3series

The BMW M3

The motoring world was gobsmacked when BMW introduced the mighty M3 twenty years ago - and the fourth generation of the legendary muscle car is still about as good as it gets.

BMW M3 Car Review

The M3 bristles with engineering excellence and an enormous amount of power. The latest M3 relies on a 420bhp V8 monster that can blast the car from 0-60mph in just 4.8 seconds on the way to an electronically restricted 155mph.
The M3 slots into the high performance sports saloon class and with near perfect balance and rear wheel drive it is a delight for anyone sitting behind the wheel.
The BMW M3 is mean and potent, but at first glance its muscle is concealed with looks similar to the 3 Series coupe. Look harder though and there are tell-tale signs of the M-Sport heritage.
There are quad exhausts, a rear air diffuser, huge ventilation scoops at the front, side vents and a power bulge on the bonnet to house the V8.
The reality is that 80 per cent of the coupe body has been reworked to create the M3 and only the doors and windows are the same.
As with any BMW M car, electronics play a major role in the driving experience. There is computerised engine mapping, variable throttle and steering settings and the ability to change the ride set up.

Practicality

The BMW M3 is a genuine four-seater with ample legroom for four tall adults. However, while headroom in the front is not a problem, the same cannot be said in the back where things are a little tight.
Open up the boot lid and you will find a generous, if irregularly shaped space with a load entrance a little on the small side.
Work the engine hard and you’ll struggle a bit on fuel economy while insurance premiums are also high.
However the engine provides a fantastic soundtrack all the way to its 8400rpm redline so the running costs pale into insignificance when you get this beauty on the open road.
Pilots of all shapes and sizes should be able to find a decent position behind the steering wheel as it, and the driver’s seat, are fully adjustable. The sports seats provide just the right amount of comfort and support.
The dashboard is similar to conventional 3 Series models so it’s simple and logically laid out, although the iDrive controller can be a little complicated to use.
Almost every suspension component is made from lightweight aluminium and has been designed just for the M3, while the steering, race-specification rear differential and excellent brakes are all engineered to maximise the car’s performance.
The steering is precise and well weighted and the chassis is astonishingly grippy, balanced and responsive.

Life Style

The sharp-edged styling makes the M3 a show-stopper attracting attention wherever it goes. The interior shares many design cues with the 5 and 7 series as well as high quality materials and a clean, modern look.
The well-damped ride and excellent noise insulation mean that high-speed motorway cruising is accomplished easily and even with run-flat tyres the refinement levels remain high.
Every one of the driver’s individual preferences can be stored away in the M3’s brain to be unleashed at the touch of an appropriately marked M button on the steering wheel boss.
In an instant the M3 can transform itself from road car to track monster should that be your desire.
Consider it a fun feature or technical genius but the M3 delivers whatever you demand to satisfy your driving expertise.
As with anything born out of a racing pedigree the M3 has been kept light but in these days of increasing environmental awareness that is not just for performance but also to improve efficiency.
The roof is made from carbon fibre, the front wings are composites and there is plenty of aluminium in the structure.

Safety and Security

Like every 3 Series model, the M3 comes brimming with safety kit. Front, side and curtain airbags are standard, as is electronic stability control. The anti-lock brake system even incorporates a function that uses gentle pressure to keep the brake discs dry in the wet. Deadlocks are fitted as standard to make things more difficult for thieves.

The Finishing Touches

The M3 is no stripped-out race replica. Features such as automatic headlights and wipers, xenon headlights, part-leather sports seats, electric driver’s seat adjustment and reverse-parking sensors supplement the basics of 18-inch alloy wheels, climate control and a CD player. You have to pay extra for full leather upholstery, larger alloy wheels and electronic damper control.