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      02-09-2014, 11:03 PM   #1
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Arrow My Comprehensive Review of M3/M4 - High Definition Pictures/FAQ Included

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I was finally able to see the new M3 and the M4 yesterday in Philadelphia Auto Show. I have been extremely excited and happy ever since I found out the new cars were going to be there and I'm glad that I made the trip.

Anyways, I am going to break this into several sections. I have also included lots of pictures. Please click on each picture to see the full resolution version. In addition, if there is an area of the car that you would like to see the picture of, let me know, I may have it. I took close to 700 pictures and basically uploaded only a subset of them. I have spent close to 3.5 hours with the cars and examined every single part I can get into. If you have any questions that are not answered below, feel free to ask me and I'll be more than happy to answer.

Exterior :
Positives :
  1. Carbon fiber roof looks pretty good and I'm very pleased to see BMW offers this in the sedan. Granted, the M3 they had there didn't have it on, only M4 did, but I can only imagine how great it will look on the M3 as well.
  2. Both the LED and non-LED headlights look great.
  3. Trunk opens by itself once you push the button, which is great. I hate that the current model does not offer this option.
  4. The front and rear spoilers look much better in person than they do in pictures.
  5. The 19" wheels look amazing in my opinion. Light years ahead of the standard 19" wheels that came with the current M3. Maybe not as good as the ZCP, but they'll do very well. I also realized that because the tires are wider, they provide more coverage/protection for the wheel against hitting pot holes. The ZCP wheels and 245/265 tires don't work well in my opening as tires end up stretching a lot.
  6. Overall, the car looks less curvy than the outgoing E90 M3, which I really like. It looks more aggressive, minus the hood (see below).
Negatives :
  1. The power dome looks really small and is not very aggressive. I initially thought this was due to the color (black) of the M3, but the AY M4 looked the same way.
  2. Power dome is barely visible from the driver's seat. It is there, but it does not look anywhere near good as the current one.
  3. I do not like the fat, bumpy looking hood. It looks not so bad from the pictures, but up close, looks very ugly in the car.
  4. The plastic stuff underneath the side view mirrors look really cheap (possibly M performance parts will be offered for this area which may explain this)
  5. This particular black is such a bad color, I would never choose it. It's not like the dark black the E9X M3 had, it's more like a dirty black that completely hides the car's aggressiveness and looks like it is going to be very hard to keep clean.
Interior :
Positives :
  1. The Merino leather is a notch above the Novillo leather that is found in the outgoing M3. It is softer and looks better.
  2. Contrast stitching looks pretty good.
  3. Full leather option provides a lot of leather coverage around the dash/LCD area which wasn't the case in the outgoing model.
  4. iDrive is much faster, more fluid, and has a lot more functionality such as displaying horse power and torque in real time or controlling different types of volumes (entertainment, phone, etc).
  5. iDrive knob is bigger and better and allows you to write letters using your fingers.
  6. HUD is a very nice feature. The M display is amazing (saw this in M5, but I'm sure it's similar). I think this option is a must have for any M car.
  7. Steering wheel is a notch above the E9X M3's steering wheel.
  8. There are now 2 M modes, which is a big plus.
  9. Rear seats have heating, which is very useful.
Negatives :
  1. The sound system was a disappointment for me. I brought my iphone cable (5s) and plugged it in to the car. I listened several 384 kbps tracks and I can see that while for an average user it is going to sound amazing due to heavy bass, I think it is a level below the Enhanced Premium Sound found in the E9X M3. The EPS was a $1,900 option back then and it was a system that was developed in house by ///M. Similar to the engine, it has to be listened on very high volume to get the most of it which to be fair is not really a usable system for the average person (comparative speaking). Similart to how you have to constantly rev the engine high, you have to always turn the volume up. But the bass is so clear and it has a more crisp sound. To give a real world example, the harman kordon in the new car is more like the Bose headsets you can buy for $129 to use with iphones. They sound amazing and 9 out of 10 people will love them. The EPS on the other hand is similar to a Shure SE535 IEM, which costs 3-4 times as much and is used by audiophiles, but it's in a league of its own. There is also probably a good reason why the harman kordon only costs 1/3 of EPS and this was to be honest with you something I was expecting. Not bad, but I'll miss the EPS greatly.
