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Brake performance

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on comparable tyres, they are pretty much identical. Which is interesting, considering that the 911 monobloc four-pot calipers are a hell of a lot more expensive than the single-pots of the M3.



Edited by umn
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Tires make a big difference, but I think most people seem to agree that the M3 brakes have enough power to overwhelm most tires. And of course, the 996 can do that, too.

The big difference is that the 996 brakes are designed to be able to brake hard 10-20 times in a row, provided you have good fluid in there. OTOH, my E36 M3 wasn't very good after 8-10 aggressive stops. Or even after 2-3 panic stops. I don't think the E46 is much better, even with aftermarket ducting.

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I also made the switch from an e46 M3 to a 996. The M3's brakes were touchy to say the least. I could stand the car on its nose with tip of my big toe. This made heel-toe shifting impossible for me. I also could not find a good seating position where I felt comfortable with the brake and accelerator pedals. The Porsche's brakes take much more pedal pressure, but are easier to modulate and I am able to heal-toe shift without a problem.

The e46 M3 braking system is well known to fade under repeated braking from high speeds (i.e. track use). This is easily remedied with appropriate pad and fluid changes. It also came over with solid rotors while its European counterpart had floating, drilled rotors. BMW thought that Americans would not like the noise associated with drilled, floating rotors. They also thought we shouldn't have functioning brake ducts and blocked the ducts on our cars with some plastic plates. These plates fortunately popped off easily.

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The touchiness has to do with the proportion ratio between the size of the pistons in the calipers to the master cylinder bore. You can make brakes more or less touchy by altering this ratio and that is mainly what you are experiencing.

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I never found my e36 M3 sedan's brakes to be a problem, though I did eventually switch to the floating rotors. (I've heard many things, but I believe the cheaper rotors were used to help keep the price down because of concerns the car wouldn't sell well here.) That car was awesome, could do pretty much anything you ask, and the fact that you can buy one for the price of an SC makes it the German performance bargain rocket out there, IMHO. Not that I don't love my 996 cab ...

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A quote from another site regarding floating rotors:

"The larger Euro M5 brakes came standard on the Canadian model M540i. They weren't included on the U.S. 540i Sport model for litigious reasons, i.e. the aluminum floating rotor that requires periodic inspection for cracking. It was deemed US owners would ignore that service and end up maiming themselves and suing BMW."

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That reasoning sounds like a load of rubbish. As anal as most M3 and M5 owners are about break-in you think they are not going to include floating rotors because U.S. buyer wouldn't followed recommended (and free) scheduled maintenance? I think a more realistic reason might be another thing to have to get approved by NHTSA, or cutting costs.

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