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I've had an E46 M3 for a couple of years now, which replaced an E36 M3 before that. I'm thinking about a change now for something newer, with a budget of up to £35k.

I don't like the manual gearbox on my E46, as I find it heavy and clunky, so I fancy trying something with DCT or SMG next. I've driven both the E60 M5, and DCT E92 M3, and Manual E92 M3. I found the manual box on the E92 to be better than the E46, although too similar for my liking.


The main thing i'm looking for is increased ride comfort, and a smoother drive / transmission.

The main advantages and disadvantages I see for both cars are as follows:

E60 M5 - Advantages:
1. Faster top end (although I can't say I noticed a huge difference).
2. More comfortable, roomier, and more 'grown-up'.

E60 M5 - Disadvantages:
1. Really bad fuel consumption.
2. Unreliable SMG gearbox (I loved the paddle shifting, but the auto mode was grim).
3. Scared I would need to pay up thousands every 30k miles for clutch & flywheel replacement.
4. Consumables such as brake disc replacement more expensive (i.e £1000 for discs and pads).
5. Handling not as tight due to size of car.

E90 M3 – Advantages:
1. Better handling.
2. Better fuel economy.
3. Smoother / faster transmission.
4. Cheaper consumable parts costs.
5. DCT trans more reliable than SMG???

E90 M3 – Disadvantages:
1. Not so much outright power as M5.
2. Not sure if I like the looks quite as much as M5.
3. Not as comfortable ride, interior space etc. with not so many luxury features.

Anyone else been in the same boat? They seem to be at a similar point price-wise at the moment, so it’s a difficult decision to make. I like them both to drive. I’m comfortable with the running costs of an M3, so I don’t have any hesitations there, but running costs for an M5 are a bit of an unknown to me, so I don’t know what to do for the best.
 

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I guess it depends what you will be using the car for...Daily commutting on the highway, I'd say the M5. It's roomier, not too bad on highway gas mileage, pulls like a freight train and the SMG really isnt that bad. I certainly wouldnt call it "unreliable." Like most members on here, just buy a warranty and problem solved.

If you do a lot of around town driving and dont haul many people (family/kids etc), and you don't mind the smaller cabin of the M3, then I'd go with that. Better gas mileage, low end torque is nice, still seriously quick and fun to drive.

Personally there is no comparison for me...it's the M5 all the way. I've driven both and I just like the extra space in the M5. I don't track the car, so the level of handling the M5 provides is more than adequate, and even around town it's very docile, yet the power is always there. At the end of the day they are both great cars. The M5 will be more expensive to maintain, and costlier in gas as well, but everything is a trade off. The truth of the matter is that if you are "that" concerned about the maintenance costs of the M5, then I think even the M3 might be a little too costly, because none of these cars are "cheap" to maintain. As I said earlier buy a warranty for a few K and then put your mind at ease. Both are great cars and lots of fun!
 

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Single = M3, married with kids = M5

I needed the room but the m3 just handles like no tomorrow. I may not speak for everyone but when can you really get on the m5 as it should be driven. At least you can enjoy the 3 in the bends
 

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I was faced with the same tough decision 5 months ago. It's a great problem to have :biggrin:

I chose the m5 because I feel it was, and still is, the greatest saloon in the world. The level of maturity it represents (as seen on this forum), the respect it demands, and the luxury it provides make it the best car going down the road in my eyes.

Is it expensive to own? YES. Is it worth every penny? @#!% YES!!! :goldcup:
 

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Double CLutch is nice :)

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The M3 definitely has a firmer ride than the M5. I would say the M3 in comfort mode is closer to the M5's normal, and the M3's normal is like the M5's Sport, and the M3's sport is like having solid rods for shocks. However, the M3 is a different car. The M3 is more of a race car/sports car that has some luxury put in it. The M5 is a sporty luxury sedan that's had F1 technology put into it, pulling it closer and closer to that of a race car, but not quite being there.

