Today’s M3 gets its mechanical muscularity from a twin-turbocharged 3-liter six-cylinder engine, which churns out 426 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. You can select a specially modified six-speed manual transmission, or pay extra for a seven-speed dual-clutch automated-manual unit. BMW’s electric power steering has three driver-selectable modes to alter the assist level. Bodies benefit from a carbon-fiber roof and other weight-saving materials.
Fuel economy, as estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency, is identical to that of the M4 coupe: 17 mpg in city driving and 26 mpg on the highway with a manual gearbox, or 17/24 mpg (city/highway) with the automated-manual transmission. Automatic start-stop can shut the engine off when stopped. An M3 can accelerate to 60 mph in as little as 4.1 seconds.
Comfort and performance clearly coexist. Not only is the M3 cabin fitted with Merino leather or cloth/leather upholstery and wood, aluminum or carbon fiber trim, but you enjoy all the comfort and convenience features found in the regular 3 Series -- and more. Standard equipment includes 10-way power M sport front seats with power-adjustable side bolsters and driver’s memory, Comfort Access keyless entry, Harman Kardon 16-speaker 600-watt surround sound with satellite and HD radio, adaptive xenon headlights, and V-spoke 18-inch forged alloy wheels with wider rear tires.
In other words, the M3 sedan comes pleasantly “loaded,” with nearly everything a serious driver might need or want. Even so, BMW proffers a few option packages for your consideration:
Driver Assistance Plus adds lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, collision warning and mitigation, side- and top-view cameras, and speed-limit data.
The Lighting Package includes full LED adaptive headlights with automatic high beams.
A $3,500 Executive Package equips the M3 with retractable headlight washers, a head-up display, heated steering wheel, rearview camera, and front/rear parking sensors.
You can also specify individual performance upgrades, such as an adaptive M suspension system, 19-inch wheels, and carbon ceramic brakes ($8,150). A couple of high-end conveniences are offered, including automatic parallel-parking and a power rear sunshade.
The M3 packs a substantial quantity of standard equipment into its compact body, along with its sizzling performance potential. We consider the adaptive suspension (only $1,000 extra) to be the only essential add-on for high-performance fans. Otherwise, you can be secure in the knowledge that your M3 has what it takes for a momentous driving experience, even if nothing is added.
Get your price on a BMW M3 »
Read our review on the BMW M3 »