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How bad is M3 paint in reality?

GVB-81

Member
Oct 20, 2020
5
2
Connecticut
I’m on the verge of ordering a M3 SR+ in Blue, especially after test driving one and the recent updates. I’m a realist; I’m prepared to find a quirk or two on delivery day (and beyond), however one thing that still gives me pause are the horror stories regarding paint quality. I know that those who have been impacted are probably the most vocal and yet others have received nearly flawless products. But I’m just wondering what my odds are of getting a vehicle with mismatched panels, thin/bare spots, orange peel, and just generally a coat that is likely to fail in the 5+ years I intend to own the car. Are these paint issues hyperbole? Does anyone know if there have been improvements in Q4 2020 so far? What is the process if I refuse delivery? Looks aren’t everything, but I also don’t expect a car with that price tag to be a rust bucket after a few years of light daily driving in New England where there is occasional snow (Salt/sand) from Nov-March. I’ve had Audis for the past 15 years and while I’m looking for something new and exciting, I have to say that upon trade-in, my last 2 vehicles and my current 2014 A4 look(ed) nearly as good as they did the day I bought them. Am I overly ambitious that the M3 can hold up in the same way?
 

valaeyron

Member
Sep 8, 2020
241
129
Virginia
I didn’t see any issues in my Q3-2020 (late Sept) delivery SR+. I’m sure there was a minor scratch here or there that we didn’t catch. My daughter and I went to pick up and inspect on a cold and rainy delivery day, so between all the water/mist obscuring there paint and the desire to be dry, our inspection was more cursory. But since being home I and driving the car almost daily, washing it once...I have not noticed anything and it has been a few weeks.

No winter experience here...yet.
 
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Fernand

Active Member
Mar 22, 2019
1,500
1,513
Northern california
I'm amazed at the wide range of contagious bitching on this forum. My black late-2018 delivered Model 3 was great, on a par with current high industry standards. It looks new to this day, though it's never garaged, and black is notoriously tricky. And I believe their paint lines have only gotten better. Several neighbors have Model 3 or Y 2020 deliveries and are very happy. The dark silver finish looks the most striking to me, more than the blue. But I've only seen a few up close.

There are a few cases where paint or body issues appear warranted, things can slip by, Tesla is growing at a breakneck pace. But some people have expectations that cannot be met. Do you inspect a car with a micrometer and look for 1/32" panel misalignments? And I suppose some former Lamborghini owners expect a hand-rubbed multi-layered paint job that you won't get in a production vehicle. Audis look like most other cars to me, maybe I'm not looking close enough. Current paint technology is pretty good. Rust bucket? Not likely. I think you'll love the car, all around. Welcome to a great adventure.
.
 
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strykeroz

Member
May 27, 2016
636
437
Brisbane, Australia
White September 2019 delivery SR+ here and we haven't any paint issues, no panel gap issues and only one quirk which is the right rear door retains water when we go through a contact-free car wash (nothing gets inside, you just need to step back when you open the door after a wash or your shoes will get wet)

I've had worse in Honda and GM products. Our last CRV had an issue with the hood and one of the 4 wheel caps was a different colour right up to the day we traded it on the SR+. Our Holden has had multiple issues that left us stranded.

In contrast the only unplanned service in a year with the Tesla was to replace a punctured tyre.

Of course YMMV, but that's why warranties were invented I guess.
 
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GVB-81

Member
Oct 20, 2020
5
2
Connecticut
Thanks. I appreciate the feedback. No b*itching here. A $40k purchase is not a small one in my book, so I’m just looking for some good, honest feedback from existing owners to hopefully provide some piece of mind and put to rest some of the actual complaining I’ve read out there. I drive very minimally, so the car would be in my garage 99% of the time. With that little exposure to road debris and the elements, I can only expect it will maintain its form. Thanks again.
 

Krazaak

Member
Jul 30, 2017
902
998
Charlotte, NC
I don't think I've been a member of any car forum ever that doesn't bitch about how soft their car's paint is. Neither Tesla has been any better or worse than my other vehicles. I think you can expect similar results as your prior vehicles.
 
