2003 All-Star: GT

January 14, 2003
2003 All-Star GT: BMW M3

Photo by Ian Dawson
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From the moment you slip into the sport seat, fire up that masterful 3.2-liter in-line six, engage first gear, and pull away, it's obvious that the M3 is full of the right BMW stuff. The cool, classy look and feel of the whole car is absolutely top drawer, and you immediately sense that this is a serious driving tool put together by enthusiasts in Munich who really know what they're doing. And boy, is it fast. The M3 is the complete package. Under the hood, the engine's deep, rich sound is classically BMW, and the delivery and the free-revving response are wondrous. The six-speed shifter is another quality deal. The degree to which suspension, wheels, and tires all work together to deliver fast, fluid, and unflappable cornering is extraordinary. For a car with supercar limits, the M3 is surprisingly accessible and easy to place, turning in beautifully even at unpublishable speeds. The steering is slightly too light for some people's taste, but it has the high precision that is stamped all over the car. At a time when "flame surfacing," "iDrive," and "aesthetic value systems" are the new buzzwords at BMW, the M3 is a celebration of traditional BMW strengths.