This M3 looks, sounds, and feels very mean, yet in a highly refined manner. This generation could end up being the only V-8-powered BMW M3 ever, so I'm enjoying it while it lasts. BMW's typically rubbery manual gearboxes aren't usually my favorites, and this car's is no exception. Still, the very light action and fairly short throws help encourage extremely quick gear changes once the V-8 has passed 8000 rpm.

I prefer the looks, price, and utility of the M3 sedan (which starts at $3000 less than the coupe), but it's pretty hard to dislike the bulging-hooded M3 in any form. It's even easy to drive smoothly if you're chauffeuring people who are unlikely to be impressed by 414 hp, which is nice for a family man like me.

One concern, though: Can a taller person fit in this car with a helmet on? I'm only five-foot-six, and my head wasn't all that far from the BMW's ceiling once I'd adjusted my seat comfortably.

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

New Car Research

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