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View Full Version : E46 M3 or Saleen S281-SC?


Speedi
Mon, Dec-31-2001, 07:39:00 PM
I have an honest question for you folks... and please try to be open-minded when responding to this question.

Should I get an E46 M3 OR the Saleen S281-SC? I asked the same question on the Saleen site and noticed that the responses were quite good... all-in-all, it depended on what you were looking for in a car.

I am looking for a car with a good fit-and-finish, but that also moves me when I turn the key. I test drove the E46 M3 and while the exhaust note was nice, it sounded more mechanical than the growl of the Saleen.

Also, note that I COULD get the Saleen for about $10k less than an E46 M3... please keep this in mind when you ponder it.

Opinions? Suggestions? Help me decide.

Thanks.
- Speedi

Steve Espo
Mon, Dec-31-2001, 09:00:00 PM
Speedi, I think I am qualified to advise you on this issue. I am a former die hard Ford and Mustang man. I have owned the following cars: 1971,1973,1970 Mustang Mach 1 all 351 Clevelands,1987,2000 Mustang GTs, 1989 Thunderbird SC, 1969 Mercury Cyclone SpoilerII. 1997 Taurus LX and 2001 F-150EC. In August I bought my wife a 2001 BMW 530i Sport instead of a Lincoln LS V-8, the difference in quality and performance is subtle but significant the BMW just feels more connected to both the road and the driver. I loved my mustangs and the 2000 was a fine sporty car but they get looser and looser in the front end as time goes by. At 15000 mi the struts felt like they should be replaced and from experience when you replace them fornt alignment becomes difficult to set and almost impossible to hold. The bushings in the rear control arms also wear and begin to squeak and clunk at 15-20000 especially if driven hard. I'm sure the new Saleen shares many of these traits which in a $22000 car are tolerable but not in a $40000 car. Engine wise I think both cars will be costly on upkeep. The Ford 4.6 has piston slapping and ring failure issue because of its long stroke to bore ratio with a cat iron crank the stresses caused by the supercharger may cause long term problems.With the M3 I know the VANOS units are known to have to be replaced @45-50000 miles and BMW service isn't cheap. Warranty wise I know BMW cover 4yrs 50000mi and Ford is 3/36000, don't know if Saleens added components are covered the same or longer. Now I come to the reason I would buy the BMW, retention of value over the life of the car. The reason I went for the extra dough on the 530 is a freind of mine bought a 1995 528 in 1997 for $25000, in 2000 he sold it for $21000. I paid 22500 for my 2000 Mustang Gt in Sept 1999, in Oct 2000 I was offered 17000 from the dealer and sold it for 17800 privately. If you got an M3 for msrp you could turn and sell it for $2000-5000 more. but in 3-5 years it will hold a much higher % of the price. This is of course just my opinion but I know that once I drove the 530 I knew I wouldn't be buying a Lincoln or Caddy, and when I tested the 2001 M3 I wasn't going to order a 2002 Mustang Cobra. I'm gonna wait to save up an extra $10000 to get my payment reasonable on a 2003 SMG2 M3 coupe than get the Cobra now and be unhappy next year. Good Luck with whatever you buy. Steve

Speedi
Tue, Jan-01-2002, 12:54:00 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Steve Espo:
Speedi, I think I am qualified to advise you on this issue. I am a former die hard Ford and Mustang man. I have owned the following cars: 1971,1973,1970 Mustang Mach 1 all 351 Clevelands,1987,2000 Mustang GTs, 1989 Thunderbird SC, 1969 Mercury Cyclone SpoilerII. 1997 Taurus LX and 2001 F-150EC. In August I bought my wife a 2001 BMW 530i Sport instead of a Lincoln LS V-8, the difference in quality and performance is subtle but significant the BMW just feels more connected to both the road and the driver. I loved my mustangs and the 2000 was a fine sporty car but they get looser and looser in the front end as time goes by. At 15000 mi the struts felt like they should be replaced and from experience when you replace them fornt alignment becomes difficult to set and almost impossible to hold. The bushings in the rear control arms also wear and begin to squeak and clunk at 15-20000 especially if driven hard. [/Q]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I did notice that in my 96 Cobra... my back-end clunked every-so-often.