  2. I don't like the "full" leather option comes with a lot of standard "black" leather. I appreciate that the new car has more leather, but they are not the color you want. If I order silverstone leather, I want 95% of the leather in my car to be in that color. I dont want 50% of it to be black. In the current model, when you ordered "full" leather, you'd get everything around glove compartment the same color. The first thing I noticed when I opened the door for the first time was how dark the interior was. I was surprised that was the case as this was the lightest interior color possible and the car had the full leather option.
  3. Sides of the center console, which is what you and your passenger see all the time when you get in the car or open the doors, is plastic, not leather which used to be leather.
  4. The backseat headrests are not adjustable. There is no way to lower them. This results in less visible area if you want to look back either by turning or using your rear view mirror.
  5. There is no arm rest area in the back seat. This used to be very useful for me when I had to drive 3 or 4 people around in town.
  6. Back of the front seats looks good from outside, but it's still the cheap plastic stuff that can be found in the current car. I never liked that stuff in any of the 3 series cars, it looks really cheap to me (not particular to M3 really, but just wanted to mention this).
  7. The seats themselves are not more or less comfortable than the current seats. They feel exactly the same. They are not like the M5 seats like many people here thought they would be. M5 has far more cushioning and is more comfortable. Not saying there shouldn't be a difference between M3 and M5, I'm just setting the record straight as I have been seeing a lot of "M3's seats are really close to M5" comments which don't reflect reality. M5's seats are light years ahead.
  8. While the cars have both grown 1-2 inches in size in each direction, that for some reason does not really translate into more room in the backseat. Backseats still dont feel comfortable or roomy. I know a lot of us have been comparing this car to the old 5 series, but it doesn't feel like it. This is not really a negative per se, but another area where I was disappointed. I was expecting to get in the car and was hoping that it would be larger than my current car, but it didn't feel that way. Unless someone told me that this car is larger, I wouldn't know sitting inside. That being said, from outside, it does look larger, which is not really great.
  9. I did not like the carbon fiber trim at all. It looks too "glossy" or "flashy". It's just too much out there. It may be fine for some people, but I'd prefer something more matte. For someone who doesn't know anything about carbon fiber, it looks like plastic and I can tell you I have heard similar comments from lots of people who were getting in the car that day (including my wife!).
  10. The leather seats wrinkle so easily! My back seats after 4 years of abuse and multiple car seats don't look anywhere near wrinkled as the ones in that M3 there.
FAQ :
  1. Why is the wheel spacing different between M3 and M4? Do cars look really high and need a drop?
    It looked to me that they forgot to remove the shipping blocks from the M4. There was exactly twice the amount of room between the wheels and the car (3 fingers vs 1.5 finger). I'd say the space you see in the M3's wheels is about what I have on my ZCP. I wouldn't say the car needs a drop, it looks just right.
  2. Does the black chrome wheels out of place?
    Yes they do and I'd never get them with any color. They'd also be extremely hard to repair/keep clean against curb rashes or any other dirt/rust.
  3. Do the folding rear seats fold all the way flat?
    Yes, they do. Exactly the same way they do in E9X.
  4. Are the wheel offsets same?
    Based on my unscientific and extremely error prone measurement, there is a 0.9-1cm difference, so it looks like they are not the same.
  5. What is the LCD screen size?
    LCD screen size measures exactly 10.2" including the black border/bezel diagonally. The effective size of the screen is around 8.9". I have done the measurements using my iphone and I believe they are pretty accurate. The screen is the same screen I recently saw in a 335 with an M sport package.
  6. Are door sill logos illuminated?
    No, they are not illuminated.
Summary :
I have gone to the auto show with extremely high hopes and as I realize now I had high expectations. 4 years ago when I first test drove an M3 while owning a 335, I was amazed. I was extremely impressed. I was expecting to have the same reaction yesterday and as you can see from the above points I left the show with mixed feelings.

