The BMW M3 has madness in it. Its standard powerplant produces 473 horsepower from a twin-turbo straight-six, shoots it through a six-speed manual transmission, and wastes no time sending it to the rear tires. And that’s just the beginning. The M3 Competition, which is only offered with an eight-speed automatic, boosts horsepower to 503 and is offered with your choice of rear- or all-wheel drive. With all that power, you’d think the M3 wouldn’t be able to slow down, but even when driven at law-abiding speeds, it’s pretty good. While rivals like the Cadillac CT4-V Blackwing and the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio sometimes feel more refined and less edgy, there’s no wrong choice between the three brands’ super sedans. For a better experience, there’s the all-new M3 CS for 2024. It drops an estimated 75 pounds from the base M3 and hammers the pavement with 543 horsepower and all-wheel drive.
What’s New for 2024?
The BMW M3 just got crazier for 2024 with a limited-edition M3 CS model that boosts horsepower to 543 from 503. The lightweight material shaves an estimated 75 pounds off the regular M3. It will use an eight-speed automatic with all-wheel drive, ensuring a blistering launch. The M3 CS gets its own suspension tuning, as well as red or black brake calipers behind the M light alloy wheels. And of course the exclusive M3 CS Dynamic M Mode offers an aggressive track driving mode. Equipped with Michelin rubberized Pilot Sport Cup 2 track-focused tires, a no-cost option, this will probably be the fastest M3 we’ve ever tested.
Price and Which One to Buy
It’s a shame the more powerful M3 Competition is only offered with an automatic transmission because the six-speed manual on the base version is very satisfying. We understand why some people would gravitate to the M3 Comp–its extra power and available all-wheel drive ($4100 extra) for starters–but we prefer the manual—which also rides better. Apart from the subjective choice of exterior and interior styling, we recommend that you choose the M Drive Professional package (with onboard drift analyzer and lap timer) and the M Driver package (unlocks a higher top speed and includes a high-performance driving class).
Engine, Transmission and Performance
Just like the M4 coupe, the M3 sedan features a twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six. The regular version sends 473 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. A six-speed manual is the only transmission offered. The M3 Competition’s engine is more powerful, generating 503 horses and 479 pound-feet, but it’s only offered with an eight-speed automatic. The M3 Comp comes standard with rear-wheel drive, but it’s also available with an all-wheel drive system that includes a rear-wheel drive mode. The limited production M3 CS increases power to 543 with 479 pound-feet of torque. Every M3 also has adaptive dampers and adjustable brake pedal feel. The sedan can be equipped with stronger carbon ceramic brakes, which feature cool gold-painted calipers. we first drive of the regular M3 and the Competition variant show off their ability to do some creepy drifting, which is encouraged by the optional M Drift Analyzer (part of the M Drive professional package). We also fell in love with the manual gearbox’s satisfying shifts, and we were also pleased with the engine’s steady acceleration. However, when compared to the greedy Alfa Romeo Giulia QuadrifoglioThe M3 isn’t exactly an immersive, connected-to-the-car driving experience.
Real World Fuel Economy and MPG
The M3 sedan is rated at up to 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. Adding all-wheel drive drops its highway estimate to 22 mpg. Real-world highway fuel economy proved impressive, beating its EPA estimate by earning 32 mpg on our highway test loop—which is part of our extensive testing regimen. For more information on the M3’s fuel economy, visit the website EPA website.
Interior, Comfort and Cargo
Aside from the unique “M” badge and different trim details, the interior of the M3 is essentially the same as in the regular 3 series. This means the M3 has the same design, passenger space and outward visibility as its more pedestrian counterpart. While M cars are known for better performance, they also meet or exceed the top 3 series in terms of interior materials and build quality. Not surprisingly, the M3 has more carbon fiber and microsuede accents for a racier aesthetic. The driver faces a large curved digital gauge cluster that will switch to M View in sportier driving modes; it’s activated via a prominent red button on the M3’s fat steering wheel. Switching to M View adds a shift indicator and replaces the regular tachometer with an easier-to-read one. A set of very supportive and lightweight front seats is available (standard on the Competition) and provides exceptional support without sacrificing much comfort, although that may not be true on long road trips.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The M3’s infotainment system runs through a 12.3-inch touchscreen that is manipulated primarily through rotary knobs and buttons on the center console. The system has multiple charging ports and a selection of standard and optional features. Alhamdulillah, BMW no longer requires a paid subscription for Apple CarPlay and finally have used Android Auto. Both are standard along with a Harman/Kardon sound system and a year’s subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio. The system can be optioned with gesture control, a subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot and a wireless charging pad.
Safety Features and Driver Assistance
While driver involvement is BMW’s top priority with its M cars, the sedan has a list of standard and options. driver assistance technology.
For more information on M3 crash test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) website. Key safety features include:
- Standard blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert
- Standard lane departure warning and lane keeping assist
- Adaptive cruise control is available
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
BMW includes a limited warranty and a powertrain that’s in line with rivals like Audi and Mercedes-AMG. It also provides longer free scheduled maintenance than the alternative, however, it is still shorter than what Jaguar provides.
- The limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Free maintenance covered for three years or 36,000 miles
BMW M3 Competition 2021
Vehicle Type: front engine, rear wheel drive, 5 passenger, 4 door sedan
Base/As Tested: $73,795/$93,495
Options: M carbon-ceramic brakes, $8150; Executive package, $3000; silverstone/black merino full leather, $2550; Driver’s M Package, $2500, Tanzanite Blue II Metallic Paint, $1950; M Drive Professional, $900, front ventilated seats, $350; individual shadow line lights, $300
twin turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve inline-6, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 183 in32993 cm3
Power: 503 @ 6250 rpm
Torque: 479 @ 2750 rpm
Suspension, F/R: multi-link/multi-link
Brakes, F/R: 15.7-in vented, cross-drilled carbon-ceramic discs/15.0-in vented, cross-drilled carbon-ceramic discs
Tires: Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
F: 275/35R-19 (100Y) ★
R: 285/30R-20 (99Y) ★
Wheelbase: 112.5 inches
Length: 189.1 in
Width: 74.3 inches
Height: 56.4 inches
Passenger Volume: 96 feet3
Trunk Volume: 13 feet3
Curb Weight: 3820 lb
C/D TEST RESULT
60 mph: 3.5 seconds
100 mph: 7.6 seconds
1/4-Mile: 11.6 seconds @ 124 mph
130 mph: 12.8 seconds
150 mph: 18.3 seconds
The above results leave a 1 foot launch for 0.2 seconds.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 4.5 seconds
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 2.4 seconds
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 2.7 seconds
Top Speed (claimed mfr): 180 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 150 feet
Braking, 100–0 mph: 297 feet
Road grip, 300 ft Skid Pad: 1.03 g
C/D OIL ECONOMY
Observed: 22 mpg
75-mph Highway Drive: 32 mpg
Freeway Range: 490 mi
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 19/16/23 mpg
More Features and Specifications