Well, aren’t we having fun these days with all the comparisons? We started yesterday with the unusual comparison between BMW 135i vs Nissan 370z, Mazda RX-8 and the Pontiac Solstice GXP, then continued today with 2011 BMW 5 Series versus the 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and now, we have the most common comparison we have seen in the past year or so: BMW’s M3 going against the Audi RS5, Cadillac CTS-V, Lexus IS-F and Mercedes C63 AMG.
The fellows at TheTruthAboutCars are responsible for it.
M, RS, V, F, AMG. The alpha alphabet represents five manufacturers’ best efforts to create something unique, exciting and memorable from their more prosaic mainstream motors. The resulting “performance tuned” sports sedans are so powerful, so capable, so versatile, that they’re the ground based equivalent of the all-weather fighter jets that battle for control of the skies. While the shibboleth “there’s no such thing as a bad car” applies here, there are always going to be winners and losers. And it’s our job to sort the wheat from the chaff.
The BMW M3 was pipped to the post by the Cadillac CTS-V for one main reason: too much technology. I’m a man whose world is defined by acronyms, who depends on computers to keep me alive. Yet I got lost in the e-gadgetry foisted upon the Bimmer’s 414 hp (@ 8,300 rpm) V8 chassis. iDrive, MDrive, handling nannies, traction nannies and an ECU smart enough to clone dinosaurs on its own—the Bimmer’s brain created a corner carving concert that made it a the consummate sports sedan. But somewhere along the line it lost some it its character.
No question: that spark of genius remains buried deep within the M3’s box of tricks; the spirit of the original E30 M3 struggles to get out. When I stopped fiddling with all the gadgets, set everything to automatic and let loose the dogs of war, I could just about recapture those glory days, glory days, glory days.