2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe vs. 2011 BMW M3 Coupe Comparison Test

2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe

(6.2L V8 Supercharger 6-speed Manual)
  • 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe vs. 2011 BMW M3 Comparison Test Video

    A little eye candy for all our viewers. The 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe vs. 2011 BMW M3 Comparison Test Video | August 06, 2010

1 Video , 59 Photos

  • Comparison Test
  • Top 8 Features
  • Data and Charts
  • Final Rankings and Scoring Explanation
  • 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe Specs and Performance
  • 2011 BMW M3 Coupe Specs and Performance

Nobody likes a tie.

Well, that's not entirely true. Soccer fans seem unbothered by the idea of two mighty opponents meeting on the field of battle and leaving as if they'd never played, except deflated. We firmly believe that if two contestants enter a ring, one should emerge the victor and the other should suffer the agony of defeat and all that.

So imagine our consternation when our recent dream assignment — pitting the supercharged V8-powered 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe against the high-revving V8-powered 2011 M3 Coupe with the new Competition package — turned into a dilemma. After the tire smoke cleared, we reviewed the point totals for each coupe and found — oh dear! — a near dead heat.

These two high-performance coupes, so different in their driving dynamics, styling, power delivery and well, just about everything, nonetheless ended two weeks of evaluation with the CTS-V leading its more established supercoupe opponent by a scant 1.3 points.

There was a time at Edmunds when a two-point difference was declared a tie. More recently we narrowed that to a one-point margin. So the 556-horsepower Cadillac wins, technically. It had some help, though. We'll explain later.

Comparison Shopping
Were it simply down to a numbers race between the M3 coupe and the CTS-V Coupe, this would have been the shortest, easiest comparison test ever staged.

We already posted historical-M3 versus new-CTS-V numbers here and readers had their say. But there's more than a 12-second quarter-mile to consider when evaluating $70,000 high-performance coupes.

The curvaceous carbon-topped 2011 BMW M3 Coupe's price begins at $60,575 and our tester totaled $67,025 thanks to the addition of the Competition and Technology packages and a few stand-alone extras. Thankfully, the six-speed manual transmission comes standard.

In contrast, the angular 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe starts at $64,290 and our example came in at $69,285. The big-ticket extras? A set of Recaro seats for $3,400. A six-speed manual was part of the package, too.

Yes, we know that the Cadillac is larger and considerably more powerful than the M3, but if $2,000-$4,000 matters after you've ponied up nearly $70K, then the BMW gets the slight nod.

Advantage: BMW

Horses, Torques and a Boulder
Remember when we said the Cadillac was bigger than the M3? Yeah well, it outweighs the BMW by more than a quarter of a ton (650 pounds). Still, there's just no getting around the 142-hp deficit the M3 concedes to the CTS-V. Until the 2013 BMW M5 arrives, the CTS-V's 556 hp puts it in a league of its own. We learned this the last time a CTS-V sedan sent a BMW M5 and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG packing.

Perhaps more dramatic is the variance in torque production. The supercharged pushrod 6.2-liter V8 in the CTS-V produces 551 pound-feet of twisting force, or nearly double the 295 lb-ft maximum of the naturally aspirated, high-revving 4.0-liter V8 in the M3. The M3's motor is spectacular, but compared to the CTS-V engine's tidal wave of torque the M3 mill feels like an ankle-slapper. It's a difference you literally feel in the seat of your pants.

At the drag strip the M3 gets the hole-shot on the CTS-V. The M3 is simply easier to launch because of its more predictable clutch bite and more linear power delivery. But once the CTS-V's vast power is transmitted to the whimpering pavement, the outcome is as inevitable as shoving a boulder off a ledge. Thump. (See acceleration graph in the photo gallery.)

Both of the manual gearboxes proved excellent. Both glide easily through somewhat long gates. The Cadillac's clutch uptake is a bit smoother and easier with all that torque pulsing through its spinning bits. But the BMW's lightning-quick throttle response (especially in M mode) made it far easier to knock off near-flawless matched-rev downshifts.

The Numbers
The M3's best run produced a 0-60-mph time of 4.6 seconds (4.4 seconds with 1 foot of rollout) and a quarter-mile in 12.8 seconds at 111.2 mph. These results are within a tenth of a second and 1 mph of our best M3 coupe test.

The CTS-V, however, on the way to a gob-smacking 12.2-second 117.5-mph quarter-mile, ran to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds (or 3.9 seconds with 1 foot of rollout).