First things first, the car does look and feel like an upgrade, it is not a bad car, it is not a step in the wrong direction. It is better than the current M3. That being said, there are a lot of areas where I was a bit annoyed to be honest with everyone. For some reason, it still does not feel like a premium car. Both my wife and another friend of mine who used to own a E92 M3 (now drives an E class) said the same thing - it feels like a 3 series with better leather and does not really look amazing. It's still plastic this and plastic that. The door handles are the same. Air vents are the same. Buttons are the same. Its subtle small differences but when they add up, they look underwhelming. The problem is, competition has caught up and with the improvements in M5, I was hoping that this car would be something which in reality I found out it is not going to be. It's not that it can't, it's because BMW won't let it

The looks of the car is half the story, how it drives is the other half. Once I test drive it, I may come back here jumping up and down, trying to track my car as it crosses over atlantic with the VIN number (oh good old days, I used to not sleep GPS tracking my M3) or it may be completely opposite. I don't know. The point I was trying to make is, I wanted to put a green check mark right next to that 50% "looks" section and I couldn't with my eyes closed. I needed weigh positives and negatives and as you can see there are quite a lot of negatives as much as positives. To me, it wasn't a "clear" winner like the current car was 4 years ago. Or the M5 was right now. When I sat in an M5, I was sold, right there, right then. If it weren't for the 4400 lbs weight, I would have bought one right away and never bothered with this car. I wanted to feel the same way and I couldn't. This does not mean that this is a bad car. It is a great car.

One other thing that I want to mention is, what people say about this car greatly depends on what they drive right now. I see a lot of people who are driving other brands (lower brands) or low end BMWs who have orders for the new M3/M4 and they are very excited about it. No problems with that, and it's all good. The problem is, people like myself who are used to the current M3 for some time now and who were maybe in the market at some point for an M5 have a lot more expectations from this car. We are coming from two different backgrounds basically, apples to oranges if you will. I mean no disrespect when I say this, I also came from a 335 at some point so I know it feels like. The point is, while coming from a 335 or another lower brand, paying MSRP/bad residuals for this car right now may seem fine, that may not be case for others like myself.

One thing that bothers me and I wish BMW would take note is the fact that we don't have a proper luxury sports sedan that isn't 1000 lbs heavier than this car. As far as BMW is concerned, luxury equals size. That is just wrong! They should have a car that costs close to an M5, that has the M6 interior, with M3 performance, that's the car I want! I can afford an M5, but I don't want a car that is a full 1000 lbs heavier than this car, that feels like a tank. I drove the M5, it's amazing, interior is unbelievable, it's so fast, but it's huge and more importantly, it's very heavy! They need to have a M3-M5-M6 hybrid that costs 80k base, 95k fully loaded AND I'd pay that my eyes closed.
Pictures :

M3 Exterior



M3 Interior



M4 Exterior


Last edited by RealStig; 02-10-2014 at 08:58 AM.
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      02-09-2014, 11:24 PM   #2
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Pretty good write up, I disagree with the notion of jaw dropping when you went from 335 to M3. M3 even though it handled great felt heavy and slow. The sound was pretty good at the DC car show so I will disagree with you there as well. What confuses me is that you make a point that the M3 you drove 4 years ago was jaw dropping, yet you were not over all impressed with the new model and have mixed feelings yet you state" this is better than the current M3" how can the new model be better than the old model yet the old model was jaw dropping but your not sold on it

Last edited by //M sa; 02-09-2014 at 11:48 PM.
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      02-09-2014, 11:44 PM   #3
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They should have a car that costs close to an M5, that has the M6 interior, with M3 performance.
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      02-09-2014, 11:58 PM   #4
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Nice write up.
And I agree on a lot of points you make.
Have you seen the M6 GC interior? It's considerably better than the M5 IMO.

I'm a bit annoyed BMW intro'ed this car in Detroit and not LA. Now we won't get a show car until next year. We're only the biggest //M market in the US.

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      02-09-2014, 11:58 PM   #5
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outstanding review and sincerely appreciate the effort that you put forth here!

I do have a few questions for you to see if you confirm as well. Rather trivial but it is a question.

