In reply to: "who the heck would have an S4 over a 330i/M3!!!"
Anyone who would like to use their car in winter! BMW's rear wheel car is hopeless in snow!!
I think this is an important point to put over about BMWs, most people who have them can't get them off of their drive at the first sign of bad weather, the Audi all wheel drives love it.
All that is fair enough, but really how often does it snow in the UK? not very often, if it means you can't get out so be it, you can get a few days off work?
But in any other condition I would rather make do with the far superior and better looking 330sport over the S3 any day.
Was not impressed by the 328i I had for a brief period two years ago. The interior and exterior ain't all that. It's also a common sight on British roads, and unless it sports an 'M' badge it really isn't as fast as people make out. The equivalent AMG Mercedes is more expensive, but is more elegant, more exclusive, and is one of only two cars to have a full five-star NCAP crash rating. It also has four doors to the M3's two. Like many BMW drivers, this guy is a little overzealous, that's all.
Having owned three 3-series, it saddens me to say that they are just too common and derivative these days. What once said "individual" and "style conscious" now just says "fashion victim" and "tries too hard". They're not even outstanding drivers cars any more, being way too heavy and soft compared to the older models.
And the competition has caught up. I recently drove a Mondeo ST220 (a Ford of all things) which was livelier and sharper, as well as just as nicely finished.
Well, the S3 isn't that different at all performance-wise. Actually I'm not sure which is quicker. There are other cars in the BMW range that are closer to being S3's competitors. I think it was Car magazine that claimed the 325ti Compact to be a competitor to the S3.
Also don't forget that 3-series is available as 4WD (330Xi and 325Xi, plus Alpina B3 AWD). I live in Finland where there is lots of snow in the (longer) winter, and rear wheel drive is just fine if you use winter tyres. Even here people don't buy many 4WD cars. If you get going OK, stopping and cornering grip is still the same no matter what drive type. So 4WD is really good for just accelerating somewhat faster in slippery conditions. People here say that 4WD just gets you into trouble at faster speeds! I know that it's more fun to play around with in the snow, but I can take a couple of weeks of poorer acceleration in the winter if I get all the rear wheel drive advantages at all other times. And save some money too.
The Mercedes C32AMG is not really comparable to M3 in performance. The Merc is more focused on being comfortable and quick in a straight line. But on anything else than completely straight road, the Alpina B3 3.3 is a worthy competitor, if four doors are really necessary. It is also more rare and is very luxurious.
C32AMG has been tested against the M3 by SportAuto -magazine, and it couldn't stand a chance. The magazine is very professional in performance measurements, it measures from aerodynamical downforce to lateral G-forces. And takes the cars to the track which really shows strengths and weaknesses.
The envy of everyone?? That would make people jealous of virtually every other car on the road, as that is how many BMW's seem to be on the road these days.
I'm sorry, but I can't envy (or even take much notice of) any car which is so commonplace. At least get yourself something rare if you want to be envied.
I would agree with the comments about AWD/RWD cars in the winter. The AWD lets you speed up faster in slippery conditions, but you're going to stop just as fast as any FWD/RWD car! One could almost say AWD gives you a false sense of security. But I have noticed it is easier to control an AWD car with the throttle through a slippery corner than one with RWD.
I recently purchased a BMW 330ci, I looked at many cars from Boxter with no space when I travel with the wife. I only two seats, but the wife needs somewhere to put her bags. The CLK still a old mans car, sorry. Jaguar X type I liked it, but dealer was not giving me a good deal on my present car which happened to be a XJ6, mad they lost a customer. Audi TT my friends mum has one and my wife's friend who just happens to be a hairdresser, enough said! So BMW I never liked these cars to common, then I was told by my brother to take it out, I fell for the car, the build quality has improved inside and it is great car to drive. If you want a fast car, but also play golf buy a 330ci, you will only want a M3, that's my next buy!
Just passing through, gathering info on BMW's ASC+T (circa E36), when I read this comment thread. Some interesting commentary here!
Let me say that as the proud owner of a performance-modified 1995 BMW M3, and as the previous owner of a 1994 325i, BMW deserves the "thank you" of every true car enthusiast in the world. As for some seemingly common concerns...
Whoever compared the 3-Series to a ChryslerMercedes E-Class...umm, why would you? The former starts around $30,000, and the latter is in the $50,000+ range. With the exception of the Viper, no Chrysler is worth over $35,000! Even the ones with three-pointed stars rather than five! Plus the fact that my 8-yr-old M3 will smoke any ChryslerMercedes ever made except two... the Viper (of course) and the $1,000,000 CLK-GTR.
And in comparing an Audi A4 to a BMW 3-Series for winter driving... here is a little secret... good winter tires on even my 335+ hp M3 do wonders! The only way I can make my tires spin is if I really step on it. (And we're talking about a car that can sprint to 60 in 4.4 seconds.) I thought it was particularly poetic that moment in February 2001, when I used my uber-renner M3 clad in Dunlop winter tread to tow an A4 Quattro out of a snowy ditch in Colorado. Audi will NEVER live that moment down for me! And if my comparatively spin-happy RWD M3 can rescue a stuck Audi Quattro in the snow, think of the capabilities of, say, a 330xi?
And finally, someone commented on how disappointed they were that BMWs are so "commonplace" now-a-days, and that they'd rather have something more rare to be envied. Can you understand that the finest make of car in the world is naturally going to be in demand by almost everyone? And if you want something rare and more exotic from BMW, buy an Alpina Z8, or an E46 M3 CSL, or better yet... the most definitive and most sought after BMW ever built: The 1995 BMW M3!