"The Vauxhall Viva is one of the earliest cars I can remember. I recall sitting snot-nosed in my neighbour’s HC Viva on the way to nursery. I was also slightly jealous because the saloon looked cooler than my dad’"
M3’s rivals – do they offer a real threat?
A used BMW M3 is a tempting way to get supercar performance in a car that won’t be too compromising. But is it the best choice? Which manufacturers produce something similar – if any?
A quick look at the UK’s most familiar used car website at the time of writing shows you that the most common year of manufacture of an M3 currently for sale is 2008 – so an early E90/92/93 model. These range in price from £14k to £25k.
Taking that into account, what other manufacturer’s key-fob could you get from the same year – 2008, with a similar ethos, and the same money?
We found there were just six non-BMW ‘rivals’ from that year and budget currently with models for sale with 3.0+ litre engines, a sprint to 60 under 5 seconds and room for four. Which would you choose – or would you stick with the M3?
When Vauxhall went to a bar or three with its Aussie stablemates, they appeared to have been talked into bringing a bit of the Holden V8 brutality to the UK. The result? A handful of drift-loving VXR8s for sale. Plenty of performance – but a Vauxhall badge could keep the snobs away. Maybe that’s a good thing.
Mercedes CL63/C63/E63 AMG
Take your pick of which Merc you’d like your hand-finished 6.2 litre (not 6.3, confusingly) slotted into – we have coupés, estates, soft tops, and saloons. Sized to suit all tastes, and numbers of golf clubs. All very fast, and all rear wheel drive – but with a nannying traction control that will never really trust you to handle all that Affalterbach Aggression.
Soft or hard, Sir? With a choice of different roof options you can go coupé or convertible as you grumble your way between petrol stations. No saloon version of this precise model, but V8 saloons are plentiful in Jaguar used car lots – they just didn’t manage to fit our sub-5 second criteria so it’s a choice of taking an XKR or being so slow your German-car-fahren Freunde will leave you behind.
Audi. Arguably the rival most people would think of. The RS4 especially shows good value when compared to the BMW – with ’08 RS4s barely reaching £20k. The RS6 offers huge estate car practicality with enough speed to hassle the M3 around der Nordschleife, which is surely top of any used car buyers ticklist, right?
Lexus IS F
Not many around, but if you can find one then nobody will suspect a thing. You’re safe. The neighbours won’t think you’re antisocial, and the local law enforcement won’t even notice you’re there. But, when you want it, there’s a 5.0 V8 engine full of Japanese knowhow to propel you and your Lexus into the next county before anybody’s managed to remember what your car looked like.
Chrysler 300C Hemi
So there you have it, the cars the M3 is fighting against.
We haven’t listed any of those in any order – that’s for you to decide.
Let us know which you’d choose.
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