ENGINE 2993cc 6cyl, DOHC, 24v, t/turbo
POWER 375kW @ 5510-7500rpm
TORQUE 650Nm @ 2700-5510rpm
0-100KM/H 3.9sec (claimed)
WEIGHT 1730kg PRICE $149,900
LIKE: Ripping straight-six soundtrack; pace; body control; clever electronics
DISLIKE: Overall weight and size; manual model is power capped
HINDSIGHT IS NEVER 20:20. More often than not, it’s an unreliable lens, surreptitiously depriving us of context. Take the BMW M3. The established narrative, moulded over time, is that the last generation M3 w as a bit of a miss, that the original E30 version was the stripped-out motorsport hero and that AMG has finally got M’s number in this sector. Viewed in the round, none of these statements are wholly true. We’re at the launch of the sixth generation M3, the G80, hoping to see how it fits into Munich’s version of history.
It’s a hugely significant car. BMW M boss Markus Flasch has already outlined his masterplan for this vehicle. At the vanguard are the 353kW six-speed manual M3 and 375kW eight-speed torqueconverter auto M3 Competition sedans, the latter of which is idling in pit lane at Phillip Island. Waiting in the wings for launch later this year are all-wheel drive versions and, for 2022, the mouthwatering prospect of the first M3 Touring. It’s building on some solid foundations. The F80 was easily the biggest selling M3 to date, shifting more units in any year of its existence than the E30 M3 did in total over its five-year lifespan. It also nearly doubled the sales of its V8-powered E90/E92 predecessor, helping BMW M better AMG’s global sales figures for the past two years.
But while you seemed to love buying the F80, BMW’s first turbocharged M3, we were never quite so sold. Drive one really hard and they could feel spookily malevolent, a triple threat of spiky torque delivery, an oversquare stance and inconsistent steering response never quite being massaged into servility by the clever electronic control systems. If it was a cheese, it’d be labelled strong and bitey.
BMW has listened to this feedback and delivered a vehicle with a longer wheelbase, a far stiffer front end, a more predictably plateaued torque curve and better steering. Job done? Not so quick. In doing so, the weight of this auto M3 Competition has crept up from its predecessor’s 1560kg to 1730kg, a hefty 11 per cent climb. That’s huge.
There’s the same sense that the M3 has let its belt out a little when settling into the cabin. It’s airy and spacious. Motor the seat down and you have ruckman levels of headroom. Again, the numbers are telling. Its footprint on the road comfortably eclipses that of, say, a Bangle-era M5 V10. Thankfully BMW has amped up the sense of occasion inside. It’s still not AMG levels of jingle-jangle, but the touch points are higher quality, the cabin’s slathered in carbon fibre trim fillets and the Merino leather seats, the standard head-up display, Harman Kardon stereo and laser headlight shifters all speak of laudable attention to detail.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
THE GR YARIS LEFT US A LITTLE NONPLUSSED. NOW THAT THE RALLYE VERSION HAS LANDED IT’S TIME TO SEE WHAT ALL THE FUSS IS ABOUT. CUE SOME HARD DATA
AS LOTUS’ HARDTOP HERO PREPARES TO BOW OUT, WE GATHER THE KEY MODELS FOR ONE FINAL THRASH
IF ANY BRAND CAN MAKE AN ELECTRIC FUTURE EXCITING, IT’S PORSCHE. BUT IS ITS BRAVE NEW WORLD BETTER THAN THE PRESENT ICON?
What do you buy when you can have it all?
Porsche 911 GT3
How do you improve on virtual perfection?
When opting for the ‘base model’ isn’t a bad idea
BMW M4 Competition
Coupe shrugs off the weight of expectation
Maserati Ghibli Trofeo
For those who dare to be different, but is it nuts enough?
Forget Hybrid We're Going Straight To Electric
LOTUS IS GOING ALL-IN on pure electric cars, as part of a $180m-plus investment in its Hethel headquarters and engineering capabilities. In his first interview, Lotus Cars managing director Matt Windle reveals how future sports cars will be pure electric, that Chinese-built ‘lifestyle vehicles’ will also be zero-emission and how Lotus is developing its own architectures, rather than modifying Geely platforms.
Fly The Coupes
You don’t have to like monster coupe suvs, but at least you’ll now know in which order to rank them
BMW R – Zillers' Killer
A bespoke bike created from a BMW R nineT blasts out of Russia
AUTOMAKERS BMW, VOLVO BACK MORATORIUM ON DEEP SEABED MINING
Automakers BMW and Volvo announced that they support a moratorium on deep seabed mining for minerals used in electric vehicle batteries and other products.
GERMAN AUTOMAKER BMW RAMPS UP ELECTRIC VEHICLE OFFERINGS
German automaker BMW said this week it intends to speed the rollout of new electric cars, vowing to bring battery-powered models to 50% of global sales by 2030. The company underlined the point by unveiling a new allelectric model three months ahead of plan.
How four master builders defined the path of the 2021 BMW R 18
Flying the FW 190
A legend gets checked out in the Butcher Bird
NEW BMW HAS CLASSIC GRILLE BUT FOR SENSORS, NOT AIRFLOW
German luxury automaker BMW on Wednesday gave an early look at a new battery-driven SUV that illustrates the company’s future plans for electric-powered driving.
KYOSHO BMW X7
1:18 | $160 no. K08951PBL
How close do you need to get?
SIMPLY THE PITS!
SPEED DEMON SCARES HIS KIDS
OttOmobile Honda S2000 Type S
Sharper Edged Club Racing Roadster