One of the M3’s obvious strengths has always been that there’s a high-grade 3 Series bubbling just below the surface, and the same is true here.
Fit and finish are predictably high, the ergonomics are still superb and, while a sunroof is ruled out by that single-piece carbonfibre-reinforced plastic roof, there’s sufficient space up front for the interior ambience not to be smothered by its darkly brooding aesthetic.
In the back, the generous proportions mean even the sportiest version remains a genuine four-seater, while a 445-litre boot keeps the practicality score high.
Two buttons – labelled M1 and M2 – on the excellent steering wheel allow you to assign specific settings from the car’s long menu of adaptive options. Without doing this, you either drive the car in its default mode (pleasant enough) or spend precious journey time tapping at buttons.
BMW’s Professional Media system is a carryover from the rest of the range, and while our familiarity with it certainly negates a totally unbiased first look, we’re fairly confident that it remains one of the best infotainment packages offered anywhere.
The set-up, which is powered by the best version yet of iDrive and viewed via an 8.8-inch widescreen display, comes equipped with DAB tuner, Bluetooth, satellite navigation (including excellent real-time traffic information), BMW's online services and USB connectivity as standard. Shortcut buttons around the circular iDrive controller keep dial-spinning to a minimum, and there’s nothing like a pin-sharp screen resolution to confirm the wisdom of choosing a premium product.