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      04-10-2013, 10:58 PM   #1
RPiM5
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Post 2 Day ///M Performance School Sept 1st Euro Delivery Reunion and Review

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As we have all seen before, there have been many write ups of the 2 Day BMW ///M Performance School in South Carolina. So there will be no need to go through the intricacies of delivering another report on the experience of the school itself and what each exercise was like and the exact schedule that we followed. Instead this will be more about the experience of the reunion of a group of guys from the Sept 1st European Delivery of the F10 M5 at the Welt [BIMMERPOST feature] on that rainy morning in Munich and will also be about the experience of driving each car from the perspective of drivers who have owned the top tier BMW ///M cars for many years. Myself, Rob///M5, BarryB, M54ccibro, Chudak18 and a few others that attended the ///M School from April 4th to April 6th have owned about a dozen M3's, M5's, and M6's between all of us. For some of us in the Bimmerpost group it was our 3rd or 4th time attending the school, for others it was our first. Therefore our perspective is based on personal past experience and we can better relate to the ///M cars of past years to the ///M cars of today and perhaps in the future.

Now that we are past the first paragraph, let’s talk about the experience. Like others have said before the BMW Performance Center experience is a top notch, first class experience that is as good as the BMW European Delivery experience. Between the professional driving instruction, the wonderfully catered lunches and dinner, and the well maintained ///M cars, you know you got your money’s worth.

We arrived at the Performance Center early in the morning on Friday ready to get in the cars. Seeing all of the cars lined up there with the assortment of different colored M3's, M5's, and M6's invigorated us most hardened ///M veterans to the point where we were ready to just jump in and go. Luckily for us there was only a very brief period of classroom instruction. The first day of instruction was basic and included a lot of drills in braking, handling, turning, and getting used to the performance of the cars. There were a few students who had never even driven a car over 100mph in the class so it was a bit of an eye-opening experience for some people. Being an exclusively M5 owner myself I was eager to understand the M3 and the M6 in the most extreme driving conditions. I would get my chance soon enough.

During the first exercise, which was learning about under steer and catching the rear end of the E90 M3 during drift instruction on the skid pad, a few of us caught on more quickly than others. From what I saw first-hand there was a lot of spins, but myself and Chudak18 seemed to be able to drift the E90 M3 about half way around the skid pad as did a few others. It was great just watching your friends skid out most of the time all over the place and then dog them later on for it, for good laughs though.

The next exercise which was the braking exercise was a real eye opener for myself and many others. This one involved the F10 M5 and I had never really practiced threshold braking on it before. So experiencing what standing on the breaks feels like for the first time was quite surprising for us. The one thing that I took away from this is to never be afraid to literally stand on the brakes with all of the muscle that you have in your legs. As I learned, you will not break the brakes, so to speak. The F10 M5 can take the extremely hard braking pass after pass and that was quite amazing to feel first hand. All of the cars did experience some brake fade throughout both days because they all had steel rotors but it really wasn't that bad. You could still get full braking force each and every time but after a while of repeated force you would simply have to stand on the brakes a little harder, I never found it to be particularly troublesome. The steel rotors and standard brake pads on the F10 M5, M6, and E92 M3, were all very very good and I was literally in awe just how much repeated hard braking they could take and just keep on performing. On one occasion M54ccibro, worked the brakes so hard that he thought he had caught them on fire. They were literally billowing white smoke from the front brakes and the instructors just had him pull into the pits to keep off them for a few minutes. Later when I hopped into the same M6 that he was driving I experienced relatively no brake fade and I was equally standing on the brakes as before but without any major concerns that I was stopping any worse.


One of the more difficult events we did was the rat race in the F13 M6. This was difficult because it was done on a wet skid pad with DSC OFF. We soon found out that the torque in the S63tu is extremely difficult to manage on a wet pavement. I think that we learned a lot about throttle control though and how to manage it ever so slightly. I learned a lot from that one.

The last and best event on the first day was when all 15 students raced the F10 M5 for time against each other. We each got 2 laps and the lap with the best time was recorded. The race was cool because we had to use what we had learned that day in the previous exercises in order to try and get the best lap times. Rob///M5 got the second best time for the race out of all 15 students, which wasn't surprising since he was the only one wearing shorts that day.

After the first day we ate an excellent catered dinner right there at the school and drank glorious German beer with our instructors. The shuttle brought us back to the hotel and most of us went to relax in our hotel rooms, but the instructors warned us not to go to bed too early. Some of us did however hang out at the bar in the hotel until about midnight, just shooting the scheiße, discussing track theory, and consuming a few alcoholic beverages. This time reminded me of my days as a pilot back in the squadron when we used to discuss the flight maneuvers that we did that day and how we could do them better. It was a very bonding time for us ///M Drivers. Lol!

