ChrisConroy
Aug. 7, 2009 1:18 p.m.

Hey guys, I'm looking at purchasing a car for 3 things:

  1. Commuting (80 miles/day)
  2. Skiing
  3. Track Use (drivers ed, road racing eventually)

I'm also considering one of 3 cars for these duties:

A: 2005-2008 Mazda 3 Sedan (not the mazdaspeed3) B: 2002-2005 BMW 330i C: 2006-2007 WRX Sedan (not the STI)

What is everyones opinion on these cars as a potential future track rat, considering the WRX is the only one of the three that has an LSD standard?

maroon92 SuperDork
Aug. 7, 2009 1:29 p.m.

the WRX will be most fun, the BMW will be most comfortable, and the 3 will be most economical...choose carefully.

Autolex Reader
Aug. 7, 2009 1:46 p.m.

I would do the WRX, as it has the best potential for two of those (skiing, and track use)....

Autolex Reader
Aug. 7, 2009 1:47 p.m.
ChrisConroy wrote: ...considering the WRX is the only one of the three that has an LSD standard?

It does? I thought they were all open diff's in the car... and on that note, I think the other two have them... (correct me if I am wrong)

maroon92 SuperDork
Aug. 7, 2009 1:49 p.m.

you are wrong. the WRX has Viscous LSD...the 3 does not, and the BMW has it as an option.

Autolex Reader
Aug. 7, 2009 2:01 p.m.
maroon92 wrote: you are wrong. the WRX has Viscous LSD...the 3 does not, and the BMW has it as an option.

Wikipedia is wrong then... Link Here (MS3)

wikipedia says (on the mazdaspeed 3): A GKN limited slip differential is standard, along with a six-speed manual transmission, traction control and Dynamic Stability Control.
EDIT: it does appear that bmw and subaru are both relying on electronic peices instead of limited slips

EDIT: re-reading the wrx wiki, it appears that it has a "suretrak" limited slip in the rear axle only from 2002-2007, then they took it off in favor of VDC on the 2008+ wrx

mad_machine SuperDork
Aug. 7, 2009 2:40 p.m.

who not a the XI Bimmer.. three series style, performance, and practicality.. with all wheel drive

Autolex Reader
Aug. 7, 2009 3:09 p.m.
mad_machine wrote: who not a the XI Bimmer.. three series style, performance, and practicality.. with all wheel drive

+1

Nashco
Nashco SuperDork
Aug. 7, 2009 3:09 p.m.
Autolex wrote: I would do the WRX, as it has the best potential for two of those (skiing, and track use)....

Ditto.

therex SuperDork
Aug. 7, 2009 3:10 p.m.

80 miles a day, no brainer, get the 3 (Wagon). Comfortable, sporty, fuel efficient.

Tim Baxter Online Editor
Aug. 7, 2009 3:11 p.m.

Remember the FWD vs RWD vs AWD article? It had BMW, a WRX and an Acura (since there was no MS3 at the time)

ChrisConroy
ChrisConroy New Reader
Aug. 7, 2009 6:35 p.m.

In reply to Autolex:

Autolex, wikipedia is right, the MS3 does have an LSD, but the regular 2.3 liter N/A Mazda3 does not. unfortunately the MS3 isnt within my budget right now :(

ChrisConroy
ChrisConroy New Reader
Aug. 7, 2009 6:37 p.m.
mad_machine wrote: who not a the XI Bimmer.. three series style, performance, and practicality.. with all wheel drive

actually i was thinking about an Xi, but i was concerned of reliability on and off the track with the AWD system, i have heard that their AWD systems are not as reliable as the Subarus..? I'm sure someone has better information on this for me though...

ChrisConroy
ChrisConroy New Reader
Aug. 7, 2009 6:39 p.m.
Tim Baxter wrote: Remember the FWD vs RWD vs AWD article? It had BMW, a WRX and an Acura (since there was no MS3 at the time)

Tim, what issue was this in? i'd love to read it

irish44j New Reader
Aug. 7, 2009 7:38 p.m.

oddly enough these were the three cars I was looking at last year...well, close. I was looking at the Mazdaspeed3 (new/newish), WRX (08/09), and 330i (a couple years old).

