LOL!!! Well, I dug through some of my back issues of Road & Track; I found a test of the 330i w/Sport Package in the July 2002 issue and a test of the E36 M3 in the 1995 Road & Track Specials issue. Now, I'll be the first to admit that test numbers will never tell the whole story, but I think we can agree that they can be useful when comparing a BMW to a BMW. Here are some test numbers, with the M3 result listed first:
0-60 6.0 6.1
0-100 16.0 15.9
1/4 mi. 14.6 14.7
60-0 120 ft. 129 ft.
80-0 217 ft. 230 ft.
Skidpad .87g .86g
Slalom 62.8 mph 65.4 mph
Fuel Econ 24.6 mpg 25.9 mpg
These two cars are VERY close in overall performance-and that is before you factor in the extra 10 hp, the six speed tranny, lower final drive, and the more aggressive suspension/rolling stock of the 330i Performance Package. Methinks the Performance Package car will show a stock E36 M3 the fast way home. Is the E36 M3 a more entertaining and visceral type drive? Probably; much as the E30 M3 is slower but-IMHO-more beloved then the E36 M3. Of course you can always buy a clean 1995 M3 and really pump up the hp and nail down the suspension for considerably less than $30K. So you pays your money and takes your choice. And-since we're dealing with BMWs-neither choice is a bad one...
Does it seem likely that the weight of this car will go up? If for no other reason, the larger tire/wheel combo would likely add a few pounds and possibly the heftier suspension could also add a couple. Wouldn't it be nice if they somehow managed to add all these goodies to the car AND knock a couple hundred pounds off?
There certainly is a HP war going on. Cars are becoming awfully quick. I like that as much as everyone else, but it probably isn't that great for society as a whole because of safety and environmental concerns.
I even wonder how much is enough. I can get to 60 in about 5 seconds, a 330 can do it in 6 seconds. That is pretty quick and after that moment is over you think to yourself -- now what to I do--I am cruising at 60-70mph, do I set the cruise control, or do I repeatedly brake and accelerate just to get a fix (or do I keep going till I hit 120mph).
I had this conversation with a friend 2 days ago (he has a NOS equipped Corvette) and he thinks you can never have too much. What is the value in decreasing your 100mph to 150mph times? It is fun, but it may not be healthy.
As HP increases exponentially we asymptotically approach the 3 second mark for 0-60mph. Does a car that goes 0-60mph in 3.2 seconds really feel that much different from one that does it in 4.5 seconds? -- At legal speeds, both vehicles probably create similar sensations for the driver. It is at the illegal speeds that the two cars will begin to diverge.
Don't get me wrong--I am not trying to blaspheme the McClaren F1. The trend towards outrageously fast mass production cars comes with a high price tag--it may not be one that we are willing to pay. I would not be surprised at all to see HP limitations in the future.
I the meantime I will continue to drive the most powerful naturally aspirated 3.2liter engine on the planet.
Lamborghini has already created a jeep like vehicle. People tend to forget that Lambo creates tractors and farm equipment. Ferrari on the other hand is a race outfit first, a producer of cars second. They use the cars and gear to help fund the race outfit.
"10 years ago, a 7 sec 0-60 was exotic car territory, nowadays, the econoboxes easily match this, so the monster trucks."
I can't think of any econoboxes or monster trucks that do 0-60 in 7 sec flat. Any examples? I still think that 7 sec flat is very respectable and faster than a good 95-98% of the cars out there in the real world (by the number of cars, not number of models that can do it).
I just wanted to add that the hp war is entertaining considering the huge increases in power vs price i.e...220-255hp in mainstream cars under $30K, but what is scary to me, cars are faster today, but most drivers are not getting smarter. It scares me each morning and afternoon on the freeway to see so many SUV's swerving in and out of traffic traveling between 70-80 plus miles per hour.
I've noticed that most drivers that own decent to real nice cars (BMW's,Infiniti,Vette,Benz,Lexus..etc) tend to drive closer to the speed limit, more cautious, and rarely seen as major victims in car ascendents. Most of the cars that drive recklessly on the freeway or at excessive speeds tend to be the SUV drivers,trucks,beat up old cars, and econoboxes. Maybe I'm wrong, but it's just my observation.
This week I had to drop off my M3 for service. As I walked in, I noticed a wreaker backing up into the service area with a new 7 series on the back. The front end was completly smashed. I asked my little buddy in the service dept what happend to the new 7. He told me that the driver ran off the road trying to make a simple adjustment using the I-drive system. Next thing he knew, he ran off the road not paying attention. The owner only had 3,000 miles on it. We both agreed that we hope BMW does not try to implement the I-drive system on other BMW's in the future.
Wanted to update the room that my sister and I will travel to Germany in Jan to pick up her 540i sport. We're looking forward to it. I've heard the weather in Germany has been above avg in temp this fall/winter. Anyone have any tips, ideas concering the trip there? Would love to hear.