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CONFLICTED: trade my E46 M3 for 997.1S?? Head-to-head comparison

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CONFLICTED: trade my E46 M3 for 997.1S?? Head-to-head comparison

 
  #1  
Old 09-02-2015, 01:16 PM
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CONFLICTED: trade my E46 M3 for 997.1S?? Head-to-head comparison

I'm not normally into touchy-feely threads, but I'm truly conflicted so here goes...

My story: 996TT was insanely awesome, saw DD plus mild track duty, and served me well...until I totaled it on the track. My wife was pregnant at the time and I've always loved the E46 M3 so I got one (pictured below) b/c I needed a functional backseat for the baby. It's already a legitimately fast car so all it needed was some suspension and brake upgrades (PSS10s, camber plates, PFC 08's, etc) and does great on the track but still doesn't feel like a P-car. It's now about as good as it can get without spending more serious money, and I do love it...BUT...

I still find myself lusting for another 911. Couple that with the fact that my son's carseat will soon be front-facing so a 911 can work for the rare times he's not in my wife's SUV. I'm over the 996 fried egg headlights and don't "need" a turbo, plus a 997.1S fits the budget. So I test drove a 997.1S Cab 6MT with sport chrono today...and...

Power: Honestly, it didn't feel much (if any?) faster than my M3 which isn't much of a surprise b/c my M3 can totally hang with 997's on the straights at the track. Both have good throttle response especially in sport mode (although 997's sport is smoother). 911 sounded better but M3 rev'd higher. I'd really need to drag them side-by-side to be sure, but draw or mild advantage to 911 especially if the 997 was a coupe (lighter)

Handling: 997 definitely sits lower and corners flatter, and feels MUCH smaller, lighter, and therefore sportier than the M3. This is probably the biggest difference. But even with sport suspension turned on, I was unpleasantly surprised with the amount of body roll in the 997. Maybe my expectations are skewed b/c of coilovers and race alignment on my M3? I like my suspension tight...I actually drive around the street with my PSS10's on nearly full stiff so even sport setting didn't feel very stiff in 997. To compare apples:apples, I suppose the 997 would be much better on coilovers but I was hoping that I wouldn't need to upgrade suspension on this car. Mild advantage to 997 but not as much as I'd expected.

Brakes: Not as good as my M3. However, my M3 has race pads/fluid/lines and Michelin PSS while the 997 was stock and on P Zeros. I'm confident the 997 brakes would be better with same components. Even though I didn't feel it...advantage 911.

Styling: I love the aggressiveness and timelessness of the E46 M3. But the 911 is a 911 so who the hell can argue with that?? Advantage 911.

Price: I'm into my M3 for ~$20k with purchase price plus upgrades. 997 would be ~$40k. Advantage M3...although this really isn't an issue b/c this isn't a financial decision per se. At the same time, though, money is money so do I really want to spend $20k more on a car that looks and feels cooler, but probably only puts down mildly better performance specs?

Bottom Line: I guess I was expecting to be blown away by the 997S, but I wasn't. Does this mean I don't still want one? Hell no, I'd love to have one. It almost seems more like a $20k lateral move than an upgrade, though, which is tough to justify. This may sound crazy, but maybe I need to look at 997.1TT? That'd be an absolute monster in every respect for $60k which may make more "sense"...although I don't really need the power as the power of the 996 turbo was already overkill on the track.

Is there anything I'm missing? Why do you guys love your 997S? Or is there something I'm missing (for example, might basic suspension, race pads, race alignment, exhaust, MPSS, and ECU flash or whatever make it a whole different car and blow away my E46 M3)?

Thanks!


^^^Currently serves as DD, baby-carrier, and track car.
 
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Old 09-02-2015, 01:42 PM
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Welcome back! It's obvious you miss your pcar and want to make the move.

My first thoughts are maybe you will end up somewhat disappointed with a 997.1S because of your past experience with a 996TT. The 997.1S is an awesome car but is quite different than a TT. Perhaps test drive a 997.1TT and a 997.2S instead. Then maybe you could narrow to which model pcar will be next for you. And to really mix things up, consider a newer Cayman S too.

edit: just saw your budget numbers, a 997TT or a decent 997.2S might be a stretch. Maybe start the hunt for a pristine 996TT?
 
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Old 09-02-2015, 02:15 PM
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Awesome write up! I cannot wait to see what you decide! Better yet I can help you take either the Porsche or the BMW to the next level!

If you decide to keep the BMW going with Sport Headers and high-flow cats will not only help you hang with the 997's but you'll be passing them.

BMW e46 M3 Product Line

If you decide to go with the Porsche the upgrades would be the same but make the car a massive upgrade over the M3, Sport headers and high-flow cats go a long way bolted on to either vehicle.

Porsche 997 Product Line
 
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Old 09-03-2015, 12:03 AM
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I made that move 8 years ago. E46 M3 to an -06 997 C4S. Like you I was a bit disappointed in the performance at first. I remember thinking that the M3 actually felt faster but the one thing that got me to forget that right away was the visceral feel of the 911 that I haven't felt in any other car. Can't quiet put my finger on it so probably a combination of a lot of things but for starters, the driving position, intimate cockpit and exhaust note smoke the M3. The -06 C4S I bought was already lowered and had a Tubi exhaust so it felt so much more like a real sports car than the M3 which as great as it is, still is a sedan and feels like one in many ways.
 
