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.
High-revving V8, solid shifting feel, nice-rich feel of the M steering wheel, exhaust note after upgrading with a full exhaust system, cloth/leather seats, freedom to turn traction control off (DSC OFF), aggressive looking 18" wheels/gray finish.
Car needs to be at least 200 lbs lighter, BMW needs to find a solution for the 'tint-scratching' issue which happens primarily in the sedan version. Also, the stock exhaust note is way too quiet. The car needs stronger brakes, especially when one considers going to the track often.
I had an '02 E46 M3 before getting my new '09 E90 M3. These cars are quite different in their personality, but both are great. The E46 actually feels more like a sports car while the E90 feels more like a grand touring car. The power from the E90's V8 is amazing and almost effortless. I ordered the M-DCT transmission and am absolutely amazed. The shifts are super quick and super smooth. It feels like the shifts from BMW's auto transmissions. While I tend to be a sporty driver, I have to admit the M- DCT tranny is so good, I often leave it in full auto mode. All in all, I love it!
This car is much more comfortable than the previous M3. The additional leg room makes the car much more livable. The V8 power has much more low end grunt than the previous inline 6 (3.2L). The exhaust note is great, but not overly loud. The brakes are phenomenal as is the handling.
Fuel economy is bad (17mpg). With such a powerful engine, a taller gear could improve highway fuel economy (20 mpg). The steering is direct, but it is a touch too light and gives less feedback than the previous M3. The cup holders are chintzy and the glove box will barely hold a pair of gloves.
The M3 sedan is an excellent all around performance car. I traded in an RS4 for this car and have no regrets at all. For me the M3 handles so much better than the RS4. It also delivers power better, sounds better, shifts better and scrubs off speed better. It corners like a car weighing 600 pounds less. The exhaust note sounds fantastic, like a proper V8. The steering can feel a bit numb but once you attack a corner it comes alive and you know exactly what the front tires are doing (unlike the RS4). The car is a real hooligan and blast to drive. Poised and well balanced, I think you would be hard pressed to find a sedan with the same attributes for the money.
Steering, acceleration, engine, shifter, balance, exhaust note, sport button, deceleration.
I have owned other BMWs and this one seems to have the cheapest interior. The gauge faces look like paper cut-outs, the interior lights do not offer enough light. I also would like folding rear seats and fog lights as standard. But really this is nitpicking.
My instructor rolled my Porsche GT3 last spring (totaled, we weren't injured!) but I don't miss it a bit after driving this car in anger. I passed on the nav, having put up with a lousy one in previous Bimmer, and not wanting the iDrive, and don't miss either one at all. Also got the blended cloth and leather interior and highly recommend.
World class handling balance, screaming V8, great brakes, great (non run-flat!) tires, serious but comfortable interior, "billet" feel to the chassis, subtle, but head-turning looks.
Orange peel (a problem with ALL recent vintage Bimmers and the one thing Porsche clearly does better!) I figure I'll be trading in when the direct injection arrives also! Steering feel very good but just a little too light for my taste.