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Long Term Update 5: 2009 BMW M3

Ron Kiino
Apr 5, 2010
Photographers: Brian Vance
"A friend who owns the coupe version of this latest-gen M3 says each car should come with a Valentine 1 radar detector standard," opines Web editor Kirill Ougarov. "He's right, because that 8300-rpm redline is constantly tempting you to mash the M button, drop a couple gears, and stomp on the throttle, regardless of how far over the speed limit you'll end up as a result. Speaking of dropping gears, the dual-clutch automatic transmission is amazing as a "manual" transmission, shifting faster than any mortal could ever hope for, but it's not that good as an automatic. It's sluggish at slow speeds unless you bury the throttle in the floor, and I could make no sense of its shift logic.
Photo 2/2   |   2009 BMW M3 Front Three Quarters View
"Sometimes it would downshift, sometimes it wouldn't. With its tendency to shift all the way to seventh as fast as possible -- or to hold third or fourth unnecessarily long, depending on the setting -- timing lane changes through traffic is a challenge. If it were my money, I'd probably skip the DCT and opt for the three-pedal six-speed manual, but I'm one of those silly purists."

2009 BMW M3
Months/miles in service 12/19,581
Avg econ/CO2 16.0 mpg/1.21 lb/mi
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $0 (oil change/inspection/replace engine air filter)
Normal-wear cost $0
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