[B] <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quoteI'm sure the new Saleen shares many of these traits which in a $22000 car are tolerable but not in a $40000 car. Engine wise I think both cars will be costly on upkeep.

Yeah, that's what I was afraid of, initially. I was speaking to some people on the Saleen forum and when asked, they truthfully answered that there also was some fit and finish issues with the wheels and some pieces of the ground effects around the rear of the car.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quoteThe Ford 4.6 has piston slapping and ring failure issue because of its long stroke to bore ratio with a cat iron crank the stresses caused by the supercharger may cause long term problems.With the M3 I know the VANOS units are known to have to be replaced @45-50000 miles and BMW service isn't cheap. Warranty wise I know BMW cover 4yrs 50000mi and Ford is 3/36000, don't know if Saleens added components are covered the same or longer. Now I come to the reason I would buy the BMW, retention of value over the life of the car. The reason I went for the extra dough on the 530 is a freind of mine bought a 1995 528 in 1997 for $25000, in 2000 he sold it for $21000. I paid 22500 for my 2000 Mustang Gt in Sept 1999, in Oct 2000 I was offered 17000 from the dealer and sold it for 17800 privately.

It seems to me that all cars are high to maintain, if taken to their respective dealerships. I know a 30k mile service at the GMC place set me back $400?? I was thinking to myself... CRAP... this is a GMC! But regardless, I can afford to pay a few extra hundred bucks per service to be treated like a person instead of cattle, I suppose. http://m3forum.com/ubb/smile.gif

I purchased my 96 Cobra in late 1995 for $27k, and after 24k miles, I sold it in late 1999 for $20k. This was extraordinary, I thought, for a Mustang of any kind.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quoteIf you got an M3 for msrp you could turn and sell it for $2000-5000 more. but in 3-5 years it will hold a much higher % of the price. This is of course just my opinion but I know that once I drove the 530 I knew I wouldn't be buying a Lincoln or Caddy, and when I tested the 2001 M3 I wasn't going to order a 2002 Mustang Cobra. I'm gonna wait to save up an extra $10000 to get my payment reasonable on a 2003 SMG2 M3 coupe than get the Cobra now and be unhappy next year. Good Luck with whatever you buy. Steve

Thanks for the intelligent and well-thought response. This is the kind of information I need. I too am saving up extra coinage as I'm simply not tolerant of a $700 car payment as some might be. I plan on saving enough to make the M3 a $500/mo car payment instead. http://m3forum.com/ubb/smile.gif

Also, I think what once you pay for entry into this area of high-performance luxury cars, I don't believe you ever go back to non-German cars. We have an ML430, and we love it... I see that I could sell the ML 5 years later for about 50% of it's original value... which is NOT bad at all. Compare this to my 95 Cobra that lost $10k of it's value in 1 year and &lt; 5k miles.

Thanks for the response. I'd like to hear more responses on this topic, but I'm not sure how interested folks are to help. http://m3forum.com/ubb/smile.gif

- Speedi

M3_Buyer
Wed, Jan-02-2002, 06:21:00 PM
I agree with everything Steve said. I would like to add the following:

- One thing to consider is service. I've owned 3 Fords before, and have visted probably 10 different Ford dealerships over the past 10 years all over the country. Nearly ALL of them have horrible service. It's like Ford dealers are trained to piss you off. I've heard similar experiences from many other Ford owners as well so I know its not just me. I haven't experienced BMW service yet, but I'm willing to bet its much better. Also, the better warranty and free maintenance on the BMW is something to consider - there is real value in both, and is part of what you are paying for.

- Status: This is highly subjective, and some people really don't care about these kinds of things, but the reality is you will get a lot more status and respect when you tell people you drive a BMW, or pull up in their driveway with one. While the Saleen Mustang only gets the respect of diehard auto enthusiasts who actually knows who Saleen is (which are very few). When you say you drive a Mustang, many people have visions of punk 16 year olds driving rusted out old 5.0's that they've wrapped around a tree a few times before. When you say Saleen S281-SC, most people are thinking, huh? What the heck is that?

