2009 BMW M3 Review | Edmunds.com
 

2009 BMW M3

   
 
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 2009 BMW M3

  • It doesn't get much better for enthusiasts than the 2009 BMW M3, which offers near-supercar performance and daily-driver livability in coupe, sedan and convertible body styles.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Ferocious acceleration, phenomenal handling, civilized ride, sublime front seats, functional backseat, available in three body styles.

  • Cons

    Navigation system requires the addition of iDrive, limited interior storage.

  • What's New for 2009

    For the 2009 BMW M3, a redesigned iDrive controller debuts for the optional navigation system, which is now hard-drive-based and features…

 
What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (14 total reviews)


Beautiful, but disappointing performance

by on
Vehicle: 2009 BMW M3 2dr Convertible (4.0L 8cyl 6M)

I have had several "M's", including 2 E46 BMR's. The 2009 is a nicely sculpted vehicle as it sits curbside, although some have described it as looking like a Pontiac. It's very comfortable and it handles great. The 414 hp seems unbelievable to me because the (295 ft lb.)torque rating is so low in comparison. I have owned an '03 CLK55 AMG, which had less HP, but far more torque. The M3 just doesn't have the power that I like "off the line." Sure, it will do 150 mph, but where can you realistically do that kind of speed? For excitement on the road, I think the Benz equivalents are far better.



1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Good step up for me

by on
Vehicle: 2009 BMW M3 4dr Sedan (4.0L 8cyl 6M)

Overall, I am happy with my decision of choosing the current M3 Sedan. I have had it for a good year now, and I have learned a lot from owning and driving it. Previously, I used to own a '06 Evo IX MR, and I sold it so that I could get into an M3. It's not really a step up in performance for me, but it's a much stronger built car, all the way from its tranny, to how the car feels so planted during higher speeds. I've had the opportunity to take my M3 to the track 5 times so far, and I expect to continue taking part in Driver's Education events every month. The M3 is not the perfect car out there, but it is the perfect car for me at this stage of my life.




M3 coupe rocks!!

by on
Vehicle: 2009 BMW M3 2dr Coupe (4.0L 8cyl 6M)

This is my first M3, but I've had 2 other BMW's, both 3 series. Had to get a car that my wife would feel comfortable in as well, and not intimidated. With the automatic transmission, and selectable M settings, you can adjust from performance from aggressive to very docile. This is ideal for different driver's styles. Acceleration and handling are top notch. Fit and finish also unquestionable the very best. I wholeheartedly recommend the M3 to anyone that wants a daily driver that can also ROCK when you want too.



 
 
 
Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 14
  • cty
/
  • 20
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Full 2009 BMW M3 Review

What's New for 2009

For the 2009 BMW M3, a redesigned iDrive controller debuts for the optional navigation system, which is now hard-drive-based and features real-time traffic. Also, the M3 sedan receives the same new taillights and other rear-end styling tweaks as the regular 3 Series sedan, as well as assorted minor interior enhancements.

Introduction

There are a select few model names in the automotive world that consistently make otherwise mild-mannered enthusiasts salivate uncontrollably. One that will do the trick is "911"; so will just about anything following "Ferrari," and perhaps "GT-R." We think it's about time "M3" joined this exclusive group, if it hasn't already. Like its illustrious predecessors, the 2009 BMW M3 offers a singularly alluring cocktail of sports-car performance and everyday practicality.

The previous-generation M3 was a tough act to follow, boasting a supremely capable chassis and one of the world's greatest engines at the time: a 333-horsepower 3.2-liter inline-6. As enthusiasts waited for BMW's M division to get its hands on the current 3 Series platform, many genuinely wondered: How could BMW possibly make the M3 any better? Well, for one thing, the company gave it a 414-hp V8 -- and true to M3 tradition, it's a high-revving gem of a motor, providing ample midrange thrust that builds to a racecar-like wail as the tachometer needle swings past 8,000 rpm. For another, it brought back the M3 sedan -- last offered in 1998 -- and replaced the previous M3 ragtop with a retractable-hardtop convertible design. BMW head designer Chris Bangle also got his controversial hands on the current 3 Series' polarizing sheet metal, but the M3 makes the best of it, thanks to its blistered fenders and other go-fast styling cues.

So, does all of that add up to progress? Depends on whom you ask. Purists will still pine for the feral rasp of the previous-generation M3's inline-6, or the telepathic connection between chassis and driver that defined the original M3. All will agree, however, that the 2009 BMW M3's performance is nothing short of breathtaking. With a 0-60-mph sprint of 4.6 seconds and a 12.7-second quarter-mile, the M3 is squarely in Porsche 911 territory -- yet it boasts a livable suspension and usable backseat in any form, and it can even be had as a sedan. You know what? Purists, schmurists. What sane enthusiast wouldn't lust after a perfectly practical daily driver that can give one of history's most iconic sports cars a run for its money?

