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BMW Displays a Split Personality with new M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe

BMW Displays a Split Personality with new M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe


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The BMW M3 is one of those rare performance icons – a model line that defines the segment and the benchmark against which its rivals are compared. Everything from the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG and Audi RS5 to the Cadillac CTS-V and new Lexus RC F are invariably measured against the yardstick from Bavaria. But as iconic as the M3 has grown over the years since the introduction of the original in 1988, it has become somewhat obscured by the sheer variety of formats in which it has been offered: The outgoing model was available as a coupe, convertible and sedan. And while the M division never (officially) turned the 3 Series Touring into an M3 wagon, it did build a pickup version to haul its gear around. But now BMW is splitting the lineup into two.

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For the latest generation, BMW is offering the M3 as a sedan and is spinning the coupe off as a separate model called the M4. Both were presented for the first time at the Detroit Auto Show in January and, save for the extra pair of doors, are virtually identical.

Replacing the high-revving (and gas-guzzling) 4.0-liter V8 in the outgoing M3, the new model packs a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six. But don't let the drop in displacement and cylinder count fool you: the new turbo six produces 425 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque – more than any M3 that came before. In fact the original M3 offered less than half the new model's output. It's also slightly more powerful, significantly torquier, much more usable and vitally lighter in weight than the high-revving V8 in the model it replaces.

"The engine is the heart of every M model, and the new turbocharged six-cylinder unit fitted in the two new cars combines the virtues of a high-revving naturally aspirated unit with the strengths of turbocharger technology," said Dr Friedrich Nitschke, head of BMW M GmbH. "Meticulous and passion-fuelled development work has underpinned the creation of two high-performance sports cars that set new standards in terms of overall concept, precision and agility."

That's why BMW is quoting a blitzschnell 3.9-second 0-60 time for either sedan or coupe equipped with the dual-clutch transmission, or 4.1 seconds for the six-speed manual. Coupled with a top speed electronically limited (as per German custom) to 155 miles per hour and you've got one heck of a performance machine on your hands, whether you're tackling a high-speed run down the Autobahn, a hot lap around the Nürburgring or a run down to the local grocery store.


Tested: 2016 BMW M3 DCT Competition Dials Up the M3's Fury

A new M Competition package adds 19 horses and a returned suspension to BMW's already potent sports sedan.

BMW baked this automotive version of a German chocolate cake to celebrate the M3&rsquos 30th birthday: an M Competition package containing a 444-hp 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six (a 19-hp upgrade over the standard M3), 20-inch wheels and tires, a retuned Adaptive M suspension, revised exhaust plumbing, and a few distinctive exterior-design touches. This delicacy is available on both the M3 and the M4 coupe for $4750 because the seats are not included in the M4 convertible, the cost of the Competition package drops to $4250.

The M3 was born in 1986 as a limited-production racer, the ideal gambit for BMW&rsquos Motorsport division (later shortened to the M division) to advance its tuning expertise in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) racing series. Major power upgrades, handling and braking gains, and lighter body parts ensued through five design generations. Starting with 16-valve four-cylinder engines, the M engineers stepped up to 24-valve inline-sixes in 1992. A hellbent 32-valve V-8 arrived in 2007, followed by a twin-turbo six for the current (fifth) generation in 2014.

Countless journalists have proclaimed the V-8­&ndashpowered E92 M3 coupe, which was sold from 2008 through 2013, the best car in the world. The loss of natural aspiration and two cylinders, not to mention the move to electrically assisted power steering, are major setbacks for the current 3- and 4-series in general and the M3/M4 in particular. Consider this new comp(ensation) package the M division making amends.

Keeping Up in the 4.0-Second Club

BMW had little choice. With Cadillac&rsquos two V-cars, overpowered Chevrolet Camaros, the Shelby Mustang GT350R, and the Mercedes-AMG C63S all cracking the 4.0-seconds-to-60-mph barrier for less than $100,000, the boys from Bavaria had to put up or go home. Give BMW extra credit for assaulting V-8 enemies with its supremely potent twin-turbo straight-six.

HIGHS: Excels in both street and track racing, superb front seats, discreet exterior design, tasteful interior.

The M3 and M4 are BMW&rsquos double-whammy gifts to owners willing to sacrifice some suppleness during regular driving for razor-edged reflexes on the occasional track day. The adaptive M suspension and a wealth of steering, damping, throttle-response, and transmission-calibration settings give this pair flexibility unmatched by any competitor. Our experience with these M&Ms during routine commuting, on visits to the test track, while hammering our favorite back roads, and while lapping Chrysler&rsquos 10-turn, 1.7-mile closed circuit in the M3 convinced us BMW has definitely not lost the scent.

Kudos go to the M3 for topping the M4&rsquos value. The sedan&rsquos $64,495 base price is $2200 cheaper, and you get two more doors and a third seatbelt in back, which the M4 lacks. This may be all the ammo necessary to convince a skeptical spouse that the M3 is, in fact, a dual-purpose &ldquofamily sedan.&rdquo Also, a four-door tends to draw less attention in traffic than a slinky, fast-moving coupe.

Our test car was equipped with a $550 Yas Marina Blue Metallic paint job and six options beyond the Competition package: carbon-ceramic brakes for $8150 a $3500 Executive package containing a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, a rearview camera, a backup warning alarm, and headlamp washers a $2900 dual-clutch automatic transmission top- and side-view cameras costing $750 and a $350 enhanced USB port for easing smartphone connection via Bluetooth. (The car tested here was a late-2016 model for the 2017 model year, a slight shuffling of standard equipment results in a $500 rise in the base price of an M3, nicely offset by a $750 reduction in the cost of the Competition package.) The total tab of $88,095 is steep in comparison with the Camaro and Mustang alternatives but on par with super sports sedans offered by Alfa Romeo (the Giulia Quadrifoglio), Cadillac, and Mercedes-AMG.

Athletic at the Track

Even though the comp-pack M4 we tested broke the 4.0-second zero-to-60-mph barrier with relative ease (in 3.8 seconds), the M3 reviewed here did not. Reporting a lack of launch adhesion, our test driver clocked the sprint in 4.0 seconds flat on the way to an impressive 12.2-second, 120-mph quarter-mile. While that&rsquos a tad slower than a Cadillac CTS-V (3.6 seconds) and a Mercedes-AMG C63 S (3.9 seconds), it&rsquos comparable to a Corvette Grand Sport, a Shelby GT350R, and a few of the current Camaro SS cars we&rsquove tested. The M3&rsquos most impressive feats were hustling to 160 mph in 26.1 seconds and beating the aforementioned Vette to 150 mph by two seconds.

LOWS: Expensive, lacks steering feedback, premium-fuel thirst.

While it&rsquos no secret we prefer three-pedal cars, this M3 uses its dual-clutch automatic to excellent advantage. The 7500-rpm upshifts are crisp and perfectly timed to keep boost on the boil and the superlative six in the meat of its powerband. With a significant share of its exhaust energy recycled to the intake tract and only three liters of piston displacement at work, this engine accelerates the M3 with less commotion than is typical for the V-8 crowd. For majestic motor music, a BMW inline-six is tough to top.

Other track stats are just as impressive as the M3&rsquos ability to streak in a straight line. Stopping from 70 mph in 146 feet with no hint of fade and circling the skidpad at 0.98 g with all four tires shouldering their fair share of the cornering effort are performance figures to envy.

These results are handy for taking the M3&rsquos pulse versus the world&rsquos best sports sedans, but they don&rsquot dig deeply enough to touch this car&rsquos soul. That requires road miles and track laps, tasks we thoroughly enjoyed. The acceleration surge feels like an atomic particle flung by the Large Hadron Collider. Whether it&rsquos a smooth escape from a green light or a passing blitz, the M3 performs delightful disappearing acts. Then, at 100 mph in seventh gear, the sweet six hums a 2900-rpm growl a notch lower in intensity than the wind ruffling past the A-pillars.

Adaptable to Daily Chores

Five switches and the dual-clutch automatic&rsquos shift lever let you play the M3 like a baby grand. In addition to a full-auto mode, the stick and paddles behind the wheel offer ratios perfect for every occasion, holding each gear in manual mode even when the engine runs out of revs at 7500 rpm. One quirk is the lack of a park position when you switch off the engine with the lever left in gear, the driveline automatically locks with a P displayed in the instrument cluster.

A drive-mode switch below the shifter offers efficient, relaxed, and sporty modes when the shift lever is in D and comfortable, fast, or really fast shifting when the S (sequential) position is selected. Control freaks will also love the Efficient, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ programs for the power steering, the dampers, and the engine dynamics provided by push buttons to the left of the shifter.

Cycling through every alternative takes patience, but that&rsquos the only way to plumb the depths of the M3&rsquos personality. Doing so, we discovered that care must be used in first gear with the engine dynamics button set in Sport+ to avoid neck-kinking jumpiness. We were surprised to find that with the dampers maxed out in Sport+, the ride quality never enters the punishment zone, although the tires clomp heavily over even mildly broken pavement.

While stiffer springs and anti-roll bars are key elements in the M3 Competition package&rsquos makeup, the suspension&rsquos secret weapons are brilliantly tuned computer-controlled dampers. Peter Schmid, BMW M&rsquos head of driving dynamics, acknowledged that extra effort was invested in tuning the M3&rsquos ZF Sachs continuous damping control system for optimum performance on a wide variety of road surfaces. The starting calibration is soft to avoid harshness over bumps and expansion joints. A sensor array keeps an electronic controller well informed to increase damping forces in fractions of a second according to the road conditions. Extensive structural reinforcements at the front and rear of the M3 allow high damping forces to be transferred to the body without the shake, rattle, and roll that kills comfort in less astute sports sedans.

The stability-control button at the top of the M3&rsquos four-button stack merits due deliberation. One tap disables traction control, handy for extracting the M3 from a snowbank. Pressing and holding the button for a few seconds engages the M Dynamic mode, where nearly all stability-control assistance is suspended. This eliminates understeer at the limit of adhesion. M Dynamic mode should be restricted to the racetrack, where neutral handling allows you to glide around sweepers with the tail hung wide in perfect synchronicity with the steering angle you&rsquove dialed in to the front wheels. Let your driving ability and insurance coverage be your guide.

Ultimately, the Competition package&rsquos prime attraction is its split personality. Without sacrificing daily-driving practicalities, it allows this sedan to shine as a weekend track star. Like the M2 and M4 that bracket it, the M3 never turns a cold shoulder to BMW&rsquos better days.

