- Stunning V-8 power
- Precise manual transmission
- Supercar levels of traction
- Grippy sport seats
- Techno overload with adjustable steering and suspension
- Hefty, hefty, hefty curb weight
- Cool interior -- maybe a little too cool
- A bargain in its class, but no bargain
The 2008 BMW M3 redefines the performance envelope for BMW's 3-Series range--but at a significant weight and price penalty. You might be going too fast to notice, though.
The 2008 BMW M3 is the first M3 in history to sport a V-8. That's double the number of cylinders it had when it first arrived in the United States some 20 years ago. Thanks to the twofold increase, the 2008 BMW M3 has supercar-style performance in a $57,000 package.
The heart of the new M3 is its 4.0-liter V-8, which kicks out 414 horsepower through a delightful six-speed manual transmission. This tarted-up 3-Series coupe (a sedan is also offered) will claw its way to 60 mph in only 4.8 seconds, and rushes to a 155-mph top speed.
Along with the stunning straight-line performance, it's the M3's stupefying handling and traction that draws in enthusiasts. The M3 grips corners firmly, while the body stays tightly in line like a race car. BMW's added too many electronic aids that can interfere with the driving experience--adjustable shocks, steering, and stability control among them--but fortunately, they can all be turned off for maximum fun.
Its price tag is now a stunning $57,000, but the 2008 BMW M3 handily turns in the kind of performance that brought Porsche 911s and Chevy Corvettes fame on the racetrack and on the streets.