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Old 04-24-2010, 01:43 AM   #1
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2002 c32 amg or 2003 M3?

I am looking to purchase a C32 AMG 2002 model with 99k miles for 11k or should I get the BMW M3 for 15k. I know nothing about the AMG other than a friend of mine purchased one brand new and had it for 1 yr and loved it. Are there things I should look at before I purchase the C32 with so many miles on it? He said he replaced the seat ***** and brake pads. Please help. I dont want to buy a problem.
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Old 04-24-2010, 01:53 AM   #2
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Old 04-24-2010, 02:01 AM   #3
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depends what condition c32 is in, mileage not a big deal if the car was well taken care of, check all the service history, if i had a choice, which i already made, get a c32 better all around car, and more reliable than m3.
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Old 04-24-2010, 04:50 AM   #4
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if you want straight line quickness c32. If you handles m3.
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Old 04-24-2010, 09:31 AM   #5
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Be careful of the first model year of either of these cars. I've never driven an M3 so I can't comment there but I absolutely love my C32. And if you shop around a bit you can find a C32 for around 15k with much lower mileage.

But honestly you should go out and test drive them both and see what fits you better.

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Old 04-24-2010, 12:59 PM   #6
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When I decided to purchase my next car (never bought a brand new one) I talked to my realtor agent who had both the M3 and the C32.

First thing he said was one was a 2 door the other a four door.

Next he said the M3 handled much better and had manual shift. These he liked because he takes both cars tracking and prefers the M3.

But then, he likes the C32 because it rides much more comfortably, has a nicer
interior, a lot more civil plus has four doors in case he's got clients to ride with him.

At the end he said they're both awesome rides. You just have to know what to trade off.

I chose the C32 because I do have two kids and needed the extra doors.

I have not regretted choosing the C32 especially now with all the mods I've put.
i get a kick when my kids say their schoolmates think their dad drives a really cool car when I pick them up once in awhile in school. Or when I blow away an M3 on the road occasionally. PRICELESS
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Old 04-24-2010, 03:27 PM   #7
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Old 04-24-2010, 04:41 PM   #8
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There is a lot of good information above my post, but here is my opinion on it. When I bought my '03 C32 in 2004, your question is the exact same one that I faced. The M3 or the C32. Well......

Service department issues aside, I have loved my '03 C32 for several reasons but one of them is because it really is a "Sleeper". Most anybody that sees your C32 will think that it looks good, looks like it should be quick, but they have NO idea that it is actually a handcrafted rocket that is just a tap of your right foot away from lift-off. Nobody expects the performance that they see from the nice looking Benz beside them - It is truly a "Sleeper". 4 Doors - Automatic - Who would think that it is as fast as it is ?? People just simply do not know. And the performance does not stop at straight line acceleration. Its handling is great and its stopping power is enough to literally make your lunch magically re-appear if you chose to "mat" the brake pedal around 70 mph.

The M3...... An awesome machine in its own right no doubt. But it is more of a machine than it is anything else. What I mean by that is that IMHO it handles and performs great like the C32, but in the M3 you have to "pay" for that performance.

The price you pay is as follows. The ride quality is harsh (like you would expect it to be with such great handling, similar to that of a corvette's ride), but not with the C32. Only two doors, so "In and out" of the M3 with more than one other person is "work", but not with the C32. And lastly, you have to do the shifting in the M3, but not with the C32. And I know, I know... a "true" sports car is a manual, right? I used to say the same thing and in some situations I would still agree. But not in this one. These cars are for daily transportation AND Rocket Like Performance. As well, YOU cannot outshift the C32's automatic transmission, no matter how much you practice. MAYBE if you worked for Car and Driver and tested vehicles for a living you might would be able to squeek out a tenth of a second (or two) more than a great "normal" car driver... but otherwise I will stick with the C32's automatic tranny.

Lastly, when you own an AMG, you own something special. And you will be proud that you own it. The AMG motto is "one man, one engine" and the deep and rich heritage of AMG is undeniable. AMG now has roughly 60 of the most highly trained engine-builders in the world on staff. One, and only one of those engine-builders assembled the C32's powerplant from start to finish, by hand. That one engine-builder then signed a metal plaque and mounted it on the cylinder head. Everytime I open the hood of my car I wipe any dust off of that plaque and shine it back up, because frankly it is pretty awesome to look at and consider the dedicated talent which put that engine together.