Specifications

SPECIFICATIONS

2016 BMW M3 DCT Competition

VEHICLE TYPE
front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE AS TESTED
$88,095 (base price: $64,495)

ENGINE TYPE
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve inline-6, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement
182 in 3 , 2979 cm 3
Power
444 hp @ 7000 rpm
Torque
406 lb-ft @ 1850 rpm

TRANSMISSION
7-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 110.7 in
Length: 184.5 in
Width: 73.9 in
Height: 56.3 in
Passenger volume: 96 ft 3
Cargo volume: 17 ft 3
Curb weight: 3651 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS
Zero to 60 mph: 4.0 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 8.6 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 14.6 sec
Zero to 150 mph: 21.1 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 4.6 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 2.2 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 2.8 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 12.2 sec @ 120 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 163 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 146 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.98 g

FUEL ECONOMY
EPA city/highway driving: 17/24 mpg
C/D observed: 18 mpg


Tested: 2016 BMW M3 DCT Competition Dials Up the M3's Fury

A new M Competition package adds 19 horses and a returned suspension to BMW's already potent sports sedan.

BMW baked this automotive version of a German chocolate cake to celebrate the M3&rsquos 30th birthday: an M Competition package containing a 444-hp 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six (a 19-hp upgrade over the standard M3), 20-inch wheels and tires, a retuned Adaptive M suspension, revised exhaust plumbing, and a few distinctive exterior-design touches. This delicacy is available on both the M3 and the M4 coupe for $4750 because the seats are not included in the M4 convertible, the cost of the Competition package drops to $4250.

The M3 was born in 1986 as a limited-production racer, the ideal gambit for BMW&rsquos Motorsport division (later shortened to the M division) to advance its tuning expertise in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) racing series. Major power upgrades, handling and braking gains, and lighter body parts ensued through five design generations. Starting with 16-valve four-cylinder engines, the M engineers stepped up to 24-valve inline-sixes in 1992. A hellbent 32-valve V-8 arrived in 2007, followed by a twin-turbo six for the current (fifth) generation in 2014.

Countless journalists have proclaimed the V-8­&ndashpowered E92 M3 coupe, which was sold from 2008 through 2013, the best car in the world. The loss of natural aspiration and two cylinders, not to mention the move to electrically assisted power steering, are major setbacks for the current 3- and 4-series in general and the M3/M4 in particular. Consider this new comp(ensation) package the M division making amends.

Keeping Up in the 4.0-Second Club

BMW had little choice. With Cadillac&rsquos two V-cars, overpowered Chevrolet Camaros, the Shelby Mustang GT350R, and the Mercedes-AMG C63S all cracking the 4.0-seconds-to-60-mph barrier for less than $100,000, the boys from Bavaria had to put up or go home. Give BMW extra credit for assaulting V-8 enemies with its supremely potent twin-turbo straight-six.

HIGHS: Excels in both street and track racing, superb front seats, discreet exterior design, tasteful interior.

The M3 and M4 are BMW&rsquos double-whammy gifts to owners willing to sacrifice some suppleness during regular driving for razor-edged reflexes on the occasional track day. The adaptive M suspension and a wealth of steering, damping, throttle-response, and transmission-calibration settings give this pair flexibility unmatched by any competitor. Our experience with these M&Ms during routine commuting, on visits to the test track, while hammering our favorite back roads, and while lapping Chrysler&rsquos 10-turn, 1.7-mile closed circuit in the M3 convinced us BMW has definitely not lost the scent.

Kudos go to the M3 for topping the M4&rsquos value. The sedan&rsquos $64,495 base price is $2200 cheaper, and you get two more doors and a third seatbelt in back, which the M4 lacks. This may be all the ammo necessary to convince a skeptical spouse that the M3 is, in fact, a dual-purpose &ldquofamily sedan.&rdquo Also, a four-door tends to draw less attention in traffic than a slinky, fast-moving coupe.

Our test car was equipped with a $550 Yas Marina Blue Metallic paint job and six options beyond the Competition package: carbon-ceramic brakes for $8150 a $3500 Executive package containing a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, a rearview camera, a backup warning alarm, and headlamp washers a $2900 dual-clutch automatic transmission top- and side-view cameras costing $750 and a $350 enhanced USB port for easing smartphone connection via Bluetooth. (The car tested here was a late-2016 model for the 2017 model year, a slight shuffling of standard equipment results in a $500 rise in the base price of an M3, nicely offset by a $750 reduction in the cost of the Competition package.) The total tab of $88,095 is steep in comparison with the Camaro and Mustang alternatives but on par with super sports sedans offered by Alfa Romeo (the Giulia Quadrifoglio), Cadillac, and Mercedes-AMG.

Athletic at the Track

Even though the comp-pack M4 we tested broke the 4.0-second zero-to-60-mph barrier with relative ease (in 3.8 seconds), the M3 reviewed here did not. Reporting a lack of launch adhesion, our test driver clocked the sprint in 4.0 seconds flat on the way to an impressive 12.2-second, 120-mph quarter-mile. While that&rsquos a tad slower than a Cadillac CTS-V (3.6 seconds) and a Mercedes-AMG C63 S (3.9 seconds), it&rsquos comparable to a Corvette Grand Sport, a Shelby GT350R, and a few of the current Camaro SS cars we&rsquove tested. The M3&rsquos most impressive feats were hustling to 160 mph in 26.1 seconds and beating the aforementioned Vette to 150 mph by two seconds.

LOWS: Expensive, lacks steering feedback, premium-fuel thirst.

While it&rsquos no secret we prefer three-pedal cars, this M3 uses its dual-clutch automatic to excellent advantage. The 7500-rpm upshifts are crisp and perfectly timed to keep boost on the boil and the superlative six in the meat of its powerband. With a significant share of its exhaust energy recycled to the intake tract and only three liters of piston displacement at work, this engine accelerates the M3 with less commotion than is typical for the V-8 crowd. For majestic motor music, a BMW inline-six is tough to top.

Other track stats are just as impressive as the M3&rsquos ability to streak in a straight line. Stopping from 70 mph in 146 feet with no hint of fade and circling the skidpad at 0.98 g with all four tires shouldering their fair share of the cornering effort are performance figures to envy.

These results are handy for taking the M3&rsquos pulse versus the world&rsquos best sports sedans, but they don&rsquot dig deeply enough to touch this car&rsquos soul. That requires road miles and track laps, tasks we thoroughly enjoyed. The acceleration surge feels like an atomic particle flung by the Large Hadron Collider. Whether it&rsquos a smooth escape from a green light or a passing blitz, the M3 performs delightful disappearing acts. Then, at 100 mph in seventh gear, the sweet six hums a 2900-rpm growl a notch lower in intensity than the wind ruffling past the A-pillars.

Adaptable to Daily Chores

Five switches and the dual-clutch automatic&rsquos shift lever let you play the M3 like a baby grand. In addition to a full-auto mode, the stick and paddles behind the wheel offer ratios perfect for every occasion, holding each gear in manual mode even when the engine runs out of revs at 7500 rpm. One quirk is the lack of a park position when you switch off the engine with the lever left in gear, the driveline automatically locks with a P displayed in the instrument cluster.

A drive-mode switch below the shifter offers efficient, relaxed, and sporty modes when the shift lever is in D and comfortable, fast, or really fast shifting when the S (sequential) position is selected. Control freaks will also love the Efficient, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ programs for the power steering, the dampers, and the engine dynamics provided by push buttons to the left of the shifter.

Cycling through every alternative takes patience, but that&rsquos the only way to plumb the depths of the M3&rsquos personality. Doing so, we discovered that care must be used in first gear with the engine dynamics button set in Sport+ to avoid neck-kinking jumpiness. We were surprised to find that with the dampers maxed out in Sport+, the ride quality never enters the punishment zone, although the tires clomp heavily over even mildly broken pavement.

While stiffer springs and anti-roll bars are key elements in the M3 Competition package&rsquos makeup, the suspension&rsquos secret weapons are brilliantly tuned computer-controlled dampers. Peter Schmid, BMW M&rsquos head of driving dynamics, acknowledged that extra effort was invested in tuning the M3&rsquos ZF Sachs continuous damping control system for optimum performance on a wide variety of road surfaces. The starting calibration is soft to avoid harshness over bumps and expansion joints. A sensor array keeps an electronic controller well informed to increase damping forces in fractions of a second according to the road conditions. Extensive structural reinforcements at the front and rear of the M3 allow high damping forces to be transferred to the body without the shake, rattle, and roll that kills comfort in less astute sports sedans.

The stability-control button at the top of the M3&rsquos four-button stack merits due deliberation. One tap disables traction control, handy for extracting the M3 from a snowbank. Pressing and holding the button for a few seconds engages the M Dynamic mode, where nearly all stability-control assistance is suspended. This eliminates understeer at the limit of adhesion. M Dynamic mode should be restricted to the racetrack, where neutral handling allows you to glide around sweepers with the tail hung wide in perfect synchronicity with the steering angle you&rsquove dialed in to the front wheels. Let your driving ability and insurance coverage be your guide.

Ultimately, the Competition package&rsquos prime attraction is its split personality. Without sacrificing daily-driving practicalities, it allows this sedan to shine as a weekend track star. Like the M2 and M4 that bracket it, the M3 never turns a cold shoulder to BMW&rsquos better days.

Specifications

SPECIFICATIONS

2016 BMW M3 DCT Competition

VEHICLE TYPE
front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE AS TESTED
$88,095 (base price: $64,495)

ENGINE TYPE
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve inline-6, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement
182 in 3 , 2979 cm 3
Power
444 hp @ 7000 rpm
Torque
406 lb-ft @ 1850 rpm

TRANSMISSION
7-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 110.7 in
Length: 184.5 in
Width: 73.9 in
Height: 56.3 in
Passenger volume: 96 ft 3
Cargo volume: 17 ft 3
Curb weight: 3651 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS
Zero to 60 mph: 4.0 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 8.6 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 14.6 sec
Zero to 150 mph: 21.1 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 4.6 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 2.2 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 2.8 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 12.2 sec @ 120 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 163 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 146 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.98 g

FUEL ECONOMY
EPA city/highway driving: 17/24 mpg
C/D observed: 18 mpg


Tested: 2016 BMW M3 DCT Competition Dials Up the M3's Fury

A new M Competition package adds 19 horses and a returned suspension to BMW's already potent sports sedan.

BMW baked this automotive version of a German chocolate cake to celebrate the M3&rsquos 30th birthday: an M Competition package containing a 444-hp 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six (a 19-hp upgrade over the standard M3), 20-inch wheels and tires, a retuned Adaptive M suspension, revised exhaust plumbing, and a few distinctive exterior-design touches. This delicacy is available on both the M3 and the M4 coupe for $4750 because the seats are not included in the M4 convertible, the cost of the Competition package drops to $4250.

