There’s something quietly understated about the BMW M3. Now long gone are the quasi race-car decals and detailing of the original, replaced by improved, classier switchgear and other additions to the cabin. No question, the cabin oozes class, but it emphasises the car’s everyday practicality far more than it does the mighty performance that is just a stab of the right foot away.
Getting comfortable behind the wheel is no problem: the seat design includes fuss-free electric operation. Other notable changes from a standard 3 Series include a speedometer that reads to 200mph and a revcounter that incorporates graduated amber and red sections to indicate when the oil is warm. The M3 also gets an ‘M Dynamic Mode’, which provides the driver with controls to alter steering weight, throttle map and damper response.
However, the driving position isn’t without fault and includes one major irritation: you sit too high. M engineers insist that the squab material compresses about an inch over the first three weeks of ownership, but even that’s not enough. In fact, in a car whose base philosophy is low centre of mass, it seems counter-productive. And for many drivers, especially women, the steering wheel is way too thick.
Otherwise it’s an extremely comfortable place to sit. Rear occupants have enough legroom for one six-footer to sit behind another, and the boot is vast. This is also an exceptionally well assembled car.