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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Powertrain and Drivetrain Discussions > N54 Turbo Engine / Drivetrain / Exhaust Modifications - 335i > N54 vs S65 (e9X M3)



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      12-10-2011, 01:49 AM   #1
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N54 vs S65 (e9X M3)

UPDATE (3/5/2012): adjusted my perspective and test drove the M3 again. Results are on page 12. The M3 powerband/delivery is growing on me...

While the point of my story isn't really another 335 vs M3 thread (there's already enough polluting the Internet), I wanted to use the comparison to give props to certainly one of the best powerplants out there - the N54.

I have to admit that I've been eyeing the M3 ever since I attended a track event at Willow Springs. Tracking is a blast, and there was a stock M3 at the event turning some really good lap times. Now, my 335 did really well for basically a stock car with a total of 6 modifications (Procede, DCI, meth, dp's, coils and wheels/tires), but the brakes faded quickly and with the power I'm running, and LSD is a necessity. Given that my car is a lease and due to be returned in 10 months, I figured spending $$$$ on a car that I will only have for 10 more months would be a waste...so instead of doing that, how about just getting an M3?

So I call my sales advisor who tells me that given the low mileage on my car, and the lower residuals put on the early 2010 build cars, that I could turn in my 335 early with no penalty...and with excellent money factors on the M3's, I could lease a fully optioned DCT M3 with an MSRP nearing $80K for about $1K/month. I'm at the dealer in an hour and checking out the M3's. I really like how they look with the flared fenders and I'm looking forward to the test drive. I asked the SA if I could test drive a pre-owned one as I don't want to ring out a brand new one. Yup, he's got a pre-owned 2011 DCT with low miles. For the test drive, I made sure I had the "M" button enabled and was in full sport mode. I also played around with the DCT a bit in both manual and auto mode to get the hang of it. Loved the transmission compared to the 6MT and 6AT of the 335 (I've had both). No comparison.

So then I came upon a section of the road where it curved and was able to assess the M3's handling characteristics. Not fully by the way - I was still only on a test drive. But I could tell the M3 was very precise. What surprised me however is that my 335 with coils is much more raw/visceral compared to the M3. The M3 is more predictable and even has a softer steering wheel and seats. Not what I expected but I was really comfortable in the M3 so I thought that was kinda nice for a daily driver. It's the better handling car of course, and compared to the 335, it's almost impossible to get the rear to brake traction in a corner. I'm sure it's possible, it's just really easy comparitively in the 335.

What surprised me most was when I got to an empty stretch of road and began to open it up. I rang it out for a good 10 minutes in a combination of manual and auto mode punching it at various points in the powerband. Imagine the feeling of a totally hyped up blind date where you friends tell you shes a 9 or 10 and then meeting her and she is a 3...totally dissappointing. I was underwhelmed the whole time and for a while thought I was driving a 328 with an open exhaust. I floored it in 2nd gear at around 3,000 RPM and I just waited...and waited...and waited...and ok am I at 8,000 RPM yet? No...so i keep waiting...and waiting...ok now grab 3rd and the shift is fantastic and puts the M3 right in the powerband but I'm still waiting...and waiting...and waiting...am I at redline yet? Not only did it feel really slow, it was loud. Too loud for my taste but I'm sure others like it. So I'm trying not to say anything bad to the SA but I have to be truthful that I'm underwhelmed. He asks what I've done to my 335 and I mention...just $1,800 in engine mods...Procede (Stage 2 aggressive maps), PWM Meth, DCI and some used RR 2.5" catless dps off a 135.

My SA says...ok can I have a ride in your 335? He wanted to see how someone could think the M3 is slow. So, let's just say my point was made. He's been a BMW SA for years and has driven everything in the BMW lineup, plus other high HP trade-ins and the SA admitted that nothing touches this. Imagine, with only $1,800 in mods. The N54 is a wonderful thing.

Otherwise I loved the M3. If it came with an N54 option, I'd get it.
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Last edited by Longboarder; 03-05-2012 at 05:33 PM.
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      12-10-2011, 02:03 AM   #2
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Good to hear this side of the coin as well. Thanks for sharing your experience.
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      12-10-2011, 02:11 AM   #3
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You thought a DCT M3 was slow?