Well, thats my opinion, maybe it will help somehow. Go ahead and find yourself a low mileage '03 C32 (with full and good service records) for about 15k. Then jump in it and load up three of your friends, comfortably. Enjoy the smooth ride and just wait for the inevitable M3 to show up beside you - atleast until you decide to put them in your rear view mirror, lol.
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Old 04-25-2010, 09:22 AM   #9
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M3 or AMG

What he said... What I would add. First the negatives. The 2002 C32 can have issues with the tranny cooler that allows coolant into the trans. Check to see if it has a Valero (I forget how to spell the name) oil cooler or if it has been replaced or has transmission issues in its service history. With higher miles you will need to check or replace the three guide pulleys on the serpentine belt. This is an easy DIY. The M3 can be like owning a Ferrari when it comes to service. Just give the dealer $$$$$

Now the good. Both are fast, both handle very well. I will give the M3 E46 the nod for handling and for having a manual trans which I prefer for both track work and twisty roads. You really don't get much performance from it until you rev it as the best part of the power is in the upper half of the band. Still it is a awesome car and one that I would still love to own. M3 marks you as a fast car. Everyone sees the fender flares and the M badge and knows what it its. Still, it is only about what 300hp? and tuning will not improve that much. The AMG is as cheap as a honda Accord to own, unless you break something major. Services are modest in cost and the car is easy to work on and fun to own. I echo the "Sleeper" description. Most C5 vette owners do not know that the C32 beside them could bust their bubble.

That is good and bad. Cops do not gravitate to it. But if you like street races, you will often have to initiate them as the punk in the WRX will think you are in a C230K and might not expect much. I have walked M3 E46 CS, WRX old and new, and race prepped M3 E36's on the road course without breaking a sweat. So, it is at home on the track. The auto works as good as one could expect but it is a handicap on a road course but is an asset in a dragrace. So it is a trade-off. The C32 has gobs of bottom end and it only gets better with more throttle. That is an AMG hallmark. It is easy to tune another 50-70 hp into it if you want or need it. The accelleration is stunning for a V6. I came within a couple of car lengths of beating a V8 M3 E92 at e-town a few weeks ago. With a ECU tune and a mild pulley you could beat one.

If handling or a stick shift is your priority, go with the M3. If class, usable torque, exclusivity and stealth performance is more your style, you will LOVE the AMG. I have had two C-klasse AMG's and have never passed by or seen another car of the same model in public. I like being different. I can drive 10 miles here in NJ and see 3-5 M3's. They are not dime a dozen but are really common sitings here.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by 115jcso View Post
There is a lot of good information above my post, but here is my opinion on it. When I bought my '03 C32 in 2004, your question is the exact same one that I faced. The M3 or the C32. Well......

Service department issues aside, I have loved my '03 C32 for several reasons but one of them is because it really is a "Sleeper". Most anybody that sees your C32 will think that it looks good, looks like it should be quick, but they have NO idea that it is actually a handcrafted rocket that is just a tap of your right foot away from lift-off. Nobody expects the performance that they see from the nice looking Benz beside them - It is truly a "Sleeper". 4 Doors - Automatic - Who would think that it is as fast as it is ?? People just simply do not know. And the performance does not stop at straight line acceleration. Its handling is great and its stopping power is enough to literally make your lunch magically re-appear if you chose to "mat" the brake pedal around 70 mph.

The M3...... An awesome machine in its own right no doubt. But it is more of a machine than it is anything else. What I mean by that is that IMHO it handles and performs great like the C32, but in the M3 you have to "pay" for that performance.

The price you pay is as follows. The ride quality is harsh (like you would expect it to be with such great handling, similar to that of a corvette's ride), but not with the C32. Only two doors, so "In and out" of the M3 with more than one other person is "work", but not with the C32. And lastly, you have to do the shifting in the M3, but not with the C32. And I know, I know... a "true" sports car is a manual, right? I used to say the same thing and in some situations I would still agree. But not in this one. These cars are for daily transportation AND Rocket Like Performance. As well, YOU cannot outshift the C32's automatic transmission, no matter how much you practice. MAYBE if you worked for Car and Driver and tested vehicles for a living you might would be able to squeek out a tenth of a second (or two) more than a great "normal" car driver... but otherwise I will stick with the C32's automatic tranny.

Lastly, when you own an AMG, you own something special. And you will be proud that you own it. The AMG motto is "one man, one engine" and the deep and rich heritage of AMG is undeniable. AMG now has roughly 60 of the most highly trained engine-builders in the world on staff. One, and only one of those engine-builders assembled the C32's powerplant from start to finish, by hand. That one engine-builder then signed a metal plaque and mounted it on the cylinder head. Everytime I open the hood of my car I wipe any dust off of that plaque and shine it back up, because frankly it is pretty awesome to look at and consider the dedicated talent which put that engine together.

