2008 BMW M3 Coupe Review | Edmunds.com

2008 BMW M3 Coupe

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
BMW M3 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.0 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 414 hp @ 8300 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 14/20 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 BMW M3

  • The evolution of the M3 species is for the most part a resounding success. Who can argue with supercar performance that comes with seating for four and daily-driver livability?

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Powerhouse V8 performance, coupe, convertible or sedan body styles available, athletic chassis, top-notch build quality.

  • Cons

    Navigation system brings with it exasperating iDrive, optional performance tires can be noisy.

  • What's New for 2008

    After a one-year hiatus, the 2008 BMW M3 returns and breaks with tradition by sporting a muscle-bound V8 instead of a stirring inline-6 under its bulging hood.

Full 2008 BMW M3 Review

What's New for 2008

After a one-year hiatus, the 2008 BMW M3 returns and breaks with tradition by sporting a muscle-bound V8 instead of a stirring inline-6 under its bulging hood.

Introduction

Since its inception back in the late 1980s, the BMW M3 has been thrilling driving enthusiasts. Throughout the years, the M3's ripping power plants, finely balanced chassis, telepathic steering and daily-driver usability have made this special version of the 3 Series a car to covet.

After the rather limited-production first-generation M3 that sported a pumped-up four-cylinder engine, subsequent iterations employed high-output inline-6s, with the last version making 333 horsepower. But with current countryman rivals sporting V8s, it's not much of a surprise to discover that the new-for-2008 BMW M3 has graduated to V8 power. It's also no news flash that the latest M3 has gotten a bit larger and heavier during its move to the latest 3 Series chassis. But has this "bigger, stronger, faster" design dictum at all hurt the balance and purity of the M3?

The answer's a bit muddled. Of course, the sound and fury of that 414-hp V8 is a big part of the newest M3's engaging personality, and nobody is going to complain about the car's 12.7-second quarter-mile time. And the 2008 M3 still does itself proud when it's time to turn the wheel, as it'll run through a set of twisties like a border collie through the weave poles at a dog agility competition. But drive the new M3 back to back against the previous version and you'll notice something has gone amiss in regard to the level of communication between the driver and the road surface. The car's steering is quick and laser-beam precise, but it lacks the intuitive feel for which older M3s are so well known

Apart from that one minor criticism, the 2008 BMW M3 is hard to fault if you truly enjoy driving -- it goes, stops and steers like a sports car while delivering a respectable measure of functionality, especially if you choose the sedan version. Of course, the same could also be said of the M3's stout competitors, namely Audi's S5 coupe and RS4 sedan and Mercedes-Benz's C63 sedan. Until we perform a comparison test, we're reluctant to pick a winner. Suffice it to say that choosing one is a task as enviable as having to pick something from the dessert menu at the Cheesecake Factory, and we can't imagine anyone's automotive sweet tooth not being satisfied by any of them.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 BMW M3 is available as a sport coupe, retractable hardtop convertible or sedan. Based on the compact 3 Series, the high-performance M3 comes in a single trim level.

Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels with performance tires, xenon headlamps, cruise control, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated and power-adjustable sport seats (with driver memory), split/folding rear seats and a 10-speaker audio system with a CD player and auxiliary audio jack. The convertible also features a retractable hardtop that provides the comfort and security of a coupe when raised, as well as the full top-down experience when stowed. Compared to a regular 3 Series, the M3 also features a carbon-fiber roof (coupe only), more aggressive body styling, an exclusive sport-tuned suspension, more powerful brakes and a limited-slip rear differential.

The optional Premium Package adds power-folding mirrors, BMW Assist and enhanced interior trim. There's also a Technology Package that adds M Drive (a feature that allows the driver to adjust the throttle and steering response/feel), a navigation system, iDrive, keyless entry/start and electronically controlled dampers. Other individual options include 19-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof (no extra cost, but sedan only), heated front seats, rear park assist and a number of audio options (premium sound, HD radio, satellite radio, iPod adapter).

