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Old 12-16-2007, 10:22 PM   #1
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Default E36 M3 or Mini Cooper S?

Just wondering about the two cars. I have test driven both (not very well) and am quite undecided. The Mini is newer and lower miles, but the M3 is cheaper and faster in a straight line, although I don't know by how much. I do lots of canyon driving and from what I can tell the Mini would be faster and easier to deal with in the twisties, but the M3 is still an M car... so no slouch (i would assume).

The power of the M3 is quite enticing, and so is the 200+hp rwd car fun, but the Mini is lighter, much newer, and has a fifth of the miles.

I'd just like to hear some opinions on these two cars from other people.
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:49 PM   #2
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coming from someone who has driven neither, you already have one gay car. And this one is FWD. On a serious note, what's the intended purpose of the car? Miles/maintainence and cost of parts might be a factor then.
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:56 PM   #3
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mini if you need to daily drive the car, if not, the M3 hands down!
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Old 12-16-2007, 11:01 PM   #4
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To me, the only Mini worth a damn is the original. I vote M3 if I had to choose between the two.
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Old 12-16-2007, 11:07 PM   #5
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Well it would be the only car so daily drive, but also track/canyon runs. There isn't a huge emphasis on comfort, much more so performance.

Would M3 maintenance be that much more? At first I assumed it would but from some reading it seems to not be that outrageous.
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Old 12-16-2007, 11:16 PM   #6
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from what I understand the mini has its own maintenance issues.
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Old 12-16-2007, 11:30 PM   #7
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Well I would choice the M for a few reason:

First: the BMW is RWD
Second: Its always nice to say you have an M3
Third: Both are basically BMW (BMW owns mini) so your paying BMW price either way. lol
Last: the M is cheaper so you can do basic upkeep right off the bat(or if your making payments.. less each month or paid off quicker)
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Old 12-16-2007, 11:34 PM   #8
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M3 hands down. E36 ftw.
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Old 12-16-2007, 11:34 PM   #9
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buy the mini. I've had a hand full of friends that have had m3's. There bad ***. but damn do they cost to maintain. suspension components. heatercores. minis are fun. only the "S" They are upgradeable. I hate doing oil changes on them though. But other than that its still up to you....
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Old 12-16-2007, 11:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rappadan View Post
buy the mini. I've had a hand full of friends that have had m3's. There bad ***. but damn do they cost to maintain. suspension components. heatercores. minis are fun. only the "S" They are upgradeable. I hate doing oil changes on them though. But other than that its still up to you....

BTW mini and BMW are the same now so cost of parts will be about the same..
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Old 12-17-2007, 01:09 AM   #11
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Wrong.

Insurance on the M3 is going to be greater than the MINI.
I don't think the cars can be evenly compared as they are two different platforms. It all depends on what you're looking to do with the car. If you're looking for a good DD for heavy traffic/long trips/zipping around, then the MINI is def. the way to go.

Are you buying either of these cars from a dealer? Do you plan on modding your final purchase? There are a lot of ways to decide what works better for you.

I'll speak from expeirence on driving a 2006 MINI S.
Great car. I had never really driven a FWD car hard, and boy did it surprise me. I could get it to do a lot of things...even getting the car to rotate nicely on mtn. roads! Not to mention that Getrag 6-speed with LSD makes a HUGE difference with the MINI (2005-2006 S are the only way to go as the 2002-2005.5 did NOT have LSD equipped trans.)
The car was quick, 180fwhp with a intake and pulley and there was another 10-15hp that can be uncorked from a good exhaust. I took a fair share of Mustangs, WRX's, Civics, other 3-series BMW's on little drag races.... and in the mtns. i annihilated a E46 M3, Miatas (shhhhh), a friends Corvette (he said he was still breaking in the tires) and i don't even remember what all. People have taken out the supercharger on the MINI and added a turbo.... but with a lot of work. Hell, one guy even managed to make over 600fwhp on a MINI!!

But....

The M3 will out accelerate the MINI in straight lines and have much more top end then the MINI ever will. A few mods on a M3 will out do a MINI in acceleration hands down... even a maxed out MINI. Suspension-wise, the M3 will cost more to build. Whereas the MINI needs a good set of springs and a thick rear sway bar...thats all. Even the nice coil-overs are ~$1500. If you do need to carry more then 2 people, the M3 will win here hands down. Cargo area is good in both..... managed to get 8 mounted wheels in the back of the MINI once lol.

MINI- curvy road killer
E36 M3 - highway missle you can pile in with your friends

If you buy either one from a dealer, GET THE EXTENDED WARRANTY! if you are not going to mod the car for awhile.
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Old 12-17-2007, 01:31 AM   #12
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do you autocross? if you do the mini is excellent choice.

That's about the only reason I can see to get it over the M3 though.
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Old 12-17-2007, 01:57 AM   #13
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Quote:
(2005-2006 S are the only way to go as the 2002-2005.5 did NOT have LSD equipped trans.)
So you mean none of the pre-05 had the LSD?

And I guess the main reason I am comparing these two cars is that both have more straight line speed than my miata, while still supposedly maintaining good handling characteristics. After being in both of them it has just made the prospect of straight line speed and some power much more appealing.

And thanks for the info, keep the opinions/comparisons coming as they are very helpful.
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Old 12-17-2007, 02:08 AM   #14
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Here's a thought that I'm sure a few people here could agree with:
spend the money putting a turbo in your Miata and have a fast, reliable, rwd canyon carver.
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Old 12-17-2007, 02:15 AM   #15
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The car I owned and really regret getting rid of is my old white E36 M3. I have driven Minis with every single bolt on short of turbo. Give me a stock E36 M3.
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:02 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamS View Post
Here's a thought that I'm sure a few people here could agree with:
spend the money putting a turbo in your Miata and have a fast, reliable, rwd canyon carver.

Yep. Gonna have to agree with that. I would keep the Miata. Go turbo and you can have all the speed you want and maintain reliability. As for the two I would get the Mini if i was more inclined for just AutoX, but would take the M3 and turn it into a fire-breathing track monster. But the Miata can do all of that anyways
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Old 12-17-2007, 12:02 PM   #17
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I can't believe a FWD car is even in consideration. Turn in your man card at the front desk on your way out. Thank you.
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Old 12-17-2007, 12:25 PM   #18
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m3
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Old 12-17-2007, 12:57 PM   #19
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If it didn't need winter tires, the e36 m3 would be my next DD, hands down. I get boners for pre-'00 bmws.
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Old 12-17-2007, 02:05 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speedf50 View Post
So you mean none of the pre-05 had the LSD?

AFAIK. Also, the 2005.5 had a completely revised gear set....that was WAY better then the older transmission.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle242gt
I can't believe a FWD car is even in consideration. Turn in your man card at the front desk on your way out. Thank you.
You obviously have not driven any FWD that was well modd'ed. I drove the **** out of my GF's MINI S and id definatly would give a LOT of cars a run for their money in the mountains. This is not coming from Joe-i-wish-i-was-a-racecar-driver-Schmoe either. I do have a few trophies from competition drifting and auto-x on the shelf. Im not claiming to be some pro driver... but, i think i'd know a good handling car when im behind the wheel. The MINI S is nothing to laugh at with a good driver behind the wheel.
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