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      05-21-2009, 11:28 PM   #1
Max74
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Thumbs up 2009 BMW M3: The World’s Greatest All-Around Car (Motor Trend)

2009 BMW M3: The World’s Greatest All-Around Car

http://blogs.motortrend.com/6545156/...car/index.html

I took our long-term 2009 BMW M3 sedan out again yesterday, a long afternoon drive and then home, and more than ever I’m convinced this is the single finest all-around automobile in the world. Sure, myriad other cars have their talents—the scream and Gucci-chic of a Ferrari, the awesome power of the ZR1, the try-and-stop-me capability of a Land Rover, the elegance and comfort of a big Benz. But probably no other car combines so many virtues—speed, handling, good looks, roominess, practicality—into one package. And few cars of any kind are executed so well. Driving the M3 is an absolutely blissful experience, flooding your brain with dopamine as if you were arriving to courtside seats at the Lakers game with Jennifer Connelly on your arm.

First, the M3 fits my six-foot frame perfectly, as if it had been hand-cut and sewn just for me by a Savile Row tailor for automobiles. A few tweaks of the seat controls (our test car sports the standard black cloth with leather trim), a shift of the steering wheel, and I’m as well-positioned and locked-in as if I were strapped into a formula race car. The huge aluminum dead pedal provides a perfect brace for my left foot. A swell of lumbar support in the driver’s seat pushes in on my lower back just-so. The beefy, leather M Sport steering wheel is just the right diameter, and it feels great in my hands. The paddle shifters for the dual-clutch transmission move with the wheel—as they should—and sit just behind the rim, an effortless reach for your fingertips. Optional carbon leather interior trim ($500) adds a nice touch of drama to the businesslike cockpit. I still don’t adore the iDrive system, but it’s simpler to use than before and the new high-res display is terrific.

The engine lights off with a push of a starter button. Man, what a motor. The 32-valve V-8 boasts variable valve timing, a throttle butterfly for each cylinder, and an 8400-rpm redline. If 100 horsepower per liter is a magic number, the sign of a true athlete, then the M3’s mill is a gold medalist: the 4.0-liter V-8 makes 414 naturally aspirated horsepower. Mated to it (for an additional $2900) is one of the world’s best transmissions: a seven-speed, DSG auto-clutch manual that’s both smooth when pulling off the line and almost seamless when you’re cracking off upshifts and downshifts.

The powertrain alone would wow any driver, but the M3 is also gifted with a chassis that borders on the sublime. Standard Electronic Damping Control (with Comfort, Normal, and Sport modes) constantly adjusts the shocks, and you feel it in a ride that seems to glide over the asphalt. The chassis tuning is almost magical: Handling is always ultra-precise and controlled, yet the ride doesn’t beat you up, even in Sport mode. The steering is power-assisted (a variable ratio that changes with vehicle speed), but you’d never know it. It’s that smooth and direct. Gobs of grib on tap, too.

The result is a sedan for all reasons. With its practical shape—four doors and a decent trunk—and driving civility, the M3 can easily serve as a family car for transporting the wife and kids to the Saturday play date. Then you—heh heh—can sneak off and, in the same car, have a driving experience on your favorite mountain passes that’ll leave you feeling like you’ve just competed in a Grand Prix. The M3 is that sensational, from the bawl and thrust of its engine to the electric-switch responsiveness of the paddle shifters to the grip and precision of its magic-carpet suspension.

My favorite part is the optional M Drive button (part of the $3250 Technology package), which allows you to tailor everything from engine responsiveness to EDC mode to how much the Dynamic Stability Control
system steps in. Set everything up to your liking using iDrive, then a single push of the M button summons all your preselected settings. It’s like finding a $20 bill in your jeans. You’re driving along in standard mode, and the M3 is just blowing you away with how responsive and quick and sure-footed it is, and you’re perfectly happy, and then you remember, “Wait! I still haven’t used M Drive!” Then you push the little M button on the wheel and the M3 instantly becomes . . . even faster and more electrifying. It’s a quick-change act that never fails to thrill.