The M3 was born in 1986 as a limited-production racer, the ideal gambit for BMW&rsquos Motorsport division (later shortened to the M division) to advance its tuning expertise in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) racing series. Major power upgrades, handling and braking gains, and lighter body parts ensued through five design generations. Starting with 16-valve four-cylinder engines, the M engineers stepped up to 24-valve inline-sixes in 1992. A hellbent 32-valve V-8 arrived in 2007, followed by a twin-turbo six for the current (fifth) generation in 2014.

Countless journalists have proclaimed the V-8­&ndashpowered E92 M3 coupe, which was sold from 2008 through 2013, the best car in the world. The loss of natural aspiration and two cylinders, not to mention the move to electrically assisted power steering, are major setbacks for the current 3- and 4-series in general and the M3/M4 in particular. Consider this new comp(ensation) package the M division making amends.

Keeping Up in the 4.0-Second Club

BMW had little choice. With Cadillac&rsquos two V-cars, overpowered Chevrolet Camaros, the Shelby Mustang GT350R, and the Mercedes-AMG C63S all cracking the 4.0-seconds-to-60-mph barrier for less than $100,000, the boys from Bavaria had to put up or go home. Give BMW extra credit for assaulting V-8 enemies with its supremely potent twin-turbo straight-six.

HIGHS: Excels in both street and track racing, superb front seats, discreet exterior design, tasteful interior.

The M3 and M4 are BMW&rsquos double-whammy gifts to owners willing to sacrifice some suppleness during regular driving for razor-edged reflexes on the occasional track day. The adaptive M suspension and a wealth of steering, damping, throttle-response, and transmission-calibration settings give this pair flexibility unmatched by any competitor. Our experience with these M&Ms during routine commuting, on visits to the test track, while hammering our favorite back roads, and while lapping Chrysler&rsquos 10-turn, 1.7-mile closed circuit in the M3 convinced us BMW has definitely not lost the scent.

Kudos go to the M3 for topping the M4&rsquos value. The sedan&rsquos $64,495 base price is $2200 cheaper, and you get two more doors and a third seatbelt in back, which the M4 lacks. This may be all the ammo necessary to convince a skeptical spouse that the M3 is, in fact, a dual-purpose &ldquofamily sedan.&rdquo Also, a four-door tends to draw less attention in traffic than a slinky, fast-moving coupe.

Our test car was equipped with a $550 Yas Marina Blue Metallic paint job and six options beyond the Competition package: carbon-ceramic brakes for $8150 a $3500 Executive package containing a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, a rearview camera, a backup warning alarm, and headlamp washers a $2900 dual-clutch automatic transmission top- and side-view cameras costing $750 and a $350 enhanced USB port for easing smartphone connection via Bluetooth. (The car tested here was a late-2016 model for the 2017 model year, a slight shuffling of standard equipment results in a $500 rise in the base price of an M3, nicely offset by a $750 reduction in the cost of the Competition package.) The total tab of $88,095 is steep in comparison with the Camaro and Mustang alternatives but on par with super sports sedans offered by Alfa Romeo (the Giulia Quadrifoglio), Cadillac, and Mercedes-AMG.

Athletic at the Track

Even though the comp-pack M4 we tested broke the 4.0-second zero-to-60-mph barrier with relative ease (in 3.8 seconds), the M3 reviewed here did not. Reporting a lack of launch adhesion, our test driver clocked the sprint in 4.0 seconds flat on the way to an impressive 12.2-second, 120-mph quarter-mile. While that&rsquos a tad slower than a Cadillac CTS-V (3.6 seconds) and a Mercedes-AMG C63 S (3.9 seconds), it&rsquos comparable to a Corvette Grand Sport, a Shelby GT350R, and a few of the current Camaro SS cars we&rsquove tested. The M3&rsquos most impressive feats were hustling to 160 mph in 26.1 seconds and beating the aforementioned Vette to 150 mph by two seconds.

LOWS: Expensive, lacks steering feedback, premium-fuel thirst.

While it&rsquos no secret we prefer three-pedal cars, this M3 uses its dual-clutch automatic to excellent advantage. The 7500-rpm upshifts are crisp and perfectly timed to keep boost on the boil and the superlative six in the meat of its powerband. With a significant share of its exhaust energy recycled to the intake tract and only three liters of piston displacement at work, this engine accelerates the M3 with less commotion than is typical for the V-8 crowd. For majestic motor music, a BMW inline-six is tough to top.

Other track stats are just as impressive as the M3&rsquos ability to streak in a straight line. Stopping from 70 mph in 146 feet with no hint of fade and circling the skidpad at 0.98 g with all four tires shouldering their fair share of the cornering effort are performance figures to envy.

These results are handy for taking the M3&rsquos pulse versus the world&rsquos best sports sedans, but they don&rsquot dig deeply enough to touch this car&rsquos soul. That requires road miles and track laps, tasks we thoroughly enjoyed. The acceleration surge feels like an atomic particle flung by the Large Hadron Collider. Whether it&rsquos a smooth escape from a green light or a passing blitz, the M3 performs delightful disappearing acts. Then, at 100 mph in seventh gear, the sweet six hums a 2900-rpm growl a notch lower in intensity than the wind ruffling past the A-pillars.

Adaptable to Daily Chores

Five switches and the dual-clutch automatic&rsquos shift lever let you play the M3 like a baby grand. In addition to a full-auto mode, the stick and paddles behind the wheel offer ratios perfect for every occasion, holding each gear in manual mode even when the engine runs out of revs at 7500 rpm. One quirk is the lack of a park position when you switch off the engine with the lever left in gear, the driveline automatically locks with a P displayed in the instrument cluster.

A drive-mode switch below the shifter offers efficient, relaxed, and sporty modes when the shift lever is in D and comfortable, fast, or really fast shifting when the S (sequential) position is selected. Control freaks will also love the Efficient, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ programs for the power steering, the dampers, and the engine dynamics provided by push buttons to the left of the shifter.

Cycling through every alternative takes patience, but that&rsquos the only way to plumb the depths of the M3&rsquos personality. Doing so, we discovered that care must be used in first gear with the engine dynamics button set in Sport+ to avoid neck-kinking jumpiness. We were surprised to find that with the dampers maxed out in Sport+, the ride quality never enters the punishment zone, although the tires clomp heavily over even mildly broken pavement.

While stiffer springs and anti-roll bars are key elements in the M3 Competition package&rsquos makeup, the suspension&rsquos secret weapons are brilliantly tuned computer-controlled dampers. Peter Schmid, BMW M&rsquos head of driving dynamics, acknowledged that extra effort was invested in tuning the M3&rsquos ZF Sachs continuous damping control system for optimum performance on a wide variety of road surfaces. The starting calibration is soft to avoid harshness over bumps and expansion joints. A sensor array keeps an electronic controller well informed to increase damping forces in fractions of a second according to the road conditions. Extensive structural reinforcements at the front and rear of the M3 allow high damping forces to be transferred to the body without the shake, rattle, and roll that kills comfort in less astute sports sedans.

The stability-control button at the top of the M3&rsquos four-button stack merits due deliberation. One tap disables traction control, handy for extracting the M3 from a snowbank. Pressing and holding the button for a few seconds engages the M Dynamic mode, where nearly all stability-control assistance is suspended. This eliminates understeer at the limit of adhesion. M Dynamic mode should be restricted to the racetrack, where neutral handling allows you to glide around sweepers with the tail hung wide in perfect synchronicity with the steering angle you&rsquove dialed in to the front wheels. Let your driving ability and insurance coverage be your guide.

Ultimately, the Competition package&rsquos prime attraction is its split personality. Without sacrificing daily-driving practicalities, it allows this sedan to shine as a weekend track star. Like the M2 and M4 that bracket it, the M3 never turns a cold shoulder to BMW&rsquos better days.

Specifications

SPECIFICATIONS

2016 BMW M3 DCT Competition

VEHICLE TYPE
front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE AS TESTED
$88,095 (base price: $64,495)

ENGINE TYPE
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve inline-6, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement
182 in 3 , 2979 cm 3
Power
444 hp @ 7000 rpm
Torque
406 lb-ft @ 1850 rpm

TRANSMISSION
7-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 110.7 in
Length: 184.5 in
Width: 73.9 in
Height: 56.3 in
Passenger volume: 96 ft 3
Cargo volume: 17 ft 3
Curb weight: 3651 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS
Zero to 60 mph: 4.0 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 8.6 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 14.6 sec
Zero to 150 mph: 21.1 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 4.6 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 2.2 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 2.8 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 12.2 sec @ 120 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 163 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 146 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.98 g

FUEL ECONOMY
EPA city/highway driving: 17/24 mpg
C/D observed: 18 mpg


Tested: 2016 BMW M3 DCT Competition Dials Up the M3's Fury

A new M Competition package adds 19 horses and a returned suspension to BMW's already potent sports sedan.

BMW baked this automotive version of a German chocolate cake to celebrate the M3&rsquos 30th birthday: an M Competition package containing a 444-hp 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six (a 19-hp upgrade over the standard M3), 20-inch wheels and tires, a retuned Adaptive M suspension, revised exhaust plumbing, and a few distinctive exterior-design touches. This delicacy is available on both the M3 and the M4 coupe for $4750 because the seats are not included in the M4 convertible, the cost of the Competition package drops to $4250.

The M3 was born in 1986 as a limited-production racer, the ideal gambit for BMW&rsquos Motorsport division (later shortened to the M division) to advance its tuning expertise in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) racing series. Major power upgrades, handling and braking gains, and lighter body parts ensued through five design generations. Starting with 16-valve four-cylinder engines, the M engineers stepped up to 24-valve inline-sixes in 1992. A hellbent 32-valve V-8 arrived in 2007, followed by a twin-turbo six for the current (fifth) generation in 2014.

Countless journalists have proclaimed the V-8­&ndashpowered E92 M3 coupe, which was sold from 2008 through 2013, the best car in the world. The loss of natural aspiration and two cylinders, not to mention the move to electrically assisted power steering, are major setbacks for the current 3- and 4-series in general and the M3/M4 in particular. Consider this new comp(ensation) package the M division making amends.

Keeping Up in the 4.0-Second Club

BMW had little choice. With Cadillac&rsquos two V-cars, overpowered Chevrolet Camaros, the Shelby Mustang GT350R, and the Mercedes-AMG C63S all cracking the 4.0-seconds-to-60-mph barrier for less than $100,000, the boys from Bavaria had to put up or go home. Give BMW extra credit for assaulting V-8 enemies with its supremely potent twin-turbo straight-six.

