2009 BMW M3 Long Term Road Test

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2009 BMW M3 -- The Ultimate Commuter Car

October 19, 2009

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(Our 2009 BMW M3 awaits its next freeway adventure. Photo by Andrew Reed.)

I've always said I would never own a BMW. I just hate the image. I'm sure you've all heard the joke about the difference between BMWs and porcupines. Sorry, I can't deliver the punch line here.

But after spending serious time in the 2002 BMW M3, the 2008 BMW 135i and now the 2009 BMW M3, I'm changing my tune.

I think that the BMW is the ultimate commuter car. Here's why.

I hit the 405 freeway in Los Angeles every morning at 5:45 a.m. Everyone on the road knows it's about to turn into gridlock so they drive like the pagan hordes were coming over the horizon. Five lanes wide and everyone is cutting in and out. But in a BMW, you feel you have everything at your disposal to cope with this chaos.

Specifically, you have more tools to work with than any other car. You can out-accelerate anything to merge into openings in other lanes (rather than dropping back and merging with less rear visibility). The brakes are so strong they give you security at the other end of the speed equation. And the handling is razor sharp for any kind of unexpected maneuver the situation calls for. Plus, the seats offer more adjustments than a chiropractor; the '09 M3 seats fit me like a glove.

Basically, it's like driving around in a safe on wheels. Then, throw in good resale value and decent fuel economy (I know, I know, it takes premium) and it all adds up to an attractive and surprisingly practical package.

So, I'm not saying I'm going to turn into a porcupine, but if I had to buy a commuter car I'd look for a well-maintained 3 or 5 series.

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