The M5 handles great but due to its weight it is hard to transition quickly. The M3 does not have this issue, and it's flat out grip is incredible. I was riding passenger in one when the driver (my brother's friend) railed a corner. My brother and I were both lifted out our seats and were struggling to stay on our side of the car by grabbing onto the door handle and overhead "oh sh!t" handle.

So the M3 is definitely the more athletic one of the two, while sacrificing some comfort (compared to the M5) to do it.

On the other hand, because the M3 is newer, it benefits from new technology (like the DCT) that make it more livable as a daily driver. It is simply much better than the SMG is in D (though I personally like the feel of the SMG in S modes).

The M5 is larger, more comfortable, rides nicer. The seats are more plus and the active bolstering is really nice, allowing you to drive a bit faster without really feeling it, since they will hold you (makes a great "wow" for first time passengers, which is fun).

It's really up to you to decide what fits your needs best.

I personally will be in the situation soon and I can choose pretty much anything in a certain price range, and I was basically between an M5 and an M3. I chose the M3 due to the DCT and the fact that since I'm just 20, I don't need the backseats. The only one that needs to sit in my car besides me is my girlfriend.
 

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I've had an E46 M3 for a couple of years now, which replaced an E36 M3 before that. I'm thinking about a change now for something newer, with a budget of up to £35k.

I don't like the manual gearbox on my E46, as I find it heavy and clunky, so I fancy trying something with DCT or SMG next. I've driven both the E60 M5, and DCT E92 M3, and Manual E92 M3. I found the manual box on the E92 to be better than the E46, although too similar for my liking.

The main thing i'm looking for is increased ride comfort, and a smoother drive / transmission.

The main advantages and disadvantages I see for both cars are as follows:

E60 M5 - Advantages:
1. Faster top end (although I can't say I noticed a huge difference).
2. More comfortable, roomier, and more 'grown-up'.

E60 M5 - Disadvantages:
1. Really bad fuel consumption.
2. Unreliable SMG gearbox (I loved the paddle shifting, but the auto mode was grim).
3. Scared I would need to pay up thousands every 30k miles for clutch & flywheel replacement.
4. Consumables such as brake disc replacement more expensive (i.e £1000 for discs and pads).
5. Handling not as tight due to size of car.

E90 M3 – Advantages:
1. Better handling.
2. Better fuel economy.
3. Smoother / faster transmission.
4. Cheaper consumable parts costs.
5. DCT trans more reliable than SMG???

E90 M3 – Disadvantages:
1. Not so much outright power as M5.
2. Not sure if I like the looks quite as much as M5.
3. Not as comfortable ride, interior space etc. with not so many luxury features.

Anyone else been in the same boat? They seem to be at a similar point price-wise at the moment, so it’s a difficult decision to make. I like them both to drive. I’m comfortable with the running costs of an M3, so I don’t have any hesitations there, but running costs for an M5 are a bit of an unknown to me, so I don’t know what to do for the best.
I was in the same boat, but got the M5 because at the time, there were not a lot of 2009+ sedans out lightly used with DCT, and I had to have DCT. IMO the 2009 M3s look much better on the outside with the new tail lights and have the better i-drive vs the 2008's. I have a kid, but if I didn't I would have gotten the M3 no question. The SMG is harsh compared to the DCT, and the M5 is more expensive in every way to maintain, from gas, to repairs, and insurance. I love the M5, but it's harder to use it's best atributes (top end) versus the M3's handling. The DCT M3 isn't that much slower than the M5 below 100mph. The M5 is much more comfortable for highway cruising, and has a lot more features which I love.

My answer for your is M3. The M3 is overall a more fun car to drive IMO.
 

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i say get a M5 but go for a 2008+
 

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I would say keep E46 M3 for handling and buy E60 M5 for more comfortable/luxury/roomier ride . :blink:
 

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I had the same problem last month but decided to go for the M5 due to comfort, more room, features (much more of a luxury vehicle), power. I drove the DCT M3 and while it felt very fast, the M5 felt more "powerful" slam it in 3rd gear at 50 and you'll know what i am talking about.
Saying all that, getting 10 - 12mpg in England with petrol at current prices, if you do any sort of mileage you will be totally gutted! Now if you take the tube to work and are using it for the weekends then the M5 is totally justifiable...
 

