Our Cars | Lou’s E92 M3
Desperately trying to hold back my tears and keep it together as my husband, Dan, read out his beautifully penned renewal vows to me, I thought I misheard the last line: “And how could I not buy the 911 girl the Porsche of her dreams?”
Gasps of surprise washed over the close gathering of family that were there for the ceremony. I don’t think they could quite believe his words either.
Later, having signed the certificate, posed for the obligatory photos and comforted my father and mother-in-law, who by now were in floods of tears, I asked Dan if he was joking. He wasn’t. I only bought him a set of personalised cuff links for his wedding present!
As you’re reading a BMW magazine, I’m assuming you’re wondering why I’m talking about Porsches. After five or so years of being editor of this very title, I went on to head Total 911. Having driven and owned cars from the Bavarian stable for eight years, it was a strange transition going to a rear-engined layout, but after getting used to the driving style I began to fall in love with them.
Despite my new affair I remained loyal to the Blue and White Roundel, having bought another E36 M3 Evo (which was sadly short-lived after it was written off just a few months into ownership) followed by my Z4 2.5 Convertible. Not only that, but I had also managed to persuade Dan to trade in his Jaguar XFR for a 1M Coupé – this is a petrolhead who had previously refused to even drive a BMW, never mind buy one.
So, it’s fair to say that I was not totally converted to the way of Stuttgart, and while I always had a dream to own a 911 before I was 35, I decided that an E92 M3 should at least be in the running for when we went car shopping. And that’s exactly what we had lined up to drive one Saturday – that and a 997 Carrera 4. We went to nearby specialist Paragon Porsche in East Sussex, who had one in the exact spec that I wanted. Being back behind the wheel of a 911 again felt good and I was positively beaming after our test drive. Dan however, had his doubts, as he did when we weighed up the 1M against a 997 Turbo.
“It feels too light at the front end and it doesn’t turn in properly, it’s almost as if you’re steering from the throttle. It doesn’t give me confidence to push it like an M car does,” he complained. I tried to justify it by explaining that the Porsche is a totally different machine and that when you got accustomed to it, it was still as rewarding. He retorted that you shouldn’t have to get used to it, and that a BMW is instantly intuitive. He was right, of course.
And so it was with much anticipation that we headed to Munich Legends to test drive a Frozen grey E92 M3. The last time I drove one of these was some years ago when Joel Newman (my then features writer) and I had a convertible on test for a week – I recall that between us we spent a few hundred quid in fuel, such was our enjoyment of the car.
The owner of Munich Legends took us out first before handing us the keys and by God he showed us the capabilities of the car, and indeed his own talents. The sound of the V8, the acceleration, its willingness to let go of the rear end; I loved it and almost felt guilty for wanting a Porsche. It was by far the better car – in terms of handing, performance, practicality, and it was quite a few grand cheaper, too.
Sadly, that particular car wasn’t for me – I was unsure of the paint finish and despite having low mileage it had already been in to the dealership for some considerable engine work – which in my mind either meant it would never have problems again or it was jinxed; also it didn’t feel anywhere near as quick as it should be.
Mulling over it in a nearby country pub I decided to widen up my online search to 30 miles, determined to see another one that afternoon. Sure enough, up popped two Limited Edition 500 models from Cooper Croydon – I had totally forgotten about these. They came packed with £4000 worth of optional extras including gloss black 19-inch alloy wheels, sat nav, bespoke leather, piano black trim (with laser cut designation showing you’re driving one of the 500 models) and in three unique paint colours: Imola red, Mineral white or Santorini blue.
I had already decided that it had to be blue – it’s the best colour in my opinion and really makes the car stand out. But as soon as I opened the door on the one at Croydon’s dealership and I saw the tan colour hide against the paintwork I knew it wasn’t right. Call me spoilt, but it seriously would bug me every time I got in it. Besides, if you’re going to shell out that sort of money it’s got to be right.
So, that very evening I did a search for one with black leather (which comes with blue stitching) on Autotrader and Pistonheads, and just one came up – it was at Prestige Performance in Yorkshire – some 234 miles from our home in Kent. The hubby wasn’t too happy about it, but some gentle female persuasion won him over and the next day we were heading up north in the Zed. The nine hour return journey was somewhat softened after he got to drive an Aston Martin Vantage V12 S – a simply astonishing car that blew us both away.
The M3 was perfect in every way and a few weeks later it was trailered to our home – a day I’ll never forget, and second best to my wedding day. I must confess that in some ways I wish had the Porsche – only because Dan loves the M3 so much that he’s in the driving seat far too much for my liking! It’s a great all-rounder, and with two young stepsons, it’s the perfect daily.
Suffice to say the Z4, is now gone as she was surplus to requirements somewhat – and while I miss her, especially (as I write this) with the recent heatwave we’ve been having, any hint of sadness instantly turns to feelings of elation when I hear that V8. Talking of which, I already have plans in the pipeline to enhance that fabulous sound – stay posted.