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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Pardon a newbie's stale question, but what do 1st gen owners think of the third?

I am the original owner of a 2006 M3 2.3 Touring manual hatch. Great car. Stiffer rear bar, full custom stereo, summer performance tires, done. 12+ years of happy driving. Well played, me.

But what do I replace it with? GTI? Focus ST? Another M3? Or should I even replace it? I've been shopping for THREE YEARS for another fun hatch. I just took what is now my 3rd test drive of the M3 GT manual. It ain't cutting it. Where is the improvement over 1st gen? It's a bit faster but doesn't feel hungry for it. Throttle response is ambivalent. Steering feels numb and disconnected like most every other car. Shifter is efficient but not satisfying. Bose is nice. There's a lot to like, but not much to love. I think I've narrowed it down to GTI vs. ST. :surprise:

Thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Update: the following day, I test drove a Focus ST (base) again. GREAT ENGINE. Shifter/clutch is also real nice. Ride is a bit busy for my roads, but overall great performance hatch (they're going for $20K). I could happy in the ST. But I bought a GTI the next day.
 

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The GTI is a nice car. Congrats.

I'll stick with my 3 and with Mazda though.
CK
 

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'18 M3HGTP Eternal Blue
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I just bought a car on Monday... the Golf was the only other main competitor (wife doesn't like the look of the ST). For us, the base Golf was cheaper in all ways than the M3, and the GTI was only a little more sporty at a pretty major cost premium while not really competing with fit and finish. Given that our car is a Commuter to replace out 2001 Jetta TDI, the M3 fit the bill the best... and that's coming from the perspective of being VERY happy with our Jetta/VW experience.

But, that's what you're going to hear on a Mazda forum. You'll get lots of VW love on a forum like Vortex. Hope you enjoy the GTI. The most important thing I learned after nearly 20 years with a VW, they are Very picky about how they are worked on. Shortcuts lead to running problems... easiest way to miss out on all the problems is to skip the mods and DIY the preventative. My Jetta is at 288,000 miles and never, not one single time, failed to start or left me stranded.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
the GTI was only a little more sporty at a pretty major cost premium while not really competing with fit and finish.
Interesting perspective. I find the GTI way faster than the 3 and and its fit/finish outstanding. Base GTI MT is only $1k more than 3 GT hatch MT here in US, which I couldn't ignore b/c I prefer cloth and hate sunroofs. I do think the 3 Touring is a good value and recommended it to my brother.

The deal breaker for me was test driving the 3 GT, then getting back in my 2006 3 T, and preferring the 2006. The new 3 has a smoother ride, but I couldn't find anything else that stood out. Even my old shifter and brake pedal felt better. If I'd bought a new 3, I would've missed my old 3!
 

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I have no issues keeping up with GTIs.

The GTI may have a turbo and an intercooler, and the 3 doesn't, but their drivers seem to... how should I say this..they have some tiny grapes..

Not very interested in high speed fun on the roads, from my personal experience.
CK
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have no issues keeping up with GTIs.

The GTI may have a turbo and an intercooler, and the 3 doesn't, but their drivers seem to... how should I say this..they have some tiny grapes..
I'm confused. Can GTI drivers not pull away from you because their cars aren't capable of it, or because of their small testicles? I need to know!

Anyhow, I was hoping to hear some 1st gen vs. 3rd gen comparisons but I guess I'm outta luck.
 

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Not quite relevant to this thread but I drove 3s before my purchases as well.

I was a 2006 Gen 1 Mazda 6 GG Sedan (Facelift) 'classic' owner since new. I owned mine for 9 years till I traded it on a 2015 Gen 3 Mazda 6 GJ (Facelift) 'Sport Wagon'.

My GG was manual and lots of fun to drive. My GJ is also fun to drive but the auto and some bulk means I don't feel the zoom zoom as much. I LOVE the sexy looks of my wagon and it does go and is lots of fun when you stick the boot in, its just not as light as the original gen 1 and whilst more refined, is heavier and slower.

Before my purchases I drove higher specification 3s and feel the same. the bloat of the years has definitely taken away some zoom but the current gen 3/6 is definitely the best looking of the bunch. Pity USA didn't get wagon for the 6 as it is the best looking of all.....but I did read somewhere that the 2018 may give you better news (and the turbo looks tasty)
 

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'18 M3HGTP Eternal Blue
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Interesting perspective. I find the GTI way faster than the 3 and and its fit/finish outstanding. Base GTI MT is only $1k more than 3 GT hatch MT here in US, which I couldn't ignore b/c I prefer cloth and hate sunroofs. I do think the 3 Touring is a good value and recommended it to my brother.

I'm in Georgia (US), the base GTI here was $2k more than the M3 GT with Premium (I paid $24k OTD) ~ going like for like was a whole lot more, like $10k more. Then you pay every week at the pump ($0.40~0.60/gallon difference here, so $4~6/week on top of the purchase)... for a "go fast" car, not a big deal. For a comfortable commuter and road-trip car (we average 22~23k miles/year) driven by old-pharts who don't break the speed limit, it's wasted. I've long been a handling guy anyway, goes back to when I roadraced motorcycles (I picked handling over power, straight line acceleration is boring to me).

I understand your preferences... I too hate sunroofs, though I prefer leather over cloth if only slightly.

Maybe the killer for me is that I'm coming out of a 2001 VW (Jetta GLS TDI), I've done VW for 15 years... nothing Wrong with VW (my car is just old, starting to have old car issues like the headliner falling, foam blowing out the vents, etc), just felt to same-same and I wanted a *NEW* car. Could this be a little bit of what you're feeling too?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'm in Georgia (US), the base GTI here was $2k more than the M3 GT with Premium (I paid $24k OTD) ~ going like for like was a whole lot more, like $10k more. Then you pay every week at the pump ($0.40~0.60/gallon difference here, so $4~6/week on top of the purchase)... for a "go fast" car, not a big deal. For a comfortable commuter and road-trip car (we average 22~23k miles/year) driven by old-pharts who don't break the speed limit, it's wasted. I've long been a handling guy anyway, goes back to when I roadraced motorcycles (I picked handling over power, straight line acceleration is boring to me).

