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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Fri, Jun-09-2017, 01:46:59 PM   #81
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Default Re: I just experienced an e39 M5....

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PS - I hope that didn't come off as an attack - it's not. I am only speaking of the real differences between the M and 330CI as I've grown to know them both at an intuitive level. And beginning at the fundamental logic of "If I like the M coupe, I like M engineers", and moving toward "M engineers decided to produce a significant number of verts among all M E46s". Clearly they didn't walk out on strike while laughing at the idea.

Without racing / track experience, I stick to what I've asserted:

Wind is a non-issue. If you like driving with the top down (I hit 145mph with it down two days ago, and I like the wind), or particularly if you believe all cars should be (inherently better at being a vehicle of pleasure when they are) convertibles, the wind is expected and the ability to put a top up with a button is a major convenience.

As far as rigidity goes, I doubt a couple millimeters of chassis wiggle or twisting is going to be evident in a "Bill vs. Joe" track race, if the wiggle was translated to two coupes and the psychological expectation of the convertible stigma could be eliminated.

And as far as weight goes, I doubt most guys at the track are is as good of shape as I am, and therefore probably have 40-50 more pounds on them than I have. I have no doubt that the extra weight even after my frame is a big handicap, but I doubt it becomes relevant until you get into the upper echelons of competition. Anyway, it's a moot point, because as I understand it verts aren't allowed to be tracked in even amateur competition, so I doubt this chassis wiggle issue has been very scientifically evaluated.

Could be wrong on all counts, but I doubt I'm totally wrong.
You have to be be pretty massively numb to chassis dynamics, feel, and performance to not notice the gulf between the M3 Vert and Coupe.
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Old Fri, Jun-09-2017, 02:23:36 PM   #82
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Default Re: I just experienced an e39 M5....

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Originally Posted by TheSt|G View Post
You have to be be pretty massively numb to chassis dynamics, feel, and performance to not notice the gulf between the M3 Vert and Coupe.
On the track, I presume you're referring to? Yes, I'm sure I'd feel what you're referring to at the track after hundreds of laps, learning each curb's dynamics, competing against my own time and trying to beat the clock (I've never driven one); but even with it, I stand by my assertions.

In other words, I don't argue that the feeling is there, I argue its relevancy in all but the upper echelons of competition, and I would guess that the frame rigidity (not in general, but in coupe vs. vert) is less important than optimal tires, etc etc. I have a feeling a 5% better driver (all other factors somehow being equal - tires, mods, etc) would have an easy day in a vert against another driver in a similarly fitted coupe.

In other words: As a practical automobile (something where 90%+ miles are going to be on public roads), I discard this matter of extra weight and rigidity as being significant, certainly not ahead of a multitude of other factors (suspension, tires, etc).

It's a different argument altogether, but the idea that an M3 vert has no value beyond a 330CI vert is silly.

I had purchased and had shipped to me the most pristine 2005 330CI vert specimen in the country, and then I had its suspension and engine worked over to correct and replace anything that was detectable worn. I put thousands into that 330 before I even drove it. I loved the car dearly for a year. But the M3 vert is night and day in comparison. It's three times the car - you've got the limited slip differential and 100 more horses from the factory among lots of other things.

Certainly I'm just guessing how it would be (how detrimental the weight and flexibility would be) on the track - but since verts aren't allowed in serious competition, it's pretty clear to me that so is everyone else.
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Last edited by TheDoogan; Fri, Jun-09-2017 at 02:27:47 PM.
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Old Fri, Jun-09-2017, 02:29:23 PM   #83
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Default Re: I just experienced an e39 M5....

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On the track, I presume you're referring to?
No. Street. Not track. Every drive.
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Old Fri, Jun-09-2017, 02:32:41 PM   #84
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Default Re: I just experienced an e39 M5....

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDoogan View Post
On the track, I presume you're referring to? Yes, I'm sure I'd feel what you're referring to at the track after hundreds of laps, learning each curb's dynamics, competing against my own time and trying to beat the clock (I've never driven one); but even with it, I stand by my assertions.

In other words, I don't argue that the feeling is there, I argue its relevancy in all but the upper echelons of competition, and I would guess that the frame rigidity (not in general, but in coupe vs. vert) is less important than optimal tires, etc etc. I have a feeling a 5% better driver (all other factors somehow being equal - tires, mods, etc) would have an easy day in a vert against another driver in a similarly fitted coupe.

In other words: As a practical automobile (something where 90%+ miles are going to be on public roads), I discard this matter of extra weight and rigidity as being significant, certainly not ahead of a multitude of other factors (suspension, tires, etc).