HIGHS: Excels in both street and track racing, superb front seats, discreet exterior design, tasteful interior.

The M3 and M4 are BMW&rsquos double-whammy gifts to owners willing to sacrifice some suppleness during regular driving for razor-edged reflexes on the occasional track day. The adaptive M suspension and a wealth of steering, damping, throttle-response, and transmission-calibration settings give this pair flexibility unmatched by any competitor. Our experience with these M&Ms during routine commuting, on visits to the test track, while hammering our favorite back roads, and while lapping Chrysler&rsquos 10-turn, 1.7-mile closed circuit in the M3 convinced us BMW has definitely not lost the scent.

Kudos go to the M3 for topping the M4&rsquos value. The sedan&rsquos $64,495 base price is $2200 cheaper, and you get two more doors and a third seatbelt in back, which the M4 lacks. This may be all the ammo necessary to convince a skeptical spouse that the M3 is, in fact, a dual-purpose &ldquofamily sedan.&rdquo Also, a four-door tends to draw less attention in traffic than a slinky, fast-moving coupe.

Our test car was equipped with a $550 Yas Marina Blue Metallic paint job and six options beyond the Competition package: carbon-ceramic brakes for $8150 a $3500 Executive package containing a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, a rearview camera, a backup warning alarm, and headlamp washers a $2900 dual-clutch automatic transmission top- and side-view cameras costing $750 and a $350 enhanced USB port for easing smartphone connection via Bluetooth. (The car tested here was a late-2016 model for the 2017 model year, a slight shuffling of standard equipment results in a $500 rise in the base price of an M3, nicely offset by a $750 reduction in the cost of the Competition package.) The total tab of $88,095 is steep in comparison with the Camaro and Mustang alternatives but on par with super sports sedans offered by Alfa Romeo (the Giulia Quadrifoglio), Cadillac, and Mercedes-AMG.

Athletic at the Track

Even though the comp-pack M4 we tested broke the 4.0-second zero-to-60-mph barrier with relative ease (in 3.8 seconds), the M3 reviewed here did not. Reporting a lack of launch adhesion, our test driver clocked the sprint in 4.0 seconds flat on the way to an impressive 12.2-second, 120-mph quarter-mile. While that&rsquos a tad slower than a Cadillac CTS-V (3.6 seconds) and a Mercedes-AMG C63 S (3.9 seconds), it&rsquos comparable to a Corvette Grand Sport, a Shelby GT350R, and a few of the current Camaro SS cars we&rsquove tested. The M3&rsquos most impressive feats were hustling to 160 mph in 26.1 seconds and beating the aforementioned Vette to 150 mph by two seconds.

LOWS: Expensive, lacks steering feedback, premium-fuel thirst.

While it&rsquos no secret we prefer three-pedal cars, this M3 uses its dual-clutch automatic to excellent advantage. The 7500-rpm upshifts are crisp and perfectly timed to keep boost on the boil and the superlative six in the meat of its powerband. With a significant share of its exhaust energy recycled to the intake tract and only three liters of piston displacement at work, this engine accelerates the M3 with less commotion than is typical for the V-8 crowd. For majestic motor music, a BMW inline-six is tough to top.

Other track stats are just as impressive as the M3&rsquos ability to streak in a straight line. Stopping from 70 mph in 146 feet with no hint of fade and circling the skidpad at 0.98 g with all four tires shouldering their fair share of the cornering effort are performance figures to envy.

These results are handy for taking the M3&rsquos pulse versus the world&rsquos best sports sedans, but they don&rsquot dig deeply enough to touch this car&rsquos soul. That requires road miles and track laps, tasks we thoroughly enjoyed. The acceleration surge feels like an atomic particle flung by the Large Hadron Collider. Whether it&rsquos a smooth escape from a green light or a passing blitz, the M3 performs delightful disappearing acts. Then, at 100 mph in seventh gear, the sweet six hums a 2900-rpm growl a notch lower in intensity than the wind ruffling past the A-pillars.

Adaptable to Daily Chores

Five switches and the dual-clutch automatic&rsquos shift lever let you play the M3 like a baby grand. In addition to a full-auto mode, the stick and paddles behind the wheel offer ratios perfect for every occasion, holding each gear in manual mode even when the engine runs out of revs at 7500 rpm. One quirk is the lack of a park position when you switch off the engine with the lever left in gear, the driveline automatically locks with a P displayed in the instrument cluster.

A drive-mode switch below the shifter offers efficient, relaxed, and sporty modes when the shift lever is in D and comfortable, fast, or really fast shifting when the S (sequential) position is selected. Control freaks will also love the Efficient, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ programs for the power steering, the dampers, and the engine dynamics provided by push buttons to the left of the shifter.

Cycling through every alternative takes patience, but that&rsquos the only way to plumb the depths of the M3&rsquos personality. Doing so, we discovered that care must be used in first gear with the engine dynamics button set in Sport+ to avoid neck-kinking jumpiness. We were surprised to find that with the dampers maxed out in Sport+, the ride quality never enters the punishment zone, although the tires clomp heavily over even mildly broken pavement.

While stiffer springs and anti-roll bars are key elements in the M3 Competition package&rsquos makeup, the suspension&rsquos secret weapons are brilliantly tuned computer-controlled dampers. Peter Schmid, BMW M&rsquos head of driving dynamics, acknowledged that extra effort was invested in tuning the M3&rsquos ZF Sachs continuous damping control system for optimum performance on a wide variety of road surfaces. The starting calibration is soft to avoid harshness over bumps and expansion joints. A sensor array keeps an electronic controller well informed to increase damping forces in fractions of a second according to the road conditions. Extensive structural reinforcements at the front and rear of the M3 allow high damping forces to be transferred to the body without the shake, rattle, and roll that kills comfort in less astute sports sedans.

The stability-control button at the top of the M3&rsquos four-button stack merits due deliberation. One tap disables traction control, handy for extracting the M3 from a snowbank. Pressing and holding the button for a few seconds engages the M Dynamic mode, where nearly all stability-control assistance is suspended. This eliminates understeer at the limit of adhesion. M Dynamic mode should be restricted to the racetrack, where neutral handling allows you to glide around sweepers with the tail hung wide in perfect synchronicity with the steering angle you&rsquove dialed in to the front wheels. Let your driving ability and insurance coverage be your guide.

Ultimately, the Competition package&rsquos prime attraction is its split personality. Without sacrificing daily-driving practicalities, it allows this sedan to shine as a weekend track star. Like the M2 and M4 that bracket it, the M3 never turns a cold shoulder to BMW&rsquos better days.

Specifications

SPECIFICATIONS

2016 BMW M3 DCT Competition

VEHICLE TYPE
front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE AS TESTED
$88,095 (base price: $64,495)

ENGINE TYPE
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve inline-6, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement
182 in 3 , 2979 cm 3
Power
444 hp @ 7000 rpm
Torque
406 lb-ft @ 1850 rpm

TRANSMISSION
7-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 110.7 in
Length: 184.5 in
Width: 73.9 in
Height: 56.3 in
Passenger volume: 96 ft 3
Cargo volume: 17 ft 3
Curb weight: 3651 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS
Zero to 60 mph: 4.0 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 8.6 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 14.6 sec
Zero to 150 mph: 21.1 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 4.6 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 2.2 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 2.8 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 12.2 sec @ 120 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 163 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 146 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.98 g

FUEL ECONOMY
EPA city/highway driving: 17/24 mpg
C/D observed: 18 mpg


Tested: 2016 BMW M3 DCT Competition Dials Up the M3's Fury

A new M Competition package adds 19 horses and a returned suspension to BMW's already potent sports sedan.

BMW baked this automotive version of a German chocolate cake to celebrate the M3&rsquos 30th birthday: an M Competition package containing a 444-hp 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six (a 19-hp upgrade over the standard M3), 20-inch wheels and tires, a retuned Adaptive M suspension, revised exhaust plumbing, and a few distinctive exterior-design touches. This delicacy is available on both the M3 and the M4 coupe for $4750 because the seats are not included in the M4 convertible, the cost of the Competition package drops to $4250.

The M3 was born in 1986 as a limited-production racer, the ideal gambit for BMW&rsquos Motorsport division (later shortened to the M division) to advance its tuning expertise in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) racing series. Major power upgrades, handling and braking gains, and lighter body parts ensued through five design generations. Starting with 16-valve four-cylinder engines, the M engineers stepped up to 24-valve inline-sixes in 1992. A hellbent 32-valve V-8 arrived in 2007, followed by a twin-turbo six for the current (fifth) generation in 2014.

Countless journalists have proclaimed the V-8­&ndashpowered E92 M3 coupe, which was sold from 2008 through 2013, the best car in the world. The loss of natural aspiration and two cylinders, not to mention the move to electrically assisted power steering, are major setbacks for the current 3- and 4-series in general and the M3/M4 in particular. Consider this new comp(ensation) package the M division making amends.

Keeping Up in the 4.0-Second Club

BMW had little choice. With Cadillac&rsquos two V-cars, overpowered Chevrolet Camaros, the Shelby Mustang GT350R, and the Mercedes-AMG C63S all cracking the 4.0-seconds-to-60-mph barrier for less than $100,000, the boys from Bavaria had to put up or go home. Give BMW extra credit for assaulting V-8 enemies with its supremely potent twin-turbo straight-six.

HIGHS: Excels in both street and track racing, superb front seats, discreet exterior design, tasteful interior.

The M3 and M4 are BMW&rsquos double-whammy gifts to owners willing to sacrifice some suppleness during regular driving for razor-edged reflexes on the occasional track day. The adaptive M suspension and a wealth of steering, damping, throttle-response, and transmission-calibration settings give this pair flexibility unmatched by any competitor. Our experience with these M&Ms during routine commuting, on visits to the test track, while hammering our favorite back roads, and while lapping Chrysler&rsquos 10-turn, 1.7-mile closed circuit in the M3 convinced us BMW has definitely not lost the scent.

Kudos go to the M3 for topping the M4&rsquos value. The sedan&rsquos $64,495 base price is $2200 cheaper, and you get two more doors and a third seatbelt in back, which the M4 lacks. This may be all the ammo necessary to convince a skeptical spouse that the M3 is, in fact, a dual-purpose &ldquofamily sedan.&rdquo Also, a four-door tends to draw less attention in traffic than a slinky, fast-moving coupe.