I understand your preferences... I too hate sunroofs, though I prefer leather over cloth if only slightly.

Maybe the killer for me is that I'm coming out of a 2001 VW (Jetta GLS TDI), I've done VW for 15 years... nothing Wrong with VW (my car is just old, starting to have old car issues like the headliner falling, foam blowing out the vents, etc), just felt to same-same and I wanted a *NEW* car. Could this be a little bit of what you're feeling too?
I was actually trying to stick with Mazda but just couldn't do it. I'm not a "Mazda guy" but have long admired the company, many in the family, like most their lineup, and have never looked much at Ford or VW. And I've long feared VW reliability (or lack there of). But new is good. I now feel I should've been driving a GTI all my life, especially re: exterior/interior styling. I don't like where Japanese styling has gone.

MSRP difference is <$1k once the required premium package is factored in. But VW sneaks in $300 for all weather mats, trunk crap, etc. Call it $1,200. You obviously get some nice stuff w/the 3 you don't get w/the GTI S (adaptive LED headlights!), making it an interesting study in preferences. As for fuel, mileage is identical (though 3 kills GTI, auto vs. auto) and VW says you can use Regular (I wonder if that would hurt mileage, though). I personally couldn't get the Mazda guys to move much price-wise, while VW was eager, and Ford was begging. I could have gotten a FoST w/summer tires for $19K.

What color leather did you get?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I was a 2006 Gen 1 Mazda 6 GG Sedan (Facelift) 'classic' owner since new. I owned mine for 9 years till I traded it on a 2015 Gen 3 Mazda 6 GJ (Facelift) 'Sport Wagon'.

My GG was manual and lots of fun to drive. My GJ is also fun to drive but the auto and some bulk means I don't feel the zoom zoom as much. I LOVE the sexy looks of my wagon and it does go and is lots of fun when you stick the boot in, its just not as light as the original gen 1 and whilst more refined, is heavier and slower.

Before my purchases I drove higher specification 3s and feel the same. the bloat of the years has definitely taken away some zoom but the current gen 3/6 is definitely the best looking of the bunch. Pity USA didn't get wagon for the 6 as it is the best looking of all.....but I did read somewhere that the 2018 may give you better news (and the turbo looks tasty)
6 is definitely a well designed car. Looks great in sedan or wagon. My brother would have bought the wagon but, as you said, can't buy it in US (and he had just returned from UK, so was double painful for him).
 

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What color leather did you get?
Parchment.... would have rather had a tan or brown, but it beats black. Check back with me in a few years though, see if I'm sick of cleaning it yet. :)

Sounds like we've had backwards experience on pricing/dealer motivation. I'm trying to buy a Ford van and they are just being firm, and the dang thing has been on the lot for 9 months already. I know they have room, I've seen the same van at lower prices elsewhere in the country.

Good luck with the GTI. The absolute Biggest thing about VW reliability is quality of mechanic/workmanship. Some tasks are a PITA and take forever, so they get skipped (or half done) and the cars do not like that. The monkeys in the Dealer service center are the worst for this, which is sadly normal (you've GOT to beat book rates to make any money, and it's very hard to do that with VW). I'd highly suggest either DIYing or finding a very experienced independent to take care of your car. No reason it should not be absolutely reliable (mine Never failed to start or stranded me, worst failure was the alternator going out at 220k miles).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Blue+parchment is my favorite combo, especially w/the '18 wheels. Each time I had contact with a dealership about that combo, the employee wold remark how beautiful that combo is. Yep!

That dealership has had the van for 9 months?!? Jeez. I didn't know such a thing happened. I think my Ford dealership was eager b/c the Focus is a dated design with new ones coming next year. And their gobs of STs in my area.

My VW dealership told me there's only 8 top-certified VW mechanics in the country, and 2 were at their Scottsdale dealership. I hope that's true. My GTI has VW's new 6 year bumper-to-bumper warranty, so I'll be taking it a dealership, for better or worse. But that's reassuring to hear about your Jetta.
 
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I was actually trying to stick with Mazda but just couldn't do it. I'm not a "Mazda guy" but have long admired the company, many in the family, like most their lineup, and have never looked much at Ford or VW. And I've long feared VW reliability (or lack there of). But new is good. I now feel I should've been driving a GTI all my life, especially re: exterior/interior styling. I don't like where Japanese styling has gone.

MSRP difference is <$1k once the required premium package is factored in. But VW sneaks in $300 for all weather mats, trunk crap, etc. Call it $1,200. You obviously get some nice stuff w/the 3 you don't get w/the GTI S (adaptive LED headlights!), making it an interesting study in preferences. As for fuel, mileage is identical (though 3 kills GTI, auto vs. auto) and VW says you can use Regular (I wonder if that would hurt mileage, though). I personally couldn't get the Mazda guys to move much price-wise, while VW was eager, and Ford was begging. I could have gotten a FoST w/summer tires for $19K.

What color leather did you get?
Why didn't you just keep your 06 Mazda instead of getting a new car? how is the weight, clutch, shifting, and steering feel of your old Mazda compare to your new VW? I am a big fan of my 2006 Mazda 3 Grand Touring S 2.3L and wondering if I should stick with it as a fun spirited driving safe practical car or see if there is worth anything trading up to. I don't like the high parts cost of VW and I think feel more heavy in general than I would like.
 
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