BMW E46 M3 vs. Ford Fiesta ST: Which Is Better For $25,000?

The BMW E46 M3. Ultimate Driving Machine. Perfection on Wheels. DudeBro! It's like, the best car ever. That's what they say. But if I'm honest, the last one I drove was a convertible, on rims, equipped with SMG, and it sucked really hard. Everyone says these things are incredible, was I missing something? So, when JF Musial showed up at my house with his newly-purchased 2003 E46, I had to give it a go.


Just for fun, we rang Ford and grabbed what is, in my opinion, the best car you can take home for less than $25,000, the 2014 Fiesta ST. It's got 197 hp and 214 lb/ft of torque from its positively manic engine, a wheelbase about the size of my shoe, and it weighs nearly 700 pounds less than the E46. Yes, it's front wheel drive. Yes, it's made in America (which means it can only go in a straight line, amrite?) rather than Deutschland, but the question is: which is more fun, when driven back to back, in the real world? Only one way to find out.

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E46 all the way. Ownership costs are a wash because the M3 is done depreciating. Yea you will spend ~$1500 more in gas in the M3, for example, but how much will that Fiesta be worth after 3, 5 years? After that it's a matter of choosing between a good hot hatch and one of the greatest driver's cars of all time. No brainer. This is probably anti-Jalop as the Jalop way seems to be heavily rooted in contrarianism, but if you like driving, when it comes to choosing a car you always go with the one that drives better if the costs are the same.

Only real roadblock to the M3 is you can finance the Fiesta whereas a 12 year old anything is cash only.