My symptoms are a rapidly rising heartbeat and a palpable anticipation to exceed my conservative comfort zone for speed. All because I am behind the wheel of a new 2015 BMW M3 sedan.
I experienced a similar rapture when reviewing a previous M3 model. The sensation is uniquely bred by BMW into the bones and performance envelope of its six M3 generations and the reason why this iconic legend is popular with those seeking exceptional performance behind the wheel.
BMW’s M3 model was originally built to expand the performance capability of the 3-Series back in the ’80s.
The first generation (1986-1991) was followed by the second (1992-1999), third (2000-2006), fourth (2007-2013), fifth (2014) and sixth (2015). Continuous improvements were made by BMW to enhance the M3’s performance on and off the racetrack.
My new rear-wheel drive M3 is an eye-catcher in its Yas Marina Blue Metallic livery. The “power dome” hood bulge readily sets it apart from BMW’s other 3-Series models. Then there’s the large front air inlets, black carbon roof, black slats in its double kidney grille and its M badge. A delicious design and aggressive posture that garnered protracted admiration from my youthful family members and their friends.
At the back end, a modest trunk spoiler, four beveled tailpipes and the M badge.
My M3 test car sits on optional 19-inch black wheels and tires ($1,200) with costly optional carbon ceramic brakes ($8,150) designed for racetrack use. The M3’s sweet spot is under the hood, a 3-liter, twin turbocharged, inline 6-cylinder engine that delivers a blistering 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque over a broad rpm range. Seat-of-the pants acceleration! This new M3 catapults the driver from zero to 60 mph in a mere 4.1 seconds.
The M3 interior is as artfully designed as the exterior. Carbon fiber trim sets the black theme for dashboard controls. The three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel has multiple controls, including racetrack-ready paddles for manual shifting and controls for the audio system and Bluetooth communications. The car comfortably seats four.
BMW’s iDrive system with on-board computer, touchpad controller and 8 programmable memory buttons is conveniently located in the center console.
My heated leather sport seat provides adjustable side bolsters and lumbar support. Numerous conveniences are in front of me or nearby—head-up display, navigation system, Harmon-Kardon surround sound audio system, park distance control, rear view camera and climate control. Front, side, head and knee air bags are standard.
The new 2015 M3 introduces twin-turbo power to generate a lot more torque and 25 percent better fuel economy than its predecessor M3 model with a V-8 engine.
My M3 has an optional seven-speed, dual-clutch sequential manual transmission ($2,900). This additional technology will leave you breathless when paired with the M3 Launch Control feature. (No kidding. It’s really called Launch Control.)
To operate this pulse-pounding bit of German innovation while you sing Nearer My God to Thee, follow these instructions: deactivate the car’s stability control; select the sequential mode with driving program 3; firmly hold down the brake and press the accelerator pedal down.
After the starting-flag symbol appears in the instrument panel display, the engine will be set to its ideal launch speed when pushing down the accelerator. While maintaining pedal pressure, release the brake and the M3 will launch you to heaven’s gate until you decide to stop—or think you are close to lift-off. Not to worry, the smoke from the scorching tires will soon clear and, if required, your governor-limited speed will kick in at 163 mph.
My week behind the wheel flew by as my respect for the performance of this remarkable automobile grew. From Hunt Country’s meandering byways to interstate highways, the M3 and I developed a symbiotic relationship, each of us anticipating and delivering the other’s expectations.
The base price of my 2015 M3 test car is $62,000. With multiple options, the total price is $84,300. Coupe and convertible models are also available.
BMW provides maintenance for the first four years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first, on all factory-recommended services (engine oil, drive belts, brake pads, discs and fluids). Owners receive a rust protection warranty for 12 years and roadside assistance for four years.
The sixth generation BMW M3 wonderfully raises the bar for design, power, performance and fun. And its “WOW” factor is off the charts!