The morning of the second day came early. We grabbed a quick free breakfast at the hotel and were out to the Performance Center by 9am. This day we did 6 more events throughout the day but the exercises were more challenging. Many of the exercises were designed to prepare us for the last couple of events of the day which included driving the big track setup with the smaller parts all put together from the previous exercises. We would drive the big track in both the E92 M3 and the F13 M6 but not the F10 M5. During the morning practice sessions with the F13 M6, we had to negotiate a small hill and then accelerate through a small chicane reaching full throttle at the end of the chicane. This particular exercise actually made many people feel sick due to the massive torque and acceleration of the M6 coming down the small hill. I think this just goes to show how much force is actually present in the S63tu's torque acceleration.

The best event of the entire school was the last 2 sessions on the big track setup with the M3 and M6. They ran both cars on the track simultaneously so we could really try to compete with one another in both cars. If you were driving too fast then the instructors would tell you to run through the pits to get ahead of the slower car. Throughout the entire time on the big track the instructors were standing on the sides instructing you on how you entered or exited the turn. Driving both the E92 M3 and the F13 M6 back to back on the same exact track really gave you a chance to tell the distinct differences between each car. It just so happened that I drove the E92 M3 on the track first. Here is my experience in driving the M3 first:

- E92 M3: I had never had extensive time driving the E92 M3 to the extreme limits of its capabilities until this day. In a word or three, the E92 M3 was simply wonderful wonderful wonderful! I almost felt like Jeremy Clarkson in that one episode he did when he was driving the Aston Martin V12 Vantage. He said "It's 6.0 liter V12 in a Vantage, how do you think it's going to feel?" In this case I wanted to say "It's high revving naturally aspirated V8 that weighs 600lbs less than the F10 M5, how do you think it's going to feel?" The E92 M3 just felt at "one" with the track. The steering communicated so much better than the M5 and the M6, and it felt so incredible easy to drive. Granted the DCT in the M5 and M6 feels smoother and faster than the DCT in the M3, it was still a great transmission. Where ever I wanted to put the M3 I could just do it, there was never a doubt in my mind. I almost felt like it required no effort at all to drive fast into the turns. The brakes felt like they had just as much stopping power as the more powerful M5 and M6 6 piston front brakes. If the F10 M5 was the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars, then the M3 felt like an Imperial Tie Fighter, while perhaps the M6 is more like the ship that Boba Fett flew. The easily discernible weight difference combined with the glorious induction sound from the high revving V8 brought back fond memories from my E60 M5 days and I experience a moment or two of full and complete bliss. To be seriously honest, the M3 just completely blew me away and I had no idea that I had missed out on such a fantastic track car all these years. I quickly found myself catching up to the F13 M6 drivers who were in the other group also driving on the track. The M3 definitely flew through the corners much faster than the M6.

- F13 M6: I then stepped immediately out of the M3 and into the M6. This time as I left the pits, Rob///M5 was the first one in line in the group of M3's and I was the last one of the M6's to get on the track. This put Rob///M5 in the M3 right behind me. As soon as I got on the track, the very first corner that I took, I did not apply enough brake and had to man-handle the M6 through the corner at too fast a speed. This is where I immediately felt the weight difference. The F13 M6 is about 450lbs heavier than the M3. Although many of us throughout the school commented on how we felt that the M6 was absolutely more nimble and better balanced than the F10 M5, we all agreed that the M3 was an overall much better balanced car than the M6.

So there I was in front of Rob//M5 determined to not let him catch up to me. I would be standing as hard as I could on the brakes before entering each turn and then trying to carefully modulate the throttle out of the turn because the 502ft/lbs of torque is so much more difficult to manage out of the turn with MDM. Once you knew you had traction coming out of the turn the acceleration of the M6 was in a word "scary." It was this same torque acceleration that made so many people sick on previous exercises and was very unforgiving if you gave it too much throttle coming out of the turn. This is where the M6 shines however, with proper skill one could so very easily out accelerate the M3 out of the turn and gain good ground. However the M6's slower speed entering each turn, is its Achilles heel, only because of the greater weight. Throughout the track session, although I did my best, and was driving a little bit like Chudak18,(with no fear! Lol!) I could not stay ahead of Rob///M5 and he eventually caught up in the M3. The instructor sitting in the tower later said that he let us duke it out to see if I could stay ahead, but there came a point where I just couldn't compete with the light M3 and they called Rob///M5 into the pits so they could get him ahead of me. When they did that, I was like damn dude! Lol! And I could see Rob's big grin in my rear view mirror just before he pulled in.

