When it comes to performance sedans, it's impossible to ignore the legendary BMW M3. For over 30 years, it's been the shining star and benchmark for the world's top automakers to best.
With this current generation, the M3 is available only as a sedan. Coupe and folding hardtop convertible body styles are offered under the M4 nameplate.
The M3 is powered by a 425-horsepower 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged straight-six engine which routes power to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch automated transmission. BMW continues to embrace technology with this generation M3; it offers rev-matched downshifts for the manual transmission model, plus a clever active rear differential to sharpen handling. Selectable drive modes offer variable settings for steering weight and feel, throttle calibration, shift mapping, and where available, suspension firmness. While the M3's engine is a gem, it isn't the most powerful motor in the segment. Performance models from Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz exceed the Beemer; the Benz C 63 S makes a whopping 503 hp.
Yet, the M3 hits harder than you might expect thanks to its lightweight construction. A standard composite roof panel and generous use of exotic materials in its construction keeps it lean and fighting fit. It can accelerate to 100 km/h from a standstill in a Porsche 911-besting 4.1 seconds.
For those desiring a harder-edged package, the Competition Package is available, which boosts power by 19 hp, and adds other goodies to improve at-the-limit performance. Buyers can also add carbon ceramic brakes, a three-mode adaptive suspension system, and a high-performance lightweight titanium exhaust with carbon tips.
The key changes for the 2017 M3 focus around added technology and equipment.
The Smartphone Connectivity Package replaces the Connected Drive Services Professional Package and adds wireless device charging, WiFi audio streaming, dual USB ports, plus an onboard WiFi hotspot. Buyers should note that Apple CarPlay is included, but only on models build after September 2016. It's odd that Apple CarPlay isn't standard on the M3, but the package costs just $750 - a small price to pay.
And despite the fact that the M3 is by far and away the most driver-oriented 3 Series around, it hasn't escaped the arrival of semi-autonomous driving technology. It includes emergency autonomous braking, lane-departure warning, blind-spot detection, automatic high beams and speed limit information.
The big news for 2017 is the arrival of a limited edition Ultimate Package, which amounts to a fully-loaded M3 Sedan. It bundles together performance-enhancing features like the titanium exhaust system and full carbon fibre aero kit, with luxury features like heated rear seats, head-up display, and the BMW Individual Gloss Shadow Line exterior trim. It also gets the M3's full line of tech option, too, and a whole host of new colours including Java Green, Lava Grey, Laguna Seca Blue, Fashion Grey, British Racing Green, and others. The asking price for exclusivity isn't cheap: $25,000.
The price of entry for this impressive machine remains unchanged for model year 2017. The starting price of the M3 is $75,000.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed