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4-Door SedanTwin Turbo Premium Unleaded I-6, 3.0 L
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|$ 57,040||$ 62,000|
The M3 is back, and it looks like it's better than ever. It's also quite a bit different from the last model, from the bodywork right down to the engine.
So what are the key stats on the industry's long-time benchmark sport luxury sedan? Power is up from the previous 4.0-liter V-8's 414 horsepower to a stout 425 horsepower courtesy of a 3.0-liter twin-turbo in-line six-cylinder. Unlike many turbo engines, this one revs to 7,600 rpm, and carries its peak output from 5,500 rpm to 7,300 rpm. Peak torque for the new engine is 406 pound-feet, available from 1,800 rpm to 5,500 rpm.
Together with a new electronically controlled limited-slip differential and the M-DCT seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the 2015 BMW M3 should hit 60 mph in about 3.9 seconds, according to BMW. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph. Should you opt for the six-speed manual transmission, the 0-60 mph time will rise to about 4.1 seconds.
The new Active M Differential system should also improve more than straight-line acceleration. Able to vary its locking percentage between the rear wheels from 0-100 within milliseconds, it is tuned to maximize grip and traction, aiding the car's ability to rotate in response to the driver's inputs.
A lighter chassis will also help the 2015 M3's overall performance. Up to 176 pounds lighter than its predecessor, the new M3's curb weight hasn't been disclosed yet, but it should come in at or under 3,400 pounds. Extensive use of aluminum, including in the front fenders and hood, as well as carbon fiber in the trunk lid, drive shaft, and roof--a first for the M3 sedan, help save the weight and keep what weight remains lower and more toward the center of the car for further improvements to handling and balance.
The suspension is also largely new for the 2015 M3, with a double-join sprung front axle using lightweight components including aluminum control arms, wheel carriers, and axle subframes for a savings of 11 pounds. At the rear, a five-link setup uses forged aluminum control arms, shaving about 6.6 pounds from the unsprung mass.
An Adaptive M suspension system is also available, adding Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ modes, made possible by variable-rate dampers. The same three mode settings also control the electric power steering in all M3s, raising or lowering the steering force and feedback to suit the mission.
Even the body has been optimized for performance, with advanced aerodynamic work done to ensure both minimal drag and maximal cooling. Reducing lift generated by the car's shape moving through the air at speed was also a consideration. The Gurney lip spoiler at the rear, the Air Curtain and M Gills up front, and the sculpted side mirrors all work together to balance these challenges in airflow management.
Full details on the 2015 BMW M3, including equipment packages, features, and more, will be revealed at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, alongside the unveiling of the coupe alternative, the 2015 BMW M4.
- Aggressive, track-inspired looks
- Potent twin-turbo six-cylinder engine
- Advanced chassis controls
- Ligther weight than predecessor
- The benchmark is back
- Expected gas mileage isn't promising
- Price tag will likely be high, especially when fully optioned
- Lighter than before, but still not light
- No more V-8 wail