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Reader test: BMW M3 Coupe

2010-10-14 06:25

DECISION: Reader Marek was still, by his accounts, young enough to own a performance car, but would the M3 be comfortable enough?

Marek Jablonski

Buying a car is an emotionally irrational experience. Period. Either you hate the car or you love it at first sight.

So what happens when you experience both emotions? Do you take a leap of faith and plunge into your "wallet"? Sure you can! Maybe with a R10 000 car, but with a R800k car?

When growing up, I had always promised myself that two criteria had to be satisfied when purchasing a car. The car had to be big enough to house my 1.96m, 108kg frame, and if ever it was a performance car, I had to buy in my younger days and not when I was going through a mid-life crisis…

The dilemma when first sighting and subsequently driving the E92 M3 Coupe became instantly apparent. I was still young (28 going on 29) and could now with my own money afford the car, but would I comfortably fit in it?

Did it matter? Could the four-litre, eight-cylinder, 309kW monster growl resonating under the bonnet, or the trigger- happy accelerator, make my problem seem insignificant? What did I know after all, if I had never before owned a performance car and so had no benchmark for comparison?

Less pumped but still powerful

I have to confess to being mildly underwhelmed for, as I saw from early pictures, the new E92 was not as pumped as the E46 it replaced. However, there was still something about it though, a discreet but tangible menace that made me look twice, thrice…

The excessively fat steering wheel provided a clue to the M3’s sporting role and the seats seemed supportive as well as comfortable, but in every other respect the interior seemed a rather uninspiring place to be. Fortunately the view through the windscreen was considerably more impressive, the bonnet bulge providing me with an instantaneous reminder that I was about to pilot a V8-powered super machine!

When driving, the gearshift felt light and the clutch had that slightly springy feel, and I quickly found out that if you are less than smooth when working on and off the throttle you could also induce some clumsy on-off shunt in traffic. This laughable driving inconsistency would (later) always make my lovely wife turn from a calm to an irritated passenger in less than 4.5 seconds...!

When accelerating hard, bystanders are treated to the incredible, punchy, hard-as-nails howl that has always left me with the desire to wind down the windows, or turn off the radio, to enjoy the full effect.

The framework of this article, does not allow me to fully articulate all the experiences and emotions I experienced when first driving the beast.

The driving experience however, did have a profound effect on me and I immediately lowered my standards concerning my previous space and comfort criteria. After all, one cannot have ones cake and eat it also! Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like my knees were by my ears, but coming from a 5 Series, it was something to get used to.

I’ve had the car now for around six months, and am now more convinced than ever that the stereo should come as an optional extra. Who wants to listen to the stereo when you can listen to, and get lost in, that amazing growl of the V8!


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