Cool Ride to the Awards Banquet - 2009 BMW M3 Long-Term Road Test

2009 BMW M3 Long Term Road Test

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2009 BMW M3: Cool Ride to the Awards Banquet

December 09, 2009


Last night the Motor Press Guild (MPG), the local association of automotive journalists, had its usual holiday dinner and presented its annual Dean Batchelor Award for accomplishment in various categories. Senior Photographer Scott Jacobs and Photo Editor Kurt Niebuhr were both up for hardware in the photography category (although since Jacobs won the category last year, we figured another award wouldn't be in the cards for the boys). That's Jacobs' picture above and Niebuhr's below.

So it happened that we chose the 2009 BMW M3 for our ride to the Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo, near the Los Angeles airport. It was a cool ride, perfect for this sort of thing. But maybe not for the reasons you think.

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These days, you see hot rides, not cool ones. It's not exactly about large pipes, tall wheels, and the big wing, but standing out is still the prime directive. Like, I saw a Camaro the other day that should have been wearing a muzzle.

Whatever the ethic of hotness that's current on the street, the BMW M3 is the opposite. Even if you imagine yourself as a sedan guy, if you like the big silk tie with the Windsor knot and the Breitling wristwatch as big as an Oreo cookie, this car is not for you.

This car is so cool that it's practically a throwback to the 1960s. And we're not just talking about Euro style here, whatever you might think of the surfacing of the body panels and the addition of the bulging hood to enclose the V8 engine. Instead the M3 Sedan is a car first and then a fast car second. You drive it around like a regular transportation with neither discomfort nor embarrassment. It's a very, very nice place to be, and the six-speed manual transmission gives it a plain-spoken directness that's a welcome relief.

But when you need something special from this car, it's there for you. Acceleration, cornering, brakes -- whatever you want. And no flipping of levers or configuring the software required, really. Maybe that's the essence of cool. When you say something, you can back it up. No shouting required.That's the message the BMW M3 sedan is sending.

It's enough to make you start wearing a skinny tie.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor

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