1200 Mile Review
After the first service, my break in period for the M3 is officially over. I am very excited to bring the vehicle above 5,000 rpms and hope for that full 425HP to kick in.
During my break in period, I drove moderately and pushed it a little but not quite too much. The vehicle was very tame and compliant when I set the transmission to D1. D1 is the softest transmission mode and acceleration will be moderate. The car will shift for you so there is no need to pull any paddles. There’s not quite much to be afraid of in this setting. I found it to be manageable and great for everyday driving. There is a noticeable delay in acceleration. It’s definitely not linear but I believe the car was made to drive like that in D1. Accidently depressing the gas will not launch the car forward. Only after maybe a second will the turbos start to really spool up. This is nice since you don’t necessarily have to worry about throttle control as much there’s really no jerking of the vehicle when you let of the gas or step on the gas.
I mentioned in my first impressions that the suspension was extremely stiff. Now with about 1,200 miles on the vehicle I have some new thoughts. To be honest I’m not sure if the suspension did break in and get softer or I’m simply accustom to the car now, but my M3 is now more enjoyable to drive. As long as you are in the comfort setting for the suspension, the vehicle doesn’t bounce around that much. Driving around the city or the suburbs shouldn’t be an issue since speed limits generally aren’t very high and you won’t be barreling through potholes and bumps in the road. You will still feel the bumps in the road at low speed but it’s not particularly harsh. The best way I can describe it is that the vehicle lets you know that it’s passing over some rougher terrain but don’t react violently. On the highway, the M3 performs like a champ. As a general rule of thumb, if you can see a bump or change in elevation of the road surface, the M3 is going to let you know it’s there. Only over big bumps will you be thrown around. The same cannot be said for sport and sport +. My passengers we not very pleased when I set the suspension in sport +, particularly those that sat in the back. In sport + there is better damping of the springs after the initial reaction to a bump. In comfort, there is more oscillation to the vehicle.
In my previous review, I also mentioned that the steering in sport + was too heavy, but experiencing the electric steering on the M3 for some time, I actually think it’s too responsive. There is no dead spot in the center of the car like a traditional hydraulic steering. When I went over bumps the car swayed, thus causing my hands to sway the steering wheel as well. I didn’t like how my steering wheel instantaneously responded to such an inadvertent situation. I would say I prefer a hydraulic steering as there is also more feel for the road. The electronic steering feels numbs. There’s almost no feedback. The only thing I experienced was from the entire car being pivoted while turning or going over a bump. The sport + is still pretty heavy but from my time in that mode, I felt reassured that the wheels wouldn’t go where I didn’t want them if there was a tiny movement in the steering column. However, for longer drives and canyon roads I think I do prefer a lighter wheel feel such as that exhibited in sport or comfort mode. After a while my wrist did get pretty sore from turning that wheel back and forth and then some.
I know that I just bought a performance sedan for performance but I have to mention the gas mileage I’m getting and how often I fill up. I think it’s something my readers would like to know about but by no means should this be a deal breaker if you decide to get an M3/M4. Well, I would say you should be financially stable after buying the vehicle if you do decide to get one. Assuming that’s true, I think it’s wise to consider some numbers. Gas prices as of writing, in the summer of 2016, are still fairly cheap. I needed to fill up about 2-3 times a week and this was me driving moderately. Don’t get me wrong, the car performs like a champ, but it eats gas quite a bit in city driving. I was experiencing much lower than the advertised 17 mpg in the city. I was closer to 12 mpg unfortunately. Most of it was stop and go traffic so I suppose that’s understandable. During highway driving, it was great. I was getting over 30 mpg just cruising along at around the speed limit. Although quite a lot of vehicles were passing me, I was getting an amazing mileage considering it’s a six cylinder high performance car. AC was also going so I suspect that during the spring and fall the miles per gallon will increase, and noticeably decrease again during the winter months. During the fill ups, gas was around $3.20 or so for a gallon of 91 octane fuel. I usually went to fill up when the gas reserve light came on. It popped up in both my HUD and the dash. I believe it displays when there’s around 50 miles of gas left. So each time I got about 12 gallons of fuel which usually was around the $40 dollar mark. It’s definitely not cheap so just be wary if you’re on a tighter budget and do want a M3 or any other performance vehicle. Also, the gas tank is only 15.9 gallons but I think it’s quite small. I’m used to getting around 300 miles of range before I fill up. The M3 seems to burn through the gas quite quickly. Would’ve appreciated a 20 gallon tank but am I asking too much? BMW most likely wanted to cut down on weight for this decision. However, I’ll still be using my Toyota for daily driving and keep the M3 for some spiriting cruising. To be fair, on average I was still getting better than the estimated 21 mpg combined fuel economy for the M3, so overall I will say I’m pretty satisfied. My wallet certainly won’t thank me but I knew what I was getting into when I got the car.