What Is It?
2015 BMW M3
What's New About This Model?
The 2015 BMW M3 is an all-new high-performance luxury sedan. It's the successor to the previous-generation M3 sedan sold here from 2008-'11. In lieu of that car's V8 engine, the new M3 will use a twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine. It's also larger and roomier than the old sedan, making it a more a viable option for performance-minded buyers with families.
At the same time, BMW's Motorsport division engineers have put considerable effort into reducing the car's weight. Accordingly, we expect the 2015 M3 sedan to provide the engaging handling characteristics for which BMW's M cars have long been known, while returning better fuel economy.
When Does It Go on Sale?
BMW officials say they expect the 2015 M3 sedan to arrive at U.S. dealerships in June 2014.
How Much Does It Cost?
No official pricing has been released yet, but the new M3 sedan is likely to be priced in the same territory as its main rival, the Mercedes-Benz C63, which starts in the low $60,000 range.
How Many Body Styles and Trim Levels Are There?
The 2015 M3 will be offered only as a sedan with seating for five.
Look for BMW to offer the M3 sedan in a single, well-equipped trim level. Standard equipment will include a carbon-fiber roof panel, 18-inch forged-alloy wheels and summer performance tires, leather-upholstered sport seats (with adjustable side bolsters), dual-zone automatic climate control and BMW's iDrive electronics interface.
What Kind of Engines and Transmissions Does It Have?
· Twin-turbocharged, direct-injected, 3.0-liter, inline six-cylinder, 425 horsepower, 406 pound-feet of torque
· Six-speed manual transmission standard; seven-speed automated manual transmission optional (includes shift paddles and launch control)
· Claimed 0-to-60-mph acceleration: 4.1 seconds (six-speed manual), 3.9 seconds (seven-speed automated manual)
· Standard rear-wheel drive; rear limited-slip differential
What Unique Features Does It Offer?
The latest version of BMW's iDrive control interface includes various smartphone integration features and mobile WiFi capability. The 2015 M3 sedan will get an enhanced version of iDrive with a lap-timer app aimed at owners interested in taking their car to a track day. Using your connected smartphone, the app can log the car's speed, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, engine rpm, steering angle, accelerator-pedal position, gear selection (on cars with the automated manual transmission) and fuel consumption, and then provide graphic displays on your phone for further analysis. In addition, the app can store up to two recordings on the same track for a corner-by-corner comparison.
Besides its carbon-fiber roof panel and aluminum-intensive suspension, the new M3 sedan uses a carbon-fiber drive shaft to get power to its rear wheels — an unusual detail on a car in this price range. BMW says it's 40 percent lighter than the one on the previous M3.
Key options on the 2015 M3 include driver-adjustable adaptive suspension damping (adaptive shock absorbers) and an M-specific version of BMW's head-up display with a gear display, engine rev counter and shift indicator.
What Kind of Standard and Optional Safety Equipment Is Offered?
All 2015 BMW M3 sedans will come standard with front side-impact airbags, front/rear side curtain airbags, electronic stability control and traction control, and the BMW Assist emergency communications system. Optional equipment includes carbon-ceramic brakes, adaptive LED headlights and a forward collision warning/mitigation system with pedestrian detection.
What Models Will It Compete Against?
Audi RS 5: Audi doesn't really have a performance sedan equivalent to the M3, but if you don't need the rear doors, the RS 5 is a superb sleeper performance car, and its 450-horsepower V8 engine has a great soundtrack. However, its ride quality borders on unreasonably harsh, and driving connoisseurs might find fault with its artificial steering feel.
Cadillac ATS-V: We don't know many details about Cadillac's new compact performance sedan, yet, but if it adopts the twin-turbocharged V6 engine we liked so much in the 2014 CTS Vsport along with GM's adaptive magnetic ride control suspension, the ATS-V should be a very interesting alternative to the M3.
Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG : Easily the M3's most important rival, the C63 is a beast of a performance sedan, and it's all thanks to the 6.2-liter V8 lurking underneath its conservative bodywork. In recent years, the C63 has held a significant edge in acceleration over the M3, but BMW may finally close the gap this time around. The ride and handling advantage has historically gone to the M3 in this rivalry.
Should You Wait for It?
If you specifically want a BMW M3 sedan, the 2015 model is certainly worth the wait (unless, of course, a used 2011 M3 sedan is of interest). If you're not committed to the M3 nameplate, the current Mercedes-Benz C63 could be an immensely satisfying alternative, especially if you'd rather have a V8 engine.