"Spectacular marriage of performance and technology."5.0 starson by HowardFox
Pros: The M3 is incredibly fun to drive. Huge amounts of tech have gone into the drive-train from the engine and transmission to the dynamic suspension. Very generous amounts of power are available and put to the ground in perfect proportions.
Cons: Despite the utilized technology, the drive-train can feel downright cantankerous at times. One must remember, however, that this BMW wasn't designed with the same objectives as their uber-luxury 7-series. The M3 gulps fuel even if driven sedately.
Summary: The M3 is really and simply a perfect combination of components that provide an incredibly fun all-around driving experience. Both inside and out, the driver is treated with aesthetically pleasing sights, sounds and sensations. The car literally begs to be driven aggressively, but can as easily function with graceful aplomb. Interior technology and functionality make the captain's chair a goose-bump-producing location. Opt for navigation, satellite radio, choice of leathers and other interior "essentials", and the driver is pampered with a complete package of luxury performance. My personal opinion is that any potential owner should opt for the 7-speed, dual-clutch transmission (DCT) instead of the 6-speed manual. Use of the DCT with various selectable "M Drive" features makes the engine/tranny combination unbeatable in responsiveness. Add the dynamically adjusted (also selectable) suspension components and the combination completes a quite mesmerizing Sunday drive. Actually, it may simply be impossible to prevent oneself from driving the M3 every, single day.
This all comes at a price, of course. The base price is not for the weak-of-heart, and tricked-out, the sticker could (literally) shock you. The best option, in my opinion, is to (very) patiently wait for a late-model, low-mileage, certified pre-owned model, and snatch it up as quickly as possible. If you're lucky enough to find one, it most certainly won't be on the lot for long.
Fuel expense will also be an issue for many; the small-displacement but very high-revving, 8-cylinder engine will, again despite an incredible array of technology, guzzle the required 91+ octane gas. That said, though, the 4-year/50,000 mile warranty comes with all of the regularly scheduled maintenance thrown in, so the oil change money can help offset the fuel costs.
More and more cars in the M3's class seem to be making their way to market these days, of which many come in at a less hair-raising price point. What your dollars buys you in the M3, however, rarely encounters much legitimate competition. In the words of Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson (add perfect British accent here), "It's simply the best car in the world." (Well, that's the quotation as I remember it anyway. I couldn't find the YouTube video to link - sorry...)
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