These Are The Insanely Great Car Reviews That YOU Wrote

Illustration for article titled These Are The Insanely Great Car Reviews That YOU Wrote

Yesterday, I asked you guys to write reviews of your own cars. And just as I thought, they were awesome. Take a bow, everyone! You guys know your cars, and you have some pretty interesting rides.

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I liked what you had to say so much that I decided to feature a few of them here. We'll have to do another Jalopnik Choose Your Own Adventure thing like this again soon.

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If you didn't post a review yesterday, feel free to do it here, and then tell us — what were your favorite self-reviews?

Photo credit #Eelco

Illustration for article titled These Are The Insanely Great Car Reviews That YOU Wrote

TokyoBayAquaLine's R32 Skyline GT-R

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TokyoBayAquaLine gives us a great rundown of exactly what you'd expect from an R32: "Reliability, 5/10... Interior, 3/10... Performance, 10/10." Sounds about right.

Illustration for article titled These Are The Insanely Great Car Reviews That YOU Wrote
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RS-Pilot's Ford Focus RS

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Who says there aren't any front-wheel-drive supercars? RS-Pilot clearly thinks otherwise, as he drives a car with so much torque that it "pulls like a 14-year-old with a lingerie catalogue." Awesome.

Illustration for article titled These Are The Insanely Great Car Reviews That YOU Wrote
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Annathie's '72 Dodge Charger

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Everyone needs to experience some badass American muscle at least once. Annathie brings us an honest review of a car that may be a bit outdated in a technological sense, but is probably a lot more fun than many modern cars. "It's only got a 3 speed, so it doesn't even have to downshift! As a result I am constantly tempted to drive this car 90 mph at all times."

Illustration for article titled These Are The Insanely Great Car Reviews That YOU Wrote
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Jalop-In-Training's Toyota Prius

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This reader puts into two words how many of us would feel about owning a Prius: "Kill me." Concise and elegant indeed!

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Victorious Secret's Ford Focus Titanium Hatchback

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Vic Secret gives us a really solid and detailed review of the new Focus, one of the best compacts on the market today. And kudos to him for getting the car for $6,000 under sticker — that's always nice.

Illustration for article titled These Are The Insanely Great Car Reviews That YOU Wrote
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Vie Ventar's Feet

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Hey, we can't all afford cars, and sometimes they don't suit urban living all that much. This commenter makes a strong case for why walking always gets the job done, albeit slowly: "There's lots of better vehicles out there, but at least it's cheap."

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DISCUSSION

I meant to do this yesterday, but didn't get to it, so here we go.

2004 BMW M3

I admit to being what many of you will dismiss as a BMW "fanboy"—I've owned four cars in my life: an E30 325, an E34 525, an E46 330, and now an E46 M3. I've also spent some time driving my dad's E36. I fantasize about having a project E30 or E34, and every day for months now have had to restrain myself from stopping at a used-car lot near my house to buy an (abused) 850 that's been sitting there, unloved, for months. But I've tried to be fair below, and adhere to the Jalopnik review system (and scale, where a 10 is nearly unobtainable and a 9 is not given lightly).

Full Disclosure: BMW wanted me to drive this car so much that they made me kill hours on the internet looking for just the right M3 for months and months, and sell my perfectly good 330Ci to buy it when the right one came along.

Exterior: 9/10 I love the E46's styling, particularly the M3 bumper, wider rear fenders, quad exhaust tips, fender gills, and little trunk lip that signal that, to me, hit just the right balance of subtlety, class, and sporty aggression. I'll take the pre-facelift E46 and the E46 M3 over any subsequent 3-series, particularly the new one, at least in styling terms. I think it, like the E30, will be remembered fondly for a long time to come, and will continue to age well.

Interior: 7/10 As yesterday's E39 review pointed out, BMW uses a lot of cows in these cars. The seats are particularly buttery at under 35,000 miles, and the powered, adjustable bolsters and lumbar support really cradle you while you scream through the corners. The brushed-aluminum trim is a nice touch as well. The back seat is small, and at 6'2" no one can sit behind me comfortably, but my 12-year-old doesn't complain too much about sitting behind a shorter front passenger. As you'd expect from BMW, though, everything is well thought out: the feel of the buttons and knobs is satisfactory, the front seats fold far, far forward to allow back seat passengers to climb in more easily, and the back seats fold down easily to accommodate (somewhat) larger cargoes. It's not the most practical, because it's a little tight and offers essentially no storage other than the glove box, so that limits the score here somewhat.

Acceleration: 8/10 To be fair, my M3 is modified somewhat, and accelerates somewhat better than it did out of the box. While it's plenty fast enough to push you back in your seat, low-end torque was never these cars' strong suit. At all.

Braking: 7/10 The brakes bite hard at first but can fade somewhat over time; the car's not terribly heavy so this isn't a major worry, and they certainly do the job well enough. This isn't really a matter of braking under ordinary circumstances, but the handbrake on every E46 I've ever driven has seemed somewhat worryingly soft compared to most other cars of their class, and indeed compared to earlier BMWs.

Ride: 7/10 I can't really speak to the stock ride, but 19-inch forged aluminum wheels, Michelin Pilot Sport rubber, and high-end coilovers make for a harsh ride on rough roads, but all the stiffness you could ask for when driving spiritedly. It's a trade-off, but one I made willingly.

Handling: 9/10 This is where the M3 excels. All the cliches fit nicely here—it steers like it's on rails and stays perfectly planted through the corners, but if you want to throw the back end out, you can. Body roll is nearly nonexistent. There's nothing else like an E46 M3's combination of handling and comfort in its price range, although the choice between an FRS/BRZ and a used low-mileage E46 M3 will be a tougher one.

Gearbox: 7/10 The SMGII is not perfect, and newer dual-clutch flappy-paddle boxes are, of course, much better. But it does its job, shifting faster than a human can and responding promptly when you finger the paddle, and its best quality is that you can adjust it for different driving styles. Mine has been reprogrammed to perfect the shift points somewhat, but I have no complaints, except this: the way it's geared, combined with the stiff ride, makes it miserable to navigate parking lots with speed bumps. It just doesn't like going slow, or over bumps.

Audio: 8/10 The M3 engine goes from rough, rumbling idle to full-fledged howl nearly immediately and sounds good the whole time, particularly with an aftermarket exhaust.

Toys: 7/10 Powered/heated everything, aftermarket stereo deck with bluetooth and iPod connectivity, integrated wiring for a radar detector...and that's about it. The aftermarket Alpine deck brings out the quality of the optional Harmon/Kardon speakers much better, interestingly, than the stock stereo did. Everything I want, nothing I don't need, and nothing terribly special.

Value: 8/10 Not the cheapest car to maintain or repair, obviously, but as I said above, it's hard to think of anything else (except perhaps an E39 M5) that combines the driving experience, comfort, and styling of an E46 M3 in its price range (used). I can't think of another used car I'd rather have in that range. If I could change one thing value-wise, it would probably be the less-than-great gas mileage, especially compared to the major gains in fuel efficiency of the past couple years. This is exacerbated by the fact that it drinks premium. And the E39 would do worse in this category.

If my addition is right, the total here is 77. Sounds about right, on the Jalopnik scale, to me.