Can a BMW M3 be daily driven in the Midwest?

Turk

Lt. Ron "Slider" Kerner
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Back in 2012 when I got rid of my M3, I always told myself that I'd get one again once I had a family because it was the best sedan I had ever driven (yes I know it was a coupe). Fast forward to 2018 and I decided the time was right to get into an M car again. My commute was long, the manual WRX was doing the job but I still wanted more. I picked up a used 2015 M3. This thing was fully loaded, the original sticker was 80k. In my head, I determined that this car can and should be driven year round. 1.5 years later and 20k more miles on the odometer, how has it held up as a daily beater and family hauler?

Exterior Styling

The F80 M3 is mean looking, aggressive. You can tell when you see it that it means business. I absolutely love the styling and apparently so do many others. I've received numerous thumbs up and compliments on the car, especially in the middle of winter when an M car is a rare sight.

My particular car comes in mineral white, which at first I wasn't the biggest fan but now I absolutely love it. Having a toddler as a frequent passenger means finger prints, touching, sticky hands etc. Mineral white is likely the best color my personal car could have come in. The color has so much metal flake in it that you can't see any swirls. I've polished a few panels on the car and I stopped once I determined there was no discernable difference. This also means fast and easy car washes with just a single bucket regardless of how much salt is on the car. I feel like I don't have to baby the paint like I normally do. I've even taken it to a machine wash a few times.

In regards to daily driving it, there are some issues with the styling. The wide track also means the car will fling up a ton of road grime on the sides of the car. On the rear quarter panel there's a large area of road rash that appears sand blasted. I'm not too concerned though, this was expected out of a daily driver.

Interior Styling
The interior isn't as aggressive feeling as the exterior, but more of a mix of luxury and sport. My car has the extended leather which means the entire dash is wrapped in leather with carbon fiber accents throughout. Accent lighting is present on all doors and as far as I can tell, every single light source is LED. The gauge is not all digital, but that's fine by me. It has navigation, blue tooth, all the standard goodies you'd expect ouf of a 2015 luxury car.

The sound system is fantastic and has deep bass. I'd say it's better than the upgraded system found in my 2008 M3, and in my 2012 R8.

If I have any complaint about the interior, it's the size. My son, in his car seat, can easily kick the back of the passenger seat. If I move the passenger seat all the way back it will actually be touching the child seat. It's not a huge deal, though, as I don't usually have a packed car, and when I do, my wife and I aren't exactly large so it's not a big deal.

Performance
The entire reason I even looked at this car was due to its performance. Many on here may remember how pissed I was that the next M3 was going to be a glorified 335 with only 11 more hp than the outgoing V8. What I didn't expect was how underrated these cars actually were. This thing pulls hard and would give my supercharged M3 a run for the money. In my opinion, the engine was setup for street driving more than track. The down low power is plenty, but it feels like it's running out of juice at higher rpms. A stark difference compared to the V8 model which pulled hard all the way to 8400 rpms. Personally, I like power that builds as the revs push higher, but it's a personal preference after driving the e92 and r8 for years.

My car came with the DCT which is what I was looking for, for two reasons. For the long commute to and from work and in case my wife ever had to drive it. When driving aggressive, I absolutely love the transmission. It shifts fast and hard. The paddles on the steering wheel seem to be more responsible than the shifter for whatever reason, and I'm not sure why. I actually prefer to shift with the shifter rather than the paddles.

Under normal driving, though, I can see why BMW is giving up on the DCT and moving to a standard transmission. When the trans is cold there is a delay in moving from R to D. Pulling out of the driveway is somewhat embarrassing when I have to sit at the end of my driveway for a few seconds waiting for it to shift into drive. The car can also be incredibly jerky when slowing to a stop. I can't imagine how many complaints BMW has received from rich housewives on this.

Sound
The exhaust sounds like shit.

Daily Driving
Based on the forums I'm on, it's rare for anybody to drive their M car a ton of miles, so I feel like I'm venturing into the unknown. In less than a year and a half, I've already driven the car 20k miles and even drove it through the blizzard we had last November. All in all, this car is absolutely fantastic in all weather conditions. Just make sure you get winter tires and the car will handle anything weather can throw at it, except for snow drifts. Driving threw the blizzard was scary only due to the amount of snow I was pushing.

I look forward to driving to and from work every day, and that's exactly why I bought this car.

In regards of operating costs, this car has been cheap so far (knock on wood). When I bought the car it had BMW maintenance on it still so I got an oil change and spark plug change done for free. Apparently that would have cost me $900 out of pocket which is ridiculous. I also had the front rotors replaced under warranty as they warped for whatever reason. Moving forward I will be doing maintenance myself or taking it to a 3rd party shop. I refuse to pay something like $900 for oil and a park plug change.

Conclusion

After a year and a half of ownership and 20k miles added to the odometer (at 38k now), I love this car. It's exactly what I thought it would be, an amazing DD car for a man with a family. It improves on my e92 in every way other than how it sounds and does amazingly in all weather conditions. For anybody leery about jumping into an M car and driving year round, I say go for it. That's what these cars are made for.
 

Mook

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The exhaust sounds like shit

:rofl:

Great review, Rick. Will be sharing to FB tomorrow.
 

IDAFC21

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There really is nothing else to say about the noise the S55 makes :rofl:
 

Omicron

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Great write up. As an e90 M3 owner (131k miles lol) I agree with everything here.