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Dexter Morgan said:
That is correct, I am loyal to my car and love it.
You loving your car doesn't make it the best of all cars. I love my car but I recognize its shortcomings.

Stop bothering verbs (from the other thread), I find his posts rather objective and I like that.
 

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My vote goes to E90 M3 only because it has DCT. E60 M5 with DCT would have been such a perfect car.

You can go from E46 M3 to either car and be happy. You can also go from E9x M3 to M5 and be happy (give up a bit of handling but more power and comfort). But it is going to be difficult giving up the V10 and move into M3, at least for me and I love M3s.
 

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You loving your car doesn't make it the best of all cars. I love my car but I recognize its shortcomings.

Stop bothering verbs (from the other thread), I find his posts rather objective and I like that.
Can you please find a post where I said my car is the best of all the sport sedans?? I've repeatedly stated that it isn't the fastest or the best off the line, but I enjoy it loads more than the E63 and CTS-V.
 

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Similar Dilemma

I am struggling with a similar dilemma but I think I've made my mind up. I've been considering A) Keeping the E39 M5 and E36 M3, B) Replacing both with E60 M5, or C) replacing both with E90 M3. I have a family and two young children but I also spend a good bit of time on track. I've decided that I'm going to wait about a year (if I can) to get rid of my E36 M3 and E39 M5 to replace both with E90 M3 with DCT and ZCP. I had the chance to drive a few at the BMW Performance Center a few months ago and besdies the obvious advantages to the E9X M3 with DCT, the DSC M Mode that is part of the ZCP (performance package) is awesome on track. I always struggle with leaving traction control on or turning it off on track (in both E36 M3 and E85 M Roadster) because it intervienes too much on hot track days, which most days are down here. The M Mode available with the ZCP was perfect. It allowed for some (actually significant) wheelspin but still helped if you over did it. Nothing will save you in a very bad situation but I really found it to be a great compromise. IMHO

Cheers.---------C
 

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I also switched form E46 M3 to E60 M5. Honestly, I miss the E46, and everytime I see one, I can't help but stare! On the other hand, I dearly love my M5, and I don't think I can part with it. So if you can, keep the M3 and get an M5. That way you will have the best of the both worlds.
+1 on 2008+ model E60 M5 if possible.

Good luck, and keep us posted.
 
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I really think you cannot go wrong with either car. I would base your decision on whether you would rather have slightly better handling (choose the M3) or more power (choose the M5). The M5 definitely offers more brutal acceleration, but when driving them both back-to-back, it really is amazing how much bigger the M5 feels. I would not worry about ride comfort, as both are very comfortable and probably less harsh than your E46 M3. Regarding the transmissions, it is largely about personal preference, as I truly do not think one is "better" than the other. DCT will probably be cheaper to maintain, as I am pretty sure the clutches never need to be replaced because of the flawless shifts. I would steer clear of 2008 M3s with DCT, as they had some issues, mostly regarding "lag" (a gap between pulling the paddle and the actual shift occurring). Fixing these issues is probably expensive and not always possible so I've heard.

Overall, both cars are great in many ways and there truly is no wrong choice. I think if you pick the M5, you will get used to the larger size very quickly and learn how to control its extra weight in spirited driving. If you purchase the M3, I think it has enough power that you will not be focused on getting an M5. So, as I said before, there is really no wrong choice.

Best of luck with the search!


afc1
 

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M5 = Family sports sedan. I went with this because of the family. My wife told me I needed to get a bigger car (we're having our second child soon), and went from my STi to this. I don't think I could have gotten away with the M3 because of the size of the back seats. A little tougher throwing 2 car seats in the back of a 3 vs 5.
 
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