killeen_john New Reader
Jan. 21, 2013 8:58 a.m.

I currently run a 2007 Mazda3 hatchback that I purchased new for daily driving duties. The Mazda3 has been excellent in being fun to drive, cheap to operate, and amazingly practical for shuttling the baby to daycare or hauling my boating gear. My commute is relatively short (5,000 mi./year) and as such the Mazda only has 26,000 miles.

A friend of a friend was about to trade in a 1998 M3 sedan (M3/4/5) which has been on my short list for as long as I can remember. The car is bone stock (tough to find w/ these cars) with 95,000 miles, well cared for (adult owned, BMWCCA member, always garaged) and the body/interior look to be in excellent condition for the age/mileage and is priced fairly.

My weekend/toy car is a 2000 M Roadster (same engine, drive train, etc.) and so I am very familiar with the preventative maintenance that is necessary and fully expect that this car will need the typical cooling system overhaul as well as some of the other common wear items (guibo, rear shock mounts, motor/transmission mounts, belts/tensioners, etc.) before running the car daily.

On paper, the idea of giving up my low mileage Mazda3 for this 95K M3/4/5 seems silly and is more of an emotional decision than practical. While I do all of my repair/maintenance work myself the M3 will demand much more time and money than my Mazda. Also, the M3's trunk and back seat are significantly smaller than the Mazda3 hatchback and as such will not carry cargo or baby seats as well. As a matter of fact, the M3 has no car seat anchors or tethers and is ten years older in terms of safety standards.

The other car consideration in all of this is a Mazdaspeed3 to blend the practical hatchback with performance. I'm not a fan of the current styling, but am anxiously awaiting the 2014 model with Kodo styling.

What would you do?

golfduke New Reader
Jan. 21, 2013 9:11 a.m.

I have an E36 M3 and I have no idea what an unmolested stock one feels like, so I'm of no use there. But, I would probably say no, especially since you have an M roadster for fun to begin with. I love my car, but to me it's more of a lateral move than it is a positive one...

AngryCorvair PowerDork
Jan. 21, 2013 9:31 a.m.

i would not do it because the only thing the M3/4/5 does better than your current car is accelerate. now if you did not have the M roadster i would fully advocate picking up the M3/4/5 as a toy, because they are sweet cars.

mndsm PowerDork
Jan. 21, 2013 9:44 a.m.

Find a low mileage gen1 Mazdaspeed3. They're more fun than the smiley cars anyhow.... they got soft after the redesign.

yamaha SuperDork
Jan. 21, 2013 9:51 a.m.

In reply to mndsm:

Sad but true.......I wonder if Mazda hadn't gone off the deep end with the styling, would they have sold more Mazda 2's?

mndsm PowerDork
Jan. 21, 2013 10:37 a.m.

Excellent question. Guess we'll see when the new design language trickles down.

killeen_john New Reader
Jan. 21, 2013 10:52 a.m.

Thanks for the responses which seem to be inline with what I'm hearing from the wife, which is that the M3/4/5 is another toy and would make more sense as a replacement for the M Roadster than daily driver. We have too much sentimental value in the M Roadster to replace it at this time. I'll probably keep things status quo for now or possibly look for a low mileage Gen1 Mazdaspeed3.

amg_rx7 Dork
Jan. 21, 2013 12:45 p.m.

I'd have a hard time parting with a reliable car w/ no surprises whose purpose in life is a DD.

ZOO SuperDork
Jan. 21, 2013 1:26 p.m.

Why does it have to be an EITHER/OR decision? Don't you need a fun car to go along with your fun convertible and your practical car?

I love my DD E36 M3 sedan, but it is quite small for a family of four.

killeen_john New Reader
Jan. 21, 2013 3:31 p.m.

Thanks for the comments. I would love to justify another "fun" car, but just don't have the means or the garage/driveway space at this time. I'm probably more concerned about the amount of people/storage space in the M3 after packing my Mazda3 full with baby stuff. I expect that the M3 should be fairly reliable, especially after catching up on all of the preventative maintenance but it's still a 15 year old car.

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