JFazeli
JFazeli None
Oct. 13, 2009 11:04 a.m.

I recently had to sell my S2000 because of a move and a request from my fiance to get a four seater. We used this car for autocrosses, the occasional track day and it was also my daily. We've looked at many cars recently and we both loved the M3. We also drove the 335i and found it to be a bit subdued compared to the M. It was by no means slower, in fact I remember hitting the gas for a few seconds and looking down at the speedo in astonishment. "How'd we get to 80 already?!" With the M, we felt a surge of power accompanied by an awesome sound. The 335 got us their without even knowing it. I also preferred the interior of the M over the 335 especially the sport seats.

We are both leaning towards an 05 or 06 M3 but we're concerned about reliability. Our initial budget was for $20k but after driving the BMW's we decided that $35k was worth it if we didn't have to do major repairs all the time. Considering this, an 08 335i with CPO warranty sounds just as appealing as the M not to mention the GRM project car that's got me all hot and bothered.

What would you guys and gals do? Are the M cars built better? Does anyone else think the new turbo motors are going to have more long term problems compared to the NA 6's?

Thanks in advance!

Per Schroeder Technical Editor/Advertising Director
Oct. 13, 2009 11:09 a.m.

Having driven both, I'd be inclined to go with the E46---I like that engine better, the power delivery is more fun. Ultimately, however, the 335i would be faster with some tweaks.

Per

Oct. 13, 2009 11:36 a.m.

I'll second the E46 M3. IMO it is better looking and it is also lighter, less expensive and less complicated by nanny electronics (although there are plenty of blinkie doodads to go wrong). It has one of the sweetest motors of all time.

Like Per said, the 335 will end up being faster but it will never have the raspy shriek of the S54 honking out of the tailpipe at 8k.

belteshazzar SuperDork
Oct. 13, 2009 11:39 a.m.

i wish i had real problems like this.

JFazeli
JFazeli New Reader
Oct. 13, 2009 12:11 p.m.

Gaining power on the 335i is no problem. I've seen simple tweaks such a re-flash or turbo-tuner gain 40-70 hp from Turner Motorsports. But without the M package (LSD, brakes, suspension) would it be as good/fun as the M3? I'm also limited to very minor tweaks per the finance. Can't do anything major until we retire the car.

Any thoughts on reliability between the two?

Buckhead New Reader
Oct. 13, 2009 12:50 p.m.

I had the same dilemma in 2007 I went with the e46 m3 for two reasons: The first reason was the e46 seemed to handle better and have the same acceleration even though its naturally aspirated. The second reason being chris bangle….

If I had some cash to burn you can find a nice m3 for 25k and then spend another 10k on a AA supercharger or if your really craving hp then a HPF Turbo. FYI they are on sale now…..stage 1 is only 13,995. Speaking of reasonable??

Go with the m3

Buckhead New Reader
Oct. 13, 2009 1:29 p.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote: I'll second the E46 M3. IMO it is better looking and it is also lighter, less expensive and less complicated by nanny electronics (although there are plenty of blinkie doodads to go wrong). It has one of the sweetest motors of all time. Like Per said, the 335 will end up being faster but it will never have the raspy shriek of the S54 honking out of the tailpipe at 8k.

Yes sir snorkelwacker - Nothing beats the sound from 5 to 8k. I drove a 360 and 355 in Monaco and was hooked. Since they were clearly out of my price range the closest way to replicate that sound was with an m3. The tunnels on 400 and i-85 south connectors in Atlanta are no match for Monaco but the sound of the s54 is perfect.

In response to faults and problems:

My clutch went out at 42k since they were pulling the transmission I had a new flywheel put on. However, little parts like driver side power door actuator, rear view mirror (sounds crazy but they are filled with fluid mine looked half full) and the front carpets tend to bunch up.

docwyte New Reader
Oct. 13, 2009 1:50 p.m.

I've had my E46 M3 for over a year and a half now. It's a more direct feeling car than the 335. You can't make power as easily/cheaply, but it handles better, sounds better and is faster on the track. Comes with a limited slip diff that you can't even get on the 335.

ReverendDexter HalfDork
Oct. 13, 2009 2:29 p.m.
docwyte wrote: Comes with a limited slip diff that you can't even get on the 335.

Which flat baffles me. I could understand no LSD on the 330, but the 335i? What's BMW got against limited slip diffs? I mean, it's not like you can't make them electronically controlled and hide them 14 menu options deep in iDrive.

