Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2017 BMW M3 VS 2017 Chevrolet SS Near Phoenix, AZ

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2017 BMW M3

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VS

2017 Chevrolet SS

Safety Comparison

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The M3 has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The SS doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The M3 offers optional City Collision Mitigation, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The SS has a collision warning system without the crash-mitigating brake feature which could reduce stopping distances.

The M3 offers an optional Side and Top View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The SS only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the M3 and the SS have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, available lane departure warning systems and blind spot warning systems.

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 SS’ 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 SS’ (12/unlimited vs. 6/100,000).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the M3 for 1 year and 12000 miles longer than Chevrolet pays for maintenance for the SS (3/36,000 vs. 2/24,000).

Reliability Comparison

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

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the M3 has a standard 209-amp alternator. The SS’ 140-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the M3 has a standard 900-amp battery. The SS’ 700-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Chevrolet vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 1 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet is ranked 6th.

Engine Comparison

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The M3’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 10 more horsepower (425 vs. 415) than the SS’ 6.2 V8. The M3 Competition Package’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 29 more horsepower (444 vs. 415) than the SS’ 6.2 V8.

As tested in Car and Driver the BMW M3 (Base engine) is faster than the Chevrolet SS (manual transmissions tested):

 

M3

SS

Zero to 60 MPH

4.1 sec

4.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

9.2 sec

10.7 sec

Quarter Mile

12.4 sec

13 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

116 MPH

111 MPH

Top Speed

163 MPH

160 MPH

As tested in Motor Trend the BMW M3 (Base engine) is faster than the Chevrolet SS (automatics tested):

 

M3

SS

Zero to 60 MPH

3.8 sec

4.9 sec

Quarter Mile

12.1 sec

13.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

117.8 MPH

107.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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

 

 

M3

SS

 

 

Manual

17 city/26 hwy

14 city/22 hwy

 

 

Auto

17 city/24 hwy

14 city/22 hwy

 

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the M3’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The SS doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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

 

M3

M3

SS

Front Rotors

15 inches

15.7 inches

14 inches

Rear Rotors

14.6 inches

15 inches

14.2 inches

The M3 offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The SS doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The M3 stops much shorter than the SS:

 

M3

SS

 

80 to 0 MPH

193 feet

202 feet

Road and Track

70 to 0 MPH

150 feet

159 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

99 feet

110 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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For better traction, the M3 has larger front standard tires than the SS (F:255/40R18 & R:275/40R18 vs. F:245/40R19 & R:275/35R19). The M3 Competition Package’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the SS (F:265/30R20 & R:285/30R20 vs. F:245/40R19 & R:275/35R19).

The M3 Competition Package’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 30 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the SS’ 40 series front and 35 series rear tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the M3 Competition Package has standard 20-inch wheels. The SS’ largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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The M3 has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The SS doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The M3 handles at 1.01 G’s, while the SS pulls only .92 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The M3 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.2 seconds quicker than the SS (24 seconds @ .85 average G’s vs. 25.2 seconds @ .74 average G’s).

Chassis Comparison

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The BMW M3 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 400 pounds less than the Chevrolet SS.

The M3 is 11 inches shorter than the SS, making the M3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space Comparison

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The M3 has 1.6 inches more front headroom and .2 inches more rear headroom than the SS.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the M3 easier. The M3’s trunk lift-over height is 26 inches, while the SS’ liftover is 29.8 inches.

The M3’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The SS doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the M3 offers cargo security. The SS’ non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the M3. The SS doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the M3’s trunk can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The SS doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics Comparison

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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 from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the SS can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The M3 has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The SS doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

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 SS 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 SS 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 SS 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 SS 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 sunshade is optional in the M3 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The SS doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

Both the M3 and the SS have standard heated front seats. The M3 also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the SS.

On extremely cold Winter days, the M3’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The SS doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Economic Advantages Comparison

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The M3 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the M3 will retain 58.7% of its original price after five years, while the SS only retains 49.54%.

Recommendations Comparison

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The 3 Series was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 20 of the last 22 years. The SS has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The 3 Series was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 13 of the last 20 years. The SS has never been an “All Star.”

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