The big track exercise was the last event we all did and then the school was over. At the end the instructors took us out in the E90 M3's for hot laps and performed full 180 drifts with 4 people in the car. It was definitely fun, but I kept complaining to them how they did not teach us how to do that during the school! Lol!

The big things that I personally took away from the entire experience in no particular order are the following:

- The stock brakes on the F10 M5, F13, and E92 M3 are highly underutilized and underestimated. After the ///M School I will never put aftermarket brakes on any of my future ///M cars. It's simply not necessary. They literally took a lickin’ and kept on clickin’. Brake fade, yes, but seriously, once you go to the ///M School you will learn that brake fade is nothing but a technique you will learn to work with, it does not make the car stop any less well unless you completely grind down the pads to nothing.

- One day I MUST own an E92 M3. This is not a should, but a MUST. I sincerely now know that the M3 is built for the track, and although the M5 and M6 are very very fast around the track they are NOT track cars.

- The F10 M5 performed like I knew it would and also exceeded my expectations. It's the perfect blend in everything it was designed to do, but like I said it was not designed to be a track car. It was the most comfortable out of the 3 cars, and it could most comfortably carry the most people in them while performing track duties even. Like others have said (Stealth Pilot), the front seats provided more lateral side bolster support than the F13 M6, even though the M6 had adjustable side bolsters. On the track it became even more apparent that it can do things that a car its size and weight should not be able to do. I distinctly remember sitting in the back seat of the F10 M5 while the instructor drove it to show us the proper way to execute a certain maneuver during one of the sessions. I remember thinking to myself, "man I can't believe this car can move and turn like this with me sitting so comfortably in the back seat, I love this car!" The F10 M5 is simply the best high performance rear wheel drive sedan for the money.

- With the F13 M6, I know I may catch some flak for saying this from M6 owners, but after driving it extremely hard on the track and taking it to its limits and even a little bit beyond them, I question the purpose of this car. The back seats are no bigger than the E92 M3's so it can't fit the same amount of people more comfortably than the M3, it's too heavy for a 2 door coupe giving it worse handling characteristics than the M3 but slightly better than the M5, and the visibility out through the windshield was the worst out of all 3 cars. Not to mention the adjustable side bolsters on the M6 seats do almost nothing. On the M3 the adjustable side bolsters get to the point of hurting you and you literally can't even move in the seat. As I said to M54ccibro during our conversation at the hotel bar after first day of M School, even if the M6 had the same exact base price as the M5, I would probably not get it, and I'm a single guy with no kids and wife. Yes it is faster than the M5, yes it handles better than the M5, yes it may look cooler than the M5, but it still doesn't make sense as an ///M car. It only performs better than the F10 M5 slightly. Driving in the M6 did not leave me feeling like, "OMG that was incredible, I can't believe I just did that!" In my own personal opinion the F13 M6 would make a heck of a lot more sense if it was at least 300lbs lighter than its current configuration. With a weight of say between 3,800 and 3,900lbs the F13 M6 would truly be a potent weapon not only against the competition on the street but even more so on the track. If BMW ///M had integrated more carbon fiber in its construction and cut out a few ridiculous items like night vision, it would truly set itself apart from both the M5 and the M3, but it doesn't and if someone put a gun to my head and said I had to choose between an M3 and an M6 I would choose the M3 without even flinching. This is where I believe Audi got the R8 right, even in the less powerful V8 version; the light weight of the R8 really justifies its existence. The second thing that I would change on the M6 is to give it at least a slightly more aggressive sounding exhaust from the factory, but now we are talking aesthetics here and not performance. A car with the looks as sleek as the M6 should have a proper exhaust note to go with it. With the M5 I can understand a more understated exhaust note as it has more of an executive purpose to it, but the M6 has almost no executive appeal and has looks that try to compete with the attention getting Audi R8 or Lambo Gallardo. In my experienced opinion the F13 M6 is a miss for BMW ///M while the E92 M3 is a direct hit on bulls-eye as well as the F10 M5. Owing to this new experience and this write up I don't understand the purpose of the M6 other than the one thing that it is really good at, exclusivity. This also brings into question, the upcoming M6 Gran Coupe. What is the true purpose of this car other than again, exclusivity? We have a 4 door M6 Coupe with a sleeker roofline than the M5, don't you think it should have slightly better performance than the M5. So here's my solution if BMW is listening, the M6 Gran Coupe should be the weight of the M6 Coupe and the M6 Coupe should be about 300lbs lighter. This would truly justify the almost absurd price differential between these cars and the F10 M5. Again I make these statements based on my new personal concrete experience.