This coupe's straight-line performance is a couple tenths and a couple mph quicker and faster than any of the several CTS-V sedans we've driven, including a six-speed manual we tested that was 92 pounds heavier.

No doubt about it: This Caddy is a force-fed rocket, and it feels fast in any gear at any rpm. It's hard to get our heads around a car wearing the wreath and crest on its grille going faster than a Chevy Corvette Grand Sport did just a couple months ago.

Advantage: Cadillac

Four Pistons as Good as 20?
We suppose, given their differing approaches to the supercoupe segment, it shouldn't be a surprise that the two vehicles' braking hardware reveal a huge difference in engineering philosophy. And again, these divergent approaches result in nearly equally impressive performances. Where the CTS-V features Brembo-sourced six-pot front and four-piston rear fixed calipers gripping one-piece ventilated discs, the BMW uses single-piston front and rear sliding calipers squeezing two-piece ventilated/cross-drilled rotors.

The CTS-V came to a halt from 60 mph in 104 feet and the M3 in 107 feet — both exceptionally short and both fade-free. Both cars' brake pedals exhibited a sporty and appropriately steep jump-in, but we found the M3's to offer more tactile feedback and it was therefore easier to modulate with almost as much precision as a Porsche 911, the benchmark for brake feel.

Advantage: Cadillac? BMW?

But where every previous M3 we've tested provided even shorter stops than this example on its fourth or fifth stop, this one could do no better than it did on the first stop. And we're blaming the tires. Read on.

The Worthwhile Competition Package (With One Modification)
Go ahead and tick the "ZCP" Competition Package box if you're considering a 2011 BMW M3 this year. The new $2,500 package offers some truly useful upgrades, but there's one caveat.

The ZCP package lowers the car by a noticeable 10mm and comes with some exceptionally handsome 19-inch forged aluminum wheels with deeper offset than stock hoops. Plus, BMW's electronic damper control (EDC) is reprogrammed so what was the firmest fixed-valve setting in "Sport" is now a variable-valve setting that offers a wider range of chassis control in a larger variety of road conditions. The "Comfort" and "Normal" settings remain unchanged from non-ZCP M3s.

During the slalom runs, our test driver reported being curious about this M3's newfound compliance and improved yaw response in Sport. That damper selection (indicated by two lights adjacent to the button) has historically proved too firm and nervous for our 600-foot slalom test. So the M3 Competition package car feels better through the slalom and is less sensitive to bumps. But this car's Continental ContiSport Contact 3 tires couldn't cash the check written by the improved EDC tuning.

The best results we could muster were 0.90g on the skid pad and a 67.7-mph pass in the slalom. Previous M3 coupe slalom speeds have been as high as 73.3-mph and skid pad orbits have been recorded as high as 0.95g — that's a big difference we attribute to tires.

Every preceding E9X-generation M3 we've tested has been delivered with Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires — and each one (with the exception of a convertible) outperformed this loaner in our handling tests.

We're told the M division has blessed both brands of identically sized and rated tires, and that the decision to fit Michelins or Contis depends on "just-in-time" delivery to the factory. Insist on the Michelin PS2s if you're buying.

Agility Versus Feel
Where the M3 felt nervous, the CTS-V felt a little dull — not as in boring, but as in less sharp than it was on the first day we received it. Because this was the second full test this car endured while in our possession, there's little doubt the slightly reduced grip (from 0.90g to 0.89g) and slower slalom speed (from 69.3 mph to 68.2 mph) were the result of several heat cycles we put on its tires — Michelin Pilot Sport PS2s, by the way.

Despite the M3's poor tire choice and the disappointing instrumented-test results they produced, our experience tells us there's much more in this car than we measured on this day. The Cadillac may have made the numbers, but we'd still have to give the handling and dynamic feel award to the hobbled BMW. Telepathic steering response and a near-perfect driving position count for more in our books than a deficit of 0.5-mph in the slalom.

Advantage: BMW. However...

...the 4,200-pound Cadillac amazed us with how well its continually self-adjusting magnetorheological dampers can both firmly suspend the CTS-V for track tests and isolate occupants from nasty pavement out in the real world. Even with its rejiggered EDC, the short-wheelbase M3 couldn't match the Cadillac's all-around capabilities.

Advantage: Cadillac

Size Matters
Both of these two-doors share the same wheelbase measurements of their four-door counterparts, and both jettison the center position of the rear seat in the conversion to coupes. Further, legroom and headroom in both cars' driver seats remain essentially the same as their sedan versions, with the exception of the CTS-V Coupe's front headroom dropping by about an inch from the sedan. Because of our experience with their sedan counterparts, we expected the interior measurements to favor the Cadillac over the BMW in coupe form.

