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By Cars.com Staff
July 20, 2011
BMW's high-performance M3 features V-8 power and returns as a coupe or convertible. A sedan version will not be offered as BMW prepares to introduce a redesigned 3 Series sedan, due in the 2012 calendar year. The four-seat 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 aggressive styling that's common to BMW's M cars. Competition includes the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, Lexus IS-F and Chevrolet Corvette.
New for 2012 The elimination of the sedan is the only major change for the M3 line.
Exterior Except for the chassis, doors, trunk lid 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. Exterior features include:
Carbon fiber roof to save weight and lower the 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
Interior 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. Interior features include:
Leather-clad interior highlighted with a choice of carbon fiber or wood trim
Available stereo options include an 825-watt, 16-speaker system
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. Mechanical features include:
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
Safety As you would expect from a performance car, large four-wheel-disc brakes bring the M3 to a halt quickly. Safety features include:
Electronic stability system
Side curtain airbags (coupe)
Head extensions for side-impact airbags (convertible)
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