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Discussion Starter #1
My 4 track days seem to have taken their toll on my car, so I'm starting to entertain ideas of what to trade for. Here's my choices in no particular order:

IS300 manual, full leather (that's it) $31k
* love the car, spec. ordering and "sticker" are big negatives.

'97 or '98 M3 sedan, 5 speed $30k
* a blast to drive, great for track. Don't like any available colors, and hard to find a good used one - can take 6 months. Probably can't afford a $30k with no warranty.

2002 330i 5 speed $33k Euro Delivery
* new steering rack and improved suspension should make it much better. Downside is I'll be an E46 BMW owner.

The other option is to keep the 325i til it drops. That'd be the smartest thing to do, but I'm not smart.
 

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Originally posted by ckolsen:
My 4 track days seem to have taken their toll on my car, so I'm starting to entertain ideas of what to trade for. Here's my choices in no particular order:

IS300 manual, full leather (that's it) $31k
* love the car, spec. ordering and "sticker" are big negatives.

'97 or '98 M3 sedan, 5 speed $30k
* a blast to drive, great for track. Don't like any available colors, and hard to find a good used one - can take 6 months. Probably can't afford a $30k with no warranty.

2002 330i 5 speed $33k Euro Delivery
* new steering rack and improved suspension should make it much better. Downside is I'll be an E46 BMW owner.

The other option is to keep the 325i til it drops. That'd be the smartest thing to do, but I'm not smart.
The 330 is a great deal on Euro Delivery and you will have a great time in Europe. Go with the 330
 

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get the M3 sedan... you can get one for anywhere between 25-36K pending on miles and condition... we picked up my girls M3 sedan in 99... it was a 98..and had 13K in miles... but it was absolutely immaculate.. backseats looked like they had never been used.. no dents..or scratches... if u can find one...they are tons around...i would invest into the M...

not to take anything away from the IS... but the M..even the e36 body style...is still on another level....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Tical, I agree the M3 is the most exciting option, I just think after paying $30,000 I won't be able to afford to upkeep it - my 325i has been reliable, but I've bought brake pads, rotors, springs, shocks and stuff for the track - track days takes their toll. At least the IS300 or 330i would be cheaper to keep up.
 

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very true... but u can always opt for extended warranty... and dont forget about all those old fools that bought a 97 or 98 M3..and never drove it...they just keep it in their garages and take them out once every other sunday...
 

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As for your track driving concerns. BMW pays for all worn out parts in the first 3yrs/36K, so you can abuse your brakes at the track and not worry about replacing them. Basically with the 330, you only buy gas and tires, very benificial for a track driver.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Tical, I'll keep my eyes open for such a car.
5shifter, usually stock brake pads aren't too good for the track, so I'd probably have to replace them, but you're right, an IS300 or 330i would run great out of the box, I'd only have to change the brake fluid and maybe pads. Even the stock tires on both cars are decent.

Originally posted by 5shifter:
As for your track driving concerns. BMW pays for all worn out parts in the first 3yrs/36K, so you can abuse your brakes at the track and not worry about replacing them. Basically with the 330, you only buy gas and tires, very benificial for a track driver.
 

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Originally posted by ckolsen:
5shifter, usually stock brake pads aren't too good for the track, so I'd probably have to replace them, but you're right, an IS300 or 330i would run great out of the box, I'd only have to change the brake fluid and maybe pads. Even the stock tires on both cars are decent.
True. Although stock BMW brakes supposedly are pretty good for track driving. I have been on my brakes on my 328Ci in hard driving a few times, and have noticed barely any fade (the rims get pretty damn dusty though) I also have experiece with M5s in track driving, it had very impressive brakes, but never ran it hard enough for fade to be a problem. The 330s I have driven had impressive braking. Remember that the IS has solid rear discs, that I would think would need to be replaced for competetive track driving. The 330 actually has larger discs than the M3, but weight probably offsets it. When you test drive them, make sure to test out the brakes. Try to burn them out with the salesman in the car
Hopefully you will get the Pilot Sports if you get the 330. I would think that the BMW brakes are up to track driving (not as good a aftermarket of course), but the free replacement should offset that.