However, in the transformation from sedan to coupe, the CTS-V lost more volume and inches than the M3. Of particular note, the CTS-V's rear headroom dropped by a head-knocking 2.6 inches where the M3 only lost 0.7 inch, retaining habitable dimensions.

Rear passenger shoulder room shrank by 6.5 inches in the CTS-V and 5.3 inches in the M3, still favoring the M3 by an inch. Finally, besides its narrower orifice and luggage-crushing gooseneck hinges specific to the coupe, trunk volume in the CTS-V was reduced by 3 cubic feet. The M3's trunk retained cargo-friendly scissor hinges and lost just 1 cube, giving it the clear advantage.

Advantage: BMW

That both of these high-performance cars are available in far more accommodating and practical sedan form — with essentially no loss of performance — would make the choice of a coupe purely a styling preference. That's where the CTS-V Coupe detours farther from its sedan brother than the M3 does.

Style Matters
Aside from the way-cool standard carbon-fiber roof panel, you'd barely be able to see the difference in a quick glance between M3 coupe and sedan. They evidence the same economical use of organically shaped metal and the same well-vented fasciae. The coupe offers only a slightly sportier profile.

Put a CTS-V Coupe and sedan side by side and even a novice would notice that only the front fenders, grille and headlamps are the same. The absence of door handles is the give-away in profile, but especially from the rear, the CTS-V Coupe is really trying very hard (too hard?) to make a bold statement.

The CTS-V Coupe interior shares much with its sedan counterpart. That means the same inboard knee-thrashing occurs in the CTS-V's front seat, but it also means the same rich, high-quality interior materials are used, as are the innovative pop-up infotainment screen and hard-drive-based navigation and music storage — which we like very much.

In contrast, the M3's interior, like most BMWs, looks pretty austere. We're over the moon that the latest version of iDrive has found its way to the M3, and the optional hard-drive-based navigation, too. Sure the materials quality is expectedly high, but it isn't much to look at.

Advantage: Let your personal aesthetic sensibilities be your guide.

Sillier Than a Shoot-Out?
Because all of this thoughtful consideration and careful measuring, to say nothing of all the gallons of gas burned, brought us to an effective stalemate between these two, we've decided to do something utterly ridiculous.

Allow us to introduce you to our new tie-breaking procedure, performed in accordance with the rules of the High-Output Oversteer Naturalization (HOON) committee: the drift competition.

We did our first exploratory pass in the ultra-precise M3 assuming that its shorter wheelbase, quick, informative steering (in M mode) and mile-high redline would make it a natural. But we had to zing the BMW motor up near redline (8,400 rpm) to kick the tail out. Once the drift started, there wasn't enough headroom left to stay out of the rev limiter. And there wasn't enough torque below to maintain wheelspin. We also found the combo of short wheelbase and quick steering to be almost too precise for such a gratuitous show of smoky acrobatics. It's almost as if BMW didn't design the Continental sophisticate for such gross displays of ridiculousness.

Yes, the M3 can drift, repeatedly, precisely and with a pretty glorious V8 howl, but it also requires vigilance and a well-rehearsed plan.

Then the CTS-V came in with a stunning display of power and vulgarity. The Caddy's got exactly the right combo of a semi-long wheelbase, a shipping container's worth of torque and lightly weighted steering. The CTS-V put down uninterrupted black stripes not just through our test corner but through the following straight and into the next corner. God Bless America, huh?

It was only after this dramatic and decidedly lopsided display that we felt compelled to add the HOON score in honor of the CTS-V Coupe. We even drew a new box for the previously absent category. The CTS-V got a perfect 10.

Advantage: Cadillac

A Win's a Win
OK, so we let a drifting contest settle a score that was too close to call. You got a better idea? Track numbers only tell part of the story. Price, features, fuel economy, evaluations and editors' picks fill in the blanks, but that ended in an implicit stalemate.

In all seriousness, we think this is a pretty polarized segment. You're likely either a fan of one or the other of these cars. Do we honestly believe you'll choose the CTS-V Coupe over the M3 because of its superior driftability? No, we do not.

But in this comparison test, the Cadillac CTS-V Coupe is the winner. It represents a unique combination of Corvette-beating acceleration, a paranormal ability to smooth out rough roads and tear up test roads, head-turning looks, loads of standard features and a price that is at the very least, fair for the segment. And it can do positively vulgar things, too, if that's what you want.