Our test car was equipped with a $550 Yas Marina Blue Metallic paint job and six options beyond the Competition package: carbon-ceramic brakes for $8150 a $3500 Executive package containing a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, a rearview camera, a backup warning alarm, and headlamp washers a $2900 dual-clutch automatic transmission top- and side-view cameras costing $750 and a $350 enhanced USB port for easing smartphone connection via Bluetooth. (The car tested here was a late-2016 model for the 2017 model year, a slight shuffling of standard equipment results in a $500 rise in the base price of an M3, nicely offset by a $750 reduction in the cost of the Competition package.) The total tab of $88,095 is steep in comparison with the Camaro and Mustang alternatives but on par with super sports sedans offered by Alfa Romeo (the Giulia Quadrifoglio), Cadillac, and Mercedes-AMG.

Athletic at the Track

Even though the comp-pack M4 we tested broke the 4.0-second zero-to-60-mph barrier with relative ease (in 3.8 seconds), the M3 reviewed here did not. Reporting a lack of launch adhesion, our test driver clocked the sprint in 4.0 seconds flat on the way to an impressive 12.2-second, 120-mph quarter-mile. While that&rsquos a tad slower than a Cadillac CTS-V (3.6 seconds) and a Mercedes-AMG C63 S (3.9 seconds), it&rsquos comparable to a Corvette Grand Sport, a Shelby GT350R, and a few of the current Camaro SS cars we&rsquove tested. The M3&rsquos most impressive feats were hustling to 160 mph in 26.1 seconds and beating the aforementioned Vette to 150 mph by two seconds.

LOWS: Expensive, lacks steering feedback, premium-fuel thirst.

While it&rsquos no secret we prefer three-pedal cars, this M3 uses its dual-clutch automatic to excellent advantage. The 7500-rpm upshifts are crisp and perfectly timed to keep boost on the boil and the superlative six in the meat of its powerband. With a significant share of its exhaust energy recycled to the intake tract and only three liters of piston displacement at work, this engine accelerates the M3 with less commotion than is typical for the V-8 crowd. For majestic motor music, a BMW inline-six is tough to top.

Other track stats are just as impressive as the M3&rsquos ability to streak in a straight line. Stopping from 70 mph in 146 feet with no hint of fade and circling the skidpad at 0.98 g with all four tires shouldering their fair share of the cornering effort are performance figures to envy.

These results are handy for taking the M3&rsquos pulse versus the world&rsquos best sports sedans, but they don&rsquot dig deeply enough to touch this car&rsquos soul. That requires road miles and track laps, tasks we thoroughly enjoyed. The acceleration surge feels like an atomic particle flung by the Large Hadron Collider. Whether it&rsquos a smooth escape from a green light or a passing blitz, the M3 performs delightful disappearing acts. Then, at 100 mph in seventh gear, the sweet six hums a 2900-rpm growl a notch lower in intensity than the wind ruffling past the A-pillars.

Adaptable to Daily Chores

Five switches and the dual-clutch automatic&rsquos shift lever let you play the M3 like a baby grand. In addition to a full-auto mode, the stick and paddles behind the wheel offer ratios perfect for every occasion, holding each gear in manual mode even when the engine runs out of revs at 7500 rpm. One quirk is the lack of a park position when you switch off the engine with the lever left in gear, the driveline automatically locks with a P displayed in the instrument cluster.

A drive-mode switch below the shifter offers efficient, relaxed, and sporty modes when the shift lever is in D and comfortable, fast, or really fast shifting when the S (sequential) position is selected. Control freaks will also love the Efficient, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ programs for the power steering, the dampers, and the engine dynamics provided by push buttons to the left of the shifter.

Cycling through every alternative takes patience, but that&rsquos the only way to plumb the depths of the M3&rsquos personality. Doing so, we discovered that care must be used in first gear with the engine dynamics button set in Sport+ to avoid neck-kinking jumpiness. We were surprised to find that with the dampers maxed out in Sport+, the ride quality never enters the punishment zone, although the tires clomp heavily over even mildly broken pavement.

While stiffer springs and anti-roll bars are key elements in the M3 Competition package&rsquos makeup, the suspension&rsquos secret weapons are brilliantly tuned computer-controlled dampers. Peter Schmid, BMW M&rsquos head of driving dynamics, acknowledged that extra effort was invested in tuning the M3&rsquos ZF Sachs continuous damping control system for optimum performance on a wide variety of road surfaces. The starting calibration is soft to avoid harshness over bumps and expansion joints. A sensor array keeps an electronic controller well informed to increase damping forces in fractions of a second according to the road conditions. Extensive structural reinforcements at the front and rear of the M3 allow high damping forces to be transferred to the body without the shake, rattle, and roll that kills comfort in less astute sports sedans.

The stability-control button at the top of the M3&rsquos four-button stack merits due deliberation. One tap disables traction control, handy for extracting the M3 from a snowbank. Pressing and holding the button for a few seconds engages the M Dynamic mode, where nearly all stability-control assistance is suspended. This eliminates understeer at the limit of adhesion. M Dynamic mode should be restricted to the racetrack, where neutral handling allows you to glide around sweepers with the tail hung wide in perfect synchronicity with the steering angle you&rsquove dialed in to the front wheels. Let your driving ability and insurance coverage be your guide.

Ultimately, the Competition package&rsquos prime attraction is its split personality. Without sacrificing daily-driving practicalities, it allows this sedan to shine as a weekend track star. Like the M2 and M4 that bracket it, the M3 never turns a cold shoulder to BMW&rsquos better days.

Specifications

SPECIFICATIONS

2016 BMW M3 DCT Competition

VEHICLE TYPE
front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE AS TESTED
$88,095 (base price: $64,495)

ENGINE TYPE
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve inline-6, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement
182 in 3 , 2979 cm 3
Power
444 hp @ 7000 rpm
Torque
406 lb-ft @ 1850 rpm

TRANSMISSION
7-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 110.7 in
Length: 184.5 in
Width: 73.9 in
Height: 56.3 in
Passenger volume: 96 ft 3
Cargo volume: 17 ft 3
Curb weight: 3651 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS
Zero to 60 mph: 4.0 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 8.6 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 14.6 sec
Zero to 150 mph: 21.1 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 4.6 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 2.2 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 2.8 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 12.2 sec @ 120 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 163 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 146 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.98 g

FUEL ECONOMY
EPA city/highway driving: 17/24 mpg
C/D observed: 18 mpg


Tested: 2016 BMW M3 DCT Competition Dials Up the M3's Fury

A new M Competition package adds 19 horses and a returned suspension to BMW's already potent sports sedan.

BMW baked this automotive version of a German chocolate cake to celebrate the M3&rsquos 30th birthday: an M Competition package containing a 444-hp 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six (a 19-hp upgrade over the standard M3), 20-inch wheels and tires, a retuned Adaptive M suspension, revised exhaust plumbing, and a few distinctive exterior-design touches. This delicacy is available on both the M3 and the M4 coupe for $4750 because the seats are not included in the M4 convertible, the cost of the Competition package drops to $4250.

The M3 was born in 1986 as a limited-production racer, the ideal gambit for BMW&rsquos Motorsport division (later shortened to the M division) to advance its tuning expertise in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) racing series. Major power upgrades, handling and braking gains, and lighter body parts ensued through five design generations. Starting with 16-valve four-cylinder engines, the M engineers stepped up to 24-valve inline-sixes in 1992. A hellbent 32-valve V-8 arrived in 2007, followed by a twin-turbo six for the current (fifth) generation in 2014.

Countless journalists have proclaimed the V-8­&ndashpowered E92 M3 coupe, which was sold from 2008 through 2013, the best car in the world. The loss of natural aspiration and two cylinders, not to mention the move to electrically assisted power steering, are major setbacks for the current 3- and 4-series in general and the M3/M4 in particular. Consider this new comp(ensation) package the M division making amends.

Keeping Up in the 4.0-Second Club

BMW had little choice. With Cadillac&rsquos two V-cars, overpowered Chevrolet Camaros, the Shelby Mustang GT350R, and the Mercedes-AMG C63S all cracking the 4.0-seconds-to-60-mph barrier for less than $100,000, the boys from Bavaria had to put up or go home. Give BMW extra credit for assaulting V-8 enemies with its supremely potent twin-turbo straight-six.

HIGHS: Excels in both street and track racing, superb front seats, discreet exterior design, tasteful interior.

The M3 and M4 are BMW&rsquos double-whammy gifts to owners willing to sacrifice some suppleness during regular driving for razor-edged reflexes on the occasional track day. The adaptive M suspension and a wealth of steering, damping, throttle-response, and transmission-calibration settings give this pair flexibility unmatched by any competitor. Our experience with these M&Ms during routine commuting, on visits to the test track, while hammering our favorite back roads, and while lapping Chrysler&rsquos 10-turn, 1.7-mile closed circuit in the M3 convinced us BMW has definitely not lost the scent.

Kudos go to the M3 for topping the M4&rsquos value. The sedan&rsquos $64,495 base price is $2200 cheaper, and you get two more doors and a third seatbelt in back, which the M4 lacks. This may be all the ammo necessary to convince a skeptical spouse that the M3 is, in fact, a dual-purpose &ldquofamily sedan.&rdquo Also, a four-door tends to draw less attention in traffic than a slinky, fast-moving coupe.

Our test car was equipped with a $550 Yas Marina Blue Metallic paint job and six options beyond the Competition package: carbon-ceramic brakes for $8150 a $3500 Executive package containing a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, a rearview camera, a backup warning alarm, and headlamp washers a $2900 dual-clutch automatic transmission top- and side-view cameras costing $750 and a $350 enhanced USB port for easing smartphone connection via Bluetooth. (The car tested here was a late-2016 model for the 2017 model year, a slight shuffling of standard equipment results in a $500 rise in the base price of an M3, nicely offset by a $750 reduction in the cost of the Competition package.) The total tab of $88,095 is steep in comparison with the Camaro and Mustang alternatives but on par with super sports sedans offered by Alfa Romeo (the Giulia Quadrifoglio), Cadillac, and Mercedes-AMG.

Athletic at the Track

Even though the comp-pack M4 we tested broke the 4.0-second zero-to-60-mph barrier with relative ease (in 3.8 seconds), the M3 reviewed here did not. Reporting a lack of launch adhesion, our test driver clocked the sprint in 4.0 seconds flat on the way to an impressive 12.2-second, 120-mph quarter-mile. While that&rsquos a tad slower than a Cadillac CTS-V (3.6 seconds) and a Mercedes-AMG C63 S (3.9 seconds), it&rsquos comparable to a Corvette Grand Sport, a Shelby GT350R, and a few of the current Camaro SS cars we&rsquove tested. The M3&rsquos most impressive feats were hustling to 160 mph in 26.1 seconds and beating the aforementioned Vette to 150 mph by two seconds.

