2002 BMW M3 Long Term Road Test


2002 BMW M3: New Tires Finally for Our German Mustang

January 18, 2009

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After a week or so of waiting, our long-term 2002 BMW M3 is back on the road and rolling on a new pair of shoes.

Faithful readers will remember that we had beaten the E46's set of Yokohama Advans into submission and were in desperate need of replacements. As always, to www.tirerack.com we went, credit card in hand.

But a new set of Advans seemed boring. As much as we were impressed with the tire, we wanted to try something new, but what? We knew we still wanted a Max Performance Tire because the M3 rarely leaves L.A.and Spring is closer than we think, but beyond that we were open to anything.

Well, we ended up with a set of Sumitomos. Yes, Sumitomos. The company's max performance model is called the HTR ZIII and we figured they were worth a shot for two reasons.

1) They are dirt cheap. In fact, they are the cheapest max performance tire that comes in the M3's required sizes. And at $132 for each front and $153 for each rear they cost about half as much as a set of Advans or a set of Michelin Pilot Sport PS2s.

2) We thought it would be fun to see what you get for that low price. Are they a steal or is this an example of half price/half performance?

We decided it would be fun to find out. Soon we will retest the car at our test track to sample the ultimate grip and extreme handling characteristics of the Sumitomos, and we'll surely report on their ride quailty and overall durability in the coming weeks.

As usual, www.tirerack.com and the crew at The Tire Rack made everything easy. The tires were shipped quickly and showed up as promised. We then zipped over to our favorite local tire installer, Stokes Tire in Santa Monica, and had them installed. They charged us $109. That's $100 for install / balance and $9 for hazardous waste disposal.

And so far so good. The Sumitomo name might not impress your buddies at the local hangout, but the tires look good, and they feel great. They've been on the car for about a week now and we have no complaints.

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Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 66,698 miles

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New set of Sumitomos.

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Old set of Yokohamas.

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