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Long term tests


A couple of trackdays had taken their toll on the M3's tyres

The M3 looked in a sorry state as it left the evo car park, bound for BMW GB’s Bracknell HQ. There were ugly scrapes down one side from an unfortunate meeting with a Welsh wire fence, while the tyres were pretty much done for. The bodywork was nothing to do with me, but the tyres, yes, I finished them off, and they enjoyed an honourable death, giving their last on an evo track evening at the Bedford Autodrome.

Even so, I’d have expected the rears to have lasted longer than 6000 miles. Sure, our M3 has seen twin-test action with the Lexus IS-F, while its first custodian, one J Bovingdon, was not known for sparing the horses, but it’s not the sort of car you smoke out of roundabouts in. When it’s wet you can have the tail balanced against opposite lock, but it’s rare to find the opportunity to do the same in the dry.

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The Bedford Autodrome offers endless opportunities, though, and the M3’s poise under pressure, which you get mere glimpses of on the road, makes it terrifically driveable. While there’s little to separate the E92 M3 from an Audi RS4 on the road, on track the BMW will take you places the Audi doesn’t want to go, and bring you safely back with a smile on your face.

When the M3 returned from Bracknell two weeks later it looked utterly pristine – apart from its tyres. They wore a shiny coat of tyre gloss on their sidewalls but were the same worn ones, which was rather handy because a couple of days later there was another evo track evening at the Autodrome. And another great evening was had by all. Well, almost all. Before we’d done a whole lap I could tell all was not quite right with my passenger, Dave, who had asked for a ride. I’ll spare you the details, but while chucking in a full-face helmet isn’t pleasant, it does save the fixtures and fittings from a proper splattering. Sufficiently recovered, Dave apologised and blamed his earlier passenger laps in the Caterham R500.  

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The tyres really do need replacing now, though, and, unusually, there is only one original equipment supplier – Michelin. But there are two tyres to choose from: the regular Pilot Sport 2 and, since the start of this year, the trackday-style Pilot Sport Cup. We reckon that, with summer now here, it’s a good time to try the latter, so we’re trying to track down a set.

Running Costs

Date acquiredFebruary 2008
Total mileage6274
Costs this month£0
Mileage this month101
MPG this month19.6

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