An extraordinary car, the BMW M3 uses technology to stiffen its suspension and make lightning-quick shifts. Its M button serves as a programmable macro that the driver can use to activate one of 132 different driving profiles.
The fourth generation of the M3, designated E92 in coupe form, marks the first time BMW has put an eight-cylinder engine in this series of car. The M3, based on the latest 3-series, gets many performance tech upgrades unavailable in the standard-series car.
With this generation of M3, BMW smoothed out most of the hard lines from past versions of the car and minimized external ornamentation. But the two-piece kidney grille remains as a signature piece of BMW design, as does the Hofmeister kink on the rear side window.
The coupe body shows that this M3 means business, as opposed to the sedan and convertible body style also available for the current M3. Rear seat room is, as can be expected, tight, but the front is very comfortable.
Electronic Damping Control is a feature that gives the M3 three different settings for the suspension. In Comfort mode, it feels like most sports cars, rigid but with some give. In full Sport mode the suspension increases rigidity, pushing tires to pavement.
Optioned as this car is, the cabin looks very clean. There is no navigation screen, and the double-clutch transmission's shifter barely rises above the console. Manually adjustable seats are another weight reduction feature.
The dual-clutch transmission shifts quickly and with hard engagement. During downshifts, the car blips the accelerator to better match revs, making for smooth gear changes. This transmission option also brings in 11 drive programs that make shifts more or less aggressive.