2008 BMW M3 Coupe and Sedan new car reviews

Better than: E36 M3
But not as good as: a real unicorn
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 84.98

What's not to like about the very latest chassis from BMW filled with rompin', stompin' V8 goodness? We've already been hugely impressed with its little sister--the 335i--so when the M3 came to the office we were all eager to have a turn with it. Color us lucky, since we were able to test both the Coupe and Sedan forms.

Much to the surprise of nobody, the newest M3 is all the great things that we hoped it would be. If we were surprised by anything, it was the fact that the M3 actually makes a civil street car. Despite the very high performance limits of the car, it doesn't require any special treatment around town. On the contrary, the M3 is hugely comfortable when tooling through city streets. A scale might lead you to believe the car is a bit full-figured at over 3700 pounds, but the ride back home will make you forget the numbers.

Heavy or not, the dynamics of this car are superb whether you have two doors or four. We were split between preferring the naked carbon fiber roof of the coupe and the color-matching (read: metal) roof panel of the sedan.

The sedan version is also about $2700 cheaper than the coupe, although that might be splitting hairs at this price point. Fifty-five thousand dollars is an awfully big check to write, so we would likely start there when it comes to the M3's downsides. Of course, you'll be waiting a long time to find this level of performance for a penny less, so you might as well start saving.

Other staff views

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

By all rights, this car should have been called the M4 because it's simply better than anything before it. Yes, the scales say it's heavier, but you don't feel it. It's faster, it's more comfortable, it does it all. It takes the path blazed by the E36 M3--a do-it-all machine with few compromises--and turns all the knobs up a few more clicks.

And I feel old in saying this, but it's nice to see the four-door M3 return. Honestly, I think I'd go that route. It's almost a sleeper.

Per Schroeder Per Schroeder
PowerDork

Great car--I actually preferred the sedan. I even went shopping with my mother-in-law with it, it's that docile. And later I scared the crap out of her with it, too.

Scott Lear Scott Lear

It’s impossible to give this V8 engine enough praise. It’s everything I love about the B18C5 in my Type R with twice as many cylinders and more than double the horsepower. When I came back from the long lead M3 launch press trip I praised the car so much that Tim thought I’d been drinking the BMW Kool-Aid, but his first drive had a similar effect, apparently. It’s hard not to love this car.

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Comments

View comments on the GRM forums
Quasi Mofo
Quasi Mofo MegaDork
7/8/08 12:24 p.m.

So you are saying the E92 M3 is the E36M3?

Thinkkker
Thinkkker UltraDork
7/18/08 2:52 p.m.

I was able to take one out for a test drive. Its remarkeably well mannered for the power that it has. The car surges into the power band. Its a feel that seems remenice of the F355 I was once in.

The only downsides are in turns you could tell its heft, but it still stuck to the road. Then asked for more. Worst part was getting in the car and having no feel. The clutch was so soft it could have been made with some form of ESP matter that read your mind and actually started pressing it prior to slapping your foot over it. The steering felt like it knew what to do before you. Coming from a ancient tech. '06 Mustang it was quite a wierd sensation. Though after driving for a few miles you adjust and its just a second nature drive. I would like a little more steering feel in it though.

To answer nderwater, I would say yes it is. Though I will withhold full judgement till I can get one to the track and see how well it dances.

vweezly
vweezly New Reader
12/11/08 9:15 a.m.

Whoops...

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Tom Heath
Tom Heath UberDork
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

What's not to like about the very latest chassis from BMW filled with rompin', stompin' V8 goodness? We've already been hugely impressed with its little sister--the 335i--so when the M3 came to the office we were all eager to have a turn with it. Color us lucky, since we were able to test both the Coupe and Sedan forms.

Much to the surprise of nobody, the newest M3 is all the great things that we hoped it would be. If we were surprised by anything, it was the fact that the M3 actually makes a civil street car. Despite the very high performance limits of the car, it doesn't require any special treatment around town. On the contrary, the M3 is hugely comfortable when tooling through city streets. A scale might lead you to believe the car is a bit full-figured at over 3700 pounds, but the ride back home will make you forget the numbers.

Heavy or not, the dynamics of this car are superb whether you have two doors or four. We were split between preferring the naked carbon fiber roof of the coupe and the color-matching (read: metal) roof panel of the sedan.

The sedan version is also about $2700 cheaper than the coupe, although that might be splitting hairs at this price point. Fifty-five thousand dollars is an awfully big check to write, so we would likely start there when it comes to the M3's downsides. Of course, you'll be waiting a long time to find this level of performance for a penny less, so you might as well start saving.

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