2015 BMW M3 Long-Term Arrival
Let's get one thing perfectly clear: The bar could not be higher for the 2015 BMW M3 as it enters our long-term fleet. BMW defined the sports sedan segment, first with the 2002 and then the 3 Series. The M3 has been the ultimate expression of the four-door sports car since the arrival of the E36 M3 saloon in 1997. Now in its fifth iteration, the F80 M3 makes something of a return to its roots. After a generational foray into V-8 territory, an inline-six is back, now boosted by direct injection and twin turbochargers.
Associate road test editor Carlos Lago picked up our long-term M3 immediately after the BMW's U.S. launch program at Road America, Wisconsin, and road-tripped it 2000 miles back to our office in Los Angeles. What's up with the color? It's an optional paint job BMW calls Austin Yellow Metallic, and if you like turning heads and hearing wolf whistles, it's worth every bit of the $500 charge, especially when paired with the standard glossy black carbon-fiber roof and murdered-out, double-spoke, 19-inch alloy wheels ($1200).
As the paint would indicate, somebody in the BMW press office had fun speccing out this particular M3; along with shocking paint and fancy wheels, the boxes for a seven-speed double-clutch transmission ($2900) and carbon-ceramic brakes ($8150) were checked. The only performance-oriented feature not selected was the $1000 adaptive M suspension.
For a base price of $62,925, you get standard features including 10-way power adjustable and heated front seats, carbon-fiber interior trim, power-folding carbon-fiber mirrors, and a navigation system controlled by BMW's touchpad iDrive controller. Adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams added $1900, and enhanced USB/Bluetooth/smartphone connectivity was another $500. Smartkey access and any kind of backup camera or parking radar is strangely absent from this vehicle—the former is available in the $4300 Executive Package, the latter in the $1900 Driver Assistance Plus bundle or separately for $750. Our M3 totals $78,125. Is that too much to pay for the ultimate, Ultimate Driving Machine? Are the light-up M badges on the driver's seat a sign that the bloodline has been besmirched? What has been lost or gained in the move to a twin-turbo inline-six? And most important: Will it surf?
I look forward to answering these questions in the coming months. Hang on.
|2015 BMW M3|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$78,125|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||3.0L/425-hp/406-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve I-6|
|TRANSMISSION||7-speed twin-clutch auto.|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3571 lb (52/48%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||184.5 x 73.9 x 56.1 in|
|0-60 MPH||3.9 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||12.2 sec @ 117.3 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||99 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.99 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||24.0 sec @ 0.85 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||17/24/19 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||198/140 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.99 lb/mile|