The M3's greatness is such that it's hard to identify any direct competitors. Audi's lame-duck RS4 convertible rides on an aged platform, and its overall performance can't hold a candle to the M3's. And although the new S4 sedan is closer, it still doesn't quite match the M3. The Audi S5 is a V8-powered performance coupe, but it competes more against the 335i than the M3. Mercedes-Benz's C63 AMG has the M3 outgunned under the hood with its 451-hp V8, but it's only available with four doors and an automatic transmission. Small wonder, then, that the M3 name leaves enthusiasts salivating -- there's just nothing else quite like it in the performance car arena.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 BMW M3 is available as a sedan, coupe or retractable-hardtop convertible. 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 power-adjustable sport seats with driver memory, split-folding rear seats and a 10-speaker audio system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. The coupe features a carbon-fiber roof, and all M3s receive revised exterior 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. The technology package tacks on M Drive (which allows the driver to adjust throttle response and steering feel), a voice-activated navigation system, iDrive, keyless ignition and entry and electronically controlled dampers. la carte options include 19-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof (sedan only), heated front seats, rear park assist and a number of audio options, including an upgraded sound system, HD radio, satellite radio and an iPod adapter.

Powertrains and Performance

A 4.0-liter V8 powers the 2009 BMW M3, sending 414 hp and 295 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. The redline is a thrilling 8,400 rpm. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and the M DCT seven-speed dual-clutch automated-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 all that thrust to the pavement.

In our track testing, an M3 coupe with the traditional six-speed manual shot to 60 mph in a fleet 4.6 seconds and blasted through the quarter-mile in 12.7 seconds. EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined for all models except the convertible with the six-speed manual, which drops to 13 mpg city.

Safety

Standard safety features for the 2009 BMW M3 include front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, antilock disc brakes, traction control and stability control.

The M3 has not been crash-tested specifically, but the 3 Series sedan, on which the M3 sedan is based, scored four stars (out of five) for frontal impacts for both driver and passenger in government tests. It garnered a perfect five stars for side impacts for both front and rear occupants. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests gave the 3 Series sedan "Good" ratings (the highest possible) in both frontal-offset and side-impact crash testing, although the convertible received a second-lowest "Marginal" score because of insufficient rear-seat head protection and possible torso injuries for those in the front.

Interior Design and Special Features

Aggressively bolstered sport seats have long been an M3 trademark, and the current model continues this tradition. At the same time, the M3's seats are among the most comfortable we've sat in for long trips. The thick-rimmed, small-diameter steering wheel adds to the sporty feel, although some may find the rim too thick. In the coupe, an automatic seatbelt arm delivers front occupants their belts, obviating the need for torso-twisting maneuvers. The convertible's heat-reflective leather does a wonderful job of keeping the seats from absorbing too much heat from the sun with the top down.

Build and materials quality inside the M3 are excellent. The overall design lacks visual interest; however, the available metallic and wood accents dress things up a bit. This year's revised iDrive electronics interface that comes with the optional navigation system is improved over its confusing predecessor, but it still complicates the stereo controls considerably. Without iDrive, the M3's control layout is fairly straightforward and well-marked. From the driver's perspective, there's a notable lack of bins and cubbies in which to store cell phones, wallets and the like.

Driving Impressions

The 2009 BMW M3 weighs roughly 300 more pounds than its E46 predecessor, but it's still one of the most athletic cars you can buy. It sticks to the tarmac like pitch to your fingers, yet power-induced oversteer is rarely more than a flick of the throttle away. The electronic damper control (EDC) option provides three driver-selectable suspension settings (Comfort, Normal, Sport). Left in normal mode, the M3 does an adequate job of soaking up bumps while providing world-class body control in the twisties. Braking is phenomenal -- in our 60-0-mph braking test, the M3 came to a halt in just 100 feet, which is among the shortest distances we've ever recorded.

The optional M DCT dual-clutch automated manual is good but not great. Specifically, if you want rev-matched downshifts from the M DCT, you'll have to live with harshly executed but quick upshifts, because when you use the console-mounted toggle switch to dial the upshifts back to a less jarring setting, the transmission stops matching revs. This is an odd misstep for a high-performance car -- the downshifts should be rev-matched no matter what transmission mode has been selected.

Read our BMW M3 Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test

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