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

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2011 Chevrolet Camaro

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2011 BMW M3

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the Chevrolet Camaro’s rear seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The BMW M3 doesn’t offer height adjustable seat belts.

Both the Camaro and the M3 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

Chevrolet’s powertrain warranty covers the Camaro 1 year and 50,000 miles longer than BMW covers the M3. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the M3 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 12 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier to get service under the Camaro’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The M3’s redline is at 8400 RPM, which causes more engine wear, and a greater chance of a catastrophic engine failure. The Camaro has a 6200 to 6700 RPM redline.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2010 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 12th in initial quality. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 16th.

Engine Comparison

The Camaro SS Automatic’s standard 6.2 V8 produces 115 lbs.-ft. more torque (410 vs. 295) than the M3’s 4.0 DOHC V8. The Camaro SS Manual’s standard 6.2 LS2 V8 produces 12 more horsepower (426 vs. 414) and 125 lbs.-ft. more torque (420 vs. 295) than the M3’s 4.0 DOHC V8.

For more instantaneous acceleration and better engine flexibility in any gear, the Camaro’s engines produce their peak horsepower at lower RPM’s than the M3:


Camaro LS/LT 3.6 DOHC V6

6400 RPM

Camaro SS 6.2 V8

5900 RPM

M3 4.0 DOHC V8

8300 RPM

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Camaro gets better fuel mileage than the M3:



V8 Coupe/Manual

16 city/24 hwy

14 city/20 hwy

V8 Convertible/Manual

16 city/24 hwy

13 city/20 hwy


16 city/25 hwy

14 city/20 hwy

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Camaro SS Automatic’s fuel efficiency. The M3 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Chevrolet Camaro uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended on Camaro SS for maximum performance). The M3 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Camaro Convertible’s standard fuel tank has 2.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the M3 (18.8 vs. 16.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Camaro Coupe’s standard fuel tank has 2.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the M3 (19 vs. 16.6 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Camaro stops shorter than the M3:



80 to 0 MPH

200 feet

205 feet

Road & Track

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

163 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

110 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Camaro has larger standard tires than the M3 (245/55R18 vs. 235/35R19).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Camaro offers optional 21 inch wheels. The M3’s largest wheels are only 19 inches.

The Camaro LS/LT has a standard space-saver spare (not available on SS) so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the M3, it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Camaro’s wheelbase is 3.6 inches longer than on the M3 (112.3 inches vs. 108.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Camaro is 3.2 inches wider in the front and 3.4 inches wider in the rear than the track on the M3.

The Camaro SS Coupe handles at .92 G’s, while the M3 Coupe pulls only .91 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Camaro’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the M3’s (37.7 feet vs. 38.4 feet).

Chassis Comparison

As tested by Road & Track while at idle, the interior of the Camaro SS Coupe is quieter than the M3 Coupe (51 vs. 53 dB).

Passenger Space Comparison

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the Camaro Coupe is rated a Compact car by the EPA, while the M3 Coupe is rated a Subcompact. The Camaro Convertible is rated a Compact car by the EPA, while the M3 Convertible is rated a Subcompact.

The Camaro Coupe has 4.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the M3 Coupe (93 vs. 88.5). The Camaro Convertible has 8.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the M3 Convertible (93 vs. 84.2).

The Camaro Convertible has .6 inches more front legroom and 1.5 inches more front shoulder room than the M3 Convertible.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Camaro Convertible has a larger trunk with its top down than the M3 Convertible with its top down (7.9 vs. 7.4 cubic feet).

Ergonomics Comparison

The Camaro Automatic offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The M3 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Camaro’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The M3 has neither an oil pressure gauge nor a temperature gauge.

The Camaro LT/SS offers an optional heads-up display which projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts onto the windshield, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The M3 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the Camaro owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Camaro will cost $588 to $3083 less than the M3 over a five-year period.

Intellichoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Chevrolet Camaro will be $29795 to $32009 less than for the BMW M3.

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