2012 BMW M3 vs. Its Competition

2012 BMW M3 2-door Coupe Angular Front Exterior View
Nelson Ireson Nelson Ireson Senior Editor

High-performance luxury cars draw a devoted crowd, and the M3 is the longest-lived in this bracket.

So its fans are loyal, but we're sure at some point they've considered the likes of the Cadillac CTS-V, a 556-hp line of cars with especially communicative steering and great body control at the limits.

Lexus's IS-F has a 416-hp V-8 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission, which gives it a technical edge on the M3.

The Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG is faster this year, and now comes in coupe form, and finally has more of the frisky feel of the Cadillac or Lexus.

The newest generation of the Audi S4 manages to undercut all these vehicles on price, while cruising alongside them, thanks to a 333-hp supercharged V-6, but like the M3, it's better savored minus the electronic add-ons to its suspension and steering.

2012 BMW M3 2-door Coupe Angular Front Exterior View2012 BMW M3
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2012 Audi S4 4-door Sedan S Tronic Premium Plus Angular Front Exterior View2012 Audi S4
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2011 Lexus IS F2012 Lexus IS F
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2012 Mercedes-Benz C Class2012 Mercedes-Benz C Class
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Quick Specs
Despite the weight gain, the BMW M3's still one of the most stunning performance vehicles we've driven.
For those who like what they see in the pert Audi A4 sport sedan but want an emphasis on the 'sport'—without giving up any practicality—the 2012 Audi S4 is the way to go.
The 2012 Lexus IS F is a unique take on the luxury/performance formula, and will appeal to those that find the Germans too performance-focused.
With a new base four-cylinder engine, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class makes even more sense for value-conscious (yet image-conscious) luxury shoppers.
MSRP From   
Gas Mileage   
13 MPG City / 20 MPG Hwy18 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy16 MPG City / 23 MPG Hwy15 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy
Gas V8Gas Supercharged V6Gas V8Turbocharged Gas I4
EPA Class   
Subcompact CarsCompact CarsSub-CompactCompact
Style Name   
2-Door Coupe4-Door Sedan Manual Premium PlusF 4-Door Sedan4-Door Sedan C 250 Sport RWD
Rear Wheel DriveAll wheel driveRear Wheel DriveRear Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity   
Passenger Doors   
Body Style   
CoupeSedanSedan4 Door Sedan
ManualManualAutomatic w/manual shiftAutomatic
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2012 BMW M3 vs. 2012 Audi S42012 BMW M3 vs. 2012 Lexus IS F2012 BMW M3 vs. 2012 Mercedes-Benz C Class