2009 BMW M3 Long Term Road Test

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2009 BMW M3: Damping Control Too Aggressive For My Tastes

December 21, 2009

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Took the M3 on a nice slice of Mulholland Highway yesterday. The engine still feels brilliant along with the brakes and steering. I've noted before that the "sport" button is a bit overkill, and now I'm convinced that the Electronic Damping Control is a similar piece of unnecessary hardware.

Dial in the stiffest setting and the whole car turns into an unyielding piece of aluminum and steel. There is almost no roll while turning or dive under braking. It feels like your very own NASCAR stock car.

Which is great if you're on a track. On a normal road it's not quite so enjoyable. The whole car feels nervous as it bounces and jumps over every imperfection in the road. It may be more capable, but it's not necessarily more fun.

I prefer to have a little give in the car so I can feel the suspension working a little, not to mention feel confident about predicting when it might stop working. Besides, there's already so much capability baked into the car, so it's not like you're missing out on much in the normal setting.

Ed Hellwig, Senior Editor, Inside Line

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