3 Years of BMW M3 Ownership
Time certainly flies, i’ve now owned the M3 for a little over 3 years! In that time 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!
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. The event was run by Apex Driving, I highly recommend them!
Photo Credit: Porsche of Westwood
Autocross took a back seat
I only was able to attend a handful of AutoX events, this is due in part to work obligations, family trips and attending more community driven events (car shows and rides) than in previous years. I do plan to attend a few more AutoX events this year, time permitting.
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 time 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
In August 2015 my wife and I took a mini vacation on a 3-day car rally. We drove from Boston to Canada, then over to Maine and finally back home. We have more memories and photos/videos from this event than any other vacation combined. In fact we are going on the same rally (though this time will be 4 days down South) towards the end of this year. 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
– Flush the brake fluid
– Replace side skirt
– Oil changes
– Repair adaptive headlights
– Replace inside trim pieces
– Wiper blades
– Tires (these go quick!)
– Air filters
As you can see, more than a typical family sedan, but the SPG (smiles per gallon) far outweigh the TCO for the past year. If you really factor in the “fun factor” you realize its not bad, though I will be the first to tell you that cars like this are toys, be prepared for the unexpected. Whether its an AMG, Ferrari or M3, they can break and can become costly very quickly.
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. 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. In addition, I was able to spend time with my son working on the car (like I did with my bike). I think i’m done modding for now, but we’ll see what happens this Summer.
I’m at a crossroads right now, I want to keep the M3 a few more years, however the warranty expires in about a year. 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. I also have an itch to get another bike, since I sold mine over the winter.
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.