Edit: I know how frustrating brake fade can be, having experienced it a few times. Once in rental car, a new Jeep Grand Cheeroke, I decided I should test them out to compare with my car. The Jeep seemed like it had strong cool stopping performance with fairly large rotors. So, in on empty city streets, I went from stop sign to stop sign with very hard stops, similar to what I would expect in track driving. It had incredible fade, the pedal could be pushed down the floor without inducing lock up or ABS. I did this once in my car with no problem when I was in a big rush.

[ September 02, 2001: Message edited by: 5shifter ]
 

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Discussion Starter #9
My Metal Master pads have never faded on the track, while my buddies in their S4s have trouble with brake fade, one guy came in early his last session saying "No brakes!" They're running Tyrox big brake kits, but pads might be stock. I can't imagine braking on the street like I do at the track, there's no way, the salesman would lose it.

Another nice thing about BMWs is I can heel & toe, couldn't do that in the IS300 when I tried it (or most other cars either).

Originally posted by 5shifter:
[QB]True. Although stock BMW brakes supposedly are pretty good for track driving. I have been on my brakes on my 328Ci in hard driving a few times, and have noticed barely any fade (the rims get pretty damn dusty though) I also have experiece with M5s in track driving, it had very impressive brakes, but never ran it hard enough for fade to be a problem. The 330s I have driven had impressive braking. Remember that the IS has solid rear discs, that I would think would need to be replaced for competetive track driving. The 330 actually has larger discs than the M3, but weight probably offsets it. When you test drive them, make sure to test out the brakes. Try to burn them out with the salesman in the car
Hopefully you will get the Pilot Sports if you get the 330. I would think that the BMW brakes are up to track driving (not as good a aftermarket of course), but the free replacement should offset that.
 

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I can't imagine braking on the street like I do at the track, there's no way, the salesman would lose it.
Depends on the salesman. My salesman was quite good at exploiting the capablitites of the car. One time we went and did a bunch of crazy stuff in the rain in a 330 convert, even doing doughnuts
Plus this dealership has a test track


Oh, and Audi's are notorious for thier brake fade. BMWs aren't. Any of your buddies have an E46?

[ September 02, 2001: Message edited by: 5shifter ]
 

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not trying to start a war or anything but how bout WRX....it is cheaper than all u listed and should b great for autocross.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
oh god, you two are trying to turn this into that 300 post nightmare again WRX vs IS300 tuning potential!

To answer your questions, the WRX is too ugly for me, though it's great fun to drive, I just don't desire to own it. Also it's a better autocrosser than road course car, and I like road course events.
The potential thing is moot for me, cause I won't be able to afford to tune anything after paying $30k.

Originally posted by Lexus_IS300:
get the is300, it has the most potential out of all the the cars.
 

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After reading all the stories at http://www.donotbuyabmw.com , I suggest if you want the 2002 330i, then find a good approved BMW dealership!

In my opinion, I'd take the M3 because it has a bit more power, and still is a E36. But finding a good one in good condition worries me. If you can't seem to find one in good condition, then I suggest the IS300.

On a side note, IS300GTE dynoed his manual IS300 at 185HP and I've seen E36 M3's dyno at 191HP; seems a bit odd when one is 215 and other is 240. Shouldn't there be a bigger gap in HP? Perhaps my numbers are wrong.

Originally posted by ckolsen:
My 4 track days seem to have taken their toll on my car, so I'm starting to entertain ideas of what to trade for. Here's my choices in no particular order:

IS300 manual, full leather (that's it) $31k
* love the car, spec. ordering and "sticker" are big negatives.

'97 or '98 M3 sedan, 5 speed $30k
* a blast to drive, great for track. Don't like any available colors, and hard to find a good used one - can take 6 months. Probably can't afford a $30k with no warranty.

2002 330i 5 speed $33k Euro Delivery
* new steering rack and improved suspension should make it much better. Downside is I'll be an E46 BMW owner.

The other option is to keep the 325i til it drops. That'd be the smartest thing to do, but I'm not smart.
 

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Originally posted by Lexus_IS300:
get the is300, it has the most potential out of all the the cars.
I'm not so shure about that. There are a lot more BMW tuners than Aztella tuners. For less than 6K a 330 can be putting out 342Hp with a 7PSI S/C from ESS.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The local dealership, BMW Peabody, is good, though to get the price of $33k I couldn't buy from them.
About IS300GTE's dyno tests, it's possible he's got an IS300 at the high end of HP ranges, and the 191hp M3 was at the low end. It's better to dyno cars at the same place & time if you want to compare though.
And after all, if the auto IS300 is 215hp, why is the more efficient manual still 215 hp? Maybe Lexus is understating the manual's HP?