- Comfort & convenience. No matter how you option the Saleen, the M3 will have a more feature filled, more comfortable, and higher quality interior.

Hope this helps.

------------------
On order: '02 BMW M3 Coupe, Topaz Blue/Grey, manual. Expected delivery: Spring '02 (quoting my dealer here). Deposit placed: 8/01

1970 Corvette Coupe (T-top), Cortez Silver/Black, highly modified 454 CID (7.4L), Muncie M21 4-speed manual, Baldwin Motion Performance hood.

1996 Ford Contour SE V-6 5 spd. manual, Black/Opal Gray, a few mods, fun daily driver

Speedi
Wed, Jan-02-2002, 09:26:00 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by M3_Buyer:
I agree with everything Steve said. I would like to add the following:

- One thing to consider is service. I've owned 3 Fords before, and have visted probably 10 different Ford dealerships over the past 10 years all over the country. Nearly ALL of them have horrible service. It's like Ford dealers are trained to piss you off. I've heard similar experiences from many other Ford owners as well so I know its not just me. I haven't experienced BMW service yet, but I'm willing to bet its much better. Also, the better warranty and free maintenance on the BMW is something to consider - there is real value in both, and is part of what you are paying for.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes, I do know what you're saying. I, too, have had 3 other Fords... but I did manage to find ONE that I trusted with my cars -- but those are RARE finds.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>
- Status: This is highly subjective, and some people really don't care about these kinds of things, but the reality is you will get a lot more status and respect when you tell people you drive a BMW, or pull up in their driveway with one. While the Saleen Mustang only gets the respect of diehard auto enthusiasts who actually knows who Saleen is (which are very few). When you say you drive a Mustang, many people have visions of punk 16 year olds driving rusted out old 5.0's that they've wrapped around a tree a few times before. When you say Saleen S281-SC, most people are thinking, huh? What the heck is that?
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Very true. The Saleen S281-SC is really an enthusiast's car -- not that an M3 is not.. but the Saleen is more easily identified as such. And yes, when someone thinks of Mustang, they do tend to think of it being for the "younger, more unrefined" crowd -- not that this is how I feel about it, but it does have the general consensus on the feeling. When you see a Mustang (not a Saleen), you automatically think "teen punk".

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>
- Comfort & convenience. No matter how you option the Saleen, the M3 will have a more feature filled, more comfortable, and higher quality interior.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That, I cannot argue with. While I love the Mustangs I've had in the past, when I drove the Saleen, it really did still look and feel mostly like a Mustang -- Ford leather seats, Mach460 stereo... and for $44k, I really hoped for a little more. Of course, the flip-side of that is that I was comfortable in the car, maybe not taking into account that this is what $44k was going to feel like for quite some time to come.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>
Hope this helps.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

It helped me a tremendous amount. Thanks for taking the time to respond. I think I would be better served in the long run by purchasing the M3.

BlueSteel
Wed, Mar-07-2007, 06:57:27 PM
I have an honest question for you folks... and please try to be open-minded when responding to this question.

Should I get an E46 M3 OR the Saleen S281-SC? I asked the same question on the Saleen site and noticed that the responses were quite good... all-in-all, it depended on what you were looking for in a car.

I am looking for a car with a good fit-and-finish, but that also moves me when I turn the key. I test drove the E46 M3 and while the exhaust note was nice, it sounded more mechanical than the growl of the Saleen.

Also, note that I COULD get the Saleen for about $10k less than an E46 M3... please keep this in mind when you ponder it.

Opinions? Suggestions? Help me decide.

Thanks.
- Speedi

dude, get the Saleen

da3bous
Wed, Mar-07-2007, 07:00:44 PM
NO MORE OLD THREADS

Sirius
Wed, Mar-07-2007, 07:01:03 PM
Didn't you see my warning yesterday about digging up old threads and a 22 year ban?