Rock on, Cadillac. You won this round fair and square; not by a landslide, but by a powerslide.

The manufacturers provided Edmunds these vehicles for the purposes of evaluation.

As with every Inside Line comparison test, we make a comparative tally of equipment and feature offerings in an effort to justify vehicle pricing discrepancies. For this reason, we apply the same weight (15 percent in this case) toward the final score based on the availability of standard and optional (absent and/or present) equipment.

Also, we do not include items shared as standard equipment, as their presence would not affect the score. For instance, both the 2011 BMW M3 Coupe and 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe are equipped with limited-slip differentials, dual-zone auto climate control and active xenon headlamps. Both cars also are offered with automatic transmissions (a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual in the M3 and a traditional six-speed automatic in the CTS-V), a moonroof (though doing so on the M3 would replace the desirable carbon-fiber roof with a steel roof) and highly polished aluminum wheels.

Features
  2011 BMW M3 Coupe 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
Automatic hill-hold brakes S N/A
Bluetooth phone connection O* S
Heated front seats O S
Intelligent key (active vehicle locking/feedback) O N/A
Intelligent key (with passive entry/ignition) O S
Multimode dampers O S
Navigation system with real-time traffic O S
Rearview camera N/A S


Key:
S: Standard
O: Optional and present
O*: Optional but absent
N/A: Not Available

Automatic hill-hold brakes: Takes the stress out of starting (in either forward or reverse gear) on a steep incline without rolling downhill. Standard on the M3; not available on the CTS-V.

Bluetooth phone connection: Though it is far from intuitive, requires the vehicle to be stopped, necessitates the use of voice recognition with specific commands and lasts six steps (the first time), Bluetooth phone pairing is standard on the CTS-V Coupe. Bluetooth is optional on the M3, though not on our test car.

Heated front seats: Standard heated/ventilated seats on the CTS-V; optional heated seats on the M3.

Intelligent key (active vehicle locking/feedback): BMW's intelligent key also offers the peace of mind of an active (not passive) door-locking feature. When leaving the vehicle, lock the car simply by touching the BMW's door handle.

The Cadillac offers no such affirmative locking, but instead relies on either fishing out the remote to press the lock button or using the auto-door lock program and simply walking away from the car without confirming that it's being locked.

Intelligent key (with passive entry/ignition): BMW's "Comfort Access" intelligent key was once a stand-alone option, but it is now part of the Technology package. With the key in your pocket/handbag, you can open the locked doors/trunk and start the car.

Cadillac's "Keyless Access" offers the same functionality, but it is standard equipment on the CTS-V Coupe.

Multimode dampers: The optional electronic damper control (EDC) on the 2011 BMW M3 is available as a $1,000 stand-alone option or within either the Competition or Technology packages. These multivalve dampers offer three driver-selectable settings.

The 2011 Cadillac CTS-V's Magnetic Ride Control offers only two driver-selectable settings; however, the shock absorbers contain a special oil mixture that rapidly changes its viscosity to suit a variety of road conditions or a desired ride comfort and thus are almost infinitely self-adjusting.

Navigation system with real-time traffic: Standard hard-drive-based navigation system with traffic is standard on the CTS-V Coupe and optional on the M3.

Rearview camera: Displayed on the same pop-up screen as the navigation system (and a multitude of other things), the CTS-V's back-up camera is standard equipment.

Currently , the M3 offers optional rear-facing proximity sensors only.

Dimensions
Engine & Transmission Specifications
Warranty Information
Performance Information


Dimensions
Exterior Dimensions & Capacities
  2011 BMW M3 Coupe 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
Length, in. 181.8 188.5
Width, in. 71.0 74.1
Height, in. 55.8 55.9
Wheelbase, in. 108.7 113.4
As Tested Curb Weight, lb. 3,556 4,200
Turning Circle, ft. 38.4 37.9


Interior Dimensions
  2011 BMW M3 Coupe 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
Front headroom, in. 38.4 36.9
Rear headroom, in. 36.8 34.6
Front shoulder room, in. 55.3 56.0
Rear shoulder room, in. 51.9 50.9
Front legroom, in. 41.8 42.4
Rear legroom, in. 33.7 35.0
Cargo volume, cu-ft. 11.0 10.5
Total passenger volume, cu-ft. 88.5 86.6