1- The Door Sill Logo is not illuminated
2- The Seat Illuminated Logo is backlit. It is not glow in the dark as others thought.
3- Do you have any pics with the HP and Torque Display shown? You mentioned this in the post and interested to see a pic of that. That will be a very cool feature to have some fun with on the road.
4- The Nav screen did look to me as a 10.2 width with a little smaller actual screen area. My iphone fit across twice + about a quarter more. since my 4s is known to be just under 4.5 inches tall I would say this is accurate. I believe you mentioned elsewhere that you were certain it was an 8in screen but I disagree here.
5. Lastly I think you got the back of my head and my son at the steering wheel in a couple of your pics!
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      02-09-2014, 11:59 PM   #6
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+1
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      02-10-2014, 12:11 AM   #7
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you can always get the m perf interior trim for alcantera/matte carbon fIber look. i got it fron dealer, installed it myself.(f30) looks amazing with red leather
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      02-10-2014, 12:21 AM   #8
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Really appreciate the write-up and great pics!! Thanks for taking the time. I couldnt agree more with your assessments of needing a higher end car thats lighter. I am driving a M6 so I'd love a similar car that was just lighter and even more sporty...My choice is drive my 4100-4200LB M6 coupe or opt for a better handling car that just doesnt seem to knock my socks off, I mean no offense but its a 3/4 series I see 200 everyday...I do not mean that in a condescending or bad way at all, just my opinion. Keep the regular 5er and 6er for the mases and make the M5/M6 way sportier and lighter...I am def down with that, like I said if I want that I have to go with a M4, wonderful car, just seems like I am left wanting more like I am sure many do a more upscale version that has same attributes. Make a Porsche alternative at a price not a MB alternative like the 5/6...
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      02-10-2014, 12:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
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4- The Nav screen did look to me as a 10.2 width with a little smaller actual screen area. My iphone fit across twice + about a quarter more. since my 4s is known to be just under 4.5 inches tall I would say this is accurate. I believe you mentioned elsewhere that you were certain it was an 8in screen but I disagree here.
Screen size is measured diagonally, not "width in iPhones", but it does look bigger than 8" to me. There's a pretty large bezel all around, though, did you account for that?
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      02-10-2014, 12:48 AM   #10
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I felt exactly the same like the OP. Now it will only come to how it drives and even though I will not rush until the ZCP package is offered.
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      02-10-2014, 01:17 AM   #11
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Pretty good write up, I disagree with the notion of jaw dropping when you went from 335 to M3. M3 even though it handled great felt heavy and slow. The sound was pretty good at the DC car show so I will disagree with you there as well. What confuses me is that you make a point that the M3 you drove 4 years ago was jaw dropping, yet you were not over all impressed with the new model and have mixed feelings yet you state" this is better than the current M3" how can the new model be better than the old model yet the old model was jaw dropping but your not sold on it
I think what he is saying is that the step up in performance and luxury from his E9X M3 and the 335 was incrementally larger vs the F8X and the current 435.

See, not at all difficult to see what he was saying. But if you want argue with him for his lack of "jaw dropping" for the F8X, then come out with it and tell him so.

OP, the black paint and the lines of the car didn't show well at all. It just looks too busy. I have a Jerez black E90 and when wash it and park it in a parking lot under some light while out to dinner with my wife, it looks like a raped monkey! People often make comments to me on good it looks and how they've never seen a car so shiny. The E90 was more rounded and shows well with all the reflected lights, but your pics of the F80 had so many reflections of the lights because of the many angles, that it seems like it was dented all over in a way. It's just looks too busy.
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      02-10-2014, 01:54 AM   #12
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Good write up. I must say that AY and BS are my two least favorite colors.
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      02-10-2014, 03:03 AM   #13
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A sincere thanks for the time and effort that went into making this thread.
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      02-10-2014, 04:18 AM   #14
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RealStig, did you pull the trunk floor covering to see the nice sized cubby hole at the bottom? It's like BMW gifted the PERFECT spot for a nice class D amp.