Well, thats my opinion, maybe it will help somehow. Go ahead and find yourself a low mileage '03 C32 (with full and good service records) for about 15k. Then jump in it and load up three of your friends, comfortably. Enjoy the smooth ride and just wait for the inevitable M3 to show up beside you - atleast until you decide to put them in your rear view mirror, lol.
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Old 04-26-2010, 06:34 PM   #10
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What would be the best mods to close the C32's handling gap with the M3?
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Old 04-26-2010, 09:43 PM   #11
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i would say coil overs and thicker sway bars. The suspension on the c32 is a lot softer then the m3. The c55 has stiffer suspension which reduced the m3's handling advantage.
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Old 05-01-2010, 09:32 AM   #12
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What would be the best mods to close the C32's handling gap with the M3?
I have Bilstein B14 coil overs on my C32 ,The handling is excellent,to be perfect it needs an LSD.
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Old 05-01-2010, 06:48 PM   #13
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Old 05-01-2010, 06:58 PM   #14
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this is somewhat irrelevant to this thread, but to the OP, if you are in to straight line performance, i recently pulled hard on the new model (E90/E92?) 2 door V8 M3....a couple mods, and the c32 is an absolute beast
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Old 05-02-2010, 04:33 PM   #15
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this is somewhat irrelevant to this thread, but to the OP, if you are in to straight line performance, i recently pulled hard on the new model (E90/E92?) 2 door V8 M3....a couple mods, and the c32 is an absolute beast
WAY TO GO!! I still have to have the opportunity to come head to head with the V8 M3. but, this is encouraging news.
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Old 05-02-2010, 05:33 PM   #16
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I used to own an 2003 M3 with the SMG. Absolutely loved the car. Was a good looking car as well, lowered with 19" BBS's............. and an Eisenmann enhanced soundtrack at 8000 rpm.

It's a matter of preference, as both cars are nice. I prefer handling over straight line performance.
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Old 05-02-2010, 05:58 PM   #17
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Don't get a e46 m3 if you want to drag race.

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Old 05-02-2010, 07:55 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 60n5pt1 View Post
WAY TO GO!! I still have to have the opportunity to come head to head with the V8 M3. but, this is encouraging news.
yah. i dont want to hijack the thread too much, but he got the jump on a 40 roll, and i reeled him in quickly and passed him with relative ease.

i'll try to get a video next time. i didnt have a camera man in my car and wasn't about to record while driving as i dont have a mount in my car for it.
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Old 05-02-2010, 09:21 PM   #19
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C32 > M3.

I speak from personal experience.
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Old 05-03-2010, 12:00 AM   #20
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Both, are outstanding cars. Ask me why? I own both, and love them both in very unique ways.
The C32 is a great DD and makes 370/370 all day long!
The M3 makes 650+ whp (with Hpf turbo) and is my weekend toy.
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Old 05-04-2010, 05:13 PM   #21
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Eh...IMO. When you are going for looks, speed and comfort

C55>M3>C32

but it is soo subjective. You have to drive all 3 and own at least 2 of them
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Old 05-04-2010, 06:32 PM   #22
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I currently have a 2003 C32, previously had a 2003 M3. Honestly the M3 fit my style a bit better, manual transmission, limited slip diff, and better suspension just made it more fun on curvy mountain roads than the C32 is. That said, the C32 wins in practicality for city driving and the four doors is a plus.

My only caution would be that if you're considering a C32 with almost 100k miles, and an M3 that is similarly priced, be ready to pay some serious maintenance bills. I know that both cars have major services that need to happen around 100k miles. I bought my C32 for about $15k and put $5k into it in repairs easy.

Its like they say, the most expensive german car is a cheap german car.
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Old 05-04-2010, 06:45 PM   #23
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I know that both cars have major services that need to happen around 100k miles.
thread hijack!

and out of curiosity, b/c i'm about at 92k....what would these be?
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Old 05-04-2010, 10:13 PM   #24
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thread hijack!

and out of curiosity, b/c i'm about at 92k....what would these be?
Maybe "service" is the wrong word, more like 100k is around the time things start to go wrong, depending of course on how well the car has been serviced to date. Examples on the C32:

- Timing chain tensioner more likely to back out causing oil leaks (happened to me, and my mechanic said he sees it alot around 100k)
- Check harmonic balancer to make sure it is not backing out of the crankshaft pulley (happened to me, threw the belt which broke the fan as well)
- Transmission service is a smart idea (most of the MB transmissions i have seen go bad went around 100K, this was a big deal with my w208 so I'm a little paranoid)
- Valve cover gaskets need to be replaced
- Spark plugs
- Belts

Since its a used car and is priced so low i imagine he will also need
- brake pads/rotors
- tires
- B Service

All that starts to add up after a while, i'm sure there's more i'm forgetting, will post more if i remember.
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Old 05-05-2010, 03:25 AM   #25
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the transmission is fine, long as your get rid of that junk valeo radiator and install a behr radiator asap. I have a 104k on my car and the transmission is still good. Pshek's tranny went out at 60k from glycol contamination since he didn't swap out the radiator.
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