LOWS: Expensive, lacks steering feedback, premium-fuel thirst.

While it&rsquos no secret we prefer three-pedal cars, this M3 uses its dual-clutch automatic to excellent advantage. The 7500-rpm upshifts are crisp and perfectly timed to keep boost on the boil and the superlative six in the meat of its powerband. With a significant share of its exhaust energy recycled to the intake tract and only three liters of piston displacement at work, this engine accelerates the M3 with less commotion than is typical for the V-8 crowd. For majestic motor music, a BMW inline-six is tough to top.

Other track stats are just as impressive as the M3&rsquos ability to streak in a straight line. Stopping from 70 mph in 146 feet with no hint of fade and circling the skidpad at 0.98 g with all four tires shouldering their fair share of the cornering effort are performance figures to envy.

These results are handy for taking the M3&rsquos pulse versus the world&rsquos best sports sedans, but they don&rsquot dig deeply enough to touch this car&rsquos soul. That requires road miles and track laps, tasks we thoroughly enjoyed. The acceleration surge feels like an atomic particle flung by the Large Hadron Collider. Whether it&rsquos a smooth escape from a green light or a passing blitz, the M3 performs delightful disappearing acts. Then, at 100 mph in seventh gear, the sweet six hums a 2900-rpm growl a notch lower in intensity than the wind ruffling past the A-pillars.

Adaptable to Daily Chores

Five switches and the dual-clutch automatic&rsquos shift lever let you play the M3 like a baby grand. In addition to a full-auto mode, the stick and paddles behind the wheel offer ratios perfect for every occasion, holding each gear in manual mode even when the engine runs out of revs at 7500 rpm. One quirk is the lack of a park position when you switch off the engine with the lever left in gear, the driveline automatically locks with a P displayed in the instrument cluster.

A drive-mode switch below the shifter offers efficient, relaxed, and sporty modes when the shift lever is in D and comfortable, fast, or really fast shifting when the S (sequential) position is selected. Control freaks will also love the Efficient, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ programs for the power steering, the dampers, and the engine dynamics provided by push buttons to the left of the shifter.

Cycling through every alternative takes patience, but that&rsquos the only way to plumb the depths of the M3&rsquos personality. Doing so, we discovered that care must be used in first gear with the engine dynamics button set in Sport+ to avoid neck-kinking jumpiness. We were surprised to find that with the dampers maxed out in Sport+, the ride quality never enters the punishment zone, although the tires clomp heavily over even mildly broken pavement.

While stiffer springs and anti-roll bars are key elements in the M3 Competition package&rsquos makeup, the suspension&rsquos secret weapons are brilliantly tuned computer-controlled dampers. Peter Schmid, BMW M&rsquos head of driving dynamics, acknowledged that extra effort was invested in tuning the M3&rsquos ZF Sachs continuous damping control system for optimum performance on a wide variety of road surfaces. The starting calibration is soft to avoid harshness over bumps and expansion joints. A sensor array keeps an electronic controller well informed to increase damping forces in fractions of a second according to the road conditions. Extensive structural reinforcements at the front and rear of the M3 allow high damping forces to be transferred to the body without the shake, rattle, and roll that kills comfort in less astute sports sedans.

The stability-control button at the top of the M3&rsquos four-button stack merits due deliberation. One tap disables traction control, handy for extracting the M3 from a snowbank. Pressing and holding the button for a few seconds engages the M Dynamic mode, where nearly all stability-control assistance is suspended. This eliminates understeer at the limit of adhesion. M Dynamic mode should be restricted to the racetrack, where neutral handling allows you to glide around sweepers with the tail hung wide in perfect synchronicity with the steering angle you&rsquove dialed in to the front wheels. Let your driving ability and insurance coverage be your guide.

Ultimately, the Competition package&rsquos prime attraction is its split personality. Without sacrificing daily-driving practicalities, it allows this sedan to shine as a weekend track star. Like the M2 and M4 that bracket it, the M3 never turns a cold shoulder to BMW&rsquos better days.

Specifications

SPECIFICATIONS

2016 BMW M3 DCT Competition

VEHICLE TYPE
front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE AS TESTED
$88,095 (base price: $64,495)

ENGINE TYPE
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve inline-6, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement
182 in 3 , 2979 cm 3
Power
444 hp @ 7000 rpm
Torque
406 lb-ft @ 1850 rpm

TRANSMISSION
7-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 110.7 in
Length: 184.5 in
Width: 73.9 in
Height: 56.3 in
Passenger volume: 96 ft 3
Cargo volume: 17 ft 3
Curb weight: 3651 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS
Zero to 60 mph: 4.0 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 8.6 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 14.6 sec
Zero to 150 mph: 21.1 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 4.6 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 2.2 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 2.8 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 12.2 sec @ 120 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 163 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 146 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.98 g

FUEL ECONOMY
EPA city/highway driving: 17/24 mpg
C/D observed: 18 mpg


Tested: 2016 BMW M3 DCT Competition Dials Up the M3's Fury

A new M Competition package adds 19 horses and a returned suspension to BMW's already potent sports sedan.

BMW baked this automotive version of a German chocolate cake to celebrate the M3&rsquos 30th birthday: an M Competition package containing a 444-hp 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six (a 19-hp upgrade over the standard M3), 20-inch wheels and tires, a retuned Adaptive M suspension, revised exhaust plumbing, and a few distinctive exterior-design touches. This delicacy is available on both the M3 and the M4 coupe for $4750 because the seats are not included in the M4 convertible, the cost of the Competition package drops to $4250.

The M3 was born in 1986 as a limited-production racer, the ideal gambit for BMW&rsquos Motorsport division (later shortened to the M division) to advance its tuning expertise in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) racing series. Major power upgrades, handling and braking gains, and lighter body parts ensued through five design generations. Starting with 16-valve four-cylinder engines, the M engineers stepped up to 24-valve inline-sixes in 1992. A hellbent 32-valve V-8 arrived in 2007, followed by a twin-turbo six for the current (fifth) generation in 2014.

Countless journalists have proclaimed the V-8­&ndashpowered E92 M3 coupe, which was sold from 2008 through 2013, the best car in the world. The loss of natural aspiration and two cylinders, not to mention the move to electrically assisted power steering, are major setbacks for the current 3- and 4-series in general and the M3/M4 in particular. Consider this new comp(ensation) package the M division making amends.

Keeping Up in the 4.0-Second Club

BMW had little choice. With Cadillac&rsquos two V-cars, overpowered Chevrolet Camaros, the Shelby Mustang GT350R, and the Mercedes-AMG C63S all cracking the 4.0-seconds-to-60-mph barrier for less than $100,000, the boys from Bavaria had to put up or go home. Give BMW extra credit for assaulting V-8 enemies with its supremely potent twin-turbo straight-six.

HIGHS: Excels in both street and track racing, superb front seats, discreet exterior design, tasteful interior.

The M3 and M4 are BMW&rsquos double-whammy gifts to owners willing to sacrifice some suppleness during regular driving for razor-edged reflexes on the occasional track day. The adaptive M suspension and a wealth of steering, damping, throttle-response, and transmission-calibration settings give this pair flexibility unmatched by any competitor. Our experience with these M&Ms during routine commuting, on visits to the test track, while hammering our favorite back roads, and while lapping Chrysler&rsquos 10-turn, 1.7-mile closed circuit in the M3 convinced us BMW has definitely not lost the scent.

Kudos go to the M3 for topping the M4&rsquos value. The sedan&rsquos $64,495 base price is $2200 cheaper, and you get two more doors and a third seatbelt in back, which the M4 lacks. This may be all the ammo necessary to convince a skeptical spouse that the M3 is, in fact, a dual-purpose &ldquofamily sedan.&rdquo Also, a four-door tends to draw less attention in traffic than a slinky, fast-moving coupe.

Our test car was equipped with a $550 Yas Marina Blue Metallic paint job and six options beyond the Competition package: carbon-ceramic brakes for $8150 a $3500 Executive package containing a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, a rearview camera, a backup warning alarm, and headlamp washers a $2900 dual-clutch automatic transmission top- and side-view cameras costing $750 and a $350 enhanced USB port for easing smartphone connection via Bluetooth. (The car tested here was a late-2016 model for the 2017 model year, a slight shuffling of standard equipment results in a $500 rise in the base price of an M3, nicely offset by a $750 reduction in the cost of the Competition package.) The total tab of $88,095 is steep in comparison with the Camaro and Mustang alternatives but on par with super sports sedans offered by Alfa Romeo (the Giulia Quadrifoglio), Cadillac, and Mercedes-AMG.

Athletic at the Track

Even though the comp-pack M4 we tested broke the 4.0-second zero-to-60-mph barrier with relative ease (in 3.8 seconds), the M3 reviewed here did not. Reporting a lack of launch adhesion, our test driver clocked the sprint in 4.0 seconds flat on the way to an impressive 12.2-second, 120-mph quarter-mile. While that&rsquos a tad slower than a Cadillac CTS-V (3.6 seconds) and a Mercedes-AMG C63 S (3.9 seconds), it&rsquos comparable to a Corvette Grand Sport, a Shelby GT350R, and a few of the current Camaro SS cars we&rsquove tested. The M3&rsquos most impressive feats were hustling to 160 mph in 26.1 seconds and beating the aforementioned Vette to 150 mph by two seconds.

LOWS: Expensive, lacks steering feedback, premium-fuel thirst.

While it&rsquos no secret we prefer three-pedal cars, this M3 uses its dual-clutch automatic to excellent advantage. The 7500-rpm upshifts are crisp and perfectly timed to keep boost on the boil and the superlative six in the meat of its powerband. With a significant share of its exhaust energy recycled to the intake tract and only three liters of piston displacement at work, this engine accelerates the M3 with less commotion than is typical for the V-8 crowd. For majestic motor music, a BMW inline-six is tough to top.

Other track stats are just as impressive as the M3&rsquos ability to streak in a straight line. Stopping from 70 mph in 146 feet with no hint of fade and circling the skidpad at 0.98 g with all four tires shouldering their fair share of the cornering effort are performance figures to envy.