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Lo-voltage

Member
May 6, 2020
61
21
Calgary AB
I find it chips very easily but I live in Calgary which is notoriously hard on vehicles
Get a good ppf package and you’ll be ok
The paint finish is ok, again you can drop the car in for a “new car detail” and ceramic coat which will enhance the appearance
I looked at bmw and Mercedes before purchasing my m3 and honestly found their paint to be superior however.... the m3 blew both cars away (m340i and c43)
 

XLR82XS

D M C
Jul 26, 2019
3,126
1,762
SWFL | Vegas
It's not great compared to the other 20+ cars I own/have owned. My 2020 rear bumper paint is thinner than the rest of the car. It does chip easily - just look at the rocker panel issues some are having where road debris completed wiped away the layers and rust started to form.

Thankfully I utilized BTP at delivery and had STEK PPF applied to all forward facing surfaces and extended rockers.
View media item 120198
 

Lo-voltage

Member
May 6, 2020
61
21
Calgary AB
It's not great compared to the other 20+ cars I own/have owned. My 2020 rear bumper paint is thinner than the rest of the car. It does chip easily - just look at the rocker panel issues some are having where road debris completed wiped away the layers and rust started to form.

Thankfully I utilized BTP at delivery and had STEK PPF applied to all forward facing surfaces and extended rockers.
View media item 120198
Wish I went with blue ppf instead of clear now lol
 
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Webeevdrivers

Active Member
Jan 2, 2017
2,279
3,991
Canada
Ours is a 2020 March build. Blue. Paint was flawless on delivery. Still is. We PPF Ed the front rocker panels, the front bumper and around the entrance to the trunk. All good.
 
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Black306

Member
Oct 14, 2019
561
786
Sacramento
Dec ‘19 build. Paint is not perfect. There are several spots where they obviously tried to do paint corrections, but heavy swirl marks and haze are present. There are also spots where something touched the paint before it dried and other spots where paint ran.

Do I care? No. Intent is to drive this car and the paint won’t stay perfect even if the car gets paint correction.
 

zecar

Member
Nov 30, 2017
406
273
Chicago
It's a good time to order. The car has been updated. You will avoid the end of quarter crapshow.

I inspected several new M3 and MY in August and the paint was good. You should expect decent fit and finish on a M3 ordered today. You will be unlucky if you get a bad car.
 

ChadS

Last tank of gas: March 2009
Jul 16, 2009
3,337
2,700
Redmond, WA
May 2018 and December 2018 - paint was perfect on both.

Roadster and both S had great paint too. Only our X had paint issues...two small patches that you pretty much don't see unless you are looking for them.

I have no doubt that paint is an issue on some cars, but I do doubt that it is a problem everybody is going to see.
 
Oct 28, 2019
94
65
Ridgewood NJ
June 2020 delivery of LR AWD.
There were about 4 paint flaws.
Missing paint on a fender and under the hood, a dimple in the door, and running paint on the baseboard.
Tesla repainted the fender (there was metal showing) but said the others were within spec.
For the price I paid, I did expect a good paint job.
There were some imperfect panel gaps, but nothing material.
I've put PFF on the hood and front, and mudflaps on, but have not done a winter yet.
So far, no road paint issues.
 
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KenC

Active Member
Sep 4, 2018
3,555
3,229
Maine
I’m on the verge of ordering a M3 SR+ in Blue, especially after test driving one and the recent updates. I’m a realist; I’m prepared to find a quirk or two on delivery day (and beyond), however one thing that still gives me pause are the horror stories regarding paint quality. I know that those who have been impacted are probably the most vocal and yet others have received nearly flawless products. But I’m just wondering what my odds are of getting a vehicle with mismatched panels, thin/bare spots, orange peel, and just generally a coat that is likely to fail in the 5+ years I intend to own the car. Are these paint issues hyperbole? Does anyone know if there have been improvements in Q4 2020 so far? What is the process if I refuse delivery? Looks aren’t everything, but I also don’t expect a car with that price tag to be a rust bucket after a few years of light daily driving in New England where there is occasional snow (Salt/sand) from Nov-March. I’ve had Audis for the past 15 years and while I’m looking for something new and exciting, I have to say that upon trade-in, my last 2 vehicles and my current 2014 A4 look(ed) nearly as good as they did the day I bought them. Am I overly ambitious that the M3 can hold up in the same way?
Mine's 22 months old, garaged outside, sand and salt all over the roads, and no paint issues. Of course, you have to put on mudflaps in New England, because the rockers will get sandblasted due to the aero design. Or you could put on PPF on the rockers and lower door panels. I did both, and it's perfect, but one or the other will work.
 

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