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M3 vs IS-F

7750 Views 12 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Stuno1
Hi folks, I know this topic has been beaten to death all over the internet and mainly by folks who have never driven an M3 or IS-F or just believe the M3 is far superior. I was hoping the M3 was as far superior as all these Fourms say it is but I am sorry, it is not. Firstly let me start by saying we bought my wife a 650I in October and I have been really impressed with it. After driving the 650i I found myself wanting to check out the M3. I have been a regular poster here and thought I would give the car a try and see for myself if I wanted to pull the trigger and trade my ISF in and buy one so this past weekend my wife and I went to our regular dealer and inspected and drove a 2011 M3 coupe.

I will go over the big issues.
1. The luxury is non-existent in the M3. Steering wheel adjustment is manual, no back up camera standard, sparse dash etc.
2. The new DCT is horrible for driving daily, you never feel connected with the car.
3. They are all over the place in the DFW area.
4. Its quiet even in M mode. I mean REAL quiet!!
5. I am so sorry to say this but it was boring and after driving it I was so let down.
Well you can probably surmise I kept my ISF. Maybe I need to look at an M5 or M6 as the M3 isnt even close to the quality of the 650I let alone the ISF.

The ISF is luxury, has a quality build and layout inside, makes all the right noises, is bulletproof, and is rare. There are a lot more points to make but really, it will come down to your preferences. Both cars are nice, I was depressed the M3 was so far off the mark for me but I am sure its just me.

This post is only my opinion and written to help the others who stublme upon the choices and want a real answer, not THE BMW IS IT PERIOD. I am sure the beemer guys will want to castrate me but I am as depressed to write this as the BMW guys will be to read it. The F is just that much better. BTW, I also drive it at the track and the M3 is not the only drivers car out there, the IS-F handles it quite well :rolleyes:

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Thanks Andy

Great quick read review....after listening to people make this comparison for so long, you sum it up quite nicely.

Great review! That is why I chose the Isf over the m3.
I'm kind of glad to hear that you were disappointed in the M3. When I bought my F, they weren't allowing test drives of the M3 without a deposit. Between that and my previous poor ownership experience with my 93 525i made the Lexus the clear choice. However, I always had a nagging feeling that maybe I should have gotten the M3 instead.

Now, due to job and family circumstances I had to trade my F for a 2008 RX400h. I really miss the F, but I never really had time to drive it in anything other than heavy traffic. Hopefully the car has moved on to an owner that can really appreciate it and drive it in the way it was intended. Maybe I'll get another F someday.

Thanks again for sharing your experience.

@ Jeff " I always had a nagging feeling that maybe I should have gotten the M3 instead."

The M3 is nowhere near the F. You had the right toy IMHO :D
I've just gone from an rx400h to an ISF and really love this thing! I looked at an X5 before deciding on the rx, and chose the Lexus for the standard equipment and build quality. I also looked at a 4 door M3 before the ISF and walked away when I heard about exploding diffs, and dealer issues. I'm glad I went for the ISF now, only problem is there's only 3 in Ireland so changing it in a few years could be a problem. Mainly because they cost 112000 euros new!!!
M3's are too common, I see alot of them on the road vs the ISF
I agree with you. I see M3's every day but not IS-F's. Love my IS-F way more.
Hey bro, I can speak from experience as today I traded in my 08 M3 for an 2011 ISF. I loved my M3. Flooring it to 8300 rpm, handled amazing and felt like you could push it as hard as you want. Not only was it fast but handled like a dream. What I disliked, the I drive, everything rattled in the interior, seats were very stiff, constantly got a Check Engine Light for increased emissions, the interior was ok, the ride was rough, 19 mpg when I drove it light footed, and the fact that I had to put a qt of $22 a qt oil in the engine every 3-4k miles or so..... My M3 just drank oil..... Have only had the ISF for 6 hrs now but I'm so happy with it. Such a better DD then the M3.
Good quick understand assessment.... after following people get this assessment intended for way too long, you conclude pretty perfectly.
M3 vs isf

I think that I can respond properly when talking about both as I own a 2011 M3 and 08 ISF. As for a daily driver and the ISF takes it hands down. Some other thoughts


1. Less expensive for maintenance
2. Tires are much less expensive, I am running Michelins.
3. Quality is second to none.
4. I think the ISF is understated and I love that.


1. Street legal race car, especially when taking it to the track and pushing the tack to the limit the car really comes alive.
2. Expensive, my M3 is still under full warranty as I only have 7k but I have the oil changed once a year and you have to come out of pocket and it runs about 250-300 for an oil change.
3. Tire life is short, I also run Michelins Pilot Super Sports.

Just some thoughts I thought I would share with you.
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I considered the m3 but fell in love with the ISF for all the documented reasons. M3 is nice but I needed a sedan and well IMO the m3 cpe looks soo much better than the m3 sedan.
The lexus isf is the car for petrol heads that have researched the market. Just like the Mazda 3 mps is for hot hatch owners IMO.

Like most here I looked at the m3, jag xf-r, e63 amg etc.

I love my isf!!!

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