It's a different argument altogether, but the idea that an M3 vert has no value beyond a 330CI vert is silly.

I had purchased and had shipped to me the most pristine 2005 330CI vert specimen in the country, and then I had its suspension and engine worked over to correct and replace anything that was detectable worn. I put thousands into that 330 before I even drove it. I loved the car dearly for a year. But the M3 vert is night and day in comparison. It's three times the car - you've got the limited slip differential and 100 more horses from the factory among lots of other things.

Certainly I'm just guessing how it would be (how detrimental the weight and flexibility would be) on the track - but since verts aren't allowed in serious competition, it's pretty clear to me that so is everyone else.
No. He's more talking about the way that the car feels than the absolute performance deficit. And suspension changes tend to magnify the difference.

The E46 'vert is *not* a bad car. If I wanted a 4 seater convertible, it or an E36 would be my choice. Both of those are massive compromises relative to the hardtops, but, as noted, benefit from other capabilities. And 'verts are allowed to autocross, where it's very clear that there is a meaningful performance penalty vs. coupes. Sure, the absolute performance delta is mostly noise under typical circumstances, but the feel delta is clear at all times.
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Old Fri, Jun-09-2017, 02:37:21 PM   #85
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Default Re: I just experienced an e39 M5....

Okay, fair enough.

I do like the idea of chasing those percentages (Lord knows I do it in firearms and tactics), but for me, I've got to have the open air. That my typical obsession with chasing "the best" is set aside in favor of the open top shows how important it is to me, haha.

One can only have 100% fun. This is my goal with this purchase, and it accomplishes that goal well.
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Old Fri, Jun-09-2017, 04:11:03 PM   #86
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Default Re: I just experienced an e39 M5....

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Originally Posted by TheDoogan View Post
Okay, fair enough.

I do like the idea of chasing those percentages (Lord knows I do it in firearms and tactics), but for me, I've got to have the open air. That my typical obsession with chasing "the best" is set aside in favor of the open top shows how important it is to me, haha.

One can only have 100% fun. This is my goal with this purchase, and it accomplishes that goal well.
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Old Fri, Jun-09-2017, 04:19:49 PM   #87
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Default Re: I just experienced an e39 M5....

You should try an S54 M Roadster. Either variant. Unless you have to be able to seat four.
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Old Fri, Jun-09-2017, 04:27:50 PM   #88
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Default Re: I just experienced an e39 M5....

I do need the seats, haha. Kids It's rare, 90% of my drives are solo or the whole family (Land Rover, need 5/6 seats), but if it's just me and a kid or two, I love being able to take the M3, and so do they.

I did have a motorcycle for a while, and it was intoxicatingly relaxing. But, it's not practical any more. I don't have time for fun drives, and when I drive, I usually have my laptop and gear, a mic, and a camera, firearms, etc.

At this stage of life, I need to make the drives I was already going to take fun, rather than working in fun drives.

Plus, that S54 roadster... the looks and balance aren't my fancy. I like how the M3 looks like a regular car.

In any case, thanks all. -DOOG
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Old Fri, Jun-09-2017, 07:22:28 PM   #89
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Default Re: I just experienced an e39 M5....

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However, your statement about 330 vs M3 vert makes me question your ability to logic and reason.
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PS - I hope that didn't come off as an attack - it's not.
Them's fightin' words!

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but you thinking that there's "no reason" makes me feel like you are speaking from a subjective, emotional perspective rather than a rational, objective one.
To be accused of being emotional over logic makes me laugh. But if anything, my emotional attachment is to the M3. Note that the M3 convertible is the one I choose to own and intend to keep forever (and I'm at 165k miles and going strong).

Also, you left out one very important word that I actually typed:

Quote:
almost
Obviously the M3 is a better car. But in the context of just top down grandma-y driving - which I tend to do more of in that car - or even just around town stoplight to stoplight, the M3's strengths aren't as evident vs the lower-revving M54. Unless I was to drive like a maniac at 5k+ RPM, anyway. Heck, when I got the first M3 and lived in Chicago, around town the coupe was in some ways WORSE than the 323i it replaced. (Less comfortable on bad roads, no quicker if not floored and revved out, and used more gas.... this statement only applies to the stop sign to stop sign and traffic-heavy driving on the north side of course.)

I've owned a 323, 330, and 5 M3s, for what it's worth.

Obviously once you get to rev it, the M3 shines. That was never what I was talking about though.

Quote:
I am only speaking of the real differences between the M and 330CI as I've grown to know them both at an intuitive level.
Your M is also pretty heavily modified and quite a bit faster than my convertible too. I assume that side by side, your vert is far more fun than mine, which gives it a wider edge.