Did you use the pedal on the right? Lol
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      12-10-2011, 02:34 AM   #4
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I actually though tha same thing when I test drove a DCT they feel under powered.
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      12-10-2011, 02:40 AM   #5
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This thread rings very close to my recent situation..I also had a FBO tuned n54 until last month when it was totaled..now Im faced with either getting an M3 or another 335. To get the same car again is so blahh.. so .Im leaning to go for the M3

The n54s got the low end torque and the feel of twin turbo as compared to the M3s high winding top end power..

Ofcourse after being in a FBO n54 the M3 may feel slightly anemic down low..but at the top it opens up...still the torque numbers dont lie ...the M3 comes in a good 100 Ft-lbs less than a FBO n54..at the same the M excels with suspension braking stlying..

What I would love to see BMW do is an n54 in an s65 chassis/body..now that would be one sweet ride.

Last edited by tibra1; 12-10-2011 at 02:49 AM.
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      12-10-2011, 02:56 AM   #6
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I feel that a lot of folks prefer low end torque for a daily. There's also the 1M you know, with the N54 that has all the M parts.

With the E92, you can always upgrade the suspension with M3 bits and pieces.
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      12-10-2011, 03:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tibra1 View Post
This thread rings very close to my recent situation..I also had a FBO tuned n54 until last month when it was totaled..now Im faced with either getting an M3 or another 335. To get the same car again is so blahh.. so .Im leaning to go for the M3

The n54s got the low end torque and the feel of twin turbo as compared to the M3s high winding top end power..

Ofcourse after being in a FBO n54 the M3 may feel slightly anemic down low..but at the top it opens up...still the torque numbers dont lie ...the M3 comes in a good 100 Ft-lbs less than a FBO n54..at the same the M excels with suspension braking stlying..

What I would love to see BMW do is an n54 in an s65 chassis/body..now that would be one sweet ride.
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      12-10-2011, 03:18 AM   #8
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I had a FBO car with LSD, upgraded twins, meth and M3 suspension parts and it did not feel as planted as my M3. Now, the M3 is not as fast as my 335 was but my M3 is no slouch either. The DCT and now the Proceed and meth combo on the M3 have me cranking out 400whp and it feels pretty strong.
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      12-10-2011, 10:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Longboarder View Post
While the point of my story isn't really another 335 vs M3 thread (there's already enough polluting the Internet), I wanted to use the comparison to give props to certainly one of the best powerplants out there - the N54. My SA says...ok can I have a ride in your 335? He wanted to see how someone could think the M3 is slow. So, let's just say my point was made. He's been a BMW SA for years and has driven everything in the BMW lineup, plus other high HP trade-ins and the SA admitted that nothing touches this. Imagine, with only $1,800 in mods. The N54 is a wonderful thing.

Otherwise I loved the M3. If it came with an N54 option, I'd get it.
weird, but I have the opposite opinion. The reason why you think your 335I is better than the M3 is because you drove the M3 on the streets, and not on the track. Big difference! Even on the M3 boards they will all admit that a stock 335I, especially a 335I diesel, is a ton better than an M3 for jetting around town, cuz of the low end torque.

On the track tough, it's a totally different story. Not only can you take advantage of the M3's powerband, but you can get a chance to see how it handles. I've been going to the track the past two years with a friend of mine (who is on the M3 boards--> Klammer). I've driven all out against him, and had the pleasure of riding in his car for a few hot laps.

There is ABSOLUTELY no comparison between his car and mine. Right now, he just kills me, and he is basically stock except for 20s. I'm not slow, cuz now I just destroy E46 M3's, and non-Z06 vettes, stangs, etc. However his car in stock form is still nearly a full lap faster than mine. While I drove in his car, he has no torque, that can compare to my car, not anywhere in his powerband, however, he pulls and pulls, and pulls forever.

