From the hood scoop to the chiseled sheetmetal, the new M3 coupe is both restrained and extroverted, in true German style. The Melbourne metallic red paint-a reasonable $550 option-two pairs of chrome tailpipes, and a carbon-fiber roof complete the subtle yet conspicuous high-performance look. The options boxes were liberally checked on this car bringing the price to just over $66,000. It's worth noting that this M3 coupe was fitted with the standard-issue wheels instead of the bright aluminum wheels that come as part of the $2500 competition package included on this car. Although I've only seen them side-by-side in pictures, I think I prefer the standard gray wheels as they temper the M3s conspicuous half.

After being parked outside overnight, the engine and transmission took some time to warm up despite the spring-like 40-degree temperature. Waiting for the engine to warm up was no problem - every M3 I've driven has restricted rpm until the engine was warm - but the transmission was stiff and notchy in first and second gear for several miles, even with the clutch firmly planted on the floor. Beyond this small issue, it's hard to find fault with the M3 coupe. If I were in the market for an M3, I would choose the sedan over the coupe simply because a four-door is easier to live with as daily driver.

Jennifer Misaros, Production Editor

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