Best Car in the World - 2009 BMW M3 Long-Term Road Test

2009 BMW M3 Long Term Road Test

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2009 BMW M3: Best Car in the World

November 07, 2009

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Disagree with the title? You haven't driven one enough. I know I hadn't when I disagreed.

I guess a little back-story on me: I've never been a big BMW fanboi. Give me the keys for a weekend and I'll head for the canyons, sure, but if we're talking my money, my preferences, I'd prefer a more tank-like Mercedes, especially if it's an AMG Mercedes.

BMW's, the M3 in particular, has always felt fragile to me. They're light and twitchy and hyper-responsive. If you've ever held a small bird in your hands, it's kind of like that. You just expect the whole thing to up and die from hypertension at any moment. AMG cars are like dogs. Bid dogs. They're sort of lazy until something sparks their interest (Squirrel!) and then it's GO GO GO until it decides to change course.

The 2009 BMW M3 sedan, though, is different.

What you're about to read are real, raw impressions. Copies of text messages to-and-from co-workers dating to the first time I took our 2009 BMW M3 home. (And yes, we all have full-keyboard phones which makes this whole thing much more readable.)

Friday, 18:30 to Sadlier: "Drove M3 home. Not impressed. Lousy clutch. Would rather 335d + cash. Nice wheel."

Friday, 18:31 to Riswick: "M3 thoughts? I'm not sold. Much rather C63. Think even prefer 335d."

Friday, 18:35 from Sadlier: "You're off your meds again, aren't you?"

Friday, 18:35 to Sadlier: "No torque. Long shifts. Engine @ idle sounds like a dryer full of buttons. Appears to get 11mpg."

Friday, 18:37 from Sadlier: "Come trade me for SX4 then."

Friday, 18:40 to Sadlier: "No."

Friday, 18:41 from Riswick: "No."

Satuday, 08:45 to Riswick: "Just drove canyons. Wow. What a car. Stupid-high limits."

Saturday, 08:47 to Sadlier: "Yowsah. Steering. Brakes. Steering. Shifter. Clutch great at 7/10ths. Scary fast w/o being scary."

Saturday, 08:51 from Riswick: "Still want that 335?"

Saturday, 08:52 to Riswick: "They still make that car? M-mode = Mike's mode."

Saturday, 10:12 from Sadlier: "Yeah?"

Saturday, 10:23 to Sadlier: "Yeah. Could be the best car I've ever driven."

Saturday, 10:25 to Chris Walton (chief road test Editor): "Can you think of a car any car with better steering/brakes/engine/trans/clutch? Short of 911gt3?"

Saturday, 11:40 from Chris Walton: Uh're getting' it.

Saturday, 11:51 to Chris Walton: "This is the best most complete car in the world. It's actually a bargain for what you get. Wow."

I spent the rest of the weekend driving and not texting, but my brain was thinking essentially the same things over and over again.

1) This car is far too fast for normal people to drive every day (see for example, the kid who smoked Lutz and his CTS-V last week.)
2) With all of the performance things this can do, combined with all of the lux/tech features, this car is as close to perfect as is currently available.
3) As good as it is, it's still a little sterile, a little surgical. This is a better car, but I still want a C63.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant

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