Our car would better compete, except for the fact that it makes for a very poor track car due to the over heating problem. And I have 2 oil coolers installed, yet, I can't push my car at the track, even on a 45 degree day, I still hit 285 degree oil temps, and have to back off. To add insult to injury, it always throws some kind of stupid code, at the track, and kills my power. e.g: Vanos intake, or exhaust solenoid, HPFP, etc

Last edited by Turkeybaster115; 12-10-2011 at 10:22 AM.
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      12-10-2011, 10:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turkeybaster115 View Post

Our car would better compete, except for the fact that it makes for a very poor track car due to the over heating problem. And I have 2 oil coolers installed, yet, I can't push my car at the track, even on a 45 degree day, I still hit 285 degree oil temps, and have to back off. To add insult to injury, it always throws some kind of stupid code, at the track, and kills my power. e.g: Vanos intake, or exhaust solenoid, HPFP, etc
there aren't any aftermarket radiators yet?
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      12-10-2011, 10:48 AM   #11
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Good review. I felt the same after driving a 08 E92 M3 for about 7 months. Its a great machine but just was impressed overall with the power. Probably the lack of torque. Throw a supercharger on it and im sure it would be a beast but couldnt bring myself to get a M3 after that.
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      12-10-2011, 10:56 AM   #12
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i think the solution is to wait for the new tri-turbo m3 coming out in a few years
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      12-10-2011, 11:11 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Longboarder View Post
While the point of my story isn't really another 335 vs M3 thread (there's already enough polluting the Internet), I wanted to use the comparison to give props to certainly one of the best powerplants out there - the N54.

I have to admit that I've been eyeing the M3 ever since I attended a track event at Willow Springs. Tracking is a blast, and there was a stock M3 at the event turning some really good lap times. Now, my 335 did really well for basically a stock car with a total of 6 modifications (Procede, DCI, meth, dp's, coils and wheels/tires), but the brakes faded quickly and with the power I'm running, and LSD is a necessity. Given that my car is a lease and due to be returned in 10 months, I figured spending $$$$ on a car that I will only have for 10 more months would be a waste...so instead of doing that, how about just getting an M3?

So I call my sales advisor who tells me that given the low mileage on my car, and the lower residuals put on the early 2010 build cars, that I could turn in my 335 early with no penalty...and with excellent money factors on the M3's, I could lease a fully optioned DCT M3 with an MSRP nearing $80K for about $1K/month. I'm at the dealer in an hour and checking out the M3's. I really like how they look with the flared fenders and I'm looking forward to the test drive. I asked the SA if I could test drive a pre-owned one as I don't want to ring out a brand new one. Yup, he's got a pre-owned 2011 DCT with low miles. For the test drive, I made sure I had the "M" button enabled and was in full sport mode. I also played around with the DCT a bit in both manual and auto mode to get the hang of it. Loved the transmission compared to the 6MT and 6AT of the 335 (I've had both). No comparison.

So then I came upon a section of the road where it curved and was able to assess the M3's handling characteristics. Not fully by the way - I was still only on a test drive. But I could tell the M3 was very precise. What surprised me however is that my 335 with coils is much more raw/visceral compared to the M3. The M3 is more predictable and even has a softer steering wheel and seats. Not what I expected but I was really comfortable in the M3 so I thought that was kinda nice for a daily driver. It's the better handling car of course, and compared to the 335, it's almost impossible to get the rear to brake traction in a corner. I'm sure it's possible, it's just really easy comparitively in the 335.

What surprised me most was when I got to an empty stretch of road and began to open it up. I rang it out for a good 10 minutes in a combination of manual and auto mode punching it at various points in the powerband. Imagine the feeling of a totally hyped up blind date where you friends tell you shes a 9 or 10 and then meeting her and she is a 3...totally dissappointing. I was underwhelmed the whole time and for a while thought I was driving a 328 with an open exhaust. I floored it in 2nd gear at around 3,000 RPM and I just waited...and waited...and waited...and ok am I at 8,000 RPM yet? No...so i keep waiting...and waiting...ok now grab 3rd and the shift is fantastic and puts the M3 right in the powerband but I'm still waiting...and waiting...and waiting...am I at redline yet? Not only did it feel really slow, it was loud. Too loud for my taste but I'm sure others like it. So I'm trying not to say anything bad to the SA but I have to be truthful that I'm underwhelmed. He asks what I've done to my 335 and I mention...just $1,800 in engine mods...Procede (Stage 2 aggressive maps), PWM Meth, DCI and some used RR 2.5" catless dps off a 135.

