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From digest.v7.n27 Thu Jul 31 06:37:03 1997
From: "Rick Kearney" <>
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 1997 17:31:57 -0400
Subject: What a car!

For those who are new and maybe considering the purchase or lease of an E36 M3, maybe the following info will help. I have had the car ('97 M3) to Pocono twice with street tires and stock everything else including brakes and just got back from a 2 day school at Watkins Glen (only change was to add new Yokohama A032R competition tires for the Glen).

Fantastic street car, in fact, I had to borrow a friends '92 Corvette convertible while tires were being mounted and I had always thought that this car was better built, etc. than my '89 Corvette but compared to the M3, the Corvette is crap. On the 170 mile trip to and from the Glen I got 31.5 MPG while averaging over 65 MPH. Original brake pads still show no signs of appreciable wear. I have approximately 9700 miles on the car and had worn out the rear Michelins. Great tire, but too expensive to continue to use. Of the 9700 miles, almost 600 miles on the track, did I mention what a great car the M3 is!

The new Yokohamas are a fine combination tire. A little noisy on the road (they tend to sing), but great track tire both wet and dry. Before I get the comments about this tire or that tire being better, I have driven Comp T/A R1's for years on various Corvettes and like their dry grip very much, wet grip is not as good (therefore not an everyday street tire). The Goodyear GS-Cs is probably the best dry tire that I have found but it is expensive and is not to be used in the rain or driven to the track. The Yok's were driven to and from the Glen (approx. 340 miles and put 200 plus track miles on them and they still look almost new ( over 900 total miles on tire including heat cycling).

Anyone who has driven at Watkins Glen in a E36 M3 knows what a great job BMW has done with this car. Originally, I was concerned about the handling of the M3 at the track being that it has such a nice highway ride. This car absolutely flies. Handles the corners with an incredible amount of grip and is easy to place and you can make corrections with the steering wheel, the brakes, the gas. Wow! Speaking of brakes, I think that I was able to out brake just about everything there with the exception of a Busch Grand National car that was there to test and maybe that GT-1 Porsche. Oh well, there is a budget that we must keep. Overall, there were not many cars there that were as fast or as easy to drive fast as the M3.

Of the 3 E36 M3s that were at the event, none hit the big blue monster. The same cannot be said about the other 6 or 7 cars that added blue pin strips. 3 cars hit the guard rail in the rain Monday morning in 3 consecutive sessions, you would think that after the first one hit that people would have used their brains. The worst was a '96 Camaro that got the left front and left rear (not too pretty), done in the dry. Also a long time instructor and racer put the left front of his race prepped mustang into the rail, just goes to show that even veteran drivers do experience cranial rectumitis (momentary brain fade).

The M3 had been trouble free until the front under tray just fell off on the front straight at the Glen. I was somewhat skeptical of the postings regarding this but now I am a believer as was another M3 pilot who almost had his fall off at the same time as mine. He got to the duct tape in time.

I guess that I have rambled enough about tires and brakes and Drivers Schools. Did I mention yet about what a great car the M3 is!


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