BMW says they make the ultimate driving machine. I don’t know about that. The fact of the matter is BMW’s have gotten quite fat, more luxurious, and a bit poserish to be blunt. That is not to say they aren’t great cars, and that some of their owners are not great car guys. It would be foolish to say other wise, but like with most companies the marketing outpaces the actual product sometimes. There is no doubt that once upon a time the BMW M3 was at the top of the heap in terms of driving characteristics but let’s not kid ourselves. BMW these days pipes in fake exhaust noise into the cabin. That’s pretty lame. In fact it’s so lame that it probably disqualifies the cars from being cool.
Still there is some fun to be had here with the M3 and M4. You may remember that BMW decided to split the 3 series into two numbers. The 3 would be a sedan, and the 4 coupes. Making what was once the legendary M3 coupe and M4. I’m sure there is some serious marketing thought behind that whole move and I’m not going to begin to tackle it. I think it’s another sign of BMW pandering to the suburbs which is just all a bit douchey for my liking.
At this point you are thinking “gee did he just make an article to rip the hell out of BMW?” Well no, maybe a little but there are some interesting changes afoot in the M3-M4. New for this year is the return of the 3.0L I6 which gets a couple turbos. Gone is the V8 which was much maligned by BMW enthusiasts and automotive journalist types. I liked it, but then again I’m not any where near BMW’s target demographic.
The new engine is going to pump out 430hp and 370lb-ft of torque which should get the job done nicely. Coupled with a 7 speed DCT trans the car will get to 6 in 3.9 seconds which is fast by anyone’s standards. Purist will want to opt for the 6 speed manual which is a tad slower at 4.1 seconds. A small price to pay for not having to explain what a DCT transmission is to your friends at your kids soccer game.
The M3 and M4 coupe both start around $64,000 but once you tick a few option boxes you’ll hit 70k pretty quickly. I can’t really give you sound advice here. Most of the time if you are into a car like the M3 you just have to have one. In that case that price does not matter. However if you are looking for a sports car I can not help but wonder if there are better options out there. Of course I’m talking about the Stingray. Starting at a shade of 50k it’s faster, sportier, and will own a race track just the same. Of course there is also the Z28 Camaro but even I can’t justify a $70,000 Camaro. Not to mention the M3/M4 is going to be more comfortable and well appointed. Not to mention you will never land a doctors daughter in a Camaro.
The good news is the M3/M4 is still around. Still keeping the other German marquis on their toes, and making companies like Cadillac continue to push themselves. While I do not think the M3/M4 is the great buy it used to be someday on the used market they just might be. Long live the M3 and now M4.