My SA says...ok can I have a ride in your 335? He wanted to see how someone could think the M3 is slow. So, let's just say my point was made. He's been a BMW SA for years and has driven everything in the BMW lineup, plus other high HP trade-ins an

d the SA admitted that nothing touches this. Imagine, with only $1,800 in mods. The N54 is a wonderful thing.

Otherwise I loved the M3. If it came with an N54 option, I'd get it.
They did build an M3 with the N54 option- its called the 1M...
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      12-10-2011, 11:12 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tofu- View Post
there aren't any aftermarket radiators yet?
and what's that supposed to do? My water temps were 86C, while my oil temp was 285F on a 45 degree day.
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      12-10-2011, 12:50 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turkeybaster115 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by tofu- View Post
there aren't any aftermarket radiators yet?
and what's that supposed to do? My water temps were 86C, while my oil temp was 285F on a 45 degree day.
I don't understand how your temps can be that high. I'm FBO and using the stock oil cooler and I never get temps like that when tracking
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      12-10-2011, 01:38 PM   #16
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Torque is a wonderful thing.
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      12-10-2011, 01:46 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TMR View Post
I had a FBO car with LSD, upgraded twins, meth and M3 suspension parts and it did not feel as planted as my M3. Now, the M3 is not as fast as my 335 was but my M3 is no slouch either. The DCT and now the Proceed and meth combo on the M3 have me cranking out 400whp and it feels pretty strong.
Are you supercharged? I've never heard of an n/a M3 on meth...
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      12-10-2011, 02:08 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brey335i View Post
I don't understand how your temps can be that high. I'm FBO and using the stock oil cooler and I never get temps like that when tracking
same here, im fbo and the highest i hit at the track on a 90 degree day is 1 or two ticks above 250, i have n55 tho
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      12-10-2011, 02:12 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RnmEvo9 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMR View Post
I had a FBO car with LSD, upgraded twins, meth and M3 suspension parts and it did not feel as planted as my M3. Now, the M3 is not as fast as my 335 was but my M3 is no slouch either. The DCT and now the Proceed and meth combo on the M3 have me cranking out 400whp and it feels pretty strong.
Are you supercharged? I've never heard of an n/a M3 on meth...
It's the new way to roll. It makes sense. High compression motor likes high octane and cool temps. So Vishnu worked their magic and made it happen.
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      12-10-2011, 03:52 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bleep View Post
Torque is a wonderful thing.
+1 OP was suffering torque withdrawal......335 have so much usable power throughout rev range.....like someone else said, if OP were to hit a road course in the M, I think his opinion would change slightly.....
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      12-10-2011, 04:27 PM   #21
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F30 m3 is what you want.
Wait for it!
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      12-10-2011, 04:30 PM   #22
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I have access to an M3 competition package and driven that car a few thousand miles already. The thing is I also have FBO 335i with LSD, but no meth, on stage 3 PROCede. Put these two side by side, the owner loves racing, but he will shut it down by 90mph every single time, because he can't accept the difference is really that big. He's just hang up on the V8 thing, the noise and authenticity. He claims his car has mountains of torque, doesn't want to hear why the 335i has it for lunch every single time we have a go at it. But but I have a V8 under there and you have a V6 :roll eyes: But my friend I have competition package, and you just have a wanna be etc. I told him I have as much horse-power as he does if not more, and twice his torque, and all he tells me, is the M3 can rev to 8200 rpm. I told him there are civics too faster than either of us and he was just incredulous and said impossible.

My point is the M3 "feels" really fast due to the screaming engine, until you one it up with a tuned 335 with a stock sounding exhaust. Coming from an FBO n54, the M3 will feel so slow, because there is no torque there to even compare to what you just left. I have also driven M3 at the BMW high performance driving school in Spartansburg, SC, same day I drove a 335 on same track. Lets just say its not even close. The thing can carry so much more speed on the track, and brake so much better, you will need a pro to keep up with one driven by average driver.

But lets all be realistic, track cars are kinda pointless really, we do live and drive in the world right? Give me my FBO 335i any day instead of the M3. The 335i is the car I want to live with., and not because I own one, but because it is that good.
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