What do you think? Should I order the HK sound system or leave the standard? I have speakers and an amp lined up to replace the stock stuff, but wasn't sure I should still order HK or not.
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      02-10-2014, 06:11 AM   #15
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Very good and comprehensive review!!! I'm coming from an E46 M3 that I'm replacing with the M4 and a 135i that is my DD. I have never driven the current M3 model, so I'm expecting a huge difference in performance when compared to my '04 M3. When the current model came out back in '08 I never took a serious look at it because I was very happy with my '04. Now I'm pretty excited by what I see in the new M4. I went to Detroit to see it in person and my jaw did drop when I saw the car for the first time!!!

I do understand where RealStig is coming from though...
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      02-10-2014, 06:21 AM   #16
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Quote:
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What do you think? Should I order the HK sound system or leave the standard? I have speakers and an amp lined up to replace the stock stuff, but wasn't sure I should still order HK or not.
I've an e90 330d with the Individual Sound System and it is far superior to the standard 3 series sound, especially for the bass and treble. I've ordered the HK system in my M3, and I am hoping it will be comparable to the Individual.
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      02-10-2014, 07:56 AM   #17
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great detailed pics. Thanks for posting.
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      02-10-2014, 08:30 AM   #18
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Thanks for posting.

Quick question. You mentioned that you didn't like the CF trim. In your opinion which trim would go best with

1) Black leather

2) SO

Thanks
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      02-10-2014, 08:44 AM   #19
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Quote:
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4- The Nav screen did look to me as a 10.2 width with a little smaller actual screen area. My iphone fit across twice + about a quarter more. since my 4s is known to be just under 4.5 inches tall I would say this is accurate. I believe you mentioned elsewhere that you were certain it was an 8in screen but I disagree here.
Here's the 8.8" screen that is included with the Navigation package in the F3x 3/4 Series:



I think we can agree that this is the exact same screen as seen in RealStig's picture as well as the interior pictures you and other's have taken. Right?

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      02-10-2014, 08:56 AM   #20
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Thanks for the pics!

All I want to say is that any black, whether it jerez or black sapphire, will be hard to maintain. And I didn't get why you stated this particular black was ugly, when mostly all blacks look virtually the same.

And I think out in the real environment, when there aren't a million fluorescent lights hanging above, there will be less of the "light reflections" as someone else commented on.
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      02-10-2014, 08:57 AM   #21
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Quote:
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outstanding review and sincerely appreciate the effort that you put forth here!

I do have a few questions for you to see if you confirm as well. Rather trivial but it is a question.

1- The Door Sill Logo is not illuminated
2- The Seat Illuminated Logo is backlit. It is not glow in the dark as others thought.
3- Do you have any pics with the HP and Torque Display shown? You mentioned this in the post and interested to see a pic of that. That will be a very cool feature to have some fun with on the road.
4- The Nav screen did look to me as a 10.2 width with a little smaller actual screen area. My iphone fit across twice + about a quarter more. since my 4s is known to be just under 4.5 inches tall I would say this is accurate. I believe you mentioned elsewhere that you were certain it was an 8in screen but I disagree here.
5. Lastly I think you got the back of my head and my son at the steering wheel in a couple of your pics!
Sure, no problem:

1 - Yes, door sill logos were not illuminated.
2 - Yes, correct.
3 - I'm afraid I don't, but you can look at any standard 335 iDrive and see it. It's in every car.
4 - The screen measures exactly 10.2" diagonally, that being said, there is about 1.5" total of bezel around it making its effective size around 8.8".
5 - Ha! Great

I have updated the FAQ as well with your questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by //M sa View Post
Pretty good write up, I disagree with the notion of jaw dropping when you went from 335 to M3. M3 even though it handled great felt heavy and slow. The sound was pretty good at the DC car show so I will disagree with you there as well. What confuses me is that you make a point that the M3 you drove 4 years ago was jaw dropping, yet you were not over all impressed with the new model and have mixed feelings yet you state" this is better than the current M3" how can the new model be better than the old model yet the old model was jaw dropping but your not sold on it
That's not what I meant, I fixed my post now. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LSM View Post
Really appreciate the write-up and great pics!! Thanks for taking the time. I couldnt agree more with your assessments of needing a higher end car thats lighter. I am driving a M6 so I'd love a similar car that was just lighter and even more sporty...My choice is drive my 4100-4200LB M6 coupe or opt for a better handling car that just doesnt seem to knock my socks off, I mean no offense but its a 3/4 series I see 200 everyday...I do not mean that in a condescending or bad way at all, just my opinion. Keep the regular 5er and 6er for the mases and make the M5/M6 way sportier and lighter...I am def down with that, like I said if I want that I have to go with a M4, wonderful car, just seems like I am left wanting more like I am sure many do a more upscale version that has same attributes. Make a Porsche alternative at a price not a MB alternative like the 5/6...
I completely agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thai357sig View Post
I think what he is saying is that the step up in performance and luxury from his E9X M3 and the 335 was incrementally larger vs the F8X and the current 435.