Engine & Transmission Specifications
Engine & Transmission
  2011 BMW M3 Coupe 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
Displacement
(cc / cu-in):
3999 (244) 6162 (376)
Engine Type Naturally aspirated V8 Supercharged V8
Horsepower (SAE) @ rpm 414 @ 8,300 556 @ 6,100
Max. Torque, lb-ft @ rpm 295 @ 3,900 551 @ 3,800
Maximum engine speed, rpm 8,400 6,200
Compression ratio 12.0:1 9.1:1
Transmission Six-speed manual with LSD Six-speed manual with LSD
EPA Fuel Economy City, mpg 14.0 14.0
EPA Fuel Economy Hwy, mpg 20.0 19.0
Observed Fuel Economy combined, mpg 15.7 (406 mi.) 14.4 (818 mi.)


Warranty
Warranty Information
  2011 BMW M3 Coupe 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
Basic Warranty 4 years/50,000 miles 4 years/50,000 miles
Powertrain 4 years/50,000 miles 5 years/100,000 miles
Roadside Assistance 4 years/unlimited miles 5 years/100,000 miles
Free scheduled maintenance 4 years/50,000 miles 4 years/50,000 miles
Corrosion Protection 12 years/unlimited miles 6 years/100,000 miles


Performance
Performance Information
  2011 BMW M3 Coupe 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
0-60 mph acceleration, sec. 4.6 4.2
Quarter-mile acceleration, sec. 12.8 12.2
Quarter-mile speed, mph 111.2 117.5
60-0-mph braking, feet 107 104
Lateral Acceleration, g 0.90 0.89
600-ft slalom, mph 67.7 68.2

Final Rankings
Item Weight 2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe 2011 BMW M3 Coupe
Personal Rating 2.5% 50.0 100.0
Recommended Rating 2.5% 50.0 100.0
Evaluation Score 25% 78.7 82.3
Feature Content 15% 75.0 58.3
Performance 25% 99.7 87.1
Fuel Consumption 15% 97.2 100.0
Price 15% 96.6 100.0
Total Score 100.0% 87.4 86.1
Final Ranking 1 2


Personal Rating (2.5%): Purely subjective. After the test, each participating editor was asked to rank the two sport coupes in order of preference based on which he or she would buy if money were no object.

Recommended Rating (2.5%): After the test, each participating editor was asked to rank the vehicles in order of preference based on which he or she thought would be best for the average consumer shopping in this segment, including that car-savvy relative or family friend who has our number on speed dial. (We get this all the time.)

28-Point Evaluation (25%): Each participating editor ranked both cars based on a comprehensive 28-point evaluation. The point of this exhaustive exercise is to examine in detail the qualities and liabilities of both cars in a universal sense. The evaluation covered everything from exterior design to transmission performance to button wobble/stability. Things like ride comfort and rear-seat comfort/access as well as audio system layout are included in this overall score. Calculated on a point system, the scores listed are averages based on all test participants' evaluations of the cars' qualities/mistakes.

Feature Content (15%): For this category, the editors picked eight features they thought would be most demonstrative of where the true cost is (beyond a badge or inherent performance capabilities). We did not include features that were potentially or actually shared — such as limited-slip differentials, automatic transmissions or articulating xenon headlamps, for example — as doing so would not affect a relative difference in score. For each vehicle, the score was based on the number of features it had as standard equipment (earning three points), optional and present on our test vehicle (two points), optional but not included (one point) or not available (zero points) on our test vehicles.

Performance Testing (25%): For this particular comparison, we've weighted these cars' track performances greater than one for, say minivans. Flat-out acceleration, braking and handling tests were performed in a controlled environment by the same driver on the same day.

Fuel Consumption (15%): Based on current or expected results of the EPA's "Combined" fuel economy tests, the vehicle with the better fuel economy scores 100, and the less efficient car earns a score based on a simple percentage of the more efficient one.

Price (15%): The numbers listed were the result of a simple percentage calculation based on the less expensive vehicle in the comparison test. Using the "as tested" prices of the actual evaluation vehicles, the less expensive car received a score of 100, with the remaining car receiving a lesser score based on how much each one costs. We purposely assign the exact same weight to this category as we do for the Feature comparison in an attempt to justify a car's value or lack thereof.