Powertrains and Performance

No less than a 4.0-liter, 414-hp (295 pound-feet of torque) V8 powers the 2008 M3. Redline is a thrilling 8,400 rpm and a six-speed manual transmission sends the power to the rear wheels. A seven-speed automated-clutch sequential-shift manual gearbox is optional. The latter offers manual operation via steering-wheel-mounted paddles as well as a full automatic mode. All M3s feature a specialized locking rear differential to manage the transfer of the thrust to the pavement.

In our track testing, an M3 sport coupe with the traditional six-speed manual leapt to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds and flew through the quarter-mile in 12.7 seconds. The power builds quickly and the somewhat heavy but progressive clutch and precise shifter allow rapid gearchanges. EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined.

Safety

Standard features for the 2008 BMW M3 include full-length side curtain airbags, front seat side airbags, antilock disc brakes, traction control and stability control.

In government crash tests, the BMW 3 Series sedan (on which the M3 sedan is based) scored four stars (out of five) for frontal impacts for both driver and passenger. It rated five stars for side impacts for both front and rear occupants. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the BMW 3 Series sedan scored "Good" ratings (the highest possible) in that agency's frontal-offset and side-impact tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The first thing one notices upon entering the M3 is the aggressive design of the front seats. Heavily bolstered, the multi-adjustable (under thigh, side wings) sport seats feel custom-made to your body once you've dialed in your adjustments. They're also very comfortable on a long trip, as they provide proper support all around. The thick-rimmed, small diameter steering wheel adds to the sporty feel. In the coupe, an automatic seatbelt presenter "hands" front occupants the belts, so they don't have to perform torso-twisting maneuvers to secure themselves into the car. The convertible's leather seats feature Sun-Reflective Technology, which keeps the seats from getting scorching hot when the top is down.

Build quality and materials inside the M3 are excellent, as one would expect. The overall design is rather subdued, as the available metallic and wood accents have more of a monotonous effect than one of crisp contrast.

The optional navigation system is unfortunately bundled with BMW's unintuitive iDrive multifunction controller. Without it, the M3's control layout is fairly straightforward and well-marked. However, there is still the annoying process for shutting off the climate control -- one must tap down the fan speed until it shuts off, rather than simply hitting an "off" button.

Driving Impressions

Even now that it's powered by a muscle-bound V8 and has gained some 300 pounds, the M3 is still the automotive equivalent of a lithe decathlete. Acceleration is pin-you-to-the-seat thrilling and the agile handling is so composed that it makes the car feel like it's much smaller. Braking is astounding, as the M3's binders boast powerful yet progressive action and the shortest stopping distance from 60 mph -- just 100 feet -- that we've ever recorded.

When exercised on a winding road, the 2008 BMW M3's response to steering inputs is spot-on and the system is quick without being darty on the freeway. Some staffers felt that this BMW's steering has lost some of its trademark feedback compared to the previous-generation M3, though its polished and precise feel is still appreciated. If the M3 is equipped with the Electronic Damping Control (EDC) option, its three settings (Comfort, Normal, Sport) allow one to set the car up for canyon-carving or commuting duties as needs dictate. Left in Normal mode, the EDC does a fine job of absorbing the bumps while still providing enough body control for enthusiastic driving. One minor complaint involves the optional 19-inch performance tires. While extremely capable, on rougher road surfaces these sticky tires are prone to generating noise ranging from a slight hum to a somewhat annoying drone.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Awesome-but not amazing

by on
Vehicle: 2008 BMW M3 2dr Coupe (4.0L 8cyl 6M)

Having had an 03, 04, 05 M3 and recently the 08, I have been thrilled.The new body is great...just lacks the "stance" of a performance car. Materials are great, build quality is amazing. The interior is a little stale, even with the nav and extended leather. The car doesn't seem to have a "cockpit." The sport seats are comfortable, but not sporty feeling at all. Also-BMW PLEASE MOVE WINDOW SWITCHES BACK TO CENTER!!! No major problems...OH WAIT! They have depreciated so much it is ridiculous. I just got $44,900 for mine. (That was the highest of 8 dealers) I paid $69,900 fully loaded from the factory. Only had 12K miles, no scratches, etc. WORD OF ADVICE-DO NOT BUY NEW!!!!!! Buy slightly used.