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Old 09-03-2015, 04:51 AM
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Since returning from the UK in 1993 I have only gone 4 years without owning a 911. I started with a 1987 Carrera, progressed to 964, 993, and now 997 and I just cannot explain my love for the cars, but the saying "There is no substitute" holds true for me.
 
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Old 09-03-2015, 05:16 AM
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I have owned many Porsche's (40) and almost as many BMW's (38) including many Mcars M3,(same series), M5, M6, and I currently have two Porsche's and two 650's (coupe and conv), the coupe has been given the dinan treatment, and has more power than my 07 M6 had. I am now well into the AARP stage of life and my racing days (as well as my how fast does it go 0-60) are over. Though in my life I have been fortunate enough to own some amazing cars (many Italian exotics among them), but in the end I always feel most comfortable behind the wheel of a 911 and there are probably many members here who feel that way too. Though my current 911 is so far from stock that some consider it a kit car, it still has that feeling I got when I got behind the wheel of my first 911 (almost 40 years ago). Over the years Porsche has improved the 911 (in some ways better and some ways not so much), but for me there is a feeling that I always know what the car is capable of (and in my case now what I am as well) and no matter what model I get into I instantly know what I can and cannot achieve with it. If you are looking for shear speed and power well there are many cars that can give you that for less money (I've probably owned many of them in my life), but for me none of them feel like a 911 does. It is that feeling that makes the car, turns it into the perfect sports car for me. That feeling does not come to everyone, and if it comes to you, then it is the right car to own.
 
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Old 09-03-2015, 07:09 AM
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I own an E46 M3 and a 2011 Carrera S. Both are great cars, but the M3 doesn't give me the same sports car feeling as the Carrera especially in the turns. I have no doubt that I could do some mods to the E46 to make it comparable or better (faster and more agile) than the Porsche. The Porsche also gives me the ability to do DE events with PCA. I reduced the body roll in the Porsche by adding after market anti-roll bars.
 
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Old 09-03-2015, 07:14 AM
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I think you are underestimating the of the 997s, 997s easily walk away from M3s, there is like a 7-10mph trap difference here.

Either way, there is something great about the 997 that is hard to quanitify.
 
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Old 09-03-2015, 08:16 AM
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The only reason I would say not to do it is because you have arguably the best color of M3... the one thing I regret about trading my former car for was the color; I had a gorgeous Galaxy Blue Silica BRZ and traded it for a subtle-but-pretty Arctic Silver 997S.

Other than that, go for it!
 
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Old 09-03-2015, 08:17 AM
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I had both, imo there is no comparison on any of your points. Hands down, 911 is a better car.
 
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Old 09-03-2015, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by krysFly View Post
I had both, imo there is no comparison on any of your points. Hands down, 911 is a better car.
Agreed there is no substitute. The 911 is a better car!

 
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Old 09-03-2015, 07:19 PM
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I've owned a 996, which almost immediately I put a set of H&R springs on and it handled much better - referenced to your body-roll reference. The overall feel of the car was in my opinion better than a stock E46 M3. To that point, for several years I owned a highly modded M3. ESS CFR FMIC supercharged beast at 500 HP, with more on tap with another pulley and tune; KWV2 C/O, Eibach F/R sways, ARCA, and too many mods to list. I then owned a 997 base Carrera and mods began immediately starting with coilovers, and several other mods; now I'm into a 997S-1 and ended up going with H&R springs given the relatively low miles. With the engine stock, I believe at 355 HP (for now), and a stock M3 at 333, there's a lot of difference between the 2 - power and handling. The E46 M3's suspension is not all that great (speak of body-roll). Quite frankly, I toyed with the idea of another E46 M3, but it's quite a bit aged, whereas the 911 is just classic (not a fan of 996 - still bitter about the POS I owned). I think if you had the option of having an relatively inexpensive track car, the M3 would be pretty good because you can pick them up rather cheaply today. On the other hand, the 997S is both a great driver and excellent weekend track car while reliable.

While BMW may be arguably the "Ultimate Driving Machine", relative to BMW, with Porsche, "There is no Substitute".





 
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Old 09-03-2015, 09:19 PM
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CONFLICTED: trade my E46 M3 for 997.1S?? Head-to-head comparison

Drive a C2S coupe, not a cab or a C4 both are heavier I had two M3s before my first 911 and I don't know how there is any question in your mind which is better.
 
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Old 09-04-2015, 09:06 AM
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CONFLICTED: trade my E46 M3 for 997.1S?? Head-to-head comparison

Originally Posted by Don
Drive a C2S coupe, not a cab or a C4 both are heavier I had two M3s before my first 911 and I don't know how there is any question in your mind which is better.
Agreed. Comparing a track prepped M3 to a stock Cab is not a valid compare.
 
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Old 09-04-2015, 02:08 PM
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I used to owned an M6 prior to my 997.1S, even with higher power on the M6 the 997S feel much more sportier. Now, I own 997.1TT and no M series cars can compete or compare to it (stock for stock not modify cars). If you're willing to spend a little more and get into 997.1TT or may be 997.2S, I think you won't be disappointing. Good luck
 
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