2002 BMW M3 Long Term Road Test - Audio & Technology

2002 BMW M3 Long Term Road Test

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2002 BMW M3: A Good Thing About the Nav

March 02, 2009


I know other editors have hated on the archaic navigation system of our 2002 BMW M3 in past blog posts. Sure, it's best if you have lots of time to scroll through the alphabet to spell out your destination on the nav before you have to get where you're going. (Never navigate while you're driving, at least in this car!) And the map of your route is so tiny that it's useless. And when you don't want to use the nav, the default screen is the menu screen, not the audio screen or even just the map. All annoying issues, especially when you've already had exposure to more modern navigation systems, both portable and in-car.

But what I did appreciate about navigating toward a destination in unfamiliar territory with our M3 is that the guide gives you ample time to make the required maneuvers. When I was stuck in the dreaded traffic hell that is 110 North near downtown L.A. on my way toward Eagle Rock, the guide gave me an ample heads-up to get many lanes over to my exit onto the 5 North. I also like how she always says things like, "Prepare to turn right" or "Take the second exit." She doesn't talk all the time like other nav systems I've tried but she does give you the required info when you need it. In other navs I've used, I'd miss a turn since I'd be stuck in the right lane at the time they instructed me to turn left. *facepalm*

Yes, living with this 2002 nav system is like living with a cassette tape deck but it's better than nothing at all and still functional. So the next owner of this 2002 M3 may have to deal with this old-fashioned nav but at least the M3's fun driving ability is still timeless.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 68,434 miles

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2002 BMW M3: Generating Map

November 03, 2008


Yesterday I drove my daughter in our long-term 2002 BMW M3 to Hollywood's El Capitan Theater to see High School Musical 3.

I took the wrong way out of the Hollywood and Highland parking garage, and subsequently went north instead of south on the 101 freeway.

Trying to consult the navigation system on the freeway was a joke. Although I was only doing 60-65 mph, the nav system couldn't keep up on the scale I needed in order to read the names of the upcoming exits.

Seventy-five percent of the screen blocked out in yellow, flashing "Generating Map."

Don't think I'd have had the same issue with a current nav system.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 63,734 miles

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2002 BMW M3: $524 For Nav? No Thanks

October 06, 2008


Based on Edmunds TMV, the optional factory navigation system on a 2002 BMW M3 commands an average of $524 for a private-party deal. Based on my time with our long-termer, I'd tell prospective buyers to make sure to find an M3 without the factory nav.

Technology has definitely advanced in the last six years. The nav's dial-based interface is clunky and the screen is low resolution. Take your $524 and buy a quality aftermarket system. Our last portable navigation system round-up review article can be found here.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 62,868 miles<

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2002 BMW M3: Cold Start

September 30, 2008


I've always thought the variable redline tachometer in the M3 was a cool feature.

When I got into the car the other morning it was light up to 6,500 rpm. Even though I've stared at this gauge many times, it was at that moment that I noticed for the first time it lights up to 4,000 rpm.

It sent a cold shiver up my spine.

I've never lived in a climate where block heaters were needed. My hat's off to you folks who weather that kind of cold, but I'd rather stay here on the southern coast.

Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 62,590 miles

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2002 BMW M3: Cruisin' Like It's 1999

July 21, 2008

Time Warp back to '99

While driving our long-term M3 in the past, I've used the tape deck to play my iPod or portable XM radio. However, the sound quality is so craptacular, I decided to take a trip down memory lane. I dug out my mammoth CD collection book, popped the M3's trunk, then pre-selected the six discs I wanted to listen to on the journey. Given the '90s nature of this exercise, I decided to sample from CDs left over from the Clinton era: Oasis, Dave Matthews, Coldplay's Parachutes, Collective Soul, Ben Folds, Eve 6.

Having had a 2000 Jetta with a similar six-CD changer, I was used to this trunk-mounted song and dance -- I never thought of it as that big of a deal. In retrospect, though, it's just a massive pain in the ass. On road trips, I'd often make pit stops to change CDs even if the gas tank and my bladder were A-OK. Using the M3's changer has an added pain with a magazine that features six individual trays that must each be popped out to switch a CD. My Jetta's magazine had a little switch that would eject all the discs from the magazine at once -- much quicker.