Vehicle
Model year2011
MakeCadillac
ModelCTS-V Coupe
Year Make Model2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe (6.2L 8cyl S/C 6M)
Vehicle TypeRWD 2dr 4-passenger Coupe
Base MSRP$64,290
Options on test vehicleGLH Thunder Gray ChromaFlair ($995); W2E Recaro Performance Seats ($3,400 -- includes Recaro performance 14-way heated and ventilated front seats with pneumatic bolsters, deletes split-folding rear seat); 3AS Wood Trim Package ($600 -- includes genuine Midnight Sapele wood trim on instrument panel, center console and door panels).
As-tested MSRP$69,285
Assembly locationLansing, MI
North American parts content (%)Being researched
Drivetrain
ConfigurationLongitudinal, front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine typeSupercharged, port-injected gasoline V8
Displacement (cc/cu-in)6,162cc (376cu-in)
Block/head materialAluminum/aluminum
ValvetrainPushrod, two valves per cylinder
Compression ratio (x:1)9.1
Redline, indicated (rpm)6,250
Fuel cutoff/rev limiter (rpm)6,200
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)556 @ 6,100
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)551 @ 3,800
Fuel type87-octane acceptable + 91-octane for best performance
Transmission typeSix-speed manual
Transmission ratios (x:1)1st = 2.66; 2nd = 1.78; 3rd = 1.30; 4th = 1.00; 5th = 0.80; 6th = 0.63
Final-drive ratio (x:1)3.73
Differential(s)Mechanical limited-slip
Chassis
Suspension, frontIndependent double-wishbones, coil springs, driver-adjustable two-mode magnetorheological dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension, rearIndependent double-wishbone, coil springs, driver-adjustable two-mode magnetorheological dampers, stabilizer bar
Steering typeHydraulic-assist, speed-proportional rack-and-pinion power steering
Steering ratio (x:1)16.1
Tire make and modelMichelin Pilot PS2
Tire typeAsymmetrical+Directional Performance Summer
Tire size, front255/40R19 96Y
Tire size, rear285/35R19 99Y
Wheel size, front19-by-9 inches
Wheel size, rear19-by-9.5 inches
Wheel materialPainted, forged aluminum
Brakes, front15.0-inch one-piece ventilated steel discs with 6-piston fixed calipers
Brakes, rear14.7-inch one-piece ventilated steel discs with 4-piston fixed calipers
Track Test Results
Acceleration, 0-30 mph (sec.)1.9
0-45 mph (sec.)2.9
0-60 mph (sec.)4.2
0-75 mph (sec.)5.8
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)12.2 @ 117.5
0-60 with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)3.9
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)27
60-0 mph (ft.)104
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)68.2
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph) ESC ON67.4
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)0.89
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g) ESC ON0.89
Sound level @ idle (dB)48.1
@ Full throttle (dB)80.9
@ 70 mph cruise (dB)72.1
Engine speed @ 70 mph (rpm)2,100
Test Driver Ratings & Comments
Acceleration commentsWow! As usual, GM's supercharged 6.2-liter V8 amazes: No whine, no surge, no drama, just propulsion. Difficult to launch well, but still quite consistent with no apparent heat-soak. The Coupe scratches rubber on both the 1-2 and 2-3 shifts. No programmed launch control available -- seems an odd choice.
Braking commentsAmazing power and fade resistance from firm pedal with shallow jump-in. No dive, no wander, just dead consistent.
Handling ratingVery good
Handling commentsSkid pad: On this retest for the comparison, front tires gave up well before rears and the car wasn't responding to lift-stab on the throttle. The tires' health is borderline at this point. Still the steering remains light, smooth and precise at this speed. Slalom: As it is with these previously tested tires, the car offers the same crisp turn-in, but not the same front-end bite/grip as before. I had to plan on some push prior to the car actually responding with a yaw change. Good in transition, excellent at soaking up dip/bump and wonderful though the final gate on the power with a "dab of oppo." Easy to control despite its size/mass.
Testing Conditions
Test date7/13/2010
Test locationCalifornia Speedway
Elevation (ft.)1,121
Temperature (F)63.06
Relative humidity (%)77.94
Barometric pressure (in. Hg)28.82
Wind (mph, direction)3.75, head-crosswind
Odometer (mi.)855
