BMW's high-performance M3 features V-8 power and is available as a coupe, sedan or convertible. Now in its fourth generation, the M3 serves as the most powerful version of the 3 Series, with a 414-horsepower, 4.0-liter V-8, a six-speed manual transmission and the aggressive styling that's common to BMW's M cars. Competition includes the Mercedes-Benz CLK63 AMG, Lexus IS-F, Audi RS 4 and Chevrolet Corvette.
New for 2009
There are no major changes to the M3 for 2009.
Except for the chassis, doors, trunklid and fuel-filler cap, BMW says the M3 doesn't have any other parts in common with the regular 3 Series. BMW calls the bulge on the M3's aluminum hood a "powerdome." It's flanked by two air intake accents, one on each side of the bulge.
- Carbon fiber roof to save weight and lower M3's center of gravity
- Large openings in front for increased cooling
- Xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights
- Flared fenders for wide wheels and tires
- Quad-tipped dual exhaust
- Lightweight 18-inch wheels with performance tires
- Available 19-inch wheels
The driver can choose from a multitude of suspension and engine preferences using MDrive, which controls the electronic stability system, steering response, ride comfort and throttle response. It varies the settings to make the M3 suited for either everyday driving or track duty.
- Leather-clad interior highlighted with a choice of carbon fiber or wood trim
- Available stereo options include an 825-watt, 16-speaker system
- Push-button start
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Available moonroof
- Available navigation system with iDrive
- Available iPod and USB adapter
Under the Hood
With 414 hp, the 4.0-liter V-8 revs up to 8,400 rpm. BMW's double-vanos variable valve timing is used, as are individual throttle bodies for each cylinder that provide improved throttle response.
- 414-hp, 4.0-liter V-8 with 295 pounds-feet of torque
- Six-speed manual transmission
- Available seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual with paddle shifters
- BMW says the M3 goes from zero to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds
- Electronically limited 155 mph top speed
As you would expect from a performance car, large four-wheel-disc brakes bring the M3 to a halt; 14.2-inch rotors are used up front, while the rear rotors measure 13.8 inches.
- Antilock brakes
- Electronic stability system
- Side-impact airbags
- Side curtain airbags