MS3: Performance was great, we had previously had a regular 3 ('04) and it had zero problems in 3 years. Downside: word on the forums was that the MS3 enging/turbo tune doen'st like cold weather (I work at a ski shop). Also if you're over 5'10, expect your right knee to get sore banging the center console. Also no sunroof option. No AWD wasn't a killer, but for skiing AWD is always a plus.

BMW: Honestly, I love damn near everything about the car. But for someone who wants to drive INTO the snowstorm to ski, a RWD won't do it. And yes, I know they're fine for regular snow driving, but not for serious winter weather in mountain roads. Also the fact that I could only afford one that was 3-5 years old with pretty much no warranty was a downside.

I chose the 09 WRX. Why? AWD is great...dry, rain, or snow. You can drive it like a RWD car to some extent or like a FWD car,d epending on your style. Why else? Had the performance of the MS3 for a similar price, but had a sunroof and AWD....and no knee banging. Also had winter package (heated cloth seats, wiper de-icers, mirror de-icers), which the MS3 did not offer and which I used on many occasions last winter.

The WRX has its flaws....interior of doors and dash feel a bit cheap, some rattles, but the performance is great and I go places in the snow (with Wintersport M3s) that 4x4s are slipping around in :) Its been strong in STU autocross even with nothing but sways and 225 RE01R's...not a world-beater but it hangs close to most of the moderately-modded STis and Evos with wider rubber. With some camber and 245 rubber I think it would be quite competitive.

Otherwise, i jsut thing it's fun. I have the sedan, too, so it looks low-key (every civic won't try to race you, cops don't notice you)...

Consider an 08 WRX as well...they go for dirt cheap new still at dealers (the 09s killed 08 sales), and they are stiffer springs/sways away from being great cars. The smaller turbo gives quicker boost than the larger ones on the 09s too, for autocross, etc.

irish44j New Reader
Aug. 7, 2009 7:40 p.m.

btw, WRX fuel economy is not great...My average tank I get about 22mpg (50/50 city and highway) driving assertively, but usually under 4k rpms...

Regular Mazda3 is a fun car too, handles great out of the box. Stock tires are crap, engine power is a bit gutless down low, brakes are outstanding. Can get a moonroof :)

ChrisConroy
ChrisConroy New Reader
Aug. 7, 2009 8:20 p.m.

In reply to irish44j:

you are the MAN! best review i've read this year INCLUDING auto mags. Thanks a lot!

-Chris

Woody SuperDork
Aug. 7, 2009 8:22 p.m.

I cross shopped the WRX, Audi and BMW when I was looking for a new car in 04. I loved the BMW, but I went with the WRX as it just seemed like such a bargain. I've never regretted it (107k miles).

BMW would probably be a more comfortable commuter, but I'd bet the WRX is more fun.

When I took my Miata to the track, I always wished it had the WRX's engine.

ChrisConroy
ChrisConroy New Reader
Jan. 7, 2010 3:04 p.m.

Well guys, its been almost a half a year, but i finally bought a car.

I ended up going with.......... 330xi.

2004, 6speed with sport & cold weather package satisfied pretty much all of my requirements. I beat out the WRX due to: Better mileage, Bigger fuel tank (i take long roadtrips), and slightly cheaper insurance.

In other news, I also just purchased a '91 Civic Si for a 24 Hours of Lemons race! - See, i'm still grassroots.

Thanks for all of your inputs!

Strizzo SuperDork
Jan. 7, 2010 4:22 p.m.

why rule out the wrx wagon? for what you'll save on insurance you could buy a slightly newer/nicer one. also on pre-08 wrx's, look for the winter package, not sure if you get the rear lsd otherwise. i know it was that way with the legacys.

what is your budget anyways?

pigeon HalfDork
Jan. 7, 2010 4:27 p.m.

In reply to ChrisConroy:

Thanks for coming back to report your final decision. Too many of these threads die without resolution. Enjoy your BMW - I still miss my E46 328i but I have to say my 750 is more comfortable even if it is slower on the autocross course.

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