Buckhead New Reader
Oct. 13, 2009 2:40 p.m.
ReverendDexter wrote:
docwyte wrote: Comes with a limited slip diff that you can't even get on the 335.

Which flat baffles me. I could understand no LSD on the 330, but the 335i? What's BMW got against limited slip diffs? I mean, it's not like you can't make them electronically controlled and hide them 14 menu options deep in iDrive.

idrive another reason why i like the e46 over the e92. more like icrash?? I would take my chances anyday against a bad driver with a blackberry vs the idrive...

Oct. 13, 2009 2:41 p.m.

high strung motor vs. high strung motor? hmm decisions decsions! JK! I'd personally go with the 135...they look cooler than all the rest. But the E46 does have the traditional Bimmer look and lots of aftermarket out there for it already.

But when it comes down to it, you gotta get what you want for yourself....not what we think is best.

dj06482
dj06482 Reader
Oct. 13, 2009 2:42 p.m.
ReverendDexter wrote: Which flat baffles me. I could understand no LSD on the 330, but the 335i? What's BMW got against limited slip diffs? I mean, it's not like you can't make them electronically controlled and hide them 14 menu options deep in iDrive.

I'm with you, I'd love an LSD on my '97 328is!

jstein77 HalfDork
Oct. 13, 2009 2:53 p.m.

http://www.bmwblog.com/2008/10/10/what-to-get-2005-bmw-m3-or-2007-bmw-335/

mad_machine SuperDork
Oct. 13, 2009 3:14 p.m.

you can add an LSD and it works very well with BMW's traction control. Get both wheels spinning, and the traction control does not know there is a problem.

I would take the E46 over the 335 for one simple reason. Heat soak. It is already a well known fact that a few laps on the track with the turbo engine will have the car into Limp mode until it cools.. the E46 M3 will just keep right on going.

JFazeli
JFazeli New Reader
Oct. 13, 2009 3:28 p.m.

Thanks for all of your comments so far!

From that blog and your posts it sounds like the M won't be that much worse than the 335i as far as maintenance.

I'm also very surprised at how many people dislike the look of the new 3 series. I think they look great. I don't think the E46 will look as good as the E30 does in 15 years. Maybe it's just me and my love for 80's angular car design

Buckhead New Reader
Oct. 13, 2009 3:34 p.m.

the e30 m3 is by far my favorite m3 and will appreciate.

mad_machine SuperDork
Oct. 13, 2009 3:36 p.m.

the E92 is pretty.. the e90 is not. I cannot wrap my head around the 4door.

JFazeli
JFazeli New Reader
Oct. 13, 2009 3:41 p.m.

Not a fan of the four door either. I don't care how hard it will be to get a child seat back there, I'll make it work! If for some reason I can't, we'll take her car.

SupraWes Dork
Oct. 13, 2009 4:15 p.m.

Get the E46 M now and then an E92 M as soon as its in your price range.

Per Schroeder Technical Editor/Advertising Director
Oct. 13, 2009 6:20 p.m.

I wish they made an E46 M3 four-door.

ronbros Reader
Oct. 13, 2009 6:47 p.m.

of course i gotta be different,, gimmi the 335D, see ya on the open road!!

Woody SuperDork
Oct. 13, 2009 7:30 p.m.
Per Schroeder wrote: I wish they made an E46 M3 four-door.

x4.

dyintorace Dork
Oct. 13, 2009 7:42 p.m.
Woody wrote:
Per Schroeder wrote: I wish they made an E46 M3 four-door.

x4.

What do people here say? Plus eleventy bizillion?

I would have one sitting in my garage right now if they did.

docwyte New Reader
Oct. 13, 2009 7:57 p.m.

Yep, my car would be perfect with 2 more doors. I came very close to not buying it because of that very reason.

pigeon HalfDork
Oct. 13, 2009 8:18 p.m.

If the question is 335i or E46 M3, the answer is "yes"! Can't loose with either choice really. I don't have any seat time in an E46 M3 but I had a set of seats from one in my E46 328i, great, comfortable seats, much better than the chairs in the 335i loaner I've gotten a couple times. For that reason alone I'd probably go E46 M3. The much cheaper buy in is a second point in favor of the M3. On the other side of the ledger the M3 is pretty much optimized and can't be much improved on without major outlay for a supercharger, while the 335i is a blank canvas that with a larger oil cooler and a tune is an E90 M3 killer, but of course you can't go there and expect your CPO warranty to remain in force. Tough choice!

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