- In the words of the instructors, and I'm paraphrasing here: "The E60 M5 was a great car that was very forgiving when driven to the limit, while the F10 M5 demands more respect because it is so very much more lethal than the E60 M5."

- Rob//M5 was probably the most skilled driver out of all of us. He consistently was able to execute the maneuvers we were assigned and had some of the best times for the entire group.

- Chudak18 is a very aggressive driver with probably the least fear out of all of us. Lol!

- BarryB's wife may have outdriven BarryB himself and a few other drivers in the group. Haha!

- Lastly, the most important thing I have taken away from the 2 Day BMW ///M Performance School is the vastly improved amount of confidence that I have in the F10 M5 and my own ability to make it do exactly what I want it to do on and off the track.

In conclusion, getting to do the 2 Day BMW ///M Performance School is a great experience for a few reasons. It makes you a better driver, if you have never owned an ///M car it gives you the opportunity to decide which one you like best, and will offer you an experience you will never forget just because its a really cool thing to do. Now getting all of these benefits from the school and being able to do them all with some of your best buds from around the country was really just icing on the cake, but really good vanilla icing though. As they say, life is better with company.
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      04-10-2013, 11:18 PM   #2
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Here's the hot lap we did with the instructors. So much fun!

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      04-10-2013, 11:18 PM   #3
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Awesome review. Sounds like it was a blast!
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      04-11-2013, 12:34 AM   #4
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Nice write up. Fearless chudak18. Lol. Definitely wanted to take full advantage of the opportunity to push these cars past their limits.... Only bc i wouldn't do it to my personal vehicle. Had a blast, wish i didn't get sick on the last few sessions... But still well worth it. i think i have a video if you drifting in the M3 from the first day Dave. I'll post it up as soon as i get a chance.
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      04-11-2013, 09:47 AM   #5
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Thanks for posting the review an pics Dave. Yeah, that brake fade plus white smoke was a little worry some, but after just a couple min cool down and then moving my brake points a little further back - problem solved. 100% agree about the M3...love that car!
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      04-11-2013, 10:18 AM   #6
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Great write up and the hot lap looks a blast. I need to save up some pennies so i can get to go myself.
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      04-11-2013, 11:09 AM   #7
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Great summary!! Thank you. I need to post my pictures.....

One of my favorite sayings was "the F10 is just lethal!!"

After watching the hot lap, I think I am going to keep my E90 M3 forever!

P.S. - who was the quickest on the big lap time session!
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      04-11-2013, 12:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bokke View Post
Great summary!! Thank you. I need to post my pictures.....

One of my favorite sayings was "the F10 is just lethal!!"

After watching the hot lap, I think I am going to keep my E90 M3 forever!

P.S. - who was the quickest on the big lap time session!
Hmm...quickest on the big lap session. Let me think about that

More importantly though, who was the quickest on the M3 handling course
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      04-11-2013, 12:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Hmm...quickest on the big lap session. Let me think about that

More importantly though, who was the quickest on the M3 handling course
Dude, sorry I just noticed that I spelled your Bimmerpost name wrong throughout the write-up. Lol!
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      04-11-2013, 01:34 PM   #10
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Awesome experience!!! Why do the M5s and M6s have skinny tires up front? More understeer I'm assuming? I need to do this one day... Maybe if I end up ordering an F30 M3
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      04-11-2013, 01:59 PM   #11
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Dude your write-ups are excellent. Ever thought of a career in journalism?
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      04-11-2013, 02:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wisesoul
Awesome experience!!! Why do the M5s and M6s have skinny tires up front? More understeer I'm assuming? I need to do this one day... Maybe if I end up ordering an F30 M3
Conti does not make the right size for the fronts.... They definitely look too small. But the price is right for BMW so that's what they go with.
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      04-11-2013, 02:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Awesome experience!!! Why do the M5s and M6s have skinny tires up front? More understeer I'm assuming? I need to do this one day... Maybe if I end up ordering an F30 M3
The front tires aren't skinny. They are 265s.

