The Ultimate Driving Machine. This is the Mission statement of a company that’s been at the head of the charge towards driving nirvana. Over the past 100 years, BMW has produced some truly remarkable vehicles that have rubber-lined many race tracks and intersections alike. As the automotive industry experiences a collective Bulimia, the attention has been shifting over to some of these older examples as they offer a glimpse into a simpler time.
Naturally-aspirated engine up front, 6 gears with three-pedals in the middle, and power going down to the back. It’s just the perfect recipe for a fun car, really. As if that wasn’t enough, you get color-matched stitching on the steering wheel which feels substantial in your grip, and even cup holders that work…. sometimes. All things considered, this starts to look like a fantastic meal for a adrenaline-hungry twenty-something year old.
One of my biggest disappointments with this car is the engine – and the lack of drama. If you were to step into the tightly cocooned cockpit of this bright red BMW convertible, the last thing you would expect when you put your foot down is the sound you would expect to hear when you gently squeeze a Frenchie (the dog not the people). That said, it’s easy to get over the initial letdown once you’ve put your foot down in second gear. The power figures may seem modest in our current world of one-thousand-horsepower SUVs, but this M3 still feels peppy; think cocaine bear but instead of cocaine it’s caffeine and instead of a bear it’s a reindeer.
Like all old BMW’s, this one isn’t without its downfalls. The cup holders are located where you’re either going to crush the drink or punch it during a particularly enthusiastic shift from second to third. Need to make sure that your pants aren’t thirsty, you know? The occasional splash brings back some of the drama you were missing from the engine note. Additionally, the rattles and squeaks are ever-present; you’re greeted with a beautiful charcuterie of dashboard lights that’s accompanied with the charming BMW chimes. I’ve always felt as though those chimes are designed to soothe you as your car slowly disintegrates – think string quartet on the Titanic as it met it’s own demise.
All in all-it is a BMW after all. The steering weight feels just perfect, and the dopamine surge you get when you nail that launch is unmatched from any automatic. I can’t put a finger on exactly where the appeal is the greatest, but I do know that it is a wonderful package of form, function, and this one specifically, RED. Would it be better if it had a roaring V8? Probably. Could it be more comfortable? Perhaps. Do I want apple CarPlay? Definitely. Does that mean that the E46 generation M3 is a slouch? By any stretch of imagination; to quote Leo DiCaprio from the Wolf of Wall Street, Absolutely fnck1ug not.
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