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Re: Reality cheques

From: Dave Eaton <dave.eaton@minedu.govt.nz>

>scott, your original point was that the 'm' cars didn't have a "boxfull of
>special parts".  well, sorry, you're wrong, thats bollocks, and you know 
>it.   they do.  motor, brakes, gearbox, suspension, even alloys.  much 
>more than the rs2, which was based on the s2 motor, gearbox and 
>running gear/suspension.

here is where the international aspects of this list bites us.  in the good
ol' Yew-Ess-uv-Ay, the E36 "M3" that we get is in fact a very close cousin
to the E36 325i/328i.  The car was "decontented" (=stripped=possibly
lighter) and the STANDARD 2.5/2.8 L 6 cylinder simply stroked to either 3.0
or 3.2 L.  Note that the '95 M3 with 3.0L put out only 240hp compared to
the 300+ of the European M3.  This was a very shrewd marketing move on the
part of BMWNA to offer what enthusiasts asked for.  (yes, they actually
responded to focus group sessions with BMW CCA and ACA members) In
particular, American driving styles preferred low end torque for
acceleration over ultimate(ly unusable) top speed.  Enthusiasts said they'd
buy if the price was under US$40k.  They brought it in at $36k and the cars
flew out the door (and by me on the front straight at Seattle Int'l

Had BMW offered the "real" M engine (hand assembled, incredibly complex) as
delivered in Europe and RoW, the car would have been about $45k and likely
would not sell 10% as well.  The E30 M3, M5/6 (of '89 or '91) has those
complex, hand-built engines and consequent maintenance costs.  

>as you probably know, the 328i *followed* the m3 into production.  and
>used some of the m3 bits (do i hear 'return on investment'from the 
>bean counters?) the 328i was good enough that people stopped 
>buying the m3, and bmw had to come out with the evo version.

That the 328i "followed" the M3 was simply that the 2.5L engine was
enlarged to 2.8L.  I believe the M3 followed the 3-series introduction,
even in Europe (definitely so in the US--E36 intro in '92(?) while M3
waited until '95).  Not sure, but I thought the evo versions were based on
the E30 M3.

BTW, after that day at the track where the M3 zipped by me, I went off and
test drove one of these things...WOW.  As noted here, out of the box, that
thing has brakes, balance, tossability, etc.  sadly, it came (then) only as
a 2 door coupe.  of course, it also doesn't have a back seat :)  I
satisfied myself with Ned's chip a couple months later :)
* linus toy                       email:  linust@mindspring.com      *
* mercer island, wa                                                  *