2002 BMW M3 Long Term Road Test

2002 BMW M3: Not Completely Irresistible

September 19, 2008

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It's pretty rare to hear a bad word spoken about our long-term 2002 BMW M3. Okay, it happens -- rubbery shifter, CD changer in the trunk, maintenance issues, etc. But when it comes to the way our Bimmer drives, no one not named after a European country has expressed anything but admiration for it.

Enter a college buddy of mine, code name Professor Tea Bag, who's in town to start a Ph.D program at UCLA but can't move into his place till Monday. Last night we drove the M3 over to his new neighborhood -- and when I say "drove," I mean the usual drill in this car: windows down, sunroof open, zero-to-the-speed-limit acceleration runs from every stop, ferocious throttle-blips on every downshift.

The Professor was petrified.

"Is that really necessary?" he fumed as I grabbed second and floored it, throwing him back against his seat. "I mean, what's the appeal?"

I slowed down and then goosed it again. "Listen to it!" I shouted over the din. "It's the engine of the gods!"

But he just stared at me blankly. Which got me to thinking. You know what? Being an automotive enthusiast is like being an oenophile. You might be serving one of the finest red wines in the world, but it won't matter if you're serving it to someone (like me) who thinks red wine tastes like bitter grape juice. Similarly, even the all-time greatness of the M3 will, alas, be lost on a man who thinks that as long as a car will eventually reach the speed limit, it doesn't matter how long it takes to get there.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 62,220 miles

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