Originally posted by LexusIS886:
After reading all the stories at http://www.donotbuyabmw.com , I suggest if you want the 2002 330i, then find a good approved BMW dealership!

In my opinion, I'd take the M3 because it has a bit more power, and still is a E36. But finding a good one in good condition worries me. If you can't seem to find one in good condition, then I suggest the IS300.

On a side note, IS300GTE dynoed his manual IS300 at 185HP and I've seen E36 M3's dyno at 191HP; seems a bit odd when one is 215 and other is 240. Shouldn't there be a bigger gap in HP? Perhaps my numbers are wrong.

Originally posted by ckolsen:
[qb]My 4 track days seem to have taken their toll on my car, so I'm starting to entertain ideas of what to trade for. Here's my choices in no particular order:

IS300 manual, full leather (that's it) $31k
* love the car, spec. ordering and "sticker" are big negatives.

'97 or '98 M3 sedan, 5 speed $30k
* a blast to drive, great for track. Don't like any available colors, and hard to find a good used one - can take 6 months. Probably can't afford a $30k with no warranty.

2002 330i 5 speed $33k Euro Delivery
* new steering rack and improved suspension should make it much better. Downside is I'll be an E46 BMW owner.

The other option is to keep the 325i til it drops. That'd be the smartest thing to do, but I'm not smart.
[/QB]
 

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this is my same dilemma.

to me, you have to fit the car to what you will use it. daily driver with occasional track use, or will you tune it maximally and race it every chance you get?

for myself, the local bmw dealership is terrible, so i am reluctant to get a new 330. my mechanic tells me the 98 m3 is very reliable. let's face it, the upkeep on all of these cars is a bit high.

i need a daily driver with some fun mixed in. moreover, 330i and is300 have side curtain airbags as well as side body bags. the reliability tips me to the is300.

the 98 m3 is simply more car, especially for the money. if you want to race a bit, it seems the clear way to go for you (the sedan is even a bit more rigid than the coupe), provided you can find a good one, and have a good non-dealership mechanic you can trust.

my 2 cents.
 

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Back the turnip truck up a bit... Yes new BMWs do come with full maintainence for the first 3 years or 36k miles BUT BUT BUT, abnormal use will NOT be covered. Track use is considered abnormal use since it is very hard on brake pads especially. Some dealers don't care, some do. Don't EXPECT the full maintainence plan from BMW to cover YOUR track expenses. You gotta pay to play.

Originally posted by 5shifter:
As for your track driving concerns. BMW pays for all worn out parts in the first 3yrs/36K, so you can abuse your brakes at the track and not worry about replacing them. Basically with the 330, you only buy gas and tires, very benificial for a track driver.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Heh, well I don't think he was saying go to your dealer and say "hey, my rotors got warped doing hot laps at Lime Rock" - but supposedly brake wear is covered so just don't tell them you went to the track. My problem is I don't want stock pads at the track.

Originally posted by Bruce:
Back the turnip truck up a bit... Yes new BMWs do come with full maintainence for the first 3 years or 36k miles BUT BUT BUT, abnormal use will NOT be covered. Track use is considered abnormal use since it is very hard on brake pads especially. Some dealers don't care, some do. Don't EXPECT the full maintainence plan from BMW to cover YOUR track expenses. You gotta pay to play.

Originally posted by 5shifter:
[qb]As for your track driving concerns. BMW pays for all worn out parts in the first 3yrs/36K, so you can abuse your brakes at the track and not worry about replacing them. Basically with the 330, you only buy gas and tires, very benificial for a track driver.
[/QB]
 

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Chris, what is making you feel that the track days have been too hard on your car? I have now done 8 track days, and even after an un-fortunate incident off the track, my car feels great. I have replaced worn parts, but the car is still smooth and seems to be running well. I do not know if it is advisable stetch your $ if you are going to be on the track and possibly have some incidental expenses. Maybe $ would be better spent freshening up your car. If I could buy an new car right now for the same $, I think I would do the Lexus again, although it would be very hard to chose between the cars you mentioned. If I did do the Lexus again, I would do the same springs, shocks and sways also. However, I think you should wait, I think Lexus will put more HP in this car before too long. They are behind the curve right now and they can not stay there. Just my thoughts. Hope to see at a track event sometime.
 
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