All RWD cars have wider tires at the back because the power is going to the rear wheels. i.e. it is balanced - not understeer. If you put matching 295s on the front you would have oversteer.
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      04-11-2013, 02:23 PM   #14
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Great writeup. Thanks. However, the track at Spartanburg is pretty tight and not that big, so that is why I suspect you came to the conclusion that the M3 was a better track car than the M6. However, I believe that at a track that is not as tight, and longer, the M6 would shine much more, easily outrun the M3, and you would see a greater difference between the M5 and the M6 -- weighs less, and much better aerodynamics.

I have driven both the E92 M3 and F13 M6 (previously owned an E46 M3, now own a F13 M6, and drove a F10 M5 180 mph on the autobahn and raced it at Limerock), and to drive the M6 fast one has to manhandle it bit more, and be prepared to feel like you are driving more on the edge. I was at Limerock in October (where they did not have M6's, only M3's, M5's and 1 Series M's), but in an F10 M5 I was easily catching the E92 M3's.
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      04-11-2013, 02:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
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The front tires aren't skinny.
They are not the correct size for the OEM rim as BarryB states

Quote:
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Conti does not make the right size for the fronts.... They definitely look too small. But the price is right for BMW so that's what they go with.
Conti is testing a tire that will come in the correct tire. With a correct front tire and contact patch all our times would be faster.....
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      04-11-2013, 03:41 PM   #16
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They are not the correct size for the OEM rim as BarryB states



Conti is testing a tire that will come in the correct tire. With a correct front tire and contact patch all our times would be faster.....
Yeah Continental has a contract with BMW and the M School so the M School has to use their tires. On both the M5 and the M6, the front Continental tires were 255s, while the Michelin PSS's are 265s up front. I guess Continental might make a proper 265 front tire for the M5/M6 one day. I hope so.
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      04-11-2013, 03:44 PM   #17
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Great writeup. Thanks. However, the track at Spartanburg is pretty tight and not that big, so that is why I suspect you came to the conclusion that the M3 was a better track car than the M6. However, I believe that at a track that is not as tight, and longer, the M6 would shine much more, easily outrun the M3, and you would see a greater difference between the M5 and the M6 -- weighs less, and much better aerodynamics.

I have driven both the E92 M3 and F13 M6 (previously owned an E46 M3, now own a F13 M6, and drove a F10 M5 180 mph on the autobahn and raced it at Limerock), and to drive the M6 fast one has to manhandle it bit more, and be prepared to feel like you are driving more on the edge. I was at Limerock in October (where they did not have M6's, only M3's, M5's and 1 Series M's), but in an F10 M5 I was easily catching the E92 M3's.
I agree with you, on a track with more space for speed, the M6 would really shine, as well as the M5. Say Nurburgring style. We were still getting up over 100mph on some portions of the big track setup at the M School though, there was at least a little room to make big gains with the superior acceleration.
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      04-11-2013, 03:46 PM   #18
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Dude your write-ups are excellent. Ever thought of a career in journalism?
Actually I have thought about a career in automotive journalism should my plans on being a diplomat not work out. Perhaps Car & Driver or something like that. I really want that diplomatic immunity though! Haha!
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      04-11-2013, 03:47 PM   #19
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Bimmerphiles,

As we have all seen before, there have been many write ups of the 2 Day BMW ///M Performance School in South Carolina.
Great narrative giving a feel for the excitement and enjoyment of two days well spent! Thanks for taking the time to post. You may have me looking at an M3..........
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      04-11-2013, 03:54 PM   #20
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We were still getting up over 100mph on some portions of the big track setup at the M School though, there was at least a little room to make big gains with the superior acceleration.
So the BMW big track was a 2nd and 3rd gear course? Did you ever downshift to 1st on the tighter corners? There's a huge gear spread from 2nd to 1st, and that would really be tricky when at speed.
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      04-11-2013, 03:59 PM   #21
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So the BMW big track was a 2nd and 3rd gear course? Did you ever downshift to 1st on the tighter corners? There's a huge gear spread from 2nd to 1st, and that would really be tricky when at speed.
On the big track on the 2nd day we got into 3rd, but on the 1st day we did exercises that took us into 4th gear and the event where we were all timed in the M5 we were in 4th gear as well.
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      04-11-2013, 05:04 PM   #22
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"- One day I MUST own an E92 M3. This is not a should, but a MUST. I sincerely now know that the M3 is built for the track, and although the M5 and M6 are very very fast around the track they are NOT track cars."

Great write-up and I agree with you 100% regarding the M3. I'm picking up my M3 at the performance center on May 23rd :-)!!!
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