Prior links here:

So, uhh... yeah. I totally got caught up with work and forgot to post about the arrival. Getting the car straight from the factory is pretty unreal because you realize it is literally your car. Nobody else has ever even considered buying it. This is your car.

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And oh boy was it my car. 100% what I wanted:

Even the wrappings were intact! It was amazing. After months of waiting, it was fantastic to finally be picking up my toy.

(UNF.)

(Surprise, an OC douchebag is also a Deutschebag!)

(Screw front plates. BRING ON THE TICKETS.)

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In short, this car is amazing. Everything everyone says is true. It’s fun, it’s comfortable, it’s decently economical (21 MPG average with lots of spirited driving), and it occasionally turns heads. The exhaust note isn’t as nice as others in its class (C63 S, looking at you), but it’s also $10k more.

I love this car. Love, love, love it. It’s a great daily driver, it feels solid, it drives almost as well as (or better than) most of the sports cars I’ve driven, and for the same price as a Stingray I get a functional back seat. Should be pretty easy to say “yes,” right?

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Well, after 2500 miles, there are a few things that aren’t perfect...

Now for the review:

Exterior

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9/10: The exterior on this car is pretty damn nice. BMW obviously knows what its design language is supposed to be on the 3-Series in general, and the M3 is the epitome of it all. My only complaints are that the hood bulge seems to be for show only, and the stock wheels are atrocious. Upgrade the wheels as a minimum for this car.

The LED headlights are pretty whizbang and cool, but I honestly stuck with the standard HIDs with LED DRLs. For $3k more, I dunno how much utility gain I’d get relative to dollars spent. Some people say if you reprogram the computers you can get some fantastic European-style adaptive lighting, but even then, the HIDs are great already.

Also, I can’t get over how some pieces of plastic are creaky. But that’s part of life these days on cars. :-/

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Interior

8/10: Let’s be honest: BMWs aren’t the best interiors in Germany. Relative to the price paid, they may even be the worst now. But that’s a relative comparison to MB, Audi, and Porsche. In this range and type of car, the only real competition is the C63 AMG, and that car is $10k more if you want it to be comparable in terms of performance.

But the C63’s interior is much, much nicer.

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Regardless, the F80’s interior is nice, very well-designed for the driver’s sake, and comfortable. It’s very... Bavarian. Outside of some neat touches like little LED lights that cast interior lighting on the door trim, this car is focused on driving. The seats are much better than the F30’s, the leather is better than the Dakota leather in the F30, and the overall feel of the materials is pretty good. But it just can’t hang with the C63, which is why I give it an 8/10. It’s better than 80% of what’s out there, but there’s definitely some better options if you care about a plush interior.

However, on the whole, this is a pretty nice place to be when you’re driving.

Performance

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9/10: Again, this is relative. Acceleration? Check. Transmission? Check (even if the M3 clunk is still present...) Steering? Check...ish. Yeah, yeah, it’s not as direct as the old BMWs, but it’s accurate, and most importantly, feels sharp. It’s just not going to “feel” like what you remember old E3x steering felt like.

However, the car is a hoot to drive. It’s not as direct and lively as my old MX-5, and it definitely isn’t a well-equipped 911, but it’s fun. Very fun.

Practicality

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8/10: This is about as practical as a fun sports sedan gets outside of an E-Class Wagon. Good trunk, comfortable front and back seats.

But let’s be honest here: this is not a car you are going to take up to the snow, it’s not a car you want to drive to Yosemite and camp in, and it’s definitely not the car you want the kid in (but you will anyway.) Also, if you get the carbon fiber roof, you lose the mounting points for the roof rack. Boo.

Overall Experience

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9/10: It’s hard to dislike this car as an overall package. In fact, it’s one of the easiest cars to love, period. It’s fast, it’s fun, it’s luxurious, it’s stylish, it sounds fun, and the second people hear “M3”, they go, “woah.” It’s a car that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

I love it. Simply put. I know I’d enjoy driving a 911 more, and I know there are more practical sedans for my family, but overall as a package, this car is amazing.

BMW may not be what everyone wants them to be, but for me they’re exactly what I needed at this point in my life. Bravo to them.