2009 BMW M3 Long Term Road Test

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2009 BMW M3: Engine Oil Low, Add Engine Oil

October 11, 2009

bmw engine oil 1.jpg

It's no secret to anyone who's ever owned / driven / seen a BMW M3 that these things burn oil. >100 hp/liter and an 8,400 rpm redline will do that to a motor. But this blog isn't about that. Not really. By now we all know it happens and we know that the oil costs $20 from the BMW dealership.

Nope, none of that is news. It would be like putting up a new blog each time we fill the tank with gas. What this is about then is the handy warning systems deployed by the M3 when the oil dips below the "safe" zone.

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This is first. When you start the M3 the center of the IP is occupied by a an exclamation point and a smaller one next to the mpg readout. (This warning happens for about 5 seconds. Sorry, this is the least blurry shot I managed to get.)

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The icon next to the mpg readout stays on permanently until you fix the problem.

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The next warning is here, at the top of the navigation system. The car is even so kind as to direct you to the first step down the e-rabbit hole that is BMW's idrive.

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The final warning is on shut down and it's just a picture of an oil can and an irritating audible ding.

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This is the only way to stop the warnings. Note the high-tech way we tell the gold-bottled BMW oil from the gold-bottled VW TDI oil-- a sticky note.

There are two ways to look at this 1) This is a 414-hp V8 with instantaneous response, oil is critical to functionality and thus BMW wants to keep it going. 2) This engine is very, very expensive and if you forget to put oil in it, BMW wants to make sure there are enough warnings that if it blows up, they're not responsible.

All I know is that I want as many warnings re maintenance as I can get. Modern cars that don't offer some sort of minder are my new pet peeve. (*cough* Hyundai *cough).

Your take: Maintence Reminders: Are they making us lazy, or are they keeping our cars better cared for?

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 10,172 miles

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