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Mazdaspeed 3 or Mini Cooper S

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Comments

  • I really resisted the temptation to get involved with this fruitless argument; however, when I owned a BMW some years ago a guy in my office was relentless about chiding me about my "beamer" at every opportunity. So, this stuff touches a nerve (and I have a few minutes before UFC fight night starts). Not everyone buys a BMW, Audi, etc. for "status" reasons. Some buy for performance reasons. The 3-series is the most "decorated" car on the market, for good reason. I have owned two BMW's in my life and I certainly didn't buy them for status reasons. I bought them for performance and comfort. BMW and Audi have "average" reliability. So what. If you want to exploit some "kink in the armour" go ahead, but the argument is getting a bit old by now.
    BTW, I am lurking here because I am interested in another great performance car, the MS3! What stereotype can be applied to driving this one? Help me out.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,301
    BTW, I am lurking here because I am interested in another great performance car, the MS3!

    The MS3 is an excellent high performance bargain. Much like BMW's M division, Mazdaspeed modifies the entire car, including items that the average driver would never see or notice. As a result, the Mazda 3 is transformed from a competent econobox into a legitimate performance car. One of the reasons I bought the MS3 is because we are seeing more and more FWD cars(mostly Minis and GTIs) at BMW CCA driving schools- and as a CCA instructor I wanted to have a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the FWD configuration. The Mini was too small(I needed a usable rear seat,) VWoA wouldn't allow me to order a GTI the way I wanted it(no sunroof, cloth seats, seat heaters, and premium sound), and I thought that the A3 was a bit expensive for what you get(great interior, though). After 11K I'd say that most of my gripes about the MS3 are minor. Clutch engagement is very abrupt, but I've adapted. The OBC lacks a readout in the IP cluster, and the xenon lights function on low beam only. Service intervals are 50% more frequent than my E36 3 series(5K as opposed to @7.5K-depending on the SI system), and they need to be as my used oil analysis and that of others indicate that the DISI engine really does a number on its oil. Fortunately, my dealer gives free 5K oil changes for as long as I own the car- though I do have to bring my own Mobil 1 5W-30. To be fair, the reduced oil life is apparently a result of the direct injection technology, since the VW/Audi 2.0T, the Audi RS4 V8, and the BMW N54 twin turbo are equally hard on oil. Last year I only made it to one school -see my CarSpace page for the photo album- so I'm eager to find out how the MS3 likes the track. Spring can't come soon enough! As it stands now, I'll probably keep it for at least another one or two years.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • Good info, thanks!! I have an A4 2.0T so I am well aware of the oil issue. I haven't driven the MS3 yet. The only consistent complaints I hear regard the "notchy" shifter and the clutch engagement. I think I read a new Mazda 3 will be arriving this year or early next?

    If the BMW execs would get off their high horse and export the 1-series hatchback (reasonably priced) I would be back to the BMW fold in a hurry. My first BMW was a 318ti, and it was a hoot.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,301
    The only consistent complaints I hear regard the "notchy" shifter and the clutch engagement.

    In my MS3 the shift action is more than smooth enough; what bothered me about the shifter was that the distance between the 1-2 and 3-4 gates is larger than the distance between the 3-4 and 5-6 gates. Like the clutch, you get used to it.

    I think I read a new Mazda 3 will be arriving this year or early next?

    I'm thinking the new Mazda 3 will arrive in 2009 as a 2010 model. I don't know when to expect a Mazdaspeed edition.

    If the BMW execs would get off their high horse and export the 1-series hatchback (reasonably priced) I would be back to the BMW fold in a hurry.

    Me too! I was hoping against hope that BMW NA would relent and import the five door 130i M Sport, but no such luck...

    My first BMW was a 318ti, and it was a hoot.

    I still have the 1995 318ti Club Sport that I special ordered almost 13 years ago. It's one of probably less than 10 that were built without a sunroof. I doubt that I'll ever sell it. It lat 110K it still looks like new inside and out. Sheer horsepower aside, I still find it as much fun to drive as almost anything new or used- short of a vintage M1 or 911.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • pegasuszzpegasuszz Posts: 31
    I never believed the BMW hype ...
    until I drove one.
    This was a nearly worn out 87 325 with the sport package and manual. Within 100 yards you could feel that the car "wants" to play. It's weird - I would not have believed it had I not experienced it. It was like a little puppy; the steering, brakes, suspension and even the small engine had an eagerness and responsiveness about them totally unlike a typical car, and also unlike what most people want. I drove that thing for about 30K miles and got to understand what they were about.
    I've also driven a couple dozen different almost new rental cars. They were objectively better than the worn-out near antique Bimmer, but except for one they were no fun. After driving the little BMW, the steering on nearly any other sedan feels defective. Bleah. I can't really explain it, but the somehow the 325's steering - even after 18 years - was clearly connected to the road while the other ones are remote control pointers to turn the wheels. Lots of little things worked like that on the 325 - like when you toss it around an entrance ramp, it's balanced right between under and oversteer, and if one end got loose you could pull it right back in. It also gripped like a cat on drapes - I recall starting a tight exit ramp in a Chevy something, at a reasonable speed for the 325 and being rewarded with a slide towards a guard rail at all of 40mph (caught it easily thanks to practice). Most cars just plow forward like mules, and in some the back can snap around with some scary oversteer. BMWs have 50/50 weight balance and work with you, not against you.