For all of the above reasons, and more, I vote the M3 the world’s finest all-around car. Sure, our long-term Nissan GT-R is dazzling to drive, and much quicker, but it’s nowhere near as livable as the M3, a machine that’s plenty quick already. At $54,850 base and $68,270 as-tested, our M3 sedan delivers the driving grins of sports cars costing three or more times as much, plus a versatility that enables it to play the role of The Only Car in the Family. It looks great, too, I might add—clean and sleek but bulging with muscle (tastefully, not via rear wings and giant hood scoops).

I can’t think of another automobile that does so many things so well—and in such a right-sized package. If you put an F1 car and a premium sedan in a blender, the M3 would be the cocktail that pours out. Mmmm, nothing else like it. A toast then: To the BMW M3, the greatest all-around car in the world.

photos by Brian Vance and William Walker


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      05-21-2009, 11:34 PM   #2
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Great read, thanks Where the Wild Things Are guy!
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      05-21-2009, 11:38 PM   #3
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Nice find! I couldn't agree more.
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      05-21-2009, 11:41 PM   #4
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      05-21-2009, 11:41 PM   #5
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not news to me. thats why i bought it. i concur.
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      05-21-2009, 11:48 PM   #6
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Thanks for sharing. Totally agree. 4 door = family car
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      05-21-2009, 11:58 PM   #7
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Everybody knows that a 335i with a chip is the better car
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      05-22-2009, 01:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PorscheRacer View Post
Everybody knows that a 335i with a chip is the better car
better than 328i
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      05-22-2009, 01:38 AM   #9
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Nice article! The article praises the DCT tranny, M mode, and even the high-resolution nav system.....But the funny thing is that I didn't order any of those with my M3 since I just wanted a pure drivers M3 with a 6 speed manual. No regrets!
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      05-22-2009, 01:40 AM   #10
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"Driving the M3 is an absolutely blissful experience, flooding your brain with dopamine as if you were arriving to courtside seats at the Lakers game with Jennifer Connelly on your arm."

09 M3 FTW!
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      05-22-2009, 05:57 AM   #11
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Although somewhat biased, I must agree!
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      05-22-2009, 06:01 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doba_s View Post
better than 328i
lol +1
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      05-22-2009, 06:20 AM   #13
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+1 nice article
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      05-22-2009, 09:13 AM   #14
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EVeryone in that blog is die-hard crazy for the CTS-V and not so crazy about the M3's price. But good ego boosting M3 driver read
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      05-22-2009, 09:58 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nawaaz View Post
Nice article! The article praises the DCT tranny, M mode, and even the high-resolution nav system.....But the funny thing is that I didn't order any of those with my M3 since I just wanted a pure drivers M3 with a 6 speed manual. No regrets!
Same here!
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      05-22-2009, 10:20 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doba_s View Post
better than 328i


I was gonna say "better than a 335 without a chip"
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      05-22-2009, 10:33 AM   #17
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great read...thanks. interesting comments from some of the other readers at the bottom of that page. makes you wonder where some people come up with the stuff they say.
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      05-22-2009, 10:35 AM   #18
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Completely agree with the article. I still prefer my manual, but that's why they make chocolate AND vanilla.
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      05-22-2009, 11:59 AM   #19
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      05-22-2009, 12:16 PM   #20
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Agreed. When faced with the option to replace my M3 with any other pratical daily driver I am hard pressed to think of a car I would rather have in any price range.
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      05-22-2009, 01:07 PM   #21
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Nice find...thanks!
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      05-22-2009, 01:20 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Windy View Post
great read...thanks. interesting comments from some of the other readers at the bottom of that page. makes you wonder where some people come up with the stuff they say.
They are magazine racers. I was in a similar thought process before driving the M3. On paper, the C63 and CTS-V seem to pretty much have the M3 covered. Even the IS-F looks pretty good performance wise. I like the M3 styling the best but I didn't think the torque of the M3 would be enough for me....until I drove one. What a revelation! I've owned all sorts of fun and fairly exotic cars but the M3 puts everything together in the perfect package. It is a civilized family 4 door when I want it to be and a track eating animal when the kids are left home.

I drove the IS-F (back breaking suspension) and C63 (nice car but doesn't handle and feels heavy). I didn't drive the CTS-V because I can't get past the styling and I fear GM will tank.

That's my $.02
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