Also- Ben at 7th Gear Auto Repair in Schaumburg is THE man and place for M BMW maintenance/ repair.
 

ilikemtb999

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Great post Turk. People seem scared to drive rwd vehicles in winter/snow and I have no idea why. Proper tires and preparedness makes it a breeze.
 

10sec

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Usually for the car guy it's not the RWD part, it's the rust part. People don't drive certain cars in the winter because no matter what they do to prep it, the salt and crap just ruins everything. So you get a beater, you thrash it through the winter, sell it in the spring for as much as you can get to the price you paid, and repeat. At least that's how I try to roll.
 
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Turk

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Great write up. As an e90 M3 owner (131k miles lol) I agree with everything here.

Also- Ben at 7th Gear Auto Repair in Schaumburg is THE man and place for M BMW maintenance/ repair.
Good to know!
 
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Turk

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Usually for the car guy it's not the RWD part, it's the rust part. People don't drive certain cars in the winter because no matter what they do to prep it, the salt and crap just ruins everything. So you get a beater, you thrash it through the winter, sell it in the spring for as much as you can get to the price you paid, and repeat. At least that's how I try to roll.
That’s a good point. I don’t see too many BMWs with rust issues though so fingers crossed.
 

Omicron

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My 2008 M3 is my daily. multiple winters, many miles, and has not been garaged in the winter since I have owned it. Hell I use Harvey Weinstein car washes and simply don’t care. Sure the rubber boots need attention and care but that’s inevitable.

Corrosive rust is not present though. It’s just not a problem. Eventually yes rust will appear and be a problem but its 11 years old and hardly pampered.

Its a strong case that the F8X series M cars are the best M cars ever, simply because they perform great, look great, and have no serious flaws mechanically like all other M cars have. Only the E39 M5 was better in my opinion.
 

nytebyte

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That's too bad BMW decided to scrap the DCT. I have one in my Q30 and I really like it. Yes, it does have similar issues in cold weather that you mentioned, but it's really not a big deal. After two minutes of driving, those issues go away and it's fine.

My only fear is how will it last long term. DCT transmissions are a relatively new tech.
 
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Turk

Turk

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That's too bad BMW decided to scrap the DCT. I have one in my Q30 and I really like it. Yes, it does have similar issues in cold weather that you mentioned, but it's really not a big deal. After two minutes of driving, those issues go away and it's fine.

My only fear is how will it last long term. DCT transmissions are a relatively new tech.
The trans and the clutches are expected to last the life of the car based on what I read. I love the dct, but imagine if you weren’t a car enthusiast. I’ll be happy with an auto as long as it performs similarly.
 

N20GT

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That's awesome, good for you. How bad do these things depreciate at ~14k miles a year? I'm completely out of touch with M3 prices
 

jason05gt

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Nice review Rick! I've been looking at 340xi's and I had the same concern about the back seat being small with kids. I also thought about a 535i too which is a bit bigger.

My friend bought a M3 competition package and I took it for a drive. The exhaust sounds pretty nice under full throttle, but drones under part throttle. I took it for a ride last summer and really liked the car.
 
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Turk

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Nice review Rick! I've been looking at 340xi's and I had the same concern about the back seat being small with kids. I also thought about a 535i too which is a bit bigger.

My friend bought a M3 competition package and I took it for a drive. The exhaust sounds pretty nice under full throttle, but drones under part throttle. I took it for a ride last summer and really liked the car.
I sat in an m5 yesterday (coming soon?) and the back seat is marginally larger than my car. Not sure why but I’ve heard it’s because the m5 seats are so thick.

The M3 sounds decent inside because they pipe fake exhaust noises through the speakers.
 
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That's awesome, good for you. How bad do these things depreciate at ~14k miles a year? I'm completely out of touch with M3 prices
They typically hold value pretty well. At least well enough for me not to be concerned. It had already lost a good chunk of value by the time I bought it.
 

boostedguy05

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damn, you had rotors replaced under warranty due to warpage. Chevy dealer told me to pound sand due to a rattle in the steering column they said was due to warped rotors at 30k, and quoted me a 1,200 brake job. even made me pay half hour of service before they would release the car.
 

ilikemtb999

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Usually for the car guy it's not the RWD part, it's the rust part. People don't drive certain cars in the winter because no matter what they do to prep it, the salt and crap just ruins everything. So you get a beater, you thrash it through the winter, sell it in the spring for as much as you can get to the price you paid, and repeat. At least that's how I try to roll.
I don’t think about rust so didn’t cross my mind. People always seem shocked about driving a rwd vehicle though regardless of being an enthusiast or not.
 

Yaj Yak

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I don’t think about rust so didn’t cross my mind. People always seem shocked about driving a rwd vehicle though regardless of being an enthusiast or not.
jealous.
as.
fuck.
 

Dave M

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My buddy has a 2016 F80 M that he daily drives year 'round, and even with a tune, downpipes, and lowering springs it's been rock solid for over 3 years. He's got nearly 70k on it now, and it's been to most of the local road course tracks around here, and to the Tail of the Dragon and back twice. Once in a while he borrows my truck to tow his track Mustang to the far away tracks and I get the M to use while he's gone, and I seriously want one.

My only complaint is the size of the back seat (as mentioned) and the creaking over slow bumps likely from the carbon fiber roof I imagine, but I could live with both.
 

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