This car is possibly on of the greatest M cars ever built. The car handles like a surgeons scalpel. Acceleration is good, but not great. When compared to my dads car which is an e60 M5, it lacks the "push you back in your seat" factor that you get from that nazi V10. As my daily driver, it is very comfortable to drive around town as well as on the freeway. The SMG is NOT BAD! Treat it like the transmission it is. It is not an automatic. Simply let of the gas when you are changing gear. I do sometimes wish I went for the good ol' standard box, but when driving home late at night, its nice to have an auto mode to take care of changing gear for me. The car has potential for good gas mileage, but if you drive it like its meant to be driven, it won't. We loved this car so much that we bought another one for strict track use. With a little effort and a sawzall, we got her down to about 2900 without a driver. The already insane handling was exponentially increased with some of KW coil-overs and a set of slicks. Nothing more was needed from that 8000 rpm screamer so we left it alone. When in doubt, get the M. You wont regret it.
This car is extremely powerful and fast for what it is. For a 3.2L 6 cylinder car this thing has more power and much faster than my 1995 Corvette with a 5.7L V8 that i used to own. Very comfortable ride that handles awesome. You can take turns and bends at very high speeds and it hugs the corners and feels very stable at high speeds. I have the 6 speed manual which I love. Fastest I took it up to was 130 mph in 6th gear and still some room on the tach. the European models can top out close to 180 mph. US models have a restrictor on the somewhere around 140 or so but can override with a chip. Does use a bit of gas depending on driving habits but who cars when your having fun.
One is the sport mode.
It will throw you back in your seat.
Also the rush you feel when you are cruising at 40 mph or so, hit the sport mode, drop it down a gear and watch the speedometer climb and feel the car take off.
For the year I think this car was way ahead of its time and would still even give alot of newer cars a run for their money.
For example the sporty looking vent grills on the side front fenders.
The M3 is the first car I remember seeing do that.
Now you see alot of stupid cars in the year 2014 such as Kia Optima, Ford pickup trucks, Ford focus, and a few other crappy cars that stared to put that on their front side fenders.
Love the car, its like a wolf in sheep's clothing. Drives like a luxury car when out of sport mode. But when you push the sport button it instantly turns into a street legal race car. Handles like a dream and puts a huge smile on your face when you drive this vehicle.
Lines of the car. Love the distinction between the normal 3 series and the M3.
I bought my M3 in December with 71k miles...had been looking for one for three years before this one rolled on the lot. It has been everything I hoped, and I've even managed to get 21 mpg combined city/hwy. The ride is a little bumpy, largely because of the tight suspension and low-profile tires. But every time I drive it, I get a smile on my face. I don't drive it hard, but I do look forward to on ramps, and it's nice having "video game" speed whenever I want to pass on the highway. Press the accelerator, and it takes off. The stereo is good, but not great, and the factory navigation is obviously a bit outdated, but still neat to have.
Great acceleration, strong braking, Heated seats, On-board computer, rain-sensing wipers
Upgraded factory stereo package could be better, Key is kind of clunky
As of July '06 I've owned my M3 for three years and it's my daily driver. It is a fantastic experience. It takes a while to learn the SMG but it,s worth it; once you've got it down you'll never regret it. Buttery smooth shifts or burnouts from hell. The ride is pure performance. You feel like your hands are running over the surface of the road. With that kind of input you know exactly what to expect from the car. My M3 has been everything I hoped it would be. I've had any number of total strangers come up to me and tell me how much they like my car. I have no idea what BMW is going to do for an encore but I will be ready, willing and waiting.
Ride, acceleration, handling, brakes, SMG, looks, comfort, the whole car!
Keep the formula on the next version. I have no idea how it can get better but I'm willing to find out.