Long Term Update 4: 2009 BMW M3
"After a rainstorm, when the skies cleared, I took a brisk drive through the mountains," notes assistant Web producer Carlos Lago. "With one light illuminated on the power button, two on the EDC, the M3 becomes keener; its visceral side begins to show. The M3 retains the smoothness and tractability, but ups the sensation of each corner and the rate at which you pass through them. It's a wonderful feeling, one that generates awe and inspires confidence in equal measure. There is no road long enough for the M3."
Lago also gets warm fuzzies over the M3's transmission. "The DCT, in automatic mode, has an otherworldly smoothness. The shifts happen so quickly, but without tactile indication. If it weren't for the display in the dash, it'd be hard to know the current gear. Manual mode is just as impressive: It delivers shifts three seconds before your brain perceives them. Toe to toe, a manual transmission doesn't compare."
|2009 BMW M3|
|Months/miles in service||10/16,943|
|Avg econ/CO2||16.0 mpg/1.21 lb/mi|
|Maintenance cost||$0 (oil change/inspection/replace engine air filter)|