My name is Emerson Yang, and I'm in my fourth and final year of a Bachelor of Science at the University of Sydney. I'm originally from Canberra and I've been into cars for pretty much as long as I can remember. Standout memory is when my parents took me to a car show when I was like 5 and I saw this beautiful Maserati MC12 which just took my breath away. Since then I've had a few cars including my first car which was a 1.9 Polo TDI; incredibly fuel efficient and one of the easiest manuals I've ever driven.
How long have you had the car for? How much did it cost?
I bought my 2012 E92 M3 Pure Edition in June of 2016 for 78k. The car is currently completely stock with no mods; I’m quite content with the aesthetics of the car seeing as the Pure Edition I have comes stock with black trim pieces and wheels to make the car look a bit more aggressive. Seeing as this is my daily driver I don’t really have any big plans in the way of mods; the only thing I’ve been considering is an Eisenmann Race exhaust as the stock exhaust with the large muffler really is a bit too quiet for my taste.
How does your car drive?
The E92 M3 has quite a reputation as a great driver’s car but I definitely think that’s something that’s not apparent unless you really push the car. During daily commutes on the road it honestly doesn’t feel that special; the manual gearbox is quite notchy and the clutch’s bite point is quite high and grabby – even after two years of ownership I still jerk the car sometimes if I don’t pay attention. The car’s straight line performance is also below most people’s expectations for an M car, because it’s a naturally aspirated car it doesn’t have the low-down torque of turbo cars and as a result the acceleration is very nice and linear but doesn’t push you back into your seat and give you a real sensation of speed.
However, when you drive the M3 way it’s meant to be driven, the cars qualities come through. On a recent blast through some canyons the car felt incredibly planted through corners and stable at high speeds. The hydraulic steering also tightens up nicely when you really power it through corners and since the engine is naturally aspirated you’re not afraid of any sudden boost that might unsettle the car mid-corner.
How reliable is your car?
I’ve owned some cars that have had needy maintenance schedules and unexpected failures but my M3 takes the cake for unreliability. I’m very fortunate in that I purchased the car with extended factory warranty as during my time of ownership I’ve had numerous parts replaced or repaired. The biggest job that happened was when the engine blew up at about 90,000kms due to rod bearing failure and as a result of that failure the transmission needed to be replaced as well. The BMW dealership that performed the repairs charged the warranty company ~50k and left me without a good daily for about 4 months. I guess the upside of all that is that I now have an M3 with ~100,000kms on the clock but an essentially new drivetrain.
What is the best thing about your car?
My favourite thing about the M3 is undoubtedly the engine; a big factor in why I chose to get an M3 instead of a 1M at the time was because I knew that large, naturally aspirated engines were on the decline and it might be the last opportunity I have to sample such an engine before I go on to drive smaller, turbocharged or electric motors for the rest of my life. Hitting the E92 M3’s high redline of 8400 feels like an event and it’s something I love to do.
What is the worst thing about your car?
The worst thing about the car would definitely be the reliability issues I’ve had; on top of the engine failure I’ve also had both headlights replaced under warranty due to moisture seal failures and consequent headlight condensation.
Do you plan on selling the car soon?
Whilst I have considered the possibility of selling or trading in my M3 for a new daily I’m currently holding off on that idea since I have had extensive work done under warranty quite recently and the thought of replacing a car that currently still has a drivetrain warranty with another car of unknown provenance makes me a bit uncomfortable; I’d really rather not go through something like that again.
How often do you see another car like yours on the road?
I’m not sure about the exact number of E92 M3s sold in Australia but in general driving I don’t come across them very often. Of course car meets are a different thing entirely and I almost always see at least 1 other E92 M3 at those kind of events.
Does your car attract attention? For the right or wrong reasons?
An aspect that I quite like about the M3 is that the average non-car person probably can’t tell the difference between an M3 and a regular 3 series. As a result of that I can confidently say my E92 M3 attracts almost no attention and I definitely think that’s a great characteristic to have for a daily driver.
Would you recommend your car to someone else your age?
Due to the reliability issues of my M3 I would definitely not recommend this car to someone else; especially if it doesn’t have warranty as oftentimes the cost of doing serious work to the car is greater than the car’s actual value.
2012 BMW E92 M3 (Pure Edition)
Price guide: $55,000 to $75,000 depending on mileage
Body: 2-Door Coupe, 4 Seats
Drive Type: RWD
Engine: 4.0L V8 Petrol
Transmission: 6-Speed Manual
Power: 309kW @ 8300 rpm
Torque: 400Nm @ 3900 rpm
0-100km/h: 4.8 sec
P Plate Legal: No