These results are handy for taking the M3&rsquos pulse versus the world&rsquos best sports sedans, but they don&rsquot dig deeply enough to touch this car&rsquos soul. That requires road miles and track laps, tasks we thoroughly enjoyed. The acceleration surge feels like an atomic particle flung by the Large Hadron Collider. Whether it&rsquos a smooth escape from a green light or a passing blitz, the M3 performs delightful disappearing acts. Then, at 100 mph in seventh gear, the sweet six hums a 2900-rpm growl a notch lower in intensity than the wind ruffling past the A-pillars.

Adaptable to Daily Chores

Five switches and the dual-clutch automatic&rsquos shift lever let you play the M3 like a baby grand. In addition to a full-auto mode, the stick and paddles behind the wheel offer ratios perfect for every occasion, holding each gear in manual mode even when the engine runs out of revs at 7500 rpm. One quirk is the lack of a park position when you switch off the engine with the lever left in gear, the driveline automatically locks with a P displayed in the instrument cluster.

A drive-mode switch below the shifter offers efficient, relaxed, and sporty modes when the shift lever is in D and comfortable, fast, or really fast shifting when the S (sequential) position is selected. Control freaks will also love the Efficient, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ programs for the power steering, the dampers, and the engine dynamics provided by push buttons to the left of the shifter.

Cycling through every alternative takes patience, but that&rsquos the only way to plumb the depths of the M3&rsquos personality. Doing so, we discovered that care must be used in first gear with the engine dynamics button set in Sport+ to avoid neck-kinking jumpiness. We were surprised to find that with the dampers maxed out in Sport+, the ride quality never enters the punishment zone, although the tires clomp heavily over even mildly broken pavement.

While stiffer springs and anti-roll bars are key elements in the M3 Competition package&rsquos makeup, the suspension&rsquos secret weapons are brilliantly tuned computer-controlled dampers. Peter Schmid, BMW M&rsquos head of driving dynamics, acknowledged that extra effort was invested in tuning the M3&rsquos ZF Sachs continuous damping control system for optimum performance on a wide variety of road surfaces. The starting calibration is soft to avoid harshness over bumps and expansion joints. A sensor array keeps an electronic controller well informed to increase damping forces in fractions of a second according to the road conditions. Extensive structural reinforcements at the front and rear of the M3 allow high damping forces to be transferred to the body without the shake, rattle, and roll that kills comfort in less astute sports sedans.

The stability-control button at the top of the M3&rsquos four-button stack merits due deliberation. One tap disables traction control, handy for extracting the M3 from a snowbank. Pressing and holding the button for a few seconds engages the M Dynamic mode, where nearly all stability-control assistance is suspended. This eliminates understeer at the limit of adhesion. M Dynamic mode should be restricted to the racetrack, where neutral handling allows you to glide around sweepers with the tail hung wide in perfect synchronicity with the steering angle you&rsquove dialed in to the front wheels. Let your driving ability and insurance coverage be your guide.

Ultimately, the Competition package&rsquos prime attraction is its split personality. Without sacrificing daily-driving practicalities, it allows this sedan to shine as a weekend track star. Like the M2 and M4 that bracket it, the M3 never turns a cold shoulder to BMW&rsquos better days.

Specifications

SPECIFICATIONS

2016 BMW M3 DCT Competition

VEHICLE TYPE
front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE AS TESTED
$88,095 (base price: $64,495)

ENGINE TYPE
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve inline-6, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement
182 in 3 , 2979 cm 3
Power
444 hp @ 7000 rpm
Torque
406 lb-ft @ 1850 rpm

TRANSMISSION
7-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 110.7 in
Length: 184.5 in
Width: 73.9 in
Height: 56.3 in
Passenger volume: 96 ft 3
Cargo volume: 17 ft 3
Curb weight: 3651 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS
Zero to 60 mph: 4.0 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 8.6 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 14.6 sec
Zero to 150 mph: 21.1 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 4.6 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 2.2 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 2.8 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 12.2 sec @ 120 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 163 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 146 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.98 g

FUEL ECONOMY
EPA city/highway driving: 17/24 mpg
C/D observed: 18 mpg


Tested: 2016 BMW M3 DCT Competition Dials Up the M3's Fury

A new M Competition package adds 19 horses and a returned suspension to BMW's already potent sports sedan.

BMW baked this automotive version of a German chocolate cake to celebrate the M3&rsquos 30th birthday: an M Competition package containing a 444-hp 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six (a 19-hp upgrade over the standard M3), 20-inch wheels and tires, a retuned Adaptive M suspension, revised exhaust plumbing, and a few distinctive exterior-design touches. This delicacy is available on both the M3 and the M4 coupe for $4750 because the seats are not included in the M4 convertible, the cost of the Competition package drops to $4250.

The M3 was born in 1986 as a limited-production racer, the ideal gambit for BMW&rsquos Motorsport division (later shortened to the M division) to advance its tuning expertise in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) racing series. Major power upgrades, handling and braking gains, and lighter body parts ensued through five design generations. Starting with 16-valve four-cylinder engines, the M engineers stepped up to 24-valve inline-sixes in 1992. A hellbent 32-valve V-8 arrived in 2007, followed by a twin-turbo six for the current (fifth) generation in 2014.

Countless journalists have proclaimed the V-8­&ndashpowered E92 M3 coupe, which was sold from 2008 through 2013, the best car in the world. The loss of natural aspiration and two cylinders, not to mention the move to electrically assisted power steering, are major setbacks for the current 3- and 4-series in general and the M3/M4 in particular. Consider this new comp(ensation) package the M division making amends.

Keeping Up in the 4.0-Second Club

BMW had little choice. With Cadillac&rsquos two V-cars, overpowered Chevrolet Camaros, the Shelby Mustang GT350R, and the Mercedes-AMG C63S all cracking the 4.0-seconds-to-60-mph barrier for less than $100,000, the boys from Bavaria had to put up or go home. Give BMW extra credit for assaulting V-8 enemies with its supremely potent twin-turbo straight-six.

HIGHS: Excels in both street and track racing, superb front seats, discreet exterior design, tasteful interior.

The M3 and M4 are BMW&rsquos double-whammy gifts to owners willing to sacrifice some suppleness during regular driving for razor-edged reflexes on the occasional track day. The adaptive M suspension and a wealth of steering, damping, throttle-response, and transmission-calibration settings give this pair flexibility unmatched by any competitor. Our experience with these M&Ms during routine commuting, on visits to the test track, while hammering our favorite back roads, and while lapping Chrysler&rsquos 10-turn, 1.7-mile closed circuit in the M3 convinced us BMW has definitely not lost the scent.

Kudos go to the M3 for topping the M4&rsquos value. The sedan&rsquos $64,495 base price is $2200 cheaper, and you get two more doors and a third seatbelt in back, which the M4 lacks. This may be all the ammo necessary to convince a skeptical spouse that the M3 is, in fact, a dual-purpose &ldquofamily sedan.&rdquo Also, a four-door tends to draw less attention in traffic than a slinky, fast-moving coupe.

Our test car was equipped with a $550 Yas Marina Blue Metallic paint job and six options beyond the Competition package: carbon-ceramic brakes for $8150 a $3500 Executive package containing a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, a rearview camera, a backup warning alarm, and headlamp washers a $2900 dual-clutch automatic transmission top- and side-view cameras costing $750 and a $350 enhanced USB port for easing smartphone connection via Bluetooth. (The car tested here was a late-2016 model for the 2017 model year, a slight shuffling of standard equipment results in a $500 rise in the base price of an M3, nicely offset by a $750 reduction in the cost of the Competition package.) The total tab of $88,095 is steep in comparison with the Camaro and Mustang alternatives but on par with super sports sedans offered by Alfa Romeo (the Giulia Quadrifoglio), Cadillac, and Mercedes-AMG.

Athletic at the Track

Even though the comp-pack M4 we tested broke the 4.0-second zero-to-60-mph barrier with relative ease (in 3.8 seconds), the M3 reviewed here did not. Reporting a lack of launch adhesion, our test driver clocked the sprint in 4.0 seconds flat on the way to an impressive 12.2-second, 120-mph quarter-mile. While that&rsquos a tad slower than a Cadillac CTS-V (3.6 seconds) and a Mercedes-AMG C63 S (3.9 seconds), it&rsquos comparable to a Corvette Grand Sport, a Shelby GT350R, and a few of the current Camaro SS cars we&rsquove tested. The M3&rsquos most impressive feats were hustling to 160 mph in 26.1 seconds and beating the aforementioned Vette to 150 mph by two seconds.

LOWS: Expensive, lacks steering feedback, premium-fuel thirst.

While it&rsquos no secret we prefer three-pedal cars, this M3 uses its dual-clutch automatic to excellent advantage. The 7500-rpm upshifts are crisp and perfectly timed to keep boost on the boil and the superlative six in the meat of its powerband. With a significant share of its exhaust energy recycled to the intake tract and only three liters of piston displacement at work, this engine accelerates the M3 with less commotion than is typical for the V-8 crowd. For majestic motor music, a BMW inline-six is tough to top.

Other track stats are just as impressive as the M3&rsquos ability to streak in a straight line. Stopping from 70 mph in 146 feet with no hint of fade and circling the skidpad at 0.98 g with all four tires shouldering their fair share of the cornering effort are performance figures to envy.

These results are handy for taking the M3&rsquos pulse versus the world&rsquos best sports sedans, but they don&rsquot dig deeply enough to touch this car&rsquos soul. That requires road miles and track laps, tasks we thoroughly enjoyed. The acceleration surge feels like an atomic particle flung by the Large Hadron Collider. Whether it&rsquos a smooth escape from a green light or a passing blitz, the M3 performs delightful disappearing acts. Then, at 100 mph in seventh gear, the sweet six hums a 2900-rpm growl a notch lower in intensity than the wind ruffling past the A-pillars.

Adaptable to Daily Chores

Five switches and the dual-clutch automatic&rsquos shift lever let you play the M3 like a baby grand. In addition to a full-auto mode, the stick and paddles behind the wheel offer ratios perfect for every occasion, holding each gear in manual mode even when the engine runs out of revs at 7500 rpm. One quirk is the lack of a park position when you switch off the engine with the lever left in gear, the driveline automatically locks with a P displayed in the instrument cluster.

A drive-mode switch below the shifter offers efficient, relaxed, and sporty modes when the shift lever is in D and comfortable, fast, or really fast shifting when the S (sequential) position is selected. Control freaks will also love the Efficient, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ programs for the power steering, the dampers, and the engine dynamics provided by push buttons to the left of the shifter.

Cycling through every alternative takes patience, but that&rsquos the only way to plumb the depths of the M3&rsquos personality. Doing so, we discovered that care must be used in first gear with the engine dynamics button set in Sport+ to avoid neck-kinking jumpiness. We were surprised to find that with the dampers maxed out in Sport+, the ride quality never enters the punishment zone, although the tires clomp heavily over even mildly broken pavement.