Fuel used for test91-octane gasoline
As-tested tire pressures, f/r (psi)32/32
Fuel Consumption
EPA fuel economy (mpg)14 city/19 highway/16 combined
Edmunds observed (mpg)13 worst/16 best/14 average (818 miles)
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)18.0
Driving range (mi.)342
Audio and Advanced Technology
Stereo descriptionBose 5.1 Cabin Surround 300-watt 10-speaker AM/FM/XM, in-dash single-CD/DVD with MP3 playback with 40GB hard drive, USB audio connectivity
iPod/digital media compatibilityiPod via USB jack
Satellite radioStandard XM (3-month trial subscription)
Hard-drive music storage capacity (Gb)Being researched
Rear seat video and entertainmentNot available
Bluetooth phone connectivityStandard
Navigation systemStandard hard-drive with traffic (1 year service included)
Telematics (OnStar, etc.)Standard (12-month trial subscription)
Smart entry/StartStandard ignition, doors, trunk
Parking aidsStandard parking sonar rear back-up camera
Blind-spot detectionNot available
Adaptive cruise controlNot available
Lane-departure monitoringNot available
Collision warning/avoidanceNot available
Night VisionNot available
Driver coaching displayStandard (instantaneous/average fuel consumption display)
Dimensions & Capacities
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)4,204
Curb weight, as tested (lbs.)4,200
Weight distribution, as tested, f/r (%)51/49
Length (in.)188.5
Width (in.)74.1
Height (in.)55.9
Wheelbase (in.)113.4
Track, front (in.)61.8
Track, rear (in.)62.9
Turning circle (ft.)37.9
Legroom, front (in.)42.4
Legroom, rear (in.)35.0
Headroom, front (in.)36.9
Headroom, rear (in.)34.6
Shoulder room, front (in.)56.1
Shoulder room, rear (in.)50.9
Seating capacity4
Trunk volume (cu-ft)10.5
Warranty
Bumper-to-bumper4 years/50,000 miles
Powertrain5 years/100,000 miles
Corrosion6 years/100,000 miles
Roadside assistance5 years/100,000 miles
Free scheduled maintenance4 years/50,000 miles
Vehicle
Model year2011
MakeBMW
ModelM3 Coupe
Year Make Model2011 BMW M3 Coupe (4.0L 8cyl 6M)
Vehicle TypeRWD 2dr 4-passenger Coupe
Base MSRP$60,575
Options on test vehicleMelbourne Red Metallic ($550), ZTP Technology Package ($2,500 -- [when combined with ZCP] includes M Drive button on steering wheel, Comfort Access keyless entry/ignition/locking, hard-drive-based navigation system, real-time traffic information, voice command voice-activated functionality); ZCP Competition Package ($2,500 -- includes electronic damping control [EDC] with driver-selectable settings of either "Comfort," "Normal" or "Sport," Sport mapping for electronic damping control (EDC)/dynamic stability control [DSC], 19-by-9-inch front and 19-by-10-inch rear Y-Spoke [style 359M] alloy wheels with 245/35ZR19 93Y front and 265/35ZR19 98Y rear performance tires, 10mm lowered suspension); 494 Heated Front Seats ($500), 6FL iPod and USB Adapter ($400).
As-tested MSRP$67,025
Assembly locationRegensburg, Germany
North American parts content (%)5%
Drivetrain
ConfigurationLongitudinal, front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine typeNaturally aspirated, port-injected gasoline V8
Displacement (cc/cu-in)3,999cc (244cu-in)
Block/head materialAluminum/aluminum
ValvetrainDOHC, four valves per cylinder, variable intake + exhaust-valve timing
Compression ratio (x:1)12.0
Redline, indicated (rpm)8,250
Fuel cutoff/rev limiter (rpm)8,400
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)414 @ 8,300
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)295 @ 3,900
Fuel typePremium unleaded (required)
Transmission typeSix-speed manual
Transmission ratios (x:1)1st = 4.055, 2nd = 2.396, 3rd = 1.582, 4th = 1.192, 5th = 1.000, 6th = 0.872
Final-drive ratio (x:1)3.85
Differential(s)Electronic limited-slip
Chassis
Suspension, frontIndependent MacPherson struts, coil springs, driver-adjustable three-mode variable dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension, rearIndependent multilink, coil springs, driver-adjustable three-mode variable dampers, stabilizer bar
Steering typeHydraulic-assist, speed-proportional, variable-ratio, rack-and-pinion power steering
Steering ratio (x:1)12.5
Tire make and modelContinental ContiSport Contact 3
Tire typeAsymmetrical Performance Summer
Tire size, front245/35ZR19 93Y
Tire size, rear265/35ZR19 98Y
Wheel size, front19-by-9 inches
