The cars we loved.
For many car enthusiasts (myself included) the BMW M3 represents the holy grail of automotive performance. It’s styling, high power to weight ratio and finely tuned chassis make it one of the best all-around performance cars at any price. One of the big pluses is that all that performance is wrapped in a practical coupe or sedan form factor.
M3’s as sedans were a new concept with the E36 in the mid 90’s but skipped the E46 generation altogether. Enthusiast clamored for an M3 sedan, but the closest BMW would come was in various sport packages that used some aspects of the M3 coupe, but not a complete package.
Enter 2009. About three years after the introduction of the new E90 and a year after the M3 coupe variant, BMW unveiled the sedan to enthusiastic crowds at the Frankfurt auto show. Performance test have shown that the sedan gives up nothing to the coupe, even with a slight weight penalty. Both cars use the same all new 4.0 L V8 (a first for any 3 series) sending 414 hp to the rear wheels. The new V8 is considered one of the lightest V8s in the world weighing less than the previous car’s 6. This was a big jump from the twin turbos in lesser 3 series cars that had caught up with the power ratings of the previous generation M3.
The coupe and sedan share the same transmissions: either a 6 speed manual or a double clutch (M-DCT) automatic with a manual mode. Unlike the last M3 sedan, the E90 shares the coupes front end, but is slightly shorter. The new emphasis on power was not at the expense of the cars ride quality and road manners. The high revving V8’s efficiency was nothing to brag about, but got slightly better gas mileage than the old 6 cylinder E46 M3.
Of course the M3 sedan came with all the creature comforts expected in a $60k, but could become even more expensive when outfitted with one of BMW’s packages with features that would other wise be standard in a Fusion or Accord like universal garage door openers or navigation systems.