Interview: Dr. Oetker and the BMW M3/335is Dilemma

3-Series, Featured Posts | January 25th, 2010 by 41
bmw m3 vs bmw 335is 750x484

We’ve been having an internal debate here at BMWBLOG as to which car represents the greater value, the 335is or the M3. After the dust …

We’ve been having an internal debate here at BMWBLOG as to which car represents the greater value, the 335is or the M3. After the dust settled we decided to consult with our resident expert, the good Dr Oetker.

But before we jump into the interview, allow us to leave with you this memorable quote:

The 335is has been “tuned” by ///M. The M3 was handmade by ///M

Dr. Oetker, can you help us with a little question we’re having deciding on which car represents the best value, the 335is or the M3?

What do you intend to do with this car? Make ice cream runs?

Well that’s just it we haven’t decided exactly how we’ll be using the car. There’s some talk about lap times, track days, and optimal slip angles, and other discussion about high altitude passes in the Rockies and two lane twisties?

bmw m3 vs bmw 335is 655x270

All that just to get ice cream?

Well not just ice cream. I mean the 335is has a great engine, sport suspension and fabulous brakes as well as a good number of M cosmetic pieces. But the M3 has that wonderful siren song of a V8 exhaust and the stratospheric 8400 RPM redline as well as the brilliant chassis. It’s a difficult decision.

I still don’t understand where the ice cream comes in to this picture.

Well maybe if we looked at the value of the car, for instance the 335is has a base price of $50,525, while the M3 Coupe has a base price of $58,400, a difference of $7,875 . . .

That’s a lot of ice cream!

Some of the staff believe that you can mod the 335is to beyond M3 specs with that price differential. But others warn that modding leads to warranty issues.

And less ice cream, I might add.

The M3 has an LSD and a naturally aspirated engine and may be better suited for track days than touring, while the fat, flat torque curve of the 335is is ideal for mountain roads and two lane highways. I imagine it all gets down to what you want to use it for.

That’s right, now let’s go get some ice cream!

Thank you Dr. Oetker, I think . . .

So, after the good Dr. has weighed in, what do you, gentle readers, think. M3 or 335is?

Pros and cons please – and as always, Marquis de Queensbury rules apply.

[poll id=”49″]

41 responses to “Interview: Dr. Oetker and the BMW M3/335is Dilemma”

  1. :p says:

    Dinan USA can mod your car without ridding your warranty. They mod it in the BMW dealership and made a 335i Stage 3 with tuned suspensions and other extra stuff with 400 hp which can almost match the M3 in preformance. I am sure with about 5 to 10 grand they can take the is over 420hp

  2. Shawn says:

    Great job on the article Hugo, very witty writing. Please keep Dr. Oetker in the loop. : )

  3. Jav says:

    Perhaps other than ice cream, how about thinking in terms of daily urban driving? Which gives you more satisfaction with its mileage? Not to mention the amount of fuel that you have to pump as well?

    Nevertheless, this is still a nice read. =)

  4. _Auday_ says:

    Nice! :)
    I’d be happy to spend extra $7k for the M3, it’s a day and night difference at least for me, …. the N54/55 is nowhere close to the S65 which is probably the best engine BMW made to date.
    The Chases, the suspension,and the steering are stiffer and more communicative, LSD is a must. The DCT is a ggreat tranny but I want 6 spd manual… and finally the M3 looks better by miles for me.

    It’s the last M car of the old school M with NA engines and raw handling (well it’s not as raw as the E30 or E46 M3s but still).

    • CalebC says:

      I’m on the verge of agreeing with you, but a straight 6 is nearly as signature an element to the brand as kidney grills and the Hofmeister kink…

      …but a V8…mmmm….

