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TheCarConnection.com's editors have written this road test of the latest BMW M3 from firsthand driving impressions. Editors have compared the M3 lineup to other sports-tuned vehicles in its price range to give you a better view of its competition. TheCarConnection.com's editors also have assembled a companion full review that summarizes opinions from other Web sites into one conclusive review.
- Stunning V-8 power
- Exceptional dual-clutch and manual transmissions
- Grippy handling
- Snug, cozy front seats
- The sensation of added weight
- Much more expensive
- Technology interferes with handling
Two years ago, BMW released the latest M3 to controversy and to applause. The latest generation of the most powerful 3-Series cars grew heavier and more expensive, and it switched from classic BMW six-cylinder engines to big V-8 powerplants. To top that, engineers tried to blend a progressive-feeling GT car and a no-prisoners racer through all sorts of electronic controls-with mixed results. The M3 lineup of $57,850 coupe, $66,500 convertible, and $54,850 sedan returns for the 2010 model year unchanged, with competition coming in the form of the Cadillac CTS-V, Audi S4, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, and Lexus IS-F.
The latest generation of the BMW 3-Series grows into its M-edition bodywork easily, with its giveaway bulge on the hood-sort of an M-style Adam's apple. The coupes have always been among the most eye-pleasing on the planet, and the latest version doesn't disappoint, even though you may see a ghost of old Pontiac in its C-pillar kink. Convertibles thicken up as they lose their roof, while the sedan stays pretty and pert, with a kicked-up tail and enough subtle surfaces on the body to keep your interest beyond the front doors. It's probably the best-looking M3 lineup yet. Inside it's more standard-issue 3-Series than you might expect. There's something aloof about this interior that doesn't warm up, even with time. There's a Gaggenau-style coolness even with the custom colors and trims that can be ordered-though no one will ever complain about its big, clear gauges and dials. Touches of carbon-fiber paneling emphasize the big structural differences with other 3-Series cars, but you can choose more traditional walnut trim.