2011 BMW M3 Coupe Review | Edmunds.com

2011 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 2011 BMW M3

  • The 2011 BMW M3 is perhaps the perfect all-around car for enthusiasts. From track-day shenanigans to the daily commute, the M3 does it all with aplomb.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Sublime high-revving V8, otherworldly handling, agreeable ride, three available body styles, convertible's sleek retractable hardtop.

  • Cons

    Limited interior storage, sedan's relatively cramped rear seat.

  • What's New for 2011

    For 2011, the BMW M3 coupe and sedan are now available with a Competition package that adds a lowered suspension, 19-inch wheels, a wider track and reprogrammed electronic damping and stability controls. This isn't as hard-core as the previous M3's Competition package, but it should still deliver that much more handling acumen -- especially for those who track their cars.

Full 2011 BMW M3 Review

What's New for 2011

For 2011, the BMW M3 coupe and sedan are now available with a Competition package that adds a lowered suspension, 19-inch wheels, a wider track and reprogrammed electronic damping and stability controls. This isn't as hard-core as the previous M3's Competition package, but it should still deliver that much more handling acumen -- especially for those who track their cars.

Introduction

There is a sports car that doesn't look like a sports car. It has too many seats, and one body style has too many doors. It has a usable trunk. You could drive it to Kansas in complete comfort. And yet the 2011 BMW M3 has a 414-horsepower V8. It goes from zero to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. It stops from 60 so quickly your eyes may find themselves on an outbound journey from their sockets, and it sticks in corners with the tenacity of super glue. The M3 truly is the sports car for people who still need the practicality (and/or anonymity) of a regular old sedan, coupe or convertible.

Of course this wolf in sheep's clothing nature is not new to the M3, which has been kicking other sports cars in the teeth since the 1980s. The car's free-revving engines have always been a big part of that, and this latest M3 is the first (and likely the last) to feature a normally aspirated V8. Essentially the M5's V10 with two cylinders removed, this manic 4.0-liter eight-cylinder sings a glorious wail at full throttle all the way up to its sky-high redline of 8,400 rpm.

The M3 story isn't all about the engine, though. The ultimate "ultimate driving machine" must go around corners, and the M3's brilliantly balanced and capable chassis gets the job done. There's a level of communication and involvement with the M3 that makes you feel in complete control, and it's one that's increasingly being lost in the new world of electric power steering and selectable driver settings.

Indeed, the 2011 BMW M3 still stands as the most well-rounded choice in the hyper performance luxury car class. Audi offers the same body style choices, but the 2011 Audi S4 and S5 trade some all-out performance for better civility, though the new 2011 Audi RS5 should be a better match. 2011 Cadillac's CTS-V (now as a coupe and wagon, too) will outrun the M3 in a straight line but isn't as agile around corners. The story is similar with the sedan-only 2011 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. Really, you can't go wrong with any of them. But if you really want a sports car that doesn't look like one, the M3 is the only game in town.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 BMW M3 is available in sedan, coupe and convertible body styles. Standard equipment includes 18-inch wheels, a limited-slip rear differential, automatic and adaptive xenon headlights, automatic wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, eight-way power front seats (with manual thigh extender, adjustable side bolsters and four-way lumbar adjustment), leather-cloth upholstery, driver memory functions and a 10-speaker sound system with HD radio and an auxiliary audio jack. The coupe adds a carbon-fiber roof and split-folding rear seat, while the convertible adds a fully powered retractable hardtop and sun-reflective leather.

The Cold Weather package adds heated front seats and retractable headlight washers. The Premium package adds power-folding auto-dimming mirrors, BMW Assist telematics, Bluetooth, leather upholstery and different interior trim. The Technology package adds electronic damping control, M Drive adjustable settings, keyless ignition/entry, the iDrive electronics interface and a navigation system with voice controls and real-time traffic. Most of the above items are available as stand-alone options along with 19-inch wheels, a sunroof (deletes carbon-fiber roof on the coupe), rear parking sensors, automatic high beams, power rear sunshade (coupe and sedan), a split-folding rear seat (sedan), satellite radio, an iPod/USB adapter and a 16-speaker premium sound system.

The coupe and sedan can be equipped with the Competition package, which adds EDC (electronic damping control), 19-inch wheels with high-performance tires, a lowered suspension and different programming for EDC and stability control.

Powertrains and Performance

A 4.0-liter V8 powers every 2011 BMW M3, sending 414 hp and 295 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a seven-speed dual-clutch automated-manual transmission (M DCT) is optional. The latter offers manual operation via steering-wheel paddles as well as a full automatic mode. All M3s feature a specialized locking rear differential.

We've tested just about every variety of M3. The coupe with traditional manual went from zero to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, while the sedan with a manual and the convertible with M DCT did it in 4.8 seconds. With either transmission, EPA-estimated fuel economy is 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined. A manual-equipped convertible gets 13 mpg city.

Safety

Standard safety features for the 2010 BMW M3 include front seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, antilock disc brakes, traction control and stability control. The convertible lacks the side curtains, but the regular front side airbags extend up to head level, and there are also pop-up rollover hoops. 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 M3 itself has not been crash-tested, but the 3 Series sedan 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.

Interior Design and Special Features

The M3's sport seats are at once outstandingly supportive in hard driving and among the most comfortable we've sat in for long trips. The backseat is a bit cramped, however -- expected in the two-door models, but not in the sedan, which trails rivals from Audi and Mercedes in rear headroom. In the coupe, an automatic seatbelt arm delivers front occupants their belts, eliminating 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. However, the overall design lacks visual interest despite the availability of metallic and wood accents. The current version of iDrive -- mandatory with the optional navigation system -- is the best yet by far, featuring extra physical buttons and a revised menu structure for much more intuitive operation. From the driver's perspective, there's a notable lack of bins and cubbies in which to store cell phones, wallets and the like, especially if the iDrive controller has been equipped, as it replaces the storage nook on the center console.