      • _Auday_ says:

        absolutly, the M88 – S54 series of engines are the heritage of M Cars, but they Multi throttle bodies high revving NA engines, the N54 is great but it’s not the same.
        It’s an end of an era … and for me if I would accept Turbos then I might as well go for an electric power with inifinit torque available whenever you want it and green energy, which I (and probably everyone else) will have to go for sooner or later, but for now lets enjoy the spirit of the M-Sport engines as long as it’s still available and acceptable.

    • Rster says:

      I agree with everything you said except the S65 being the best. The s85 is much much cooler, in performance, tunability and SOUND!

  5. spikoloco says:

    I currently own a 335i Coupe with M sport package and last year I was about to change it for an M3 then I asked the dealership for a test drive, they borrowed me the demo car for 1 week and to be honest I decided to keep my 335i as it is far more exiting and challenging to drive than the M3…I live in Mexico city where altitude plays an important role and the 335i is far quicker and responsive than the M3, although at the track no other bimmer can match the M3 performance, the 335 does quite well too. Different cars for different customers….

  6. Horatiu B. says:

    If I could get the M3 for only 5k more, that would be my first choice. Have driven the M3 on track and not only, I came to appreciate the handmade work done by the folks at BMW.

    Sure, we’re still due to drive the 335is and we might have a change of heart, but at the moment, despite the lower MPG and more expensive base price, the M3 takes the crown for me

    • plaxico says:

      buy car with some bloody bollocks mate……..AMG will do
      expensive, but worth every cent…

      • Giom says:

        No! I prefere to around corners too. Even the 335is will leave the AMG around corners. That Bens engine is too big – too heavy to be a serious contender here.

      • :p says:

        The only AMG i would consider is the E63. The C63 is like the last gen shelby GT500. It is just hard to control. As Top Gear ssaid, ” Why would you want a car thats trying to kill you”. Even though, I need the Gas money for lunch.

  7. Jordan says:

    you can get a 335is and mod it to beat a M3 but it’s still “just” a 335is, just like u can mod a civic….. u get the point.

    so u mod the 335is to M3 performance for just under the M3 price… do u have an LSD? is it all warranty covered? well, it just so happens that the M3 owner modded his too and now it’s faster than your modded 335is. he paid more for sure, but he’s got more performance, and it’s a M3! :)

    it’s a tough choice tho but if you had the money, I’d say M3. if not, i’m sure you’d be plenty happy with the 335is.

  8. Giom says:

    Altitude would play a big part in the disision. Where I live, we’re 5300ft above sea level. That equates to a loss of 25% for n/a cars. So the 335is would make more sence up here.

    On the other hand. The M3 has a sence of ocasion. When you look at one, you can almost feel the force flowing through it’s pipes.

    It’s a picle, but for me, M3!

  9. Tiago Santos says:

    The diference between M3 am 335 is so low the i Prefer the Iconic M3, the returno value would be much better

  10. oneill says:

    In Australia the difference between a 335 and M3 is about 30 grand!!! For a difference of 7 grand who wouldn’t take the M3. BTW, a 335 is about 120-130 grand. M3 is about 170-180 grand.
    You American’s have it so good when it comes to buying cars. My 135 cost me 75 grand. If I lived in America I could probably buy a M5 for that price ;(

  11. atr_hugo says:

    For all we know, the current M3 may be the last ‘M’ car available with a naturally aspirated engine. If i were purchasing with an eye towards keeping the car for a long time, I’d opt for the M3.

    But, with all that torque available essentially off idle, it’d be hard to beat the 335is in the real world.

  12. ferrarifan says:

    m3 all the way. 7k is rather small for a much more premium car. seeing the M badge alone does it.

  13. lennardt says:

    M3 reaches 8300rpm.. is there anything more to add?

  14. L1ndja says:

    If you have 50K im sure you can wait about 3months to generate enogh cash so you can get the killer on the road..8400rpm what can you add more, i actually prefer Inline 6 over V8 and any other engine in the world but since the i6 on the 335i can reach 7200rpm its not enough to beat the killer sound of a True M Car..

