Is the new M3 really worth it?
In this series we'll debate whether or not buying a new car is a good idea, comparing a new model to an older counterpart. And we kickoff with the following conundrum: should you buy a brand new M3, or save some money and buy an E90 M3? The current F80 M3 starts at $63,500. However, after you add a few options like leather seats, back-up camera, and double-clutch transmission you are well over $70,000. For this, you get a 425-horsepower German sports sedan that embodies the ultimate driving machine moniker. Or does it?
For as low as half of that price (for a decent 2008/09 model), you can buy an E90 BMW M3. You can even get a newer 2012-2013 model M3 with a certified pre-owned warranty for around $45,000. The E90 M3 featured a high-revving, 414-hp naturally aspirated V8. This was also the only V8-powered M3 ever! This engine makes just 11 horsepower less than the current M3, although it is down on torque with just 295 lb-ft compared to the new car's 406. Both cars feature a choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch, and both are faster with the dual-clutch. The F80 can hit 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds while the E90 takes 4.4 seconds. But do these numbers really matter? Buying the E90 would save you anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 over a new M3.
With savings like that, do you really care so much about that half a second difference? The E90 M3 may not have the latest version of iDrive, but when you're driving a 400-plus horsepower sports car, do you really care how fancy the infotainment is? Forget infotainment and go find an E90 with a base head unit! Who needs the extra weight anyway! In our opinion, the old V8 M3 will always be quite special. The new twin-turbocharged inline-six is a great engine, but it lacks some of the character of the old V8. We have debated whether or not turbocharged is ultimately a good trend for the performance car industry. The M3 is usually front and center in these debates. No matter how you feel about which car is really better, the E90 really is quite a deal!
So, assuming that a new F80 M3 is around $70,000 and a nice E90 M3 is around $35,000. Which one would you buy?