Vehicle Overview

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
  • 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. 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:

  • Antilock brakes
  • Electronic stability system
  • Side-impact airbags
  • Side curtain airbags (coupe)
  • Head extensions for side-impact airbags (convertible)