New for 2015
The BMW M3 is reintroduced for 2015, losing the V-8 from the 2013 iteration, instead utilizing a twin-turbo I-6.
The BMW M3 is the iconic performance sedan that has long been the standard of sports cars throughout the world for handling. The M3, though once representative of both two- and four-door models, is now just a sedan, with the M4 covering the coupe and convertible models.
The 2015 BMW M3 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter I-6 that produces 425 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque and can be paired to a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The M3 remains rear-wheel drive, per tradition, and can make the sprint to 60 mph between 3.9 and 4.1 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel efficiency is 17/24-26 mpg city/highway with six-speed models getting better highway mileage, figures much-improved over the V-8 from the last M3 that earned a 14/20 mpg rating.
The standard features list is indicative of the M3’s mission, going fast, with a limited comfort/convenience list that includes heated front seats, automatic climate control, four 12-volt power outlets, Bluetooth with streaming audio support, HID headlights, and dynamic cruise control.
While the 2015 BMW M3 has not been crash tested by the NHTSA or the IIHS, the 3 Series Sedan received a five-star rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars), and in IIHS testing four ratings of Good and one of Marginal in the small overlap front category (the highest possible rating is Good).
What We Think
The 2015 BMW M3 brings back more of what made us first love the M3, but it’s not perfect. We were appalled to find that BMW has synthesized the exhaust note, but it’s not a point we’ll beleaguer here; suffice it to say the people outside the car get the better soundtrack. In a Driven Review of the 2015 BMW M3 and M4 we commented on the twin-turbo powertrain saying, “The right now power delivery is especially sublime when you’re already on the move and are looking for a hard kick in the pants down a short straight. And it happens in a linear, no-surprise kind of way … In total, it’s good enough that we won’t miss the 4.0-liter V-8. The truth hurts.” We also praised the M3, noting, “The handling is unmistakably, deliciously, rear-wheel drive. With the DSC fully on, both cars are hampered, hobbled, and slightly dispirited. One button click to M Dynamic Mode (MDM), and they become nimble, dynamic, and boisterous. There’s almost no understeer: Even picking up the gas early in the apex has little penalty, as the M3/M4 stays highly pointable. You can alter driving lines with throttle.”
Our complaints, however, lay with the steering, which we called “incredibly precise” but noted that there was a conspicuous absence of feel. In an Around the Block review of a 2015 BMW M3 we said, “A great driving experience is more than just shifting quickly, convincing your right foot to stay down, then clinging to a steering wheel … The M3 lives in the world you wanted, a world all about performance, not driving. Take responsibility for what it has become.” In an automotive landscape experiencing a modern horsepower war the M3 has become even more hard-edged to compete (think the 700-hp Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, Mercedes-AMG C63, and etc.) but has lost that connection it used to have.
Despite the question of lost feel (who can help but compare it to the excellent line that set the stage?) the M3 remains a dynamic performer with a mean streak. Deactivate the traction control and the sports sedan from Munich can encourage some silliness.
- M3 brings the I-6 back
- 406 lb-ft of torque at 1850 rpm
- Excellent electronics keep the M3 under control
You Won’t Like
- Synthetic exhaust note
- Steering lacks feel
- Have to pay extra for a backup camera
- Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe
- Cadillac ATS-V
- Audi RS 7
- Chevrolet SS
- Jaguar F-Type R