Wheel size, rear19-by-10 inches
Wheel materialForged aluminum
Brakes, front14.2-inch two-piece ventilated cross-drilled steel discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Brakes, rear13.8-inch two-piece ventilated cross-drilled steel discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Track Test Results
Acceleration, 0-30 mph (sec.)2.1
0-45 mph (sec.)3.6
0-60 mph (sec.)4.6
0-75 mph (sec.)6.5
1/4-mile (sec. @ mph)12.8 @ 111.2
0-60 with 1 foot of rollout (sec.)4.4
Braking, 30-0 mph (ft.)27
60-0 mph (ft.)107
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph)67.7
Slalom, 6 x 100 ft. (mph) ESC ON65.9
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g)0.90
Skid pad, 200-ft. diameter (lateral g) ESC ON0.90
Sound level @ idle (dB)51.2
@ Full throttle (dB)84.2
@ 70 mph cruise (dB)70.0
Engine speed @ 70 mph (rpm)1,900
Test Driver Ratings & Comments
Acceleration commentsRequires a fairly high-rpm launch (3,000-3,500) to avoid bogging, but then it's easy to light the tires -- which aren't as predictable/tractable as the Michelin PS2 tires. These Contis have peaky grip/release and as they heated up, I had to lower my launch rpm. Love the 8,400-rpm rev limit and the sound the V8 makes. Got a scratch into both 2nd and 3rd on the best run.
Braking commentsUnlike typical M3 braking performances, this one made its best stop first, and distances increased from there. Firm pedal, near-zero dive, arrow straight and negligible fade (2 feet from 1st to 5th stop).
Handling ratingVery good
Handling commentsSkid pad: Excellent grip, balance, and talkative steering with a chassis that responds properly to throttle manipulation. Lower ultimate number than previously observed, but the tires are different this time around -- not better. Slalom: This is not what I'd call a typical "I could do this all day long" slalom experience. The rear was always threatening to visit the front. Also, we usually prefer the "Normal" setting on EDC, but that was insufficient to keep the car responsive in the quick transitions, so we opted for "Sport" this time around to enhance steering response. Do yourself a favor and get the Michelin PS2s instead of these ContiSports.
Testing Conditions
Test date7/13/2010
Test locationCalifornia Speedway
Elevation (ft.)1,121
Temperature (F)64.9
Relative humidity (%)70.2
Barometric pressure (in. Hg)28.82
Wind (mph, direction)3.2, headwind
Odometer (mi.)4,065
Fuel used for test91-octane gasoline
As-tested tire pressures, f/r (psi)33/35
Fuel Consumption
EPA fuel economy (mpg)14 city/20 highway/16 combined
Edmunds observed (mpg)15 worst/17 best/16 average (406 miles)
Fuel tank capacity (U.S. gal.)16.6
Driving range (mi.)332
Audio and Advanced Technology
Stereo descriptionAlpine 10-speaker AM/FM/XM, in-dash single-CD/MP3 playback with 80GB hard-drive-based navigation system with real-time traffic and voice-activated functionality, optional iPod/USB audio connectivity.
iPod/digital media compatibilityOptional iPod via USB jack
Satellite radioOptional XM
Hard-drive music storage capacity (Gb)8
Rear seat video and entertainmentNot available
Bluetooth phone connectivityOptional
Navigation systemOptional hard drive with traffic
Telematics (OnStar, etc.)Optional (BMW Assist)
Smart entry/StartOptional ignition, doors, trunk
Parking aidsOptional parking sonar, rear
Blind-spot detectionNot available
Adaptive cruise controlNot available
Lane-departure monitoringNot available
Collision warning/avoidanceNot available
Night VisionNot available
Driver coaching displayStandard (instantaneous/average fuel consumption display)
Dimensions & Capacities
Curb weight, mfr. claim (lbs.)3,704
Curb weight, as tested (lbs.)3,556
Weight distribution, as tested, f/r (%)51/49
Length (in.)181.8
Width (in.)71.0
Height (in.)55.8
Wheelbase (in.)108.7
Track, front (in.)60.5
Track, rear (in.)60.5
Turning circle (ft.)38.4
Legroom, front (in.)41.8
Legroom, rear (in.)33.7
Headroom, front (in.)38.4
Headroom, rear (in.)36.8
Shoulder room, front (in.)55.3
Shoulder room, rear (in.)51.9
Seating capacity4
Trunk volume (cu-ft)11.0
Warranty
Bumper-to-bumper4 years/50,000 miles
Powertrain4 years/50,000 miles
Corrosion12 years/Unlimited miles
Roadside assistance4 years/Unlimited miles
Free scheduled maintenance4 years/50,000 miles
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