Quote:
And beginning at the fundamental logic of "If I like the M coupe, I like M engineers", and moving toward "M engineers decided to produce a significant number of verts among all M E46s". Clearly they didn't walk out on strike while laughing at the idea.
Maybe they did, though. Let's not pretend it's the engineers whose opinions shape sales decisions. They made the car because there was consumer demand for it.

Quote:
As far as rigidity goes, I doubt a couple millimeters of chassis wiggle or twisting is going to be evident in a "Bill vs. Joe" track race
If you can ever get behind the wheel of a low mile coupe, you'll understand immediately that not only is it evident in a track race, it's evident over every bump and corner and straightaway of everyday street driving too.

Quote:
And as far as weight goes, I doubt most guys at the track are is as good of shape as I am, and therefore probably have 40-50 more pounds on them than I have. I have no doubt that the extra weight even after my frame is a big handicap, but I doubt it becomes relevant until you get into the upper echelons of competition. Anyway, it's a moot point, because as I understand it verts aren't allowed to be tracked in even amateur competition, so I doubt this chassis wiggle issue has been very scientifically evaluated.
I'm in good shape too, and if the driver is consistent from car to car it wouldn't really matter much if you weigh 150 or 350.

I've seen verts on the track. Even without roll bars. Depends on the association. My friend Nikolai tracks his 02 vert regularly. And it's certainly capable.

It's just not the same as a coupe, purely from a handling/driving perspective.

This is why I don't understand the hard top. Because at that point, you've removed the big leveler of the playing field between coupe and vert, so you just have a hard-top car that weighs a ton more and doesn't drive as well. I laugh whenever I see hard tops. Especially on California cars. But that's neither here nor there.


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Originally Posted by TheDoogan View Post
It's a different argument altogether, but the idea that an M3 vert has no value beyond a 330CI vert is silly.

I had purchased and had shipped to me the most pristine 2005 330CI vert specimen in the country, and then I had its suspension and engine worked over to correct and replace anything that was detectable worn. I put thousands into that 330 before I even drove it. I loved the car dearly for a year. But the M3 vert is night and day in comparison. It's three times the car - you've got the limited slip differential and 100 more horses from the factory among lots of other things.
Again, Almost != No. And that 300% advantage is about 85% negated if you're not revving the engine over 3-3500 RPM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDoogan View Post
One can only have 100% fun. This is my goal with this purchase, and it accomplishes that goal well.
At no point did I ever suggest, even a tiny bit, that your purchase was incorrect or foolish... driving topless is VERY fun. In Florida I DD the convertible and thus take advantage of the top being down FAR more often than I ever take advantage of the coupe's handling. If I was never going to leave Miami, in fact, and could only own one car, I'd probably still choose the convertible over the coupe.

Up north, or out in California where the roads actually have turns, though... that answer changes.

Ultimately I chose both. Got really lucky to be able to exploit the massive gap in value between my totaled ZCP 6MT and the cost of SMG cars, so buying my vert and my coupe cost only slightly more than the check I got for the first one. Less than $2k later my coupe was a stick too...
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Old Fri, Jun-09-2017, 07:31:50 PM   #90
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Default Re: I just experienced an e39 M5....

Okay sir, all that puts it in better perspective and makes perfect sense. I'm sorry to suggest that your reasoning was emotional rather than rational - I see now that this is not the case.

Just a few points.

1) I do see what you mean and agree - the first few days with my M3, in town, I had a slight twinge of "oh wow... this thing is kind of rough to drive." But, I learned the tranny and clutch, and learned NOT to put it in sport mode, haha.

So, I agree: for under 3k rpm, that blue 330 of mine was a much more relaxed car. And the lower power was actually funner to push, because it was more manageable in the beginning. The M3 could scare me for the first few weeks.

I do drive like a madman usually, and almost 100% of my driving is either sparse freeway or backway highways.


2) I trust what you mean now about the coupe, and I appreciate you putting your intuitive understanding into words. I probably will hope to never drive a coupe, then, because I don't want to know what I'm missing, haha. I just took the vert out to test my exhaust (sounds SO MUCH better now with new gaskets between the headers and sect 1s), and I took a flat 90 degree corner near my house faster than I ever have. It didn't even squeal - I don't understand how this car can stick to the road so much.

So, I'm going to stay content with this vert, and not experience "what could have been", haha.

Thanks Dave. You're a gentleman. I can be abrasive.
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Discussing I just experienced an e39 M5.... in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)