While stiffer springs and anti-roll bars are key elements in the M3 Competition package&rsquos makeup, the suspension&rsquos secret weapons are brilliantly tuned computer-controlled dampers. Peter Schmid, BMW M&rsquos head of driving dynamics, acknowledged that extra effort was invested in tuning the M3&rsquos ZF Sachs continuous damping control system for optimum performance on a wide variety of road surfaces. The starting calibration is soft to avoid harshness over bumps and expansion joints. A sensor array keeps an electronic controller well informed to increase damping forces in fractions of a second according to the road conditions. Extensive structural reinforcements at the front and rear of the M3 allow high damping forces to be transferred to the body without the shake, rattle, and roll that kills comfort in less astute sports sedans.

The stability-control button at the top of the M3&rsquos four-button stack merits due deliberation. One tap disables traction control, handy for extracting the M3 from a snowbank. Pressing and holding the button for a few seconds engages the M Dynamic mode, where nearly all stability-control assistance is suspended. This eliminates understeer at the limit of adhesion. M Dynamic mode should be restricted to the racetrack, where neutral handling allows you to glide around sweepers with the tail hung wide in perfect synchronicity with the steering angle you&rsquove dialed in to the front wheels. Let your driving ability and insurance coverage be your guide.

Ultimately, the Competition package&rsquos prime attraction is its split personality. Without sacrificing daily-driving practicalities, it allows this sedan to shine as a weekend track star. Like the M2 and M4 that bracket it, the M3 never turns a cold shoulder to BMW&rsquos better days.

Specifications

SPECIFICATIONS

2016 BMW M3 DCT Competition

VEHICLE TYPE
front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE AS TESTED
$88,095 (base price: $64,495)

ENGINE TYPE
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve inline-6, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement
182 in 3 , 2979 cm 3
Power
444 hp @ 7000 rpm
Torque
406 lb-ft @ 1850 rpm

TRANSMISSION
7-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 110.7 in
Length: 184.5 in
Width: 73.9 in
Height: 56.3 in
Passenger volume: 96 ft 3
Cargo volume: 17 ft 3
Curb weight: 3651 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS
Zero to 60 mph: 4.0 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 8.6 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 14.6 sec
Zero to 150 mph: 21.1 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 4.6 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 2.2 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 2.8 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 12.2 sec @ 120 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 163 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 146 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.98 g

FUEL ECONOMY
EPA city/highway driving: 17/24 mpg
C/D observed: 18 mpg


Tested: 2016 BMW M3 DCT Competition Dials Up the M3's Fury

A new M Competition package adds 19 horses and a returned suspension to BMW's already potent sports sedan.

BMW baked this automotive version of a German chocolate cake to celebrate the M3&rsquos 30th birthday: an M Competition package containing a 444-hp 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six (a 19-hp upgrade over the standard M3), 20-inch wheels and tires, a retuned Adaptive M suspension, revised exhaust plumbing, and a few distinctive exterior-design touches. This delicacy is available on both the M3 and the M4 coupe for $4750 because the seats are not included in the M4 convertible, the cost of the Competition package drops to $4250.

The M3 was born in 1986 as a limited-production racer, the ideal gambit for BMW&rsquos Motorsport division (later shortened to the M division) to advance its tuning expertise in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) racing series. Major power upgrades, handling and braking gains, and lighter body parts ensued through five design generations. Starting with 16-valve four-cylinder engines, the M engineers stepped up to 24-valve inline-sixes in 1992. A hellbent 32-valve V-8 arrived in 2007, followed by a twin-turbo six for the current (fifth) generation in 2014.

Countless journalists have proclaimed the V-8­&ndashpowered E92 M3 coupe, which was sold from 2008 through 2013, the best car in the world. The loss of natural aspiration and two cylinders, not to mention the move to electrically assisted power steering, are major setbacks for the current 3- and 4-series in general and the M3/M4 in particular. Consider this new comp(ensation) package the M division making amends.

Keeping Up in the 4.0-Second Club

BMW had little choice. With Cadillac&rsquos two V-cars, overpowered Chevrolet Camaros, the Shelby Mustang GT350R, and the Mercedes-AMG C63S all cracking the 4.0-seconds-to-60-mph barrier for less than $100,000, the boys from Bavaria had to put up or go home. Give BMW extra credit for assaulting V-8 enemies with its supremely potent twin-turbo straight-six.

HIGHS: Excels in both street and track racing, superb front seats, discreet exterior design, tasteful interior.

The M3 and M4 are BMW&rsquos double-whammy gifts to owners willing to sacrifice some suppleness during regular driving for razor-edged reflexes on the occasional track day. The adaptive M suspension and a wealth of steering, damping, throttle-response, and transmission-calibration settings give this pair flexibility unmatched by any competitor. Our experience with these M&Ms during routine commuting, on visits to the test track, while hammering our favorite back roads, and while lapping Chrysler&rsquos 10-turn, 1.7-mile closed circuit in the M3 convinced us BMW has definitely not lost the scent.

Kudos go to the M3 for topping the M4&rsquos value. The sedan&rsquos $64,495 base price is $2200 cheaper, and you get two more doors and a third seatbelt in back, which the M4 lacks. This may be all the ammo necessary to convince a skeptical spouse that the M3 is, in fact, a dual-purpose &ldquofamily sedan.&rdquo Also, a four-door tends to draw less attention in traffic than a slinky, fast-moving coupe.

Our test car was equipped with a $550 Yas Marina Blue Metallic paint job and six options beyond the Competition package: carbon-ceramic brakes for $8150 a $3500 Executive package containing a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, a rearview camera, a backup warning alarm, and headlamp washers a $2900 dual-clutch automatic transmission top- and side-view cameras costing $750 and a $350 enhanced USB port for easing smartphone connection via Bluetooth. (The car tested here was a late-2016 model for the 2017 model year, a slight shuffling of standard equipment results in a $500 rise in the base price of an M3, nicely offset by a $750 reduction in the cost of the Competition package.) The total tab of $88,095 is steep in comparison with the Camaro and Mustang alternatives but on par with super sports sedans offered by Alfa Romeo (the Giulia Quadrifoglio), Cadillac, and Mercedes-AMG.

Athletic at the Track

Even though the comp-pack M4 we tested broke the 4.0-second zero-to-60-mph barrier with relative ease (in 3.8 seconds), the M3 reviewed here did not. Reporting a lack of launch adhesion, our test driver clocked the sprint in 4.0 seconds flat on the way to an impressive 12.2-second, 120-mph quarter-mile. While that&rsquos a tad slower than a Cadillac CTS-V (3.6 seconds) and a Mercedes-AMG C63 S (3.9 seconds), it&rsquos comparable to a Corvette Grand Sport, a Shelby GT350R, and a few of the current Camaro SS cars we&rsquove tested. The M3&rsquos most impressive feats were hustling to 160 mph in 26.1 seconds and beating the aforementioned Vette to 150 mph by two seconds.

LOWS: Expensive, lacks steering feedback, premium-fuel thirst.

While it&rsquos no secret we prefer three-pedal cars, this M3 uses its dual-clutch automatic to excellent advantage. The 7500-rpm upshifts are crisp and perfectly timed to keep boost on the boil and the superlative six in the meat of its powerband. With a significant share of its exhaust energy recycled to the intake tract and only three liters of piston displacement at work, this engine accelerates the M3 with less commotion than is typical for the V-8 crowd. For majestic motor music, a BMW inline-six is tough to top.

Other track stats are just as impressive as the M3&rsquos ability to streak in a straight line. Stopping from 70 mph in 146 feet with no hint of fade and circling the skidpad at 0.98 g with all four tires shouldering their fair share of the cornering effort are performance figures to envy.

These results are handy for taking the M3&rsquos pulse versus the world&rsquos best sports sedans, but they don&rsquot dig deeply enough to touch this car&rsquos soul. That requires road miles and track laps, tasks we thoroughly enjoyed. The acceleration surge feels like an atomic particle flung by the Large Hadron Collider. Whether it&rsquos a smooth escape from a green light or a passing blitz, the M3 performs delightful disappearing acts. Then, at 100 mph in seventh gear, the sweet six hums a 2900-rpm growl a notch lower in intensity than the wind ruffling past the A-pillars.

Adaptable to Daily Chores

Five switches and the dual-clutch automatic&rsquos shift lever let you play the M3 like a baby grand. In addition to a full-auto mode, the stick and paddles behind the wheel offer ratios perfect for every occasion, holding each gear in manual mode even when the engine runs out of revs at 7500 rpm. One quirk is the lack of a park position when you switch off the engine with the lever left in gear, the driveline automatically locks with a P displayed in the instrument cluster.

A drive-mode switch below the shifter offers efficient, relaxed, and sporty modes when the shift lever is in D and comfortable, fast, or really fast shifting when the S (sequential) position is selected. Control freaks will also love the Efficient, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ programs for the power steering, the dampers, and the engine dynamics provided by push buttons to the left of the shifter.

Cycling through every alternative takes patience, but that&rsquos the only way to plumb the depths of the M3&rsquos personality. Doing so, we discovered that care must be used in first gear with the engine dynamics button set in Sport+ to avoid neck-kinking jumpiness. We were surprised to find that with the dampers maxed out in Sport+, the ride quality never enters the punishment zone, although the tires clomp heavily over even mildly broken pavement.

While stiffer springs and anti-roll bars are key elements in the M3 Competition package&rsquos makeup, the suspension&rsquos secret weapons are brilliantly tuned computer-controlled dampers. Peter Schmid, BMW M&rsquos head of driving dynamics, acknowledged that extra effort was invested in tuning the M3&rsquos ZF Sachs continuous damping control system for optimum performance on a wide variety of road surfaces. The starting calibration is soft to avoid harshness over bumps and expansion joints. A sensor array keeps an electronic controller well informed to increase damping forces in fractions of a second according to the road conditions. Extensive structural reinforcements at the front and rear of the M3 allow high damping forces to be transferred to the body without the shake, rattle, and roll that kills comfort in less astute sports sedans.

The stability-control button at the top of the M3&rsquos four-button stack merits due deliberation. One tap disables traction control, handy for extracting the M3 from a snowbank. Pressing and holding the button for a few seconds engages the M Dynamic mode, where nearly all stability-control assistance is suspended. This eliminates understeer at the limit of adhesion. M Dynamic mode should be restricted to the racetrack, where neutral handling allows you to glide around sweepers with the tail hung wide in perfect synchