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At nearly $3,300 less than the previously entry-level 328i, the new 320i gives BMW a lower entry point for the 3-Series without compromising its luxury pretentions. Other noteworthy additions for 2013 include available xDrive AWD and a new ActiveHybrid model, which teams a 55-hp electric motor with the TwinPower turbo-6 for a combined 335 horsepower and a modest boost in fuel efficiency.
While near the end of its product cycle, the 3 Series received a number of visual and functional updates in 2011. To that end, the existing models benefit from little more than fine-tuning. Notably, as of 2012 the M3 4-door is no more; this is a 3 Series variant those wanting to travel at 150 mph (with their kids) will certainly miss. Going forward, the new sedan makes its debut first, after which BMW will fill in the coupe, convertible and wagon gaps.
BMW's original M3 high-performance compact coupe was created in 1986 as a road-going version of its 3 Series-based German Touring Car Championship race car, and it arrived Stateside two years later. Powered by a pumped-up 192-horsepower 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine, it quickly carved a reputation as the ultimate performance iteration of BMW's iconic 3 Series. Second- and third-generation M3s packed six-cylinder engines, the latest (2006) model boasting 333 horsepower. The 2008 fourth-generation M3 moves up to a high-revving 4.0-liter V8 with 414 horsepower under its domed and vented hood. While we love German-rival Audi's 4.2-liter V-8 all-wheel-drive RS 4 and Cadillac's latest Corvette-powered CTS-V, BMW's M3 compact muscle machine remains the gold standard of this rare, expensive and exhilarating class of car.
By M3CV (Georgia) on Saturday, October 10, 2009
overall rating 9 of 10rating details
"I have owned this '08 M3 Convertible for 1 year and 10K miles. It has the 6 speed manual transmission and virtually every option. The build quality is excellent, although the paint is more susceptible to road rash than any car I've owned. The engine revs freely and sounds great, but doesn't develop much torque at lower rpm and thus doesn't have the grunt of even a base Corvette. In convertible trim this is a relatively heavy car as well, but feels very solid, especially with the roof up. Cowl shake is minimal with the top down. The quality of materials used in the interior is impressive. Mine has the optional wood trim and looks great. The seats are well bolstered and comfortable. One issue for tall drivers is the adjustment limit of the steering wheel if the drivers seat is all the way back on its tracks, which I need to do to accommodate my legs. Unfortunately gas mileage (14-18mpg) is poor for such small (4 liter) displacement, the effect of which is compounded by the small fuel tank. These cars also consume oil, which is an unusual 60W Castrol synthetic blend that is expensive and usually found only at the dealership. The car is a pleasure to drive fast on an open road, where the horsepower and high rev limit can best be utilized. BMW offered a free one day M school which was great fun and an opportunity to safely explore the cars (M3, 5 and 6) capability. Free service is a definite plus and helps with resale value. Overall I feel this car has met my expectations."
11 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By ACF (PA) on Friday, March 23, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "High quality fit and finish, great drive!"
Cons: "Ummm, a little pricey?"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have the 2011 M3 convertible. Great drive, a symphony of RPMs from the engine with the top down, great fit and finish, though you do pay for it. Fully loaded it gets pricey but worth every penny and compared to others in it's class it has held it's value well. The current M3 is 2007 technology and still competes with new versions of the 911, C63, and RS4. My car has been very reliable, and I drive it frequently, no problems thus far. This E9x will be a well regarded M3, although it is heavier than prior versions, it will likely be the last naturally aspirated M3 and newer versions will not be as customizable. Bolt on a supercharger to this M3 and it will easily achieve over 500 or even 600 bhp. The double clutch transmission is easy and fun to drive, and though not the enthusiasts choice, it is nice to knock it into auto when you have to get to your phone or briefcase. If you want a car that has similar performance measures and costs $20k less, get a 2012 ford mustang GT. If you want quality and refinement with your performance, get the M3. If you want both, buy it used..."
10 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By whitem3 (Phoenix) on Wednesday, September 23, 2009
overall rating 10 of 10rating details
"Let's just say "wow". If you really want power than this is your car. I have been in many nice rides and this car blows away just about anything out there. The car is refined, classy, but mischevious. If you pull up in a porsche or a ferrari, the guy next to you obviously thinks you have an ego problem of some type. Although, this is probably true, the M3 says something different - you like being unique but like even more that you can have a fun drive or a "fun" drive without drawing so much attention to oneself. Any time I have driven over 120mph in a car I began feeling uncomfortable but the M3 is saying "can i get out of 4th gear or what?" The car handles well in all arenas, feels solid, stereo sounds great and the ability to have a few thousand songs stored into a hard drive is ingenious, the cell phone conversations are clear, navigation is simple to use, leather feels incredible, back-up monitor is phenomenal, split-rear seats fold down for significant amount of room, double-clutch is insane....i could really go on forever. The only things that are unfortunate is the gas tank is too small but filling up at the station and being able to look at such a fine machine is fine by me. The price may seem high to some people and I never really thought I would spend this much on a car but I got almost every option but heated seats (I live in Arizona) and got full maintenance, Lo-jack, etc so it ran over 80k - but to me a car is a thing to get from point A to point B -- I just get there faster and in style..."
10 people out of 10 found this review helpful