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It could be the ultimate compact rear-wheel-drive high performance car

Our Verdict

BMW M3 Coupé
Anyone who drives this car and yearns for more straight-line performance clearly has power issues

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2 August 2009

What is it?

BMW has enhanced the seminal two-door version of their performance icon, the M3 coupe, with a model called the Coupe Edition.

It sports some new colours and body bits, some dark chrome treatments, a 10mm lower ride height, and a series of subtle but telling interior changes that do just enough to justify a special name.

What’s it like?

You’re talking about a compact car with a 420 bhp, 4.0-litre V8 in the nose, driving the rear wheels through a seven-speed paddle-shift gearbox.

The coupe already has quite a few advantages: a smaller frontal area than the saloon and a lower seating position, plus lower weight (fewer doors) and a lower centre of gravity (courtesy of a carbon fibre roof that shaves 15kg from an equivalent steel structure).

Throw in this new Editon model’s 10mm lower ride height for what BMW primly calls “enhanced dynamic capability”, plus the fact that it can come equipped with a super-looking set of black 19-inch wheels, and you’d be within your rights to conclude that this is the best BMW M3 of them all.

This matter is best confirmed on a circuit such as the Bedford Autodrome, which is where we tested the M3 Coupe Edition during a BMW track day.

The car has true powerhouse performance, usable right up to its 155 mph electronic limit, and the howl of the V8, rev-limited at 8400 rpm, provides sound effects to match.

The smooth, super-quick gearshifts of the seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox (a distinctly pricey option at £2500) make the car far easier for most normal mortals to drive in anger, something you especially notice as you flick down three gears to pile into one of Bedford’s hairpins from 130 mph-plus down the straight.

The car turns brilliantly, throttle-steers beautifully, resists body roll very well and its brakes are huge and fantastically effective at washing away speed without apparent effort.

Does this coupe handle better than the other M3 versions? It’s arguable, given its slight chassis advantage. But it feels a lot like its siblings, too.

The M3 Coupe Edition powerslides at the limit of grip with a predictability that is flattering, entertaining, and if sparingly used, pretty damned fast on the right circuit.

For sheer predictability it shades most supercars, which tend to have more complicated mechanical layouts.

Should I buy one?

If you do, you’ll spend £60,000 by the time you have the right suspension and gearbox, wheels and tyres. That’s 911 money, and to some eyes it seems a lot given that there’s there’s a BMW 320d two-door that shares most of its two-door shape.

The key to perceiving an M3’s value is driving it. Spend time with the Coupe Edition on road and track and we’ll be astonished if it doesn’t strike you as something close to the ultimate expression of a compact rear-wheel-drive high performance car.

For its combination of high ability with accessibility to decent-but-ordinary drivers, no rival comes close.

Join the debate

Comments
14

4 August 2009

[quote Autocar]

At last, BMW has launched the long-awaited Coupe edition of its performance icon, the M3.


Given that BMW already makes saloon and coupe-cabrio versions, a coupe has been overdue for ages

[/quote]

I might be wrong, but I think the coupe version of the current M3 is already on sale. I believe it went on sale before the 4 door?

4 August 2009

[quote bangertastic]

[quote Autocar]

At last, BMW has launched the long-awaited Coupe edition of its performance icon, the M3.


Given that BMW already makes saloon and coupe-cabrio versions, a coupe has been overdue for ages

[/quote]

I might be wrong, but I think the coupe version of the current M3 is already on sale. I believe it went on sale before the 4 door?

[/quote]

It's poorly worded (unusual for Steve Cropley). It's the coupe/convertable version not the coupe.

4 August 2009

[quote Lee23404]

[quote bangertastic]

[quote Autocar]

At last, BMW has launched the long-awaited Coupe edition of its performance icon, the M3.


Given that BMW already makes saloon and coupe-cabrio versions, a coupe has been overdue for ages

[/quote]

I might be wrong, but I think the coupe version of the current M3 is already on sale. I believe it went on sale before the 4 door?

[/quote]

It's poorly worded (unusual for Steve Cropley). It's the coupe/convertable version not the coupe.

[/quote]

No wait, I'm confused now. It's not the CC it's a special edition version of the coupe, I think. I have only skimmed the article but exactly what's being tested should have been clear from the start shouldn't it Steve?

4 August 2009

[quote bangertastic]I might be wrong, but I think the coupe version of the current M3 is already on sale. I believe it went on sale before the 4 door?[/quote]

Exactly banger. If you knew nothing about cars you'd assume this 'Edition' was the 1st coupe iteration of the current generation M3. What an oddly-worded article...


4 August 2009

Come on BMW - strip 150kg out of it. 250kg if you possibly can. That'd be worth buying.

4 August 2009

I am sure the Coupe was out first...

[quote theonlydt]Come on BMW - strip 150kg out of it. 250kg if you possibly can. That'd be worth buying.[/quote]

I have to agree - add lightness and it will fly.

4 August 2009

[quote theonlydt]Come on BMW - strip 150kg out of it. 250kg if you possibly can. That'd be worth buying.[/quote]

That's far too easy and they'd have trouble justifying the extra cost, especially if it was with parts removed and not replaced with carbon fibre.

I agree though, lets have a proper M3.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

4 August 2009

Regardless of how "enhanced" this car actually is, when sales are down in your biggest market by 27%, when you're posting a 158 million euro loss against a 325 million euro profit the previous year, and when you've been in the news for quitting the most high-profile motorsport in the world, launching a sixty grand motorsport version of one of the most common sights on western roads - a bloody 3-Series - seems like madness to me.

4 August 2009

[quote ThwartedEfforts]Regardless of how "enhanced" this car actually is, when sales are down in your biggest market by 27%, when you're posting a 158 million euro loss against a 325 million euro profit the previous year, and when you've been in the news for quitting the most high-profile motorsport in the world, launching a sixty grand motorsport version of one of the most common sights on western roads - a bloody 3-Series - seems like madness to me.[/quote]

I don't know Thwarts, according to this piece, although sales and profits are down, BMW are still making money.

An extract:

[quote] "...Carmaker BMW has said it sees few signs of a lasting economic recovery after it reported profits down by three-quarters for the April to June period. Net profit was 121m euros ($174m; £103m), down 76% from a year ago, with car sales down by nearly a fifth...."[/quote]

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8182816.stm

5 August 2009

Is it Cropley's fault it's a strangely worded (and evidently unproofed article), or is it BMW's fault for giving this new model a very crappy name? The "Coupe edition" sounds like something Hyundai would put out.

Either way, I'll take one please. In black. When I have paid off my mortgage.

And yes, a new CSL wouldn't go amiss either :-).

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