Actual rating will vary with options, driving conditions, habits and vehicle condition.
The standard features of the BMW M3 Base include 3.0L I-6 425hp twin turbo engine, 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), integrated navigation system, side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, driver and passenger knee airbag, airbag occupancy sensor, automatic air conditioning, 18" forged aluminum wheels, cruise control, ABS and driveline traction control.
Starting at: $64,000
|Search New||$64,000||425-hp 3.0L 6-cyl||6-spd man.||17 / 26|
The M3 handles well but isn’t as nimble as the lighter M2.
The front suspension is a double-joint sprung axle with aluminum control arms, wheel carriers, and axle subframe. When the M3 was redesigned for 2015, those aluminum pieces shaved 11 pounds off the front suspension. It means a lot to handling. The five-link rear suspension uses forged aluminum control arms that shaved 6.6 pounds of unsprung mass. The driveshaft is carbon fiber, to save weight and reduce loss of horsepower between the engine and the wheels.
In the wind tunnel, advanced aerodynamic work focused on cooling and lift, not just aero drag. That rear spoiler with a Gurney lip reduces the lift, so if you’re on the Autobahn at 250 kilometers per hour, the car won’t fly. As for cooling, that’s what the gills in the body are for. And the sculpted side mirrors reduce drag.
The three tweaks work together to symbiotically and successfully manage airflow. Another way of putting it is to say that the M3 runs to the horizon with glee.
The electronic Active M Differential system is all about grip, namely the grip of the tire at each corner, measured and responded to within milliseconds. It helps the car rotate in the turns and accelerate positively. The competent chassis stays neutral no matter how wild the input of the driver in the turns.
The 7-speed DCT has a launch program that provides quick getaways, no burnouts. Efficient but not as much fun.
At the stopping end, the available carbon-ceramic brakes lower the car’s speed with alarming enthusiasm. They are available for $8150, if your enthusiasm can stand that much alarm.
At 3540 pounds the M3 is relatively svelte. The hood and fenders are aluminum, while the roof and trunk lid are carbon fiber. These lightweight pieces improve balance and handling, by lowering the center of gravity.
The Gurney lip on the rear spoiler makes us smile.
Inside are flashes of chrome and ambient lighting around the center stack. A rearview camera isn’t standard, available only for $3500 with an Executive Package that also includes a head-up display, heated steering wheel, and parking assistant.
There’s also a $1700 Driver Assistance Plus package that adds blind-spot monitors, surround-view cameras, and active driving assistant.
In so many ways the latest M3 is better than the visceral car that made M3 famous. Dazzling 3.0-liter inline-6 with turbocharging gives 425 horsepower and 7500 thrilling revs. The 7-speed DCT shifts sharply and optimizes the powerband. Active suspension standard. Aerodynamically fine-tuned. The sound needs further tuning, could be a dealbreaker for some. There’s a lot of competition in the $70,000-range, quite a few other great performance sedans.
Sam Moses wrote this review, with staff reports by The Car Connection.
The 2017 BMW M3 ($65,990 including destination) comes with the 6-speed manual transmission. Standard equipment includes 18-inch wheels, 10-way power adjustable cloth front seats, sports exhaust, keyless ignition, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth, navigation, BMW iDrive infotainment, and 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound.
That’s in plain refrigerator white. If you want your M3 in any other color, it will cost you, from $550 to $1950 depending on the color. The Yas Marina Blue is stunning. We didn’t ask the cost but we bet it’s the ticket item. That’s also with cloth bucket seats. Leather can add another $3000. Depending on the color.
The 7-speed DCT automated dual-clutch transmission is a stand-alone option ($2900).
The Competition Package ($5500) that brings 19 more horsepower also adds suspension tweaks, 20-inch wheels, lightweight seats, and a black grille and badges.
* The advertised price does not include sales tax, title and license. A documentary service fee up to $150 may be added. The documentary service fee is a negotiable fee.