See, not at all difficult to see what he was saying. But if you want argue with him for his lack of "jaw dropping" for the F8X, then come out with it and tell him so.

OP, the black paint and the lines of the car didn't show well at all. It just looks too busy. I have a Jerez black E90 and when wash it and park it in a parking lot under some light while out to dinner with my wife, it looks like a raped monkey! People often make comments to me on good it looks and how they've never seen a car so shiny. The E90 was more rounded and shows well with all the reflected lights, but your pics of the F80 had so many reflections of the lights because of the many angles, that it seems like it was dented all over in a way. It's just looks too busy.
Yes, completely agree with you. This is nowhere near like Jerez Black. It looked too "busy" to my eye and I did not like that color at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jballs16 View Post
A sincere thanks for the time and effort that went into making this thread.
Your welcome, it did take me 2-3 hours to prepare all the pictures and do the write up and that has spanned across the entire Sunday as I have a kid and a wife at home who wouldn't leave me alone! I'm glad it was useful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mister2d View Post
RealStig, did you pull the trunk floor covering to see the nice sized cubby hole at the bottom? It's like BMW gifted the PERFECT spot for a nice class D amp.

What do you think? Should I order the HK sound system or leave the standard? I have speakers and an amp lined up to replace the stock stuff, but wasn't sure I should still order HK or not.
You should definitely order the HK sound system because the standard sound system I heard in 335i M package was nothing like this. In fact, there is even more reason to order HK because of the whole active sound thing in my opinion and it doesn't cost that much money at all. I did pull the trunk cover where they keep the wheel glue thing (if thats the area you are talking about) and I believe you could fit a nice amp there. That being said, I wouldn't bother with it if you are going to lease it. The electronics in these are car extremely complicated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by indus View Post
Thanks for posting.

Quick question. You mentioned that you didn't like the CF trim. In your opinion which trim would go best with

1) Black leather

2) SO

Thanks
I would go with the aluminum trim, I'm not too fan of the brown one and I don't think that would go well with either of those colors (maybe Black leather fine, but definitely not SO). With SO the aluminum will contrast it better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mkoesel View Post
Here's the 8.8" screen that is included with the Navigation package in the F3x 3/4 Series:



I think we can agree that this is the exact same screen as seen in RealStig's picture as well as the interior pictures you and other's have taken. Right?

That is correct, it is the same screen I saw in a 335 recently.
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      02-10-2014, 09:00 AM   #22
Needsdecaf
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Thanks for taking the time to do a detailed review, and post a lot of pics. It's always informative to see other people's opinion especially after I've seen the car in person myself.

I disagree with quite a few points that you made, but I won't really get into it as much of it is subjective things that really are a matter of opinion.

However, I will argue one point. If you don't think the rear seat room is an upgrade, then I'm not sure what to think. It's so much roomier than the E90, it's not even funny. In that car, if I adjusted the front seat for myself, the rear seat cushion was maybe 3-4" away from the back of the front seat. No way anyone could actually sit there.

In the F30 / F80, I adjusted the seat for myself (I'm 6'2" and usually sit quite far back). Not only was there room enough for my 5'10" wife to comfortably sit behind me (and she WOULD tell me if she thought it was tight), but at the dealership, I tried the same thing back to back in an F30 MSport vs. and M5 and there was MORE leg room in the F30 than the F10 M5. The F10's seats are SOOOOO thick that it just negates any extra space the car actually has.
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