Lives up to its legendary

by on
Vehicle: 2008 BMW M3 2dr Coupe (4.0L 8cyl 6M)

All it took was one 5 mile test drive to realize this is a special car that lives up to every kudo the M nameplate has earned over the years. The 414hp pulls rapidly to the 8400 rpm redline and WOW, what music to the ears! There's NO car that sounds so perfect when running wide open down the Abaun! It's an absolute dream to drive with perfect balance and only a hint of understeer. I'm amazed at the usability and room in this vehicle. The interior is very comfortable and although it's a supercar I can still put the family in it to go cruising. The trunk is large and the interior volume/space is perfect for 4 persons. If you're looking for the ultimate car, look no more... the M3 is it!




My m3 coupe

by on
Vehicle: 2008 BMW M3 2dr Coupe (4.0L 8cyl 6M)

Great combination of everyday practicality and speed and handling. Pricey but every option is available and quality seems to be excellent.




Love it

by on
Vehicle: 2008 BMW M3 2dr Coupe (4.0L 8cyl 6M)

Love the car. The Blue is fantastic. The leather is really high quality. Love the MDrive option because I drive this car daily in the summer and I don't need to spill my coffee at every stop light. Love the IDrive. I think the IDrive has gotten a bad rap from the non-computer literate generation out there. The car is simply everything good I wanted in a car, power, style, luxury, safety, performance, it's all there.




M3 - the new beast?

by on
Vehicle: 2008 BMW M3 2dr Coupe (4.0L 8cyl 6M)

In the past 4 years I've had the e60 M5, 2007 M6 cabrio, and 2005 M3 cabrio. This car is built much better than all three of those. M6 and M5 are similar, and some would say in their own class. Yes and no, the M3 seems to be much more agile and nimble, which gives the impression of being just as fast if not faster. Interior is the same as any new BMW car, not that great, but better than the likes of MB or P-cars. Back seat is way better than 911 p-car, but still pathetic. Overall, I think this car actually has some value in it and in today's day and age is affordable for the supercar-like performance and feel. Thumbs up!




M3 cab

by on
Vehicle: 2008 BMW M3 2dr Coupe (4.0L 8cyl 6M)

I've had an E36 M3 & '00 M5. This car is significantly better. The ride & comfort are the best I've seen with such performance. Not the fastest car out, but the balance of power, ride and awesome handling make it a fantastic package. Top down motoring is amazingly smooth & wind protected, yet when you want it, the sound from the loud pedal is better than the killer sound system! I love the ride adjustability & being able to cruise smoothly or flog it on a moment's notice. It's hard NOT to smile while driving this car!



Talk About The 2008 M3

2008 BMW M3 Discussions See all Started By

tcrawley1
tcrawley1
07-04-2007
I know like many people out there I can't wait for next year's showdown between the Audi RS anything,BMW M3 sedan,Cadillac CTS-V, Mercedes Benz AMG lineup and also the Mitsubishi Evolution X. If anyon...


boomn29
boomn29
12-03-2004
Is 2008 really the estimate for the next M3 to come out? That's what Motortrend has listed anyways. Engine-wise they hint at a V8 this time, producing around 400hp....


dhanley
dhanley
08-09-2007
it is true that the current m3 is stiffened compared to the e92 coupe; bmw put additional reinforcement in the floorpan and made the roof carbon fiber to offset the weight: http://www.edmunds.com/bmw/...



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Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 14
  • cty
/
  • 20
  • highway
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