The M3 is a RWD-only sedan. It features a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged straight-six engine, producing 473 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. It will top out at 155 mph unless you spec the M Driver's Package, which unlocks a top speed of 180 mph. The M3 Competition and Competition xDrive both use a version of the same engine tuned to 503 horses and 479 lb-ft and the latter model is AWD. In terms of straight-line acceleration, the Competition xDrive is the quickest, doing the benchmark 0 to 60 mph sprint in a scant 3.4 seconds, while the RWD Competition does the run a little slower with a time of 3.8 seconds. That figure drops further to 4.1 seconds for the normal M3 with the six-speed manual transmission. But if those figures don't impress you much, remember that BMW and its compatriots traditionally underestimate these figures.
Both versions of the new BMW M3 come with an evolved version of the B58 motor fitted to the M340i, M240i, and other warmed-up sub-M cars. As this is fitted to proper M cars, the engine now gets an S prefix to become the S58, but there are plenty of geeky changes beyond the name. Regardless, what you need to know is that in-gear acceleration is phenomenal even at low rpm. Acceleration from a stop is effortless, and there's a remarkable amount of traction even on full-bore starts in the 2WD models, suggesting that BMW is limiting boost in the first two gears and upping the ante as you go faster. In fact, torque is so good in high gears that you can even drift the Competition model (with its shorter ratios) in fourth gear.
Along with the 473 hp and 406 lb-ft provided by the base car, both versions get adaptive suspension and an M Sport differential, but the really exciting news is the addition of a ten-way adjustable traction-control system. This means that, even in the Comp model with its 503 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque, novices can learn to get the most out of the car without making an embarrassing call to their insurers. That said, an optional Drift Analyzer also rates the angle, duration, and speed of your drifting maneuvers, so we have no doubt that many will lose it trying to achieve five stars. But if you want to just relax, the old F80 M3's spiky torque delivery is no longer present, giving you plenty of confidence even in the rain. The Competition xDrive in its normal 4WD mode is the last word in all-weather traction and security.
The standard manual gearbox in the base M3 is also an improvement over old BMW sticks and is quite reassuring to notch home, but with a very light clutch feel. Novices will like the automatic rev-matching on downshifts, though. Sadly, the Competition model can only be had with an eight-speed Steptronic automatic from ZF. It's excellent and predicts gears brilliantly. It's also smooth when you want it to be and lightning fast when you need it, but we can feel a noticeable delay compared to the old dual-clutch system. Again, the new auto is fantastic, but if you look for flaws (as is our job), you may pick up a touch of hesitation. If you haven't experienced the old DCT, the ZF auto is still going to blow your mind.
|BMW M3 Sedan Trims||BMW M3 Sedan Engines||BMW M3 Sedan Horsepower||BMW M3 Sedan Transmissions||BMW M3 Sedan Drivetrains||BMW M3 Sedan MPG/MPGE|
|Sedan||3.0L Twin-Turbo Inline-6 Gas||473 hp @ 6250 rpm||6-Speed Manual||RWD||19 MPG|
|Competition Sedan||3.0L Twin-Turbo Inline-6 Gas||503 hp @ 6250 rpm||8-Speed Automatic||RWD||19 MPG|
|Competition xDrive Sedan||3.0L Twin-Turbo Inline-6 Gas||503 hp @ 6250 rpm||8-Speed Automatic||AWD||18 MPG|
According to the EPA, both the 2WD versions of the M3 will achieve the same gas mileage figures of 16/23/19 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. The figures for the Competition xDrive are 16/22/18 mpg. All models are fitted with 15.6-gallon gas tanks, so you can expect between 280 and 296 miles per tank. The Audi RS5 Sportback is a little better, achieving 18/25/21 mpg on the same cycles, and with a marginally smaller tank measuring 15.3 gallons, it will achieve around 321 miles with mixed driving.
|BMW M3 Sedan Trims||Sedan||Competition Sedan||Competition xDrive Sedan|
|BMW M3 Sedan Tank size||13 gal.||13 gal.||13 gal.|
|BMW M3 Sedan Fuel Economy (Cty/Hwy)||16/23||16/23||16/22|