Into its second year after a redesign that brought the first turbocharged engine to this watershed sports sedan, the BMW M3 continues as one of the best performance cars on the market ? equally at home on the road as it is on the track. Starting at $75,000, this rear-drive compact conveyance looks the part with a snarling visage and
blistered fenders hunkered over standard 19-inch wheels. Yet the M3 is no one-trick pony ? it also comes with an upscale cabin and delivers an agreeable ride.
Power comes from a 3.0L turbocharged straight-six generating 425 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard kit, while a seven-speed dual-clutch auto (M-DCT) with paddle shifters and launch control runs $3,900. Fuel economy with the dual-clutch is pegged at 12.1 L/100 km combined.
Ferocious acceleration is matched with limpet-like grip and superb dynamics. The sophisticated active differential and an M-specific suspension can be augmented with available carbon ceramic brakes ($8500), adaptive damping ($900) and performance titanium exhaust ($4900).
New for 2016 is standard Harman Kardon premium audio, satellite radio, upgraded navigation and LED taillights. Of course there is a laundry list of available packages and options that ramp up the luxury, connectivity and safety quotients. Optioning an M3 to near $100,000 would not take much effort.
As an instrument of speed, this luxurious four-door with the wallop of mid-range punch puts up big numbers. Purists might complain about the less-than-sonorous engine note, slightly muted steering, and the fact this super-sedan is more clinical and less soulful than its 4.0L V8-powered predecessor.
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