From £51,4408
Engine options, speed, acceleration and refinement

Anyone who drives a BMW M3 and yearns for more straight-line performance clearly has power issues. This is an exceptional motor with a breadth of performance that is truly impressive.

When using the six-speed manual, the shift feels unhelpful at first and the clutch too abrupt, but again, familiarity breeds smoothness.

Fuel economy isn't great; you'll see between 17 and 20mpg during fast running

The figures for the coupe are impressive: 0-60mph in 4.7sec, 0-100mph in 10.2sec (a second faster than the old car). This is a four-seater that is quicker than a Porsche 997 Carrera S in a straight line.

It’s not all about the straight-line pace, either. Few cars can provide snap oversteer as readily as the M3, and it’s the car’s ability to transform from being practical (but potent) into a thrill-a-minute ride that marks it out as special.

What’s more, the car is made all the more special by the extent to which you can adapt it to suit your circumstances. The M3’s throttle response, power steering assistance, damper rates and traction control system can all be tweaked for optimum performance, wherever you are.

That means, for example, you can cruise 100-miles up the motorway in commendable comfort, with the traction control fully on, the dampers set to comfort mode, and the ECU mapped for optimum economy. Then, when you hit the track, you can switch off the DSC system, beef up the car’s body control, sharpen up the steering and throttle response, and indulge in the kind of tail-led hooliganism that only an M-car can serve up.

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