Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2011 BMW M3 VS 2011 Chevrolet Corvette Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2011 BMW M3

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VS

2011 Chevrolet Corvette

Safety Comparison

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The M3 offers optional Park Distance Control to help warn drivers about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind their vehicle. The Corvette doesn’t offer any parking assist system.

Both the M3 and the Corvette have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

Warranty Comparison

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The M3 comes with a full 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24 hour roadside assistance. The Corvette’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The M3’s corrosion warranty is 6 years and unlimited miles longer than the Corvette’s (12/unlimited vs. 6/100,000).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the M3 for 4 years and 50,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, tire rotation, lubrication and any other scheduled maintenance. Chevrolet doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Corvette.

Reliability Comparison

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For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the M3 has an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of the engines in the Corvette.

The battery on the M3 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures which can degrade battery life. By keeping the M3’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Corvette’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without their vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports predicts that the M3’s reliability will be 12% better than the Corvette.

J.D. Power and Associates’ surveys of the owners of three-year-old cars provide the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 17th in reliability, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet is ranked 24th.

Engine Comparison

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As tested in Road & Track the BMW M3 is faster than the Corvette 2 mode exhaust 6.2 LS2 V8 (manual transmissions tested):

M3

Corvette

Zero to 60 MPH

4.1 sec

4.5 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

9.4 sec

9.9 sec

Quarter Mile

12.5 sec

12.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

114.8 MPH

113.5 MPH

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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For better stopping power the M3’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the Corvette:

M3

Corvette

Front Rotors

14.2 inches

12.8 inches

Rear Rotors

13.8 inches

12 inches

The M3’s brakes have 47% more swept area (the area covered by the brake pads) than the Corvette with its standard brakes (694 vs. 471 square inches), so the M3 has more braking power available.

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The M3 has standard Dynamic Brake Control to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Corvette doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

The M3 stops much shorter than the Corvette:

M3

Corvette

80 to 0 MPH

195 feet

212 feet

Road & Track

70 to 0 MPH

153 feet

171 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

103 feet

111 feet

AutoWeek

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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The front and rear suspension of the M3 uses coil springs for better ride, handling and control than the Corvette, which uses transverse leafs springs. Coil springs compress more progressively and offer more suspension travel for a smoother ride with less bottoming out.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the M3’s wheelbase is 3 inches longer than on the Corvette (108.7 inches vs. 105.7 inches).

The M3 Coupe handles at .98 G’s, while the Corvette Z51 Coupe pulls only .93 G’s of cornering force in a Road & Track skidpad test.

The M3 Coupe goes through Road & Track’s slalom 4.4 MPH faster than the Corvette Coupe (71.4 vs. 67 MPH).

For better maneuverability, the M3’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Corvette’s (38.4 feet vs. 39 feet).

Chassis Comparison

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The M3's standard power retractable hardtop allows a seamless transition from an open car, to a completely sealed coupe. The Corvette doesn't offer a retractable hardtop.

As tested by AutoWeek, the interior of the M3 Coupe is quieter than the Corvette Z06:

M3

Corvette

At idle

53 dB

58 dB

Full-Throttle

82 dB

87 dB

60 MPH Cruising

65 dB

76 dB

Passenger Space Comparison

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The M3 Sedan has standard seating for 5 passengers; the Corvette can only carry 2. The M3 Coupe has standard seating for 4.

The M3 Coupe has 36.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Corvette (88.5 vs. 52.1).

The M3 Coupe has .7 inches more front headroom and 2.2 inches more front shoulder room than the Corvette Coupe.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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The M3 Convertible has a much larger trunk with its top up than the Corvette Convertible with its top up (12.4 vs. 11 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the M3 Sedan easier. The M3 Sedan’s trunk lift-over height is 26.75 inches, while the Corvette’s liftover is 37.7 inches. The M3 Convertible’s liftover is only 26.2 inches.

With its coupe, convertible or sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the M3 offers cargo security. The Corvette’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

Ergonomics Comparison

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The M3’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. An easy entry system costs extra on the Corvette.

The M3’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children in the rear seat from operating them. Chevrolet does not offer a locking feature on the Corvette’s power windows.

The M3’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Corvette’s power windows’ switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

If the windows are left down on the M3 the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder; on a hot day the driver can lower the windows. The driver of the Corvette can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The M3’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Corvette’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the M3 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Corvette doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The M3 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Corvette doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high-beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the M3 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low-beams. The Corvette doesn’t offer automatic dimming high-beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the M3 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Corvette doesn’t offer cornering lights. The M3 also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

A power rear sun shade is optional in the M3 Sedan/Coupe to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Corvette doesn’t offer a rear sun shade.

When the M3 is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Corvette’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The M3’s standard separate stalk mounted cruise control is close at hand. The Corvette’s standard cruise control is on an over-crowded turn signal stalk.

The M3’s available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service available in a limited number of metro areas.) The Corvette’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

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