BMW M3 (E92): PH Carpool

Name: Jason Easton
Car: BMW M3 Coupe (E92)
Owned since: February 2017
Previously owned: Toyota GT86, Skoda Octavia VRS, BMW 330Ci, Mazda Eunos Roadster RS, VW Golf GTI Mk5, Alfa 156, various VW Boras, Renault Clio GT, a couple of bikes and many more random sheds I've probably missed!

Why I bought it:
"I was in a position to upgrade my Toyota GT86 to something a bit more 'special'. I've always wanted a 911, but thought I best look at all the alternatives in my budget range. It had to be rear-wheel drive, and it had to be a manual. I did have a look at M4s, but in my budget I was looking at early non-Comp Pack cars. I found it a bit nervous on the road and didn't really gel with it on a test drive. I was going to leave it there and go back to drooling over undesirable 996s like the reprobate I am, but that was until a friend at a local BMW dealership said they had something rather nice coming in for Approved Used. The car was Melbourne Red, low mileage and absolutely mint. I was surprised they even still sold E92s, so thought I better check it out, just to be sure...

"I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted with a 53,000-mile car, which was showing signs of a previous owner who has cared for it in the same way I would. It was a coupe, and I would've probably preferred a saloon, but since the cars main use would be weekends and holidays it seemed like the right choice. I also wasn't keen on the carbon front bumper additions, but they were a genuine BMW accessory which made them slightly more acceptable. And thus began the man maths - I was, after all, talking myself into an obnoxious bright red M3. And the test drive didn't exactly help matters.

"The main dominating factor of the whole car is the engine; inside it's basically a well specced 3 Series and outside it's a 3 Series with some wide shoulders. But the engine is what I fell in love with, helped mainly by its tweaked exhaust. Although I 'slept' on it, I didn't really sleep at all. I called the minute the dealership opened the next day to say 'I'll take it!', and I'm glad I did."

Things I love:
"The engine. It's an absolute masterpiece, and truly one of the last naturally aspirated great of the 2000s. The way it revs is very addictive; the novelty does not wear off. Mine also has a modified exhaust; the previous owner (who I managed to internet stalk) informs me it has had the '2.5 mod'. I don't actually know what this means, other than loud. But I'm glad he did it, even if my neighbours aren't.

"I also love its personality, which is something I think every car needs before I can part with cash for it. It manages to give me enough of its mental side to keep me excited, but also enough refinement to not irritate me.

"It also gets a surprising amount of admiration. I just assumed everyone would think 'knob' (and I'm not saying everyone doesn't). However, it does get a few nice comments at petrol stations and the like. Even my girlfriend likes it, and she hates a good 95 per cent of cars I come home with.

"The iDrive system was a nice surprise. Yes, you do need to be NASA qualified for all space missions to fathom it out, and yes the graphics wouldn't look out of place on a Commodore Vic20. However, once you get used to the system it's actually very capable. It's certainly impressive how well it performs considering its 10 years old."

Things I hate:
"One of the many pitfalls of owning an Approved Used BMW is having to deal with BMW aftersales. I've had few issues with the car, but the ones I have had caused me headaches purely because of the dealer's service. Luckily, BMW UK themselves are quite helpful, but you shouldn't have to use them in the first place.

"Insuring the thing has also proven to be a completely bemusing affair. I either get laughed at down the phone when I tell them I'm 25, or told they don't insure BMW M3s at all. When I finally do get quotes they range from the bloody expensive, to the GDP of Rwanda. But you sort of know exactly what you're getting into with a car like this and costs. Fuel is lots, tax is lots, servicing is even more.

"Since I was lucky enough to sample its speed on some derestricted autobahn, I discovered the sealing around the pillarless doors is awful. Specifically when you start pushing past 120, it starts to whistle. At 170mph (that's where I found out it had also been derestricted...) the noise was properly deafening. A bit annoying on a BMW I'd say, but not an issue in the UK - maybe I'm being picky?"

"Well, the main ones are those already mentioned: insurance, fuel and tax. I've paid north of £900 the past two years for insurance, on top of that its £525 a year to tax. I can eek around 200-250 miles out of £70-80 worth of Shell's finest, which is at least 100 miles less than my Mk7.5 Golf GTI commuter does. But again, I didn't buy it expecting anything more.

"Most of the issues have been done under warranty. These have included a leaky headlight washer, a rear light cluster missing some nuts, and a complete wheel refurb due to flaking paint. Luckily, a lot of bits were done before I purchased the car so I've escaped fairly scot-free. However, the warranty has just run out and my quote for another 12 months is north of £4,000..."

Where I've been:
"One of the main reasons the M3 ticked so many boxes was that I love driving through Europe; I've done a few trips now and, as I expected, it was perfect. In the summer I drove to Lake Como, taking the car via the Nurburgring, its home in Munich, and a few mountain passes too. It was absolutely perfect for the trip, and I can't think of many better cars in its price bracket. It was a good test of its many personalities, and helped me gain confidence in using its power."

What next?
"Alas, 12 months in one car is a rather long time for me. I have started to gaze elsewhere, and I think I need to scratch the 911 itch before I grow up and become an actual homeowner. I think I will struggle to see this one go however, so don't expect to see me rushing it out!"

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Comments (26) Join the discussion on the forum

  • rassi 26 Mar 2018

    2.5 pipe mod is on the loud side, 2 pipe is IMHO perfect (the two large perforated pipes in the exhaust, accessed by cutting out, and rewelding, an access from the top of the exhaust, are replaced with solid pipe or wrapped).

    Not sure why warranty would be 4000 per year, if you bought it as AUC with 53000 miles you could simply have continued the warranty with monthly payments of about 100 pounds? That is a real shame.

    Apart from this, stunning car, still miss mine

  • jakesmith 26 Mar 2018

    Had a brief encounter with one of these this very morning at M4 J11, sounded very nice, can't have been stock exhaust, sounded fruity, nice to see one being driven properly, true to form he was keeping it high in the rev range.

  • MikeGoodwin 26 Mar 2018

    I did monthly BMW warranty as I am about to tick over 60k miles on my E92 M3. £114 a month else I'd find myself paying big bucks for yearly.

    I read mixed reviews about Warranty-Wise but I spoke to an M3 owner, who's car I missed out on by 1 day, after he sold it and he said they were really good and replaced an actuator and a few other things no problem.

    TBH, I am seriously considering taking it out of warranty and doing stuff myself. If the good old bearings give up then Ill just have to eat humble pie and cry. But the rest of it I can sort and would probably enjoy doing so.

    A nice motor nice to see you're driving it proper. God knows how you get that many miles to a tank. I get 170.

  • AmosMoses 26 Mar 2018

    Was looking at the 4 door versions in the classifieds last night, they are getting to the price point where you know they will get ran into the ground. Would love to pick one up in a few years time as they seem to be everything i look for in a car.

  • LankyLegoHead 26 Mar 2018

    Afternoon all,

    The main reason for increased Warranty costs from BMW is that during my ownership it’s crossed over the 10 year old mark. Or at least, that’s what they tell me. I’m pretty confident my car is fine, so I’ve just got some cash saved as a “just in case” fund. It’s probably going soon to find a 911 or maybe even an elise, I fancy more track days and this thing is just too mint!

    As for values, I don’t see myself losing much on my purchase price. Those who’ve been watching will know in the past 2 years they’ve crept up, no doubt in part thanks to rocketing E46 values. They certainly aren’t falling anymore as far as I can see!

    And thanks for all the kind words!

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