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Vancouver Auto Chat 2016 VAC Community Head Moderator: Raid3n

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Old 08-11-2016, 11:58 PM   #1
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Revscene Quick Take: 2008 BMW M3

The evolution of the BMW m3 has come a long way, it started some 30 years ago BMW threw a 2.3L inline 4 in the 3 series, made it wider than called it the M3 and since then we couldn’t get enough of these compact performance cars. The e90 example we have here is the first and possibly the last M3 with a naturally aspirated v8. This fine example is a true enthusiast 6 speed manual sedan that belongs to my friend Ray (rk604) and he’s currently selling it as well so if you’re interested after reading this article give him a call.

Brief history, the last generation the e46 was one of the greats. Even to this day everyone loves the smooth inline 6 and the balanced chassis, and with every new generation BMW has to improve. So let us see what they have here the new 3 series is a bit bigger and with two more cylinders naturally it’ll be heavier, about 200 lbs depending on configuration comparing to the previous generation. So with a bit more weight it needs more power, up from the e46’s 333hp is a glorious 4 Litre v8 that makes 414hp. This naturally aspirated engine loves to sing, it’s not a traditional V8 by any means. With every blip of the throttle, the engine reacts instantaneous followed by a raspy yet throaty sound from the Dinan exhaust out back. With the windows up it’s a bit more muted, certainly you’re able to hear the intake just take big gulps of air. But with a vehicle like this it’ll be wise to drive with the windows down and go through parking lots or tunnels, it can really put a smile on your face. But don’t push it too hard with a hungry v8 and a modest size gas tank, making it from gas station to the next won’t be easy. The owner generally drives in town and he gets about 250 km if he drives it a bit more aggressively and 350 km if driven like a grandma.

Sitting inside the M3 you will start to notice a few exclusive “M” items such has the tri-colour stitched beefy steering wheel that is amazing to hold and the little M button on the right spoke of the steering wheel. The little M button is to activate the car’s sport mode but unlike many cars this sport mode is user configurable within the i-drive system. From steering feel, power and EDC all of these parameters are independently adjustable. Other automakers should take note, while some would love the quick throttle response from the sport mode a heavy steering feel isn’t always favoured. Other interior bits and pieces are similar items to other 3 series. There’s nothing that really stands out, some might even consider the interior a bit cheap as the interior pieces doesn’t feel as premium or particularly special. However this simple layout is great for ergonomics, everything makes sense. There're simple temperature knobs and a volume knob to adjust the basics and for things that're a bit more in depth the i-drive controller falls perfectly under your right hand giving the driver ability to change much more.

As it is an M car it is all about the drive. Driver involvement with the 6-speed is superb, throws are a bit longer than I would like but gates are easy to find. The clutch is easy to modulate without looking like an idiot at every stoplight. A feature that’s I found particularly useful is EDC. BMW calls it Electronic Dampening Control, essentially the dampers can be adjusted from a button by the shifter. There are three different settings from sport to comfort. Personally, I left it in comfort as I do love a plush ride, but when switching between the modes the dampening feel differs dramatically. Leaving the vehicle in the sport the ride is a harsh but not overbearing but in comfort the ride is similar to non-m products. This feature would be quite useful during long trips to and from the track as you can have an easy comfortable ride to the location and yet still bomb around the track with minimal body roll. As with any M car they are built for the driver and it’s evident as soon as you take the car through turns, the seats have just enough bolstering to hold you in but not so much that it’s inconvenient to get in and out. The steering has no play and it’s direct, a small twitch will change the vehicle’s direction. With such a direct turn in response, it’s good to have stability control on just in case the back end steps out. If fun is something to consider with the DSC off, this m3 can easily be driven sideways with the right throttle inputs.

Undeniably the M3 is one of the greats, from the way the car feels and how it connects the driver to the road. There’s plenty to love with this car, and since the price of these rare beasts has come down it’s a better time then ever to get your hands on this fine German machine.

Words and Photos by: Jimmy Mak
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