I remember being quite impressed by my buddy's 1997 Volvo 850 that had an in-dash three-CD changer. The thing would pop in and out of the radio faceplate when switching discs and made a bit of a racket, but dang it was cool. How things quickly change. Considering that the M3's trunk-mounted changer and equally ye-olde navigation interface seem oh-so-quaint now, I can only imagine what today's selection of iPod connections and iDrives is going to seem like in 10 years. I'll report back in 2018.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

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2002 BMW M3: Salt and Pepper

June 24, 2008

I don't often get the chance to drive our long term M3, so when the slot became vacant to a bottom feeder on the chain such as myself, I jumped at the chance.

I was running to a photo shoot last night. I quickly hopped in and got running into East LA. My mind was focused on the traffic and what I want to do with my assignment that night. It wasn't until I got back into the car did I notice how time has flown by. No, not because it was 10pm or that I had multiple missed calls, it was the nav system graphics.

I remember when the nav system was a new technology in the BMW and at the time I thought it was pretty darn cool. As time has progressed, the technology has been refined. Now there are high-resolution touch screens, different voices or accents to choose from and a myriad other technologies available.

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2002 BMW M3: Door Plate Bonanza!

January 17, 2008

A plethora of labels containing fine and not-so-fine print awaits drivers of our BMW M3.

I drove our 2002 BMW M3 home during the middle of the week - big mistake. Don't get me wrong; the car is fine. But on this particular day, traffic choked my route more than usual. Let's just say I didn't get to savor any of the M3's finer points.

So I'm going to talk about door stickers instead. I can tell by your sharp intake of breath that you can hardly wait for this one.

Our M3 sure has a lot of them - door placards and warning labels, I mean. The most prominent one is the dire warning about the side airbag and what it can do to children. But immediately below that disturbing nugget of information there sits a bright orange sticker that demands attention:

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2002 BMW M3: Can I Keep It?

January 15, 2008

2002 BMW M3

Please, please, can I have it as my very own?

My first taste of our M3 was as a passenger. I got to sit back, crank up the heated seats, and enjoy listening to its healthy sound.

When I switched to the driver's seat, I was stuck in traffic, so I played with the navi system... The graphics are a little on the old side but it works. It's not particularly intuitive in its operation, but I remembered how to use it from our BMW X3 that we had a while back. (I still miss the X3. Sigh.)

I like masculine-looking cars. The Mini Cooper S is fun and all, but it looks like it should be sitting on top of a wedding cake or something. The M3's black exterior and red leather interior are manly and sporty. The red is darker than it appears in pictures. And it doesn't scream "look at me I'm a performer." It just has discreet M badging here and there and blood and guts under the hood.

And it's so easy to drive. The clutch is stiff as hell, but it engages quickly. This car wants to play. And it makes you want to play. I wonder when I'll get in it again. It's always the car that gets signed out first.

Oh, and I think I'm the only person to ever use the trunk. It's pristine. Here it is full of domesticity.

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2002 BMW M3: Junk in the trunk.

January 04, 2008

Things were different back then. In naught-Two the world was a simpler place. Fewer iPods, no Zunes (who am I kidding, there still aren’t any Zunes) and Bluetooth was more likely to be associated with pirates than wireless communcation. And, apparently, in Germany at least, the cassette tape was still a viable music medium. That’s right folks, behind the fancy tilting Nav. screen (which there will be many posts about in the future) is a tape deck.
A tape deck. In a $50K car made in this decade. What life must have been like for those poor souls.

But thats not the real problem. Our Long Term Hyundai Azera had a tape deck, and above it was a CD player. Its no iPod jack, but Ill take it. BMW put the changer in the trunk. I guess back then people liked to walk more than they do today. Or they had a longer attention span. What I do know is that today, in 2008, this is a pain in the bottom, especially in a car that I never, ever, ever want to stop driving.

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