Driving Impressions

The 2011 BMW M3 is the heaviest M3 yet, but it's also the most capable. The 4.0-liter V8 is one of the most exhilarating engines in any car, and most drivers will run out of gumption long before the M3 runs out of grip. The EDC option provides three driver-selectable suspension settings (Comfort, Normal and Sport), but even in Normal, the M3 does an adequate job of soaking up bumps while providing world-class body control on back roads. Frankly, those who get the M3 without EDC will never miss it.

The optional M DCT dual-clutch automated manual is good but not great. Specifically, you can't have rev-matched downshifts without harsh upshifts -- on the smoother shift-quality settings, the rev-matching feature is absent. The manual transmission, in typical BMW fashion, has longish -- but still satisfying -- shifter throws and a remarkably light clutch action.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews


7 of 7 people found this review helpful

Bad to the bone

by on
Vehicle: 2011 BMW M3 2dr Coupe (4.0L 8cyl 6M)

I've had my 2011 M3 for about 6 months. It is actually a dual clutch 7 speed. It's fast. It's sexy. It handles like its on rails. A real fun car to drive. Gets a lot of attention. Blast it straight or bend it around a country road and you just won't want to put it away. I'm a big fan of late 60s muscle cars and this reminds me a lot of the Chevelle with its deep exhaust note and off the line g force. Biggest difference is that it will handle the road like nothing else. The stereo is absolutely tight, even at ear splitting volume. I've never felt so safe or confident in a car like I do in the M. A touch of the wheel and it goes where you want. Brakes are HUGE and smooth. I am a lucky man!



7 of 12 people found this review helpful

2011 bmw m3 coupe review

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Vehicle: 2011 BMW M3 2dr Coupe (4.0L 8cyl 6M)

I recently bought this 2011 Ultimate Driving Machine. Two exotic cars in one fine package. I had a 2007 Porsche. The M3 Coupe has the Porsche inspired performance, but 4 people ride in the M3 (if allowed by owner). The rear seats fold down, it stores plenty of luggage, groceries, etc. Front-to- Rear weight ratio is 50%-50%. Options: 7 speed dual clutch system / F1 paddle shift or automatic drive logic programs, Competition Package, rear power sunshade. Drive it to work, around town, it is a dream. When track Club clinic days arrive, growl around everything in turns...It has more grip and agility than cars twice the price. 2011 is the Final year for the M3 V-8 forever. Don't wait, seriously.



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Fun when you need it

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Vehicle: 2011 BMW M3 2dr Coupe (4.0L 8cyl 6M)

I have owned many great cars in the last 25 years including Porsches, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Infiniti, and Lexus'. Without a doubt the 2011 M3 is one of my best purchases because it combines fun with comfort and (hopefully) reliability. The dual clutch is amazing and the engine strikes just the right note when you put your foot in it. Handling is superior and the brakes have been great for street use. I have also enjoyed the navigation, Sirius radio, and bluetooth features on my vehicle. To date (albeit brief) this car has been a pleasure. I decided on the M3 over the C63 because while the Merc is more entertaining on the street (great torque), the bimmer is the better balanced auto.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Wonderful sound, great handling coupe

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Vehicle: 2011 BMW M3 2dr Coupe (4.0L 8cyl 6M)

First, do European delivery. This car was meant to take to the 'ring, drive on the autobahn and tour the Bavarian Alps. A true Jekyll and Hyde car. 6 speed man., 220m wheels, tech pack. Did not get the zcp comp. Pack. Amazing sounds and performance at higher rpms. Not a torque monster (it's normally aspirated after all) but the rush you get over 4,500 rpm is just amazing. Keep rpm down and it drives nicely and, considering it's a v8, does okay mileage-wise on the highway. Dial edc to comfort and it's a nice sporty ride. Go to sport, push the car, and it shows its other side. Carves like a knife. Incredibly composed either way.



4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Too early but here is

by on
Vehicle: 2011 BMW M3 2dr Coupe (4.0L 8cyl 6M)

I got the 2011 DCT coupe few days ago. Too early to give any objective opinion, but here is my first impression. Perfect look, won’t change a thing. Nice driver seat and cockpit. The M button does change throttle response and sharpness dramatically. You can drive it as a mellow C class Mercedes on 7th gear at 40 MPH going to Starbucks, or as a crazy beast in 3rd gear at 80 MPH merging onto a highway. Power is too much for the street, needs a track to enjoy it. Get used to shifting at 4000 RPM cause it doesn't feel right shifting before that but enjoy the sound. Take a c shaped exit on 70 MPH and life will never be the same. Tried Audi S5 twice, good car but M3 is in different league.



Talk About The 2011 M3

2011 BMW M3 Discussions See all Started By

01peter10
01peter10
04-25-2014
I used to own a 2013 335i with the new system and now own a 2011 M3 with the stalk system you talked about. The new system on the 2013 was much better. Ok, yeah, you have to turn it on every time, but...


habitat1
habitat1
01-11-2013
That said, the current 8,400 rpm NA V8 M3 with a 6-speed manual is about as sweet as a 3 series gasoline engine can get. I'd be the first to admit that if a really sporty, engaging drive is what you ...


circlew
circlew
04-25-2009
Audi's gone a bit mad with horsepower lately (see RS6) so its a given that the RS4 will significantly out power the M3, and possibly the C63 as well. I'm not sure exactly what their engine plans are, ...



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