  15. Lemon says:

    I currently own M3 coupe and I would never consider 335is over M3. Just two difference cars, different engine etc.

  16. X5SoB says:

    Considering that the M3 will probably be the last NA V8 from ///M, that makes it more desirable, also, it comes in four doors(the 335is is coupe and vert only), making it a junior M5 and probably the best sports sedan you can buy. Apples and oranges, no comparison.

  17. adc says:

    Horatiu, you CAN get an M3 for $5k more than the 335is – it’s called the M3 sedan.

    That’s more or less where I come from – I had a modified 335i for 2 years and one M3 test drive completely spoiled it for me. My 335i produced a lot more power than the 335is, wasn’t running on runflats anymore so I was well down the modification path, with suspension, brakes and LSD remaining on the initial shopping list.

    But when figuring out the costs to do this the right way, I ended up precisely over $50k, with the M3 sedan just a few thousands more. And when BMWNA started offering the Euro Delivery discount on the M cars, the decision was quickly made.

    The 335is simply doesn’t make sense to me, seems more of a marketing exercise than anything else – because it touches the parts that didn’t really need any changing (power, looks) and none of the parts that desperately needed attention (tires, suspension, limited slip). Just my opinion of course…

  18. Babken says:

    The 335is is surely a great automobile, but in my point of view there’s no four-seat automobile in the world that can come close to M3’s unbeatable performance.

  19. Arthuro says:

    they should have done the is thing to x5, tuned, but not supercharged 4.8, so there could be a good alternative to x5 m, (for those like me, who love NA engines) 335is in my opinion is useless, first because of the magnificent m3 and secondly when u will drive your 335is, and in the mirror suddenly an m3 appers, roars and then surpasses, u will feel like a jerk and say why didnt i spend a couple of bucks and purchase an m3….

  20. Tuesmq says:

    I agree that M3 Sedan is what I will pick.

    If I can only pick coupe, 335is is just fine for me since I don’t track and even if I do, I will not be tracking an expensive car like this.

  21. Artmic says:

    with the options and crap the dealer puts in , the difference would have been 16K for me, so i decided against it, and got a 335 Coupe M sports package last june.

  22. Chadwick says:

    Its a tough call, obviously who would not go for an M3 when looking at the 3 series, the M badge, the large V8 engine, hand built, and many many other perks, why wouldn’t you. Personal I am seriously looking at the 335is coupe, might make a down payment next week to be placed on that waiting list. I am still unsure about rear or xDrive system, but no xDrive for the 335is. As a long time beemer fan (first car in 2001 I was 17 it was a 1983 325i, ghetto but damn I loved that car), There is something about the clean efficiency of a straight 6 that I love. If I wanted I could buy a 7 series if I wanted but its too big, a Z4 but only two seats, a 6 series but its too decadent, 5 series but as no 2 door option. After my 325i all my cars have been four door cars (none of them BMW) so I want to have a bit of fun and get a coupe. At age 26 I am damn lucky to be buying a BMW in the first place. I will be more than content with a 335is (and honestly cant wait to be propelled by a straight 6 again. As an optimist and a bimmer fan, ill own an M series some time.

    But from the point of the engineering, tech, BMW junkie, I would go with the M3 hands down. For the small increase in price, go with the M3. There is something satisfying about seeing a BMW logo on a car in the first place…then upon closer inspection you see that M logo and you smile big.

  23. Doug says:

    Not being familiar with Dr. Oetker, I got the impression that the expert was from BMW and…. maybe inconveniently on muscle relaxants during the interview.

  24. Arthuro says:

    guys perhaps iw would be really more correct to compare 335is to an alpina b3, because of their engine similarity, and i prefer of course alpina )

  25. badman says:

    get the M3 – trust me – I upgraded from e46m3 to 335i – now I rather have the old m3 back than drive the sterile but sharp 335i
    – you just cannot beat the handling and engine noise of the M3- I’m sure the v8 will sound and pull better near redline.

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