2008 BMW M3 Review

King of the hill reigns on

2008 BMW M3 Review

The M3 has been under constant fire over the last year. The assault has not come from auto journalists, however, but from virtually every luxury auto maker, who has the M3 in its sights. The bad thing about being number one is that there is nowhere to go but down. The release of the new M3 was eagerly anticipated as word leaked that it would be larger, heavier and offer a V8 powerplant – a first for the marque. Now offering a high strung 4.0L V8, the M3 has launched its counterstrike.


The Audi RS4 and Lexus IS-F in particular are gunning for a portion of the M3’s market share and are out for blood. In an apparent attempt to stave off these direct attacks, the 2009 M3 will offer an option that its competitors had in their favor – four doors. For the first time since 1994, the M3 will be offered as a coupe, convertible and sedan which will no doubt appeal to a wider audience. Faithful M3 owners who need extra space but didn’t have the interest or greenbacks to step up to the M5 have reason to rejoice.



2008+ M3 shares just 20 percent with standard 3 Series.


414hp and 295 ft-lbs of torque generated from high-strung 4.0-liter V8.


Throttle response, steering and suspension stiffness can all be customized and saved.

The differentiation between the other 3-Series models and the top of the heap M3 is far more prevalent than in recent years. One look suggests that the new generation M3 is a much different car, getting behind the wheel proves it. In addition to the updated exterior, the interior has been re-worked in typical but modern BMW style. Surfaces are swathed in brushed aluminum and fine leather exhibiting the coexistence of luxury and performance – M3’s mantra.

The aluminum hood of the M3 bulges from the V8 that resides within, pumping out 414 hp and 295 ft-lbs of torque, while the black Carbon fiber roof reduces weight and lowers the center of gravity. Some 80 percent of the M3 is unique from the ‘regular’ 3-Series.

Perhaps the biggest difference for this all-new seductive sports car is aforementioned two extra cylinders. Whether you plan on using it to commute to the office or tackle the track, the new M3 will not disappoint. The beauty of the new M3 lies in that versatility. The uninitiated may scoff at the premium price tag but buying the M3 is a bargain. If you disagree, calculate the price of a new luxury coupe, sports car with a V8 powerplant and finally a factory car that can dominate the track on weekends. Add the additional insurance, tires and maintenance for those extra cars and then take a look at the price of the M3.


Suspension stiffness, throttle response and steering sensitivity can all be adjusted from the comfort of the highly bolstered, heated drivers’ seat. This means the M3 can literally be as docile or deadly as the driver wants – it has more layers than an onion. Traction control settings allow a variety of experiences ranging from the stern walloping of a mothers’ wooden spoon or a gentle slap on the wrist to the invigorating, ‘I hope you know what you’re doing’ mode. No matter what setting you choose, inputs are predictable and linear to the point where you feel like Hans Stuck after 10 minutes behind the wheel.

Buttons on the console allow two throttle sensitivity settings, three different shock rates, and the opportunity to switch off the stability control altogether. Utilize the often lamented iDrive system to access the Mdrive menu, and the choices become exponential. Additional throttle sensitivity settings, option of sport or normal modes for the Servotronic steering and a race-face setting for the stability control system are all accessible. Settings can be set and saved to be accessed by a simple press of the mystical ‘M’ button mounted on the steering wheel. Dial ‘M’ for maniacal laughter. After fine tuning the settings of the M3 and playing around a little bit, I experienced Carrera-like performance without fear of the tail end coming around on me like 911’s inherently tend to do.

Innovative engineering such as individual throttlebodies allow for quicker, more accurate response times. This advancement, normally found only in race cars, allows for optimal power all the way up to the 8300 rpm redline. My tester was fitted with the 7-speed DCT (Double-Clutch Transmission) which I was initially disappointed about but soon changed my tune, rifling through the gears far quicker than I ever could while operating a clutch. Utilizing two transmission structures, the system switches between the two as not to interrupt power to the rear wheels. Zero to 60mph runs take only 5.1 seconds, which is actually two tenths of a second faster than the manual transmission. Downshifting with the DCT offers up gorgeous rev-matching gurgles that I wish were more audible. The fact that the M3 doesn’t sound nearly as potent as it is, is admittedly disappointing, as I found myself craving a sound match the car’s performance.

PLUS Available in coupe, convertible and sedanOffered with six-speed manual or 7-speed DCTEqually as good on the track and the street

MINUS Exhaust system too quietLacking in torqueiDrive still not as user-friendly as alternatives


In case you haven’t been able to read between the lines thus far, I was suitably impressed with the latest incarnation of the M3. It takes time to become acquainted with the iDrive interface each time I drive a Beemer but it happens slowly. It offers incredible navigation, convenience and communication options but the bottom line is that there are far more simplified, user-friendly systems available. Very little of my time was spent navigating the GPS system as carving back country curves and slaughtering straightaways. Judging from the new M3, its competitors will likely be heading back to the drawing board.

« Back

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.


2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked