C32 Amg?

spence

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Oct 19, 2003
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So I've had my C240 for just over 2 years now and am looking for a change, fancy something with a bit more bite.:bannana: I've wanted a M3 for years now and just thought I would fish for some comments on the AMg versus the M3. I like the idea of the AMG being a little bit more of a 'sleeper'.

So apart from the obvious Coupe Vs Saloon what are the thoughts about how they stack up..?

Spence.
 

GrahamC230K

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You need to speak to a member called "Big Ed".


Basically he was in the same position as you coming from a C280.

He assessed both cars and could not stop himself getting an E46 M3.


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Big Ed

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Spence,

sounds a bit like deja vu - as Graham mentioned I went through a rather similar thing a while back. I had owned a 98 C240 Sport (spooky, eh?) and a 2000 C280 Sport, and wanted something with a bit more kick to it. I originally intended to get either a CLK500 or a C32, with the M3 as an outside possibility. After several test drives of each car, and some less than good experiences with the Merc dealers, I ended up deciding on the M3 (boo, hiss....) :crazy: Ultimately, it really boils down to what you want from a car - do you want a very fast executive express, or a very fast sports coupe?? Without meaning to go on too much, here are the pluses and minuses as I found them (although I haven't had THAT much time in a C32) and apologies to any C32 owners who are of course free to disagree.....

Speed - straight line, probably JUST goes to C32 over M3 - reality is if you try to prove this your license will probably be gone before you get to a conclusion!! Torque on the C32 is much better than the M3 so is quite a bit more responsive at lower speeds, although the M3 engine doesn't take too long to get on song, and does a reasonable job when the revs are flying :cool:

Handling - afraid I'd put the M3 in a bit of a different league here - the handling is very far removed from just about anything I have ever driven. You could drive all the way round the outside lane of a roundabout quicker than most cars could in the inside lane!!

Comfort - Explains the handling results - emphatic win for the C32, apart from the seats: in my opinion, and echoed on C32 owners forum C32life, I personally did not find the C32 seats anywhere near as pleasant as those in my C240 / C280 - much different from AMG seats of old. The M3 seats on the other hand are superb - adjust every which way, including back rest width, etc, etc... Saying that, the M3 needs all the help it can get to make up for the ride - a bit on the rough side compared to the Merc to say the least!!

Looks - purely subjective!! C32 is a very smart-looking compact exec, the M3 is a fairly agressive looking coupe. An M3 gets you a lot of looks and attention, which is either good or bad depending on your mood and whether it is the police or an attractive blonde noticing you (to be fair, most girls I've met seem to think blokes in fast cars are sad, and are much more impressed by Range Rovers or X5's !!) The M3 wouldn't know subtle if it was hit by a 20 foot high neon sign spelling out "SUBTLE". The C32 on the other hand simply looks like a slightly flash C Class, which does add to the Q Car appeal.

Running costs - not going to make a lot of odds either way at this kind of level. Petrol should be about the same - terrible if you cane it, vaguely ok if you behave. Insurance was about £500 more for me on the M3 than the C32, although Merc stealerships tend to relieve you of a bit more cash come servicing time in my experience. Residuals for either don't seem fantastic at the moment, so be prepared to lose a bit of cash if you buy new.

Reliability - My own experience is probably not that applicable here - my Mercs were the older generation, so any minor probs that I had might not apply to the C32. Saying that, I haven't had any problems (touch wood) with my M3 in 7500 miles, or 18 months with my wifes 3 Series. Of course, the M3 is a bit more highly tuned, and in the old days exploding engines were not unheard of - the main reason why I bought a new one so I knew how it was treated from day 1.

Driving experience - complete opposites!! The reason I did not buy the C32 was that it was just like my C280, but a bit better in each respect, however the overall feel was so similar. To be fair, since I loved my C280 this is a good thing, but after years of driving 'normal' cars, and 5 years in C Classes I was ready for something different. The M3 is an event to drive each time you get behind the wheel - it's a sod in the morning when the engine is cold (prepare for kangarooing up your street on cold days!), the engine needs warming up and is very tight and raspy sounding until you've done a few miles each day, it doesn't like normal unleaded very much, so you spend a bit of time at Shell garages pumping in Optimax. It is a car asks to be driven rather than to cruise along in, which can be wearing during a 150 mile journey home after a long day. On the other hand, it is an electric experience when you want to enjoy it - the engine response is SO sharp (the 'SPORT' button makes life interesting) the noise is fantastic, the paddleshift is brilliant (it takes time to learn, but is worth it), and it has a fun quality that is hard to beat. Whilst it is not as relaxing as a Merc, it keeps you awake and interested during a journey!!

My decision was made after taking a test drive in a M3 and not being able to get the grin off my face for ages afterwards. When I got back in my C280 it felt like it had lost a couple of cylinders, the tyres had been let down, and the brake lines cut. After a C32 test drive, I got back in mine and only thought it was slower and not as smooth, for which I struggled to justify the £35k cost to change - the justification seemed easy with the M3.

I had wanted a "Sports Car" ever since I was 6 years old - the M3 fits this bill pretty well, whilst still having enough airbags and practicality to safely cover a few miles in (alas, the TVR wasn't to be!), so I figured this was something I just had to do. It must be said that I doubt I'll bother buying something this quick again - it can be a frustrating experience having to keep in the vicinity of the speed limit, and seems a bit of a waste of the other 250 horsepower a lot of the time....

Unfortunately, I have also found myself doing more miles for work than I had ben expecting, so to avoid killing the value of the car I imagine that I will either chop it in for something more sensible next year, or use the M3 as a 2nd car whilst putting the miles on something else.

Management summary - if you want to cover plenty of miles in a quick car then buy the C32. If you want a car that is exhilarating to drive then buy the M3. In the end, it's a bit like choosing between Kate Moss and Kylie Minogue - either would be perfectly fine by me!!

Good luck.....


:rock:

p.s. sorry for creating the longest post in the history of the Internet
 

Big Ed

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Oh yeah - I forgot to suggest you simply try test driving them both - might be the easiest ways of deciding!!! ;)
 

Billy

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Jun 5, 2002
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Having owned a C32 & am currently driving an M3 I must agree with much of what Ed says, but I would add........

Handling - I'd say hands down the C32 wins here. The M3 is just too harsh & you only need a suspension set up that taught if you want a track car. To drive this car long distances or as an every day commuter is just tooooooo harsh (has rattled all of my fillings loose)

Comfort - M3 does not come with comfort as standard, although the seats are adjustable in every direction possible I just cannot find a comfortable driving position in this car & I find the placement of the pedals odd & unconfortable. The C32 manages to be a Luxury saloon with blistering performance. My M3 is a 6 speed manual & the gear change is tight & horrible, C32 has a fantastic 5 speed auto box.

Brakes - The AMG Merc is just light years ahead of the M3, the BMW brakes are just not as positive as the AMG system.

But at the end of the day this is just my opinion & the best thing you can do is try & get yourself an extended (as long as possible) test drive with both cars & see how each one suits YOU.

I have swapped cars with my wife on 2 occasions & she has now refused point blank to drive this car again, I will not repeat what she says about it, so if it is not just you that will use these cars let the ladies try it too.

If you are interested in a 2001 Carbon black with red leather M3 give me a call :D
 

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