An itch that needs to be scratched


As you probably know by now, I love my Discovery and I have wanted one for a very long time, so it has been great finally owning one. However, there is another car that has been on my radar since I was a boy. A car that I nearly bought so many times before. A car that every time I see one out in public, I start to trawl the various apps on my phone to see how much they are right now. This car, is the BMW M3.

I don’t really know what it is about the M3 that makes me regret every single car I have ever purchased instead of one, but it just seems like I will eventually have one – I just don’t know when, or which one… I have driven a few in the past and my favourite is probably the E90 variant (in Silverstone Blue, black leather and a manual box – if we’re going to be specific) but for some reason I keep finding myself drawing nearer the older, fatter, heavier, slower and somewhat more troublesome E46 model. This is probably due to my self-destructive nature when it comes to cars, but that is a different story all together. The E46 M3 just seems to be the best investment anyone could make right now. There are still some great, well loved, original examples out there for near-as-makes-no-difference £10,000 and you know that as long as it isn’t a horror story special, and you don’t change ANYTHING on it, it will *almost* definitely make you money in the long run. It also has this classic look that I think still looks great today.

My only real reservation with the M3, and why every other time I have looked at buying one I then end up in a Mercedes, is that interior and that fear of buying the one example that doesn’t cut it. Cracked subframe, dodgy gearbox, knackered brakes etcetera and I end up ploughing a never-ending amount of money in to it and get nothing back. This really isn’t something I should worry about, as so far, I have bought so many notoriously unreliable cars and they have pretty much all lived up to their reputation. So why do I care so much about this one? My Land Rover is currently in a thousand pieces at my local specialist having an oil pump fitted for the second time in a week – it’s costing me an arm and a leg for a job that didn’t even need to be done right now, but then I am told “it’s part of the Land Rover owning experience mate, you’ll get used to it” and I probably will – the problem is my better half won’t.

Lots of people out there will tell me to steer clear of the M3. There are a lot of better, quicker, more reliable and generally easier-to-own options out there, like the Nissan 350Z, but it’s not all about performance figures and online spec comparisons. The M3 is one of the greats. A legend in every variant. It’s like the supercar game with Ferraris – people may spend more money on a Mclaren or an Audi R8, but anything with the prancing horse on its bonnet is better. The original and the best.

Ironically the E46 is the only M3 of recent generations that I haven’t actually tested properly – I may hate it, but this is all going to change in the next few weeks. I am seriously thinking about selling the Discovery once I get it back from the garage, and if I do, it makes sense to finally scratch that itch that I have had for so many years – even if it is only a short affair, it will give me that closure I have been looking for for so long. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Disco, I think it really is a brilliant car and I love the practicality of it, but does a 30 year old with no children, no dogs and a love of going fast round corners really need all that space?

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James Ford is a UK-based automotive journalist and enthusiast who has been working with and writing about cars for many years. James recently won the 2019 UK Blog Awards for Automotive Writing. With a focus on luxury, prestige and supercars as well as a keen eye on classics, James reaches tens of thousands of four-wheel fans through his mix of social photography, videos and longer-form journalism. Over the years, James has tested and written about many brands like Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls Royce, Ferrari, Audi, Aston Martin, Bentley, Tesla, Mercedes Benz to name a few.


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