    BMWs are not all the same. Their core models, what built their reputation many years ago, are designed differently than most cars. The priority for those, tho not all BMWs, is that they're *fun*. Lots of people want to be seen as "fun" rather than the boring drones they actually are. They'll buy a BMW with an automatic, AWD and all season tires, or a BMW SUV, or another one of their models that looks exactly like the the sporty one but with the fun-to-drive part factored out. Pretty stupid, since the car was not designed and isn't a good choice for the most practical transportation. BMW has moved somewhat away from that group of buyers - today's 3 series is larger and laden with electro-gadgets more appropriate to a Cadillac, but nothing else has replaced it.

    Status symbol? Huh? If you want that get a boat. A car just means you can't afford staff to drive you. People who say "people by sporty cars for status" really mean "I think about status all the time and have no clue what fun is". If you want a fun car, look at a Mini (made by BMW), a Miata, an S2000 or a small, sport package m/t BMW - or maybe the new turbo Cobalt (yup, a cheesy little econo-car -- but fast). A Lexus, by contrast, is just your grandfather's Buick with more reliability. Yawn. I'll buy one when I need bifocals and arthritis pills.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,301
    Excellent post. As you said, most of the trolls that like to slam BMWs haven't even sat in one- never mind driven one. It's almost always a bad case of envy or sour grapes, pure and simple...

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    Yes...I also agree.

    GM/Pontiac is introducing the Pontiac G8GT, with many making claims it is a BMW at half the costs...of course, that is correct. But, its also half the car.

    Like everything else in life, you usually get what you pay for...
  • silvermzda3silvermzda3 Posts: 17
    I’ve owned 3 BMW's and you nailed it, there is a special feeling and driving character in the BMW, I had a '79 518 (in Germany) an 82 525e and a '88 535iS. And I loved the balance and perfection. even the relatively underpowered 518 was a hoot to drive. They didn't have gadgets and were not luxury liners, heck they didn’t have cup holders, but they were fun to drive and the ergonomics were impeccable. They were an extension of the driver. That is why I fell in love with the Mazda 3/ speed 3. They are responsive and make you feel like part of the game of driving. Mind you, it's not a BMW, but at half the price one can not expect a head to head comparison. In my experience there is less maintenance with the Mazda. I hate to call it reliability, because basically performance cars take more care to maintain.
  • creakid1creakid1 Posts: 2,032
    http://recp.rm05.net/ctt?kn=28&m=1136043&r=Nzc1MjMyMjY3OQS2&b=0&j=MTE1MDE0ODU5S0- &mt=1

    Personally, I'm proud of finishing up another project from my 4-car collection -- castrating the sport-suspension springs/shocks off my E36 '99 328is & replaced w/ the longer std springs plus adding torsen limited slip differential & the quick-ratio steering rack from the Z3. Now that's what I call reckless fun in the real world of bumpy roads. :P
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,301
    As some of you know, I passed on a couple of really nice E46 BMWs(a 330i ZHP and an almost-new M3) in order to try something "different"- i.e. a new 2007 MS3. Well, the sled hasn't reached 27000 miles yet and I've already had to replace a blown LF strut as well as the turbocharger. If the parts had failed outside of the warranty period I'd be looking at @$2500 worth of repair costs. And for the record, I've never had to replace a strut before 100000 miles on any of the nine BMWs I've owned.
    So much for the supposedly knowledgeable claims concerning Mazda's stellar reliability and inexpensive operating costs that were made by some "experts" earlier in this topic... :surprise:
    So much for my thinking that the MS3 would make a durable and entertaining track toy... :mad:
    As for driving pleasure, I'm finding my 1995 318ti Club Sport to be a much more involving drive. Ditto for the 1975 2002 I just picked up on eBay. Most of the time the MS3 only sees duty as my work beater. Having said all that, my dealer(Kings Mazda, Cincinnati) has provided excellent service before and after the sale. Too bad the car itself didn't measure up.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • txg60txg60 Posts: 7
    :(
    Man..sorry you are having so many problems with your MS3..I just recently hit the 35K mile mark which includes some track sessions and tons of mountain roads..no issues thus far....
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,301
    I really liked the car when I first bought it, but the problems have sapped my enthusiasm quite a bit. I haven't decided what to do with the sled yet, but I'm not all that confident using it as my track car for the next few years.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

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