2002 BMW M3: Testing the Big Brakes
July 28, 2008
As I mentioned in an earlier post, the strengths of a big brake kit like this one lie not in its ability to reduce a car's single-stop distance from 60 miles per hour, but rather in its ability to endure sustained high-temperature operation by adding thermal capacity and maintaining consistent pedal feel.
Stoptech's brakes do exactly that. Even so, 60-to-0 stopping tests are a standard around here and both our previous M3 brake tests we performed from this speed. So, if for no other reason than to have an apples-to-apples comparison, we repeated this test with the new brakes.
And, what do you know, there wasn't a huge improvement. The M3 stopped from 60 mph in a previous test on these tires (Yokohama Advan Neova AD07s) in 109 ft. Last week it recorded a best stop of 107.6 feet and settled consistently at 108 feet. More importantly it could have repeated this test all day. Repeated stops from 60 mph don't approach overheating the system. In fact, it takes a few runs to get the pads up to temperature so the first few stops were longer than stock -- a compromise made by high-temperature pad material.
This result does speak to the fact that Stoptech's brakes maintain the M3's stock front-to-rear brake proportioning -- something which is commonly overlooked in many aftermarket kits. This balancing act is crucial to proper brake performance.
The real test will be during aggressive street driving which is what the Axxis Ultimate pads we're using were designed for. Look for further updates after we've had the M3 in the mountains.
Also, the M3's brake pad wear warning light is still on because the installer thought the aftermarket pads wouldn't work with the stock sensor. We've since been told that it will and are planning to reinstall the sensor later this week. Check back here for updates.
Josh Jacquot, Senior road test editor @ 59,202 miles