The anticipation has been building. The eagerness to receive a new car is something along the lines of a child waiting to open Santa's gifts on a Christmas morning. Anyone who's been wanting something for very long has definitely felt what I'm going through right now. You simply want to jump right into the action and try out everything. However, with the BMW M3 that isn't quite the case. The first 1,200 miles are extremely important for the longevity and health of the vehicle.
What BMW recommends is that for the first 1,200 miles or so you take it easy on the vehicle. So in other words, you cannot take the vehicle to red line or be aggressive with the car. While it's very tempting to mash on the throttle and let the beast loose, it's probably best to heed the words of BMW. The reason behind the pretty much mandatory 1,200 mile service is for a couple of reasons. The first is that the vehicles fluids need to be replaced. From the factory, the parts inside the engine are not particularly well cleaned nor polished. As much as they want the car to be in perfect condition, there are moving parts inside the engine and metal flakes will be deposited. There is nothing that can be done about this so the fluids must be replaced so that the car will not be damaged. The metal particles can cause engine damage and failure in the long run so the first maintenance service is quite early on. Other BMW vehicles in the traditional lineup like the 3 series or X lineup don't need the 1,200 mile break in period because after all, you are purchasing a high performance vehicle. Like the cliche, with great power comes great responsibility.
The second reason is that the launch control function will be enabled on the vehicle. Before the first maintenance, the launch control will be disabled to discourage aggressive driving. Or at least till the first service is completed on the vehicle. It is recommended to keep the vehicle below 5k rpms and the speed under 100mph, both of which are reasonable.
So onto the first impressions of the vehicle. I cannot be more ecstatic that I can finally own my BMW M3! Everything about the car is exciting, from the form and figure to the performance and quality. It was quite intimidating when I first got the vehicle. Every inch was just spectacular and I didn’t want to ruin the looks of my beast. However, after drooling over the car for a good 20 minutes, I took a peek inside and wow was my mind blown. For some reason, sitting inside my car made it extra special although I’ve sat in numerous M cars before. My M3 only had the extended leather but overall I’m pretty happy with that. It comes free of charge when paired with the executive package.
The interior build quality is good. There’s still some squeaks here and there. I would’ve liked a solid fit and finish but with the interior being made with lots of plastic, those annoying little sounds will be present. At least all of the areas that I have to sit in and touch are in leather. The steering wheel is noticeably thicker than the traditional BMW steering wheel. The stitching is contrasting with red and blue. The quality is even better than that of the M sport packages which is expected as this is a true M car. The backseats have ample room for the passengers unless the driver is a giant. However, headroom is poor. It’s not the worst that I’ve seen but it’s not great either. I wished that the back had an inch to two of additional headspace and I’m about average height for a guy. It’s not ideal to have your friends back there but it’s workable. My main concern is safety as there is no room for the seatbelt to catch you in case of a crash.
During the drive back home I set the vehicle to the softest settings possible. I wanted to ease my way into the power and mainly because I was still in my break in period. I didn’t go into manual mode that much as it didn’t make sense since I was limited by the revs anyways. So the visibility was not that great for the blind spots. The B pillars were larger than expected for me but you can still see out of the windows. The rear window is smaller than what I’m used to but is still good. I did purchase the driver’s assistance package so the blind spot monitor gave me some extra reassurance when switching lanes.
The steering felt too light for me in comfort mode. If you’ve driven a torque converter transmission you will notice that with the steering wheel pointed straight forward, there is some play left and right that creates a dead spot with no noticeable movement of the wheels. With the dual clutch transmission there was no dead spot and the car responded instantaneously to all commands. It felt too responsive as a short sudden movement would cause the car to move in response. I didn’t like that so I decided to try sport and sport +. Sport was still a little light for me but it wasn’t too bad overall. I liked the heavier feel and the resistance it had to turning. It felt reassuring that the car wouldn’t move much due to inadvertent hand movements by myself such as when turning a knob or dial. Sport + was way too heavy for me. I thought I was lifting weights
I was extremely happy that I got the adaptive M suspension. I thought that the suspension in sport or sport+ was too stiff for my liking. Every small bump in the road was amplified. Although the damping was good, every bump caused way too much discomfort. In comfort mode, the suspension was still too stiff for me, but I think it’s still doable for me. Over time the suspension will soften and hopefully I will grow accustomed to it. Going over bumps wasn’t too bad unless there’s a visible bump in the road that I could see.
The heads up display was something that I never had in any other car that I’ve owned previously. In classic mode it allowed me to see the speed limit of the road as well as my own speed. I didn’t need to look down at the dash anymore. Changing radio stations was a breeze as well. It’s a little distracting trying to figure out the radio station names while driving though. I wished that the heads up display would show the action station channel instead of the radio station name.
After the first 100 or so miles, I still excited about owning my first BMW M3. I will keep you guys updated on the suspension feel in a thousand or so miles.