2014 BMW M3
2014 BMW M3 pricing and specifications:
Price: $156,900 plus on-road costs
On-sale: June 2014
Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo six-cylinder
Power: 317kW at 5390-7300rpm
Torque: 550Nm at 1850-5500rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto/6-speed manual, rear-wheel-drive
0-100km/h: 4.1 seconds (DCT auto)
Top speed: 250km/h (electronically limited)
Considering the previous M3 sedan was a bit of an unloved orphan, the big question is: is the new M3 sedan, codenamed F80, good enough to single-handedly carry the torch for the M3 badge into the future? The quick answer is a resounding yes, because it not only addresses any of the compromises that held back its predecessor - which mainly centred around its more conservative looks and heavier body because it didn’t lack for much in terms of the outright performance offered in the coupe - it now matches the M4 on every level.
From a dynamic perspective, you’d be hard-pressed to ascertain any discernible difference in the way it drives compared to the coupe, which is a good thing because both now re-set the benchmark among the trio of German hot rods for balancing performance with comfort, luxury with aggressive styling and everyday usability with genuine race-track credentials.The M3 does weigh 23kg more than the M4, but the extra metal needed for its four-door body doesn't blunt its handling or acceleration in any way as it is more towards the back of the car, providing the sedan with an ideal 50:50 weight balance and helping it scorch to 100km/h in an identical 4.1 seconds.
It also has a lower centre of gravity than the E90 M3 sedan as it now features the lightweight carbon reinforced plastic roof that was previously exclusive to the coupe.
If anything, the M3 actually feels marginally more planted under heavy acceleration than the coupe, but that impression could simply be a result of having a fresher set of Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres on the M3 compared to the M4 during the launch of the high-performance twins on the Portimao circuit in Portugal last week.We’ll take the time to dig deeper into it when the M3 and M4 arrive in Australia in June, but the reality is, on first impressions, the sedan doesn’t lack for anything over the coupe.
It does have the same drawbacks too, in terms of road noise generated by those massive Michelins and its synthetic engine sound may not be to everyone’s liking. But it does bring a level of practicality the M4 doesn’t have. The benefits of having two additional doors is obvious if you plan on regularly ferrying four, even though rear leg room isn’t overly generous enough for it to be considered a genuine family car.
But, even if you don’t, the M3 now looks just as aggressive in the metal as the coupe. Personally I like its chubby stance, particularly now that the carbon roof gives it a degree of race-bred style the last one lacked. And considering there’s no variation in specification or performance it makes it harder to justify the $10k premium simply for the style of the coupe.
So, even though the majority of buyers will opt for the M4 over the M3 - with BMW claiming only 15 per cent of its production has been allocated to the sedan - the end result is the legacy of its famous badge is being carried forward by a car that is more than capable of living up the legend.