BMW’s M3 is nothing short of a legend. What started as a thinly disguised competition 3 Series for the street meant to satisfy a racing series’ rules has graduated into a sophisticated performance heavyweight. Today’s M3 is a four-door sedan (if you want a coupe or convertible, look to the M4) with a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder delivering 425 horsepower. Paired to either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, acceleration is ferocious. 0-60 mph falls in as little as 3.9 seconds. If that’s not quick enough for you, an optional Competition package bumps output to 444 hp.

Some drivers will argue that the rear-wheel-drive M3 has lost much of its finesse and tactility in its bid to generate even more eye-widening performance, and perhaps they have a point. But the 2018 BMW M3 is still a very special car, and thanks in part to continuous improvements to its iDrive infotainment system and updated safety systems, it’s actually a solid daily driver, too. The 2018 BMW M3 starts at $66,500 before options and delivery fees, which puts it right in the hunt with the Mercedes-AMG C63 and Audi’s forthcoming RS5 Sportback.

Editors' Review

Griping about the 2021 BMW M3 Competition's new grille is like shoving a toddler; it's just too easy. Either you've made peace with this car's flared nostrils or you haven't. If the looks tickle your fancy, this Bimmer obliges with explosive acceleration and a wonderfully balanced chassis that begs to be flogged. If you can't stomach the styling, there are plenty of other great cars to spend 74-plus grand on, like an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, an Audi RS5 Sportback or a Mercedes-AMG C63 S.

High-performance luxury

The sixth-generation M3 is slightly larger than before, having ballooned 4.6 inches in length and 0.4 inches in width. Saving some weight, however, the roof is made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic. As for the Competition model, it's a big step above the standard version, offering loads more power and a quick-shifting automatic transmission.

Delivering a luxury experience, the Comp's cabin is loaded with supple leather, miles of laser-straight stitching and better-than-expected comfort. The front buckets are plenty adjustable (even if the backrests are lumpy) and the rear seat is surprisingly spacious, though getting in and out requires some gymnastics. Making this car more versatile than you might expect, those backrests fold down, providing a cavernous amount of cargo space.

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The Good ~ Rip-snorting engine ~ Playful chassis ~ Luxury digs

The Bad ~ So… many… settings… ~ Synthesized steering ~ Raucous Michelins

The Bottom Line The M3 Competition is made for drivers, but you'd better have a computer-science degree.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 9
  • Features 8
  • Design 6
  • Media 8.5

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