The M3 is a classic, let’s get that out of the way. All that power at your fingertips, a track-worthy performance but with plenty of class, too. It’s long been a favourite for enthusiasts and it’s easy to see why. Even when it’s had its lows with clunky engines, it has still managed to be a joy to drive. So, how does the new model do? Particularly since it has ditched that aforementioned engine? Is it still the spirit of BMW performance and lack of pomp that makes it so lovable? Let’s take a look and find out.
First, let’s talk about the look of the car itself. In fact, let’s applaud it. The M3 is a powerhouse, though not the top of the powerhouses. It has a look that fits that. It’s refined. It’s understated. It doesn’t jump off the curb but it does have plenty of class to it. It is not the all-too-loud, attention-seeking kind of second-place car. It’s subtle and beautiful for it. Some people consider this a lack of personality, but I call it a winning stoicism. The Clint Eastwood of cars, maybe. Of course, your mileage is going to vary with this. Some of you may think it’s pretentious of it to not quite look like the powerhouse that it is.
It’s part of the M series, so one of the talking points that can’t be ignored is the driving experience itself. The M3 is a car for enthusiasts and everyday drivers alike. The latest models have moved on from the 4.0-litre V8. That clunky, all-too-big piece is finally gone. Now, instead, they’re packing a 3.0-litre supercharged six-cylinder engine. That adds 9bhp to the previous model. Giving you an astounding 4.1 second time of hitting nought to sixty. But it’s not a car that’s going to throttle you. No, it’s a joy to handle as well. As one would expect from an M3. Even better now thanks to the engine change
In fact, it’s actually lighter than the prior model thanks to that change in engine. With that lightness comes a bit of a different kind of handling. Thankfully, it’s good different, not bad different. It has sharp, responsive steering that keep you gliding even on the most winding roads. The back wheels can overreact occasionally, but they’re easy to retake control of. The M3 might not be the newest cat on the block, but it still has the reflexes to match its more than considerable power. That’s down to the size of it, as well. A bigger car can certainly be better, but the size of the M3 is just right. Not too big, not too small. A narrow cockpit feels more sleek and compact than it does cramped. Helps give you the illusion you’re driving a car as nimble as feels, as opposed to as bulky as it can look outside. Yes, inside, you have the illusion that you’re actually driving an even smaller car. That said, it’s not a car for comfortable driving. It’s not cramped, per se, but it’s definitely not one with a lot of room for relaxation.
Indeed, in terms of comfort, it’s not quite as impressive. For one, it’s a noisy car. Too noisy even for those who love the rush of it. Why is it too noisy? Because of a feature that creates a fake engine noise from the speaker. It’s crass, it’s synthetic and it can seriously take you out of the moment from time to time. Add to that the less than perfect seating. But you’re not buying it for comfort, anyway.
BMW is the kind of brand you can expect to put real effort into the kind of technology they’re going to make your drive all the easier with. For one, the heads-up display with real time road info is a joy to use. The newly upgraded navigation system means that you’re taking it from place to place easier than ever as well. Keyless entry and entry also comes as standard now.
Economically, it is not show-stopping in terms of its costs. For one, you are looking at a 17/26mpg measure of fuel efficiency. Running costs are high, complimenting a high purchase cost as well. But most drivers won’t have to worry too much about repairs costs, thanks to the excellent warranties you can get with this model.
One factor of buying a BMW, any BMW, that can’t be understated is the level of service that comes with them. Particularly for the prestigious M series of cars. Getting an Eastern Western new BMW M3 or from a similar dealership locks you into real service. It means that you have technicians dedicated solely to help with your particular brand of car. You’re not going to be in the majority of car owners who have to hunt and peck for the kind of parts or services they need for their car.
One unfortunate part of the BMW experience is the extras that can push the costs further than you think the might need to go. Take, for example, the BMW M3 Competition Pack. It makes the car look even sleeker and more subdued. It also makes the performance all the sharper. But you’re going to have to decide for yourself whether or not the extra cost is really worth it.
In conclusion, the M3 is a car for someone who knows what they’re doing. It isn’t a car that’s going to throttle you for taking a taste of the power. It’s not a car that needs to push you to the very limit of your driving. It’s powerful and it’s self-assured. It’s stoic and it’s composed. One of the most important aspects of the car is that it’s authentic. I wish that point ran throughout the whole of the design. But that faux noise from the speakers adds a lingering sour note to what is another great iteration of a fantastic classic. Pair that with some award-winning service and you have a car that will take care of you and thrill you at the same time.