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M3 wins?!?!?


Well-known member
Nov 2, 2000
The Land of Enchantment
In the market
In my hot little hands I have the February 2001 Road and Track. On the frot cover is a pic of a ZO6, a BMW M3, and a Porsche 911. R&T wanted to road test the M3 so they brought along a ZO6 and a Porsche 911. Apparently mother nature did not cooperate with them and they where not able to get any definate performance numbers due to the wet track. The ZO6 had the most HP by far (a pushrod V-8 vs. two straight 6's) and was also capible of pulling the highest G's on the skid pad. The brakes on all three cars where said to be very good, and that none of them showed even the slightest signs of fadign. The ZO6 was also the cheapest of the trio, comming in just under the M3, with the price of the 911 out in orbit around the moon in comparison.

The following is a direct quote from R&T
The Verdict
Because of prevailing weather conditions and because our handling course only included slower corners, it is difficlut to draw definate conclusions about the cars' absolute road behavior.

All three cars are very exciting to drive. However, overall, the BMW M3 probably should be declared the winner because, in addition to its stellar handling performance, it also wins points for having four proper seats and by far the largest luggage capacity. It can easily keep up with the other two sports cars, either on the highway or though the twisites. The M3 is also less expensive than the Porsche and about equal in price to the Corvette ZO6.

The M3 wins becuse it has "four proper seats and by far the largest luggage capacity"???? At the begening of the article they point out that just because a car has good numbers on paper dosent mean its a sports car. To me the whole premise of this article is to prove that the M3 is a sports car, yet how did they decide the victor? Not by performance numbers, not by SOTP (Seat of the Pants) feel, not from acctual results from driving the cars to their limit. The M3 was declaired the victor on standards better suited to a sports sedan than a sports car.

I seem to remember reading a shootout between a '00 Corvette Coupe and a '00 M5. The M5 was about equal in most respects to the Corvette with the exception of price. Now a year or so later BMW comes out with a M3 (read, the M5's little brother) that beats the best Corvette ever built? Not to mention what is arguabliy the one of the best Porsches ever built too? I dont buy it. Any thoughts on how much BMW payed R&T to write the article?
Oh, I doubt BMW would be so bold as to offer payment to have that article written. However, it may have been indicated that predicated on the final test results and evaluations as printed, the whereabouts of the test vehicle might become unknown ;)

It has been stated in many forums that most of these rags have a propensity to favor the european imports in all their evaluations, and therefore we can't really take their options for anything except bias.

We all, those in the know, don't need these people to tell us who has the best allround mix of performance and luxury in the current marketplace.:)

Yep, that article also raised my eyebrows a bit....in fact, if I'm not mistaken, that's the same article that decided to "dissolve" the sport coupe classification of cars. What bothered me is that the M3 "won points" for having "4 proper seats" etc. I'm sorry, but I have to disagree here. A sports car is a sports car, and has only two seats. When you toss in two more seats, and "extra luggage space" becomes an issue, it's no longer a sports car regardless of what it has for an engine, or how well it performs. It IS a "sports coupe" and should be classified as such and compared to other cars in it's class...like a Pontiac Firebird or a Chevrolet Camaro. These are sports coupes.

Articles like this, tend to worry me a bit, because automotive manufacturers see this. Here in America, up until recently with the Corvette, that same "bigger is better" Detroit idealogy has prevailed. Take a look at the sports cars that Europeans are building, like Lotus....they are manufacturing and designing some absolute road rockets, and yet here in America, we're still concerned with how many golf clubs we can fit in our trunk. The way I look at it, if you're concerned about golf club space, buy a minivan. If you want performance, and something thats stirs the emotions when driving, buy a sports car....a Corvette!

I am in no way slamming BMW. I love BMW's and one of these days, I'd like to own an M edition at some point, but if you're going to do comparisons, at least compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges.

<b>~Opinion Off~</b>
While I dont really beleive that BMW paid R&T to write the article, it definatly reads like an addvertisement. "Hey everyone! The M3 trounced the best that the General, and Porsche could build!" If that where true I would expect that the M5 would be equal to a Diablo VT!

I like BMW's too, and one day would like to add a 3-series or 5-series to my garage. I'm just glad that I'm not the only one raising the bull s*it flag on this one.:)
This is all very funny. Back in the mid-'90s, when I was scrounging around for published articles on the ZR-1, I came across an interesting phenomena: as years went by the performance numbers of the ZR-1 didn't really seem to change much....on articles that supposedly were testing the ZR-1 right then and there against the latest and greatest....Toyota Supra Turbo etc. Something didn't seem right, I pulled out all the articles by one particular magazine and did a comparison....guess what, the performance numbers for the ZR-1 were identical....between 2-3 model years and the pictures used for the ZR-1....were the same pictures used 2-3 years earlier, only at different angles/clips taken.
I sat down and ripped off an editorial. They responded in defense, and I responded by telling them, they were misleading the public by claiming the ZR-1 tested was the current model year when it fact, they were using performance figures/pictures from a 2-3 year old model. I never heard back from them.
As a result, I'll glance at that magazine on the newstand occassionally, but it will be a cold day in hell before I spend the money to purchase another issue. :)
Well in this case the ZO6 was the strongest car of them. I also have that magazine, and the reason R&T gave the M3 the win was becasue the M3 was a larger car. More comfortable and nearly as good of a performer.

Just a thought
I'm not doubting that the M3 is a strong car, and deserving of some praise, but I do doubt that the car is capible of besting the ZO6. Like I mentioned earlier, the M5 was able to hold it's own against a LS1 coupe. What would the results be if the ZO6 was put in the coupe's place? The ZO6 would kick a$$. I just dont beleive that the M5's little brother could beat the ZO6.

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