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Old 15th September 2014, 12:22 PM   #1
matzie
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Default Safety, DSC, Driver experience etc

I'd like some advice please about the E46 M3's handling, especially in the wet, how good the DSC is at keeping things in check, and how much experience most drivers here have under their belt before buying one.

My situation is rather unusual.. I've been driving on and off for twenty years but on a provisional license for most of that - exactly why is a long and irrelevant story - but anyway I finally got around to taking and passing my test first time just over a year ago.

Since then I've driven over 20,000 miles in a Ford Puma, with a 150 mile round trip commute three days a week (with a very varied route) plus several long driving tours of North Yorkshire and Scotland (so I've not just driven the same 20 miles 1,000 times). I've learned my limits and my car's limits.

So, I'm currently planning to buy an E46 M3 and have looked at several so far - but I'm just wondering if I'm going to end up in the middle of a ditch by the end of the week!? How much driving experience did most people have here before going up to an M3? I guess there's an argument to say "if you're not sure you're ready, you're not ready" but from my point of view I'm just having a good look at what I'm getting myself into. What I'm thinking is: DSC stays on, good tyres stay on, a bit of self-restraint on the gas, and I'll be fine - do you agree?!
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Old 15th September 2014, 02:04 PM   #2
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Absolutely.

The M3 is effortless to drive ...often faster than you should, but always within the limits of the car. I'd go as far as to say it's quite hard, even when trying, to unsettle one.

I jump in and out of our SEAT Toledo on a weekly basis without even thinking about it. RWD is nothing to be afraid of
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Old 18th September 2014, 02:48 PM   #3
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You'll be hard pushed to get it out of shape with DSC on tbh unless you're being reckless.

I went to mine after 1.5 years of an E46 325i so had kinda settled in with the RWD side of things. I've never had a scarey moment with DSC on, let's put it that way. Had a few with it off, but if you don't have those experiences you tend not to learn either, I've found.

As long as you're respectful of the power and don't drive like a ****, you'll be fine.
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Old 18th September 2014, 02:56 PM   #4
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If your worried why not get yourself on a car limits day, that way you will know where the limits are, and more importantly what to do if you get there and how to handle it.

Alternatively get yourself on a beginner track day and get some tuition. Most track days usually have people there for lessons plus you are learning in a relatively safe environment.
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Old 23rd September 2014, 01:34 PM   #5
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The DSC and TC in the E46 M3 is completely idiot proof, it cuts in FAR too often and too early for my liking.

It won't allow any wheel spin, any slip angle, any axial yaw, nothing, plus the chassis has masses of mechanical grip anyway.

The E46 M3 is easy to drive fast, any fool can do it, the E36 in the wet is a different kettle of fish.
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Old 2nd October 2014, 09:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matzie View Post
I'd like some advice please about the E46 M3's handling, especially in the wet, how good the DSC is at keeping things in check, and how much experience most drivers here have under their belt before buying one.

My situation is rather unusual.. I've been driving on and off for twenty years but on a provisional license for most of that - exactly why is a long and irrelevant story - but anyway I finally got around to taking and passing my test first time just over a year ago.

Since then I've driven over 20,000 miles in a Ford Puma, with a 150 mile round trip commute three days a week (with a very varied route) plus several long driving tours of North Yorkshire and Scotland (so I've not just driven the same 20 miles 1,000 times). I've learned my limits and my car's limits.

So, I'm currently planning to buy an E46 M3 and have looked at several so far - but I'm just wondering if I'm going to end up in the middle of a ditch by the end of the week!? How much driving experience did most people have here before going up to an M3? I guess there's an argument to say "if you're not sure you're ready, you're not ready" but from my point of view I'm just having a good look at what I'm getting myself into. What I'm thinking is: DSC stays on, good tyres stay on, a bit of self-restraint on the gas, and I'll be fine - do you agree?!
I think that's very wise and sensible. I would tend to keep it quite sensible during the winter months. But during the summer you should be able to have fun and not get caught out by the RWD unless one is being reckless - and there's always a track for that.
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Old 2nd October 2014, 09:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitch2.0 View Post
The DSC and TC in the E46 M3 is completely idiot proof, it cuts in FAR too often and too early for my liking.

It won't allow any wheel spin, any slip angle, any axial yaw, nothing, plus the chassis has masses of mechanical grip anyway.

The E46 M3 is easy to drive fast, any fool can do it, the E36 in the wet is a different kettle of fish.
Yep, in short it makes it a lifeless lumbering non descript box that, if you are old school, isn't behaving like a RWD should and might actually get you into trouble.

For everyone else it is a thick coating of bubble wrap. and a waste of a limited slip diff.


Ideally go back in time to when small RWD cars cost a couple of hundred quid and you could learn everything about RWD on 155 tyres with 57 BHP and all in slow motion at slow speeds.

However, a skid pan course (plenty of these are in RWD E36) and limits days are a good idea if you want to learn to drive it quick or just traction off with little chance of harm and off the highway.
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Old 13th October 2014, 03:45 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the replies and advice. Quick update - bought my E46 M3 shortly after that post, loving every minute of driving it... as I started getting used to it, one time after a few days I left a roundabout a bit too fast, and the DSC did kick in which was a bit of a shock at the time. But after that everything was fine all the while the roads were dry. Then there was a few days of wet weather and I triggered it a couple of other times but basically concluded I was just being too heavy-footed for the conditions and getting used to just how much power there is in this car. Since then I've learned a bit more restraint and I'm definitely looking into some skid pan training. So - thanks again!
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Old 8th April 2015, 06:59 AM   #9
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I wouldn't pay for a skid pan if you have no experience with it off, that's like paying to star in a porno to lose your virginity, just turn it off and drive on the road.
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Old 30th April 2016, 06:16 PM   #10
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Good advice given here, thanks. I've just got my first e46, never had anything so powerful before although did have a nice Alfa 75 twinspark back in the day which was quite tailhappy, much more so than my narrowbody Starion. I plan to keep this car for some time, just gonna take it one step at a time and not push it too hard. Did I mention my 75 ended in an intimate way with a lampost?...
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