- Stunning V-8 power
- Grippy handling
- Exceptional dual-clutch and manual transmissions
- Snug, cozy front seats
- The sensation of added weight
- Much more expensive
- Technology interferes with handling
Stunning performance is still the calling card for the 2011 BMW M3; the weight it's gained may just be a sign of its success.
BMW's M3 is heavier, more expensive, and unlike previous models, V-8 powered. It's also more technologically advanced, leveraging extensive electronic controls and aids to attempt to bridge the gap between a Grand Tourer and a race-bred street car--with mixed results. Met with both controversy and applause, the latest generation of M3 has become more familiar over the last three years. Starting at $55,900 for the sedan, $58,900 for the coupe, and $67,550 for the convertible, the M3 competes with the Audi S4, Cadillac CTS-V, and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG.
The M3 series has never fallen short in the looks department, and the latest generation doesn't disappoint--in fact, it may be the sharpest M3 range ever. With coupe, sedan, and convertible body styles available, anyone can find the M3 they're looking for.
Performance is another strength for the M3 range, though those interested in the best handling, acceleration, and braking will do well to skip the heavier, less-rigid convertible. The strong 414-horsepower V-8 engine and available dual-clutch transmission are notable changes for the newest M3, offering blistering performance and ease of driving.
Quality, fit, and finish are all excellent, as you'd expect from BMW. Pricing matches the quality, however: it's high. Optional trim changes, a wide range of available options, and a strong base spec make the M3 worth the price.
Safety is a tricky issue with high-end cars, which aren't often tested by the safety agencies. The 3-Series the M3 is based on performs well in crash tests by the IIHS, however, and the M3 should do just as well, with a strong complement of standard safety features.
The latest M3 features more technology, both in terms of driver-configurable performance controls and entertainment, information, and navigation, than any previous model. It's also highly competitive with other cars in its segment.