Cruisin' Like It's 1999 - 2002 BMW M3 Long-Term Road Test

2002 BMW M3 Long Term Road Test

2002 BMW M3: Cruisin' Like It's 1999

July 21, 2008

Time Warp back to '99

While driving our long-term M3 in the past, I've used the tape deck to play my iPod or portable XM radio. However, the sound quality is so craptacular, I decided to take a trip down memory lane. I dug out my mammoth CD collection book, popped the M3's trunk, then pre-selected the six discs I wanted to listen to on the journey. Given the '90s nature of this exercise, I decided to sample from CDs left over from the Clinton era: Oasis, Dave Matthews, Coldplay's Parachutes, Collective Soul, Ben Folds, Eve 6.

Having had a 2000 Jetta with a similar six-CD changer, I was used to this trunk-mounted song and dance -- I never thought of it as that big of a deal. In retrospect, though, it's just a massive pain in the ass. On road trips, I'd often make pit stops to change CDs even if the gas tank and my bladder were A-OK. Using the M3's changer has an added pain with a magazine that features six individual trays that must each be popped out to switch a CD. My Jetta's magazine had a little switch that would eject all the discs from the magazine at once -- much quicker.

I remember being quite impressed by my buddy's 1997 Volvo 850 that had an in-dash three-CD changer. The thing would pop in and out of the radio faceplate when switching discs and made a bit of a racket, but dang it was cool. How things quickly change. Considering that the M3's trunk-mounted changer and equally ye-olde navigation interface seem oh-so-quaint now, I can only imagine what today's selection of iPod connections and iDrives is going to seem like in 10 years. I'll report back in 2018.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

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