspension and damping bits. Turn the key and a very serious sounding idle
hum says this super torquey six is ready for you to feed its six speeds into
the pavement. Not a shaky burble, just a smooth vibrationless steady hum.
Once you get used to the typical BMW clutch, first gear starts are a blast.
But only for about 2.5 seconds. The city speed limit is reached that fast.
On all other roads, the six speeds allow the engine revs to be placed right
where you want them to be ready for the next instant lunge in traffic. The
full throttle snarl is a joy to hear.....almost impossible to drive in a
leisure manner. This engine can be short shifted to third at 20 mph with no
fuss.....it¹s that torquey. Where the M3 really shines is in the twisties.
It has so much grip that full throttle cannot waste any rubber. No kind of
bad pavement can upset the handling. You can do what you want without having
to make any allowances for hard suspension handling quirks. Hit a speed bump
too fast and it just goes up-down-level with no pitch or bounce. And not so
harsh that it will beat you up in regular driving. The body is so tight and
solid that the race-like suspension cannot produce much flex or rattle. The
BMW M3 is flat out the best Formula one street coupe on the planet.
What a jewel!
Here's the cars I've tested this last year:
2001 Toyota Prius 4-D Sedan
2001 BMW 330Xi 4-D Sedan
2001 Volvo V70XC AWD Sports Wagon
2001 MB C320 4-D Sedan
2001 Jaguar S 4.0 4-D Sedan
2001 Lexus I-300 4-D Sedan
2002 Lexus SC430 Sports Rdstr
2002 Isuzu Axiom XS SUV
2002 Infiniti Q45 4-D Sedan
2001 Audi S4 Avant Wagon
2001 Audi S8 Quattro 4-D Sedan
2001 Subaru WRX 4-D Sedan
2002 Honda Insight 2-D Coupe
2002 Acura RSX Type S 2-D Coupe
2002 MB 230 Hatchback 2-D Coupe
2002 Jaguar X Type 4-D Sedan
2202 Lexus ES300 4-D Sedan
2002 Honda CR-V 4-D SUV
2002 Nissan Altima 4-D Sedan
2002 Audi 1.8t CVT 4-D Sedan
2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser 4-D Sedan
2002 Ford Thunderbird 2-D Convertible
2002 BMW 745i 4-D Sedan
2003 Hyundai Tiburon 2-D Coupe
2003 Honda Pilot 4-D SUV
2003 VW Passat W8 4-D Sedan
2002 BMW M3 2-D Coupe