BMW E92 M3. It’s a name that already makes most people sweat just thinking of the capabilities. The car is the little brother to the V10 M5 and M6. With two less cylinders and one less liter than the M5/M6 the new M3 still feels just as fast if not faster. The 4.0L V8 making only 414hp and 295lb-ft of torque allows the car to move, and when I say move I mean haul ass. I would know I just test drove a beautiful one today. It was an experience that everyone should have.
At 3704 pounds you would expect a big heavy car. But no, surprisingly the M3 feels like it weighs less than a Corvette at 3217lbs. You get this immediate reassurance once you adjust your seat to just right and grab the incredibly thick, yet perfect steering wheel that this is a car that connects to the driver in order to drive. At low speeds in first gear there is no jerkiness whatsoever, almost as if it were an automatic. The steering is light and precise at low speeds as well. This car is always monitoring what you do with it, and it’s never shy to cruise around. It feels just as nice cruising as it does when flying by.
The new M3 pulls in 6th gear like most cars would pull in 2nd or 3rd. It’s an F16 fighter jet with four wheels and no wings. I was sitting, just cruising at a comfortable 70 or so mph in 6th gear when I decided to push the limits. I pushed the gas to the floor, and at 2000 RPM roughly, the car moved to 100 in nothing. There was no wait, no stall and then “oh, power!” feeling, like there has been in previous BMW’s. 120mph comes up in no time flat. I was doing 110mph in 3rd gear and managed to redline 1st-3rd gears. At one point I said to the salesman sitting next to me that the car felt like it would rip your face off and ask for seconds.
As soon as you hit the EDC to its full racing sensitivity, the M3 hunkers down and focuses more on the task at hand. The steering gets stiffer and the suspension tightens. The car becomes a racecar, ready to tackle the Nürburgring, and you become the driver that connects with it. When driving through tight turns there is no sense that you are going to lose traction, or power for that matter. You feel like you are at one with the road.
Then you touch the brakes to shave off some speed, and they work, whoa, do they work. The cross-drilled rotors help command the M3 to a stop better than most exotics out there. At one point I was flying through a highway off ramp on my way back to the dealership, and first off going through the light turn at 115 mph feels a little quick, and then you hit the brakes to make the stop at the traffic light, and you stop! There is no hesitation for the calipers to grab the rotors as in some cars I have hit the brakes in at high speeds. No the M3 just stops, without any questions asked. It does what it’s told and does it perfectly.
Where the E46 M3 fell short, the E92 M3 shines. It is everything that the E46 M3 was times 10. There is no reason to tell me that you can’t pay the loaded price of $69,745. Where you could argue that the older M3 was a little pricey when comparing its performance to most of its cheaper competition, the E92, you just can’t do it. The price is justified when you first see the car. It has the exotic look of an M6, but with the muscle car look that punches exotics in the face and makes them cry. It’s a 427 Shelby Cobra or Corvette made by BMW ///M. all I can keep saying about this car is that it’s perfect. It is just perfect. Everyone has been asking me how I liked it and what I thought of it and all I can mutter is that it’s just perfect.
When you open the door of the M3 it seems a bit lighter than the old E46 model, but it feels just as sturdy and secure. One thing the new M3 does better over the old M3 is show you that you spent your money more wisely. The E46 M3 was a very good car, and where it was a good car, the E92 shows that it’s better. Sitting in the seat you get a much more commanding feeling, a feeling that you are more at one with the car. You spend almost $70 grand on a car and you would expect it. The interior is a lot smarter than the outgoing one. It’s been though out better, and the design is more subtle, with nicer bits used.
No, the new M3’s interior isn’t up to the quality and standard of an Audi RS4, by no means will it ever. It is a different interior made to do one particular job, function and function well while still holding up. Where the Audi shows more class and quality, the BMW shows more everyday usability. It’s like that dessert that you get at a really nice restaurant versus that one that tastes just as good without all of the design fluff. You almost don’t want to eat the pretty dessert, which is how I feel about Audi’s sometimes. You almost don’t want to touch anything for fear that you will get it dirty.
The controls are where you would want them, and the steering controls don’t intrude on the driving/racing position of your hands at the wheel. The iDrive seems more useable in the M3 than most other cars I’ve tested. Maybe that is because of the size of the M3, it sits just behind the shifter, so it’s not too far to reach it. I know most people complain about the iDrive system, but it works great, and is actually easier to use than ever before. The radio sounds fantastic, and the HD speakers make the sound quality of the radio seem like a cd or an iPod.
I think easily the greatest part of the new M3 is its ability to drive fast and slow and still be happy doing either one. You can shift at 3-4,000 revs, and it doesn’t seem out of context. You can also shift the car at the 8300 RPM redline and you feel 100% connected to the car and it still feels natural doing that. I was sort of putting around at first; just getting the overall feel for the car and it’s surprisingly simple and very easy to drive, even with the amount of technology in it. You can have the Electronic Damping Control (EDC) on sport or on full and you still can cruise around and not get any real hesitation in the suspension, even when it goes over bumps. Or you can have the EDC turned to comfort and you get a nice relaxed, yet still very sporty feel.
I think another great aspect of the new M3 is its beautiful and full exhaust note. You can choose to listen at full bore, or you can choose to have it at a nice average burble, all depending on how you shift the car and drive it. At full throttle the muscle car sound is very apparent, yet it keeps that typical ///M high pitch throatiness, just with a little more bass. It’s like listening to Eric Clapton. He can have a very trebly sound to him, but when he punches it, he has the bassy, real bluesy feel and sound to him. The exhaust note alone is something BMW should be very proud of.
If you feel as though I have missed anything, don’t hesitate to shoot me an e-mail or comment here and tell me what you would like to know.Edit: High Res Photos M3 E92
Thanks to Chris Newman at Leith BMW for giving me the opportunity to drive the new E92 M3. Unfortunately the E90 M3 was still being serviced, so I could not test that one or take pictures because service was closed. If you have any questions about the E92 M3 that I test drove or any other BMW for that matter, please give Chris a call at Ext. 253.
M3 Walk Around
M3 Post Test Drive