06-21-14 - The E46 M3

Fuck Yeah.

Oh my god. It's so fucking good.

When I'm working in my little garage office, I can feel her behind me, trying to seduce me. Whispering naughty thoughts to me. "Come on, let's just go for a little spin".

On the road, I love the way you can just pin the throttle on corner exit; the back end gently slides out, just a little wiggle. You actually just straighten the steering early, it's like half way through the corner you go boom throttle and straighten the lock and the car just glides out to finish the turn. Oh god it's like sex. You start the turn with your hands and then finish it with your foot, and it's amazing, it feels so right.

On the track there's a whole other feeling, once she's up to speed at the threshold of grip, on full tilt. My favorite thing so far is the chicane at T5 on the back side of pacific. She just dances through there in such a sweet way. You can just lift off the throttle to get a little engine braking and set the nose, then back on throttle to make the rear end just lightly step out and help ease you around the corner. The weight transfer and grip front to back just so nicely goes back and forth, it's fucking amazing. She feels so light on her feet, like a dancer, like a boxer, like a cat.

There are a few things I miss about the 911. The brakes certainly, the balance under braking and the control under trail-braking yes, the steering feel, oh god the steering feel was good and it fucking SUCKS in the M3, the head room in the 911 was awesome, the M3 has shit head room and it's really bad with a helmet, the visibility - all that wonderful glass and low door lines, the feeling of space in the cabin. Okay maybe more than a few things.

But oh my god the M3. I don't care that I have to sit slightly twisted (WTF); I don't care that there are various reliability problems. I don't care that it requires super expensive annual valve adjustments. I forgive it all. For that engine, so eager, so creamy, screaming all the way through the 8k rev range with not a single dip in torque, for the quick throttle response and lack of electronic fudging, for the chassis balance, for the way you can trim it with the right foot. Wow.


Tom Forsyth said...

I tried a nicely sorted E30 a while back - same feeling. A lot less power, but also a lot less weight as well. Wonderfully set up chassis, extremely "chuckable" and friendly, and as you say you do most mid and late corner steering with the throttle.

It's almost as good as the Seven, which feels the same way. The added bonus is that your arse is about a foot in front of the back axle, so you feel exactly how it's moving (translation, not just rotation). The Seven also loves a bit of trailbraking to get the rear to start moving on corner entry. One day I'll be brave enough to left-foot-brake in the Seven so I can get on the throttle slightly quicker - but there's not really enough space in the pedalbox to do it.

Tom Seddon said...

Odd. So is the seating on left-hand drive models also twisted? I drive a UK E46 (just an everyday one) and assumed the funny driving position was our punishment for driving on the other side of the road. You sit facing slightly to the right, which could make sense for passengers I suppose.

cbloom said...

Yup, LHD models are twisted to the left. Very uncool. Obviously it's the compromise for the lovely front-mid-engine thing with the engine so far behind the front axle. But your transmission is not more important than my feet!

cbloom said...

And @TomF - yep the E30 is crazy good. I've had a few rides in instructor's E30's now and am 100% sold on how tossable they are. Amazing chassis. Plus they're just gorgeous, one of my favorite cars ever aesthetically.

I *almost* bought one instead of the E46 M3. I was super frustrated with all the M3's being so busted, and I was like "fuck it I'll just get an E30". But then I came to my senses and realized it was not an appropriate car to be my primary commuter and baby-carrier. Someday I'd like to have one as my track/drift car.

MH said...

Its a fantastic car. I miss mine quite a bit. Only car Ive driven where I feel it responds to what I think, rather than lagging behind.

cbloom said...

Yeah, the responsiveness is amazing. It's like playing a 60 fps shooter after being stuck with shitty laggy ones. You might not think it's a big deal, but it completely changes the experience.

I'm so in love with the S54 engine that I've been fantasizing about an E30 with S54 transplant, or maybe an S54 Z4M roadster. It's a masterpiece.

old rants