Archive for the 'BMW' Category

by mkeefe on Aug 5th, 2015

One Year With a BMW M3

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Photo Credit: B.Davis Photography

Time certainly flies, i’ve now owned the M3 for a little over one year. In that year i’ve spent money on track days, autocross events, rallies, car shows, repairs, mods, ticket :( and insurance. I figured I would take a moment and go over my experiences with each category.

Taking the M3 to it’s natural habitat… the track!

Earlier this year I was invited to a Porsche sponsored track day at Thompson Speedway in Connecticut. This was my first time going to a track (besides NASCAR) and naturally the first time i’d be taking my car on the track. After a quick classroom session, we strapped on our helmets, got in and did some follow the leader style track driving. The amount of knowledge I gathered in a few short runs was mind-melting. I recommend anyone interested in sports cars to attend at least one track day in their life.


Photo Credit: Porsche of Westwood

Autocross took a back seat

Here we are in August and i’ve only attended one autocross event. This is due in part to work obligations, family trips and attending more community driven events (car shows and rides) that in previous years. I did manage to get my only ticket on the way to that autocross event though, so that will be a memorable event, for all the wrong reasons.

Rallies and Car Shows

Something about cars, octane, coffee (which I do not drink) and great people makes Cars & Coffee a great way to spend a Saturday morning. I’m very fortunate to live about 15 minutes from Larz Anderson Auto Museum which hosts the greatest C&C in the area. Over the year i’ve made some great friends, contacts and even landed a few clients.

In addition to C&C, i’ve also attended a few car rallies, which is basically an event that car folks gather, drive to a destination and grab some food. It’s not a race or a timed event, once again great people and nice cars. What’s not to love?

3 Day Rally Upcoming

Next week my wife and I will be attending our first multi-day rally to Canada. It will be quite the adventure, once again awesome cars and great people. One thing cars has created is a bond with other owners that no other hobby i’ve had seemed to.

Cost of Ownership

Aside from the track day and other car events, the TCO (total cost of ownership) on the M3 has been much higher than any of my other cars. However its all relative. Here is a short list of what i’ve had to do maintenance wise:

– Flush the differential fluid
– Replace side skirt
– 3x oil changes
– Repair adaptive headlights
– Replace inside trim pieces
– Wiper blades
– Tires (these go quick!)

As you can see, more than a typical family sedan, but the SPG (smiles per gallon) far outweigh the TCO for the past year.

Planned to Mod the M3 Over Time

Well I had planned to slowly mod the car over a few years of ownership, but that didn’t really work so well. In the past year i’ve changed the lights, intake, ECU tune, exhaust, tint and exterior trim pieces… to name a few. Part of the reason for modding was because i’m impatient, but it also allowed me to spend time looking over the car, working on it myself and just enjoying ownership more. I think i’m done modding for this season, but have already started a list for 2016.

What’s Next?

I’m at a crossroads right now, I want to keep the M3 a few more years, however the warranty expires in late 2016. Which of course means the cost for the years following will be much higher. I’d also like to try other cars, so far I have my eye on a few Porsches, Mercedes and even some older Lamborghini’s and Ferrari’s. I guess time will tell on how long the M3 will be in the garage.

Bonus item: Washing, waxing and detailing is quite a lot of fun. Especially because I just learned about Chemical Guys products and all their gadgets. Here is a photo after hitting the car with a soap cannon.

by mkeefe on Jul 31st, 2014

First experiences with another German car

As some of you know, earlier this year I bought one of my dream cars (ultimate is F430, that will have to wait a while!). A space grey BMW M3, 6 speed manual with the competition package. This was the culmination of working hard for 10+ years, foregoing some other luxuries and having an amazing wife that let me spend a good bit of money on something frivolous.

This wasn’t my first German car, in fact my very first car was a 2001 VM Jetta. I bought it from my family and overall it was good. However anytime it had to go into the shop it got expensive quickly! I was not excited to go through this again, but was told BMWs are more reliable and especially the M platform.

After a few months of internet searching, contacting dealers 1500+ miles away and even talking to transporters, I found the car! Oddly enough in my own state, which was very convenient. After the dealing and key retrieval I was ecstatic.. for about 100 miles. Then I heard a weird noise while turning the wheel to full lock. After some time spent on e90post and m3post, I figured out the problem was dirty differential fluid. I took it to the dealer and a few hours later was handed a printout that totaled $700!! However, one thing I didn’t mention was, this car came with the BMW extended warranty.

Since that initial service, the car has been to BMW Sudbury at least 3 times for other minor things (albeit the diff fluid is NOT minor). Let me just say that if you ever do buy a car, any really, opt for the warranty. If its nearing its expiration on the original warranty and you intend to keep the car, extend it. Especially on a higher end car with lots of gadgets that like to break.

Now, as I am sure all of you are wondering, what is my impression of the actual car..? That’s simple to answer. Amazed!!

Before I continue, lets take a break and show off a few photos from delivery to just a few days ago. You’ll notice something special, at least for me, with cars/bikes.

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bmw-m3-front bmw-m3-interior

IMG_7533

Did you see it? I haven’t modified this car at all. Aside from the LED interior bulbs ( I had to do something ). You may remember that 8 days after I got my TSX, 3 years ago it was modded. Days after I got my bike, modded. I am deciding to do something different with this one. I will of course mod it, I have a pretty extensive list in fact, which includes:

  • Tint
  • Wheels
  • Exhaust
  • Headlights
  • Carbon fiber lip and Diffuser
  • Euro bumper (remove US reflectors)
  • Brake kit
  • Spacers
  • ECU Tune
  • Carbon fiber trim pieces
  • Front/rear cameras
  • etc…

 

However, this time around I will slowly mod the car. Adding a piece here/there, hopefully enjoy it a bit more. I intend to keep this car for many years and will take great care of it, so it lasts. It will be driven (hard at times) but never abused. I will post various updates along the way and hope to do much of the work myself, with some exceptions, for safety reasons.

Now back to the car. Another cool element of this purchase was it being my first manual car! Some people thought it was nuts to get a car such as this with a manual if I couldn’t even drive it off the lot. However, with the help of my father-in-law I was able to get it home and every day would drive it a little more. Now about 3 months in, I still have a bunch to learn.. but its never too late to learn. I recommend everyone drive a manual transmission at least once in their life, its amazing.

As far as performance figures/facts. I could spout all the data from BMW, but that is all online. My impressions of this car coming from an i4 (4 cylinder) were it was amazing and can be scary, if not handled properly. I’ve taken it on a few spirited drives on desolate roads and next month i’ll be attending an autocross.

So, hopefully you enjoyed this life update. Key things to take away from this are: Always work for your dreams, never give up. Don’t write off an entire car line/country for one bad experience and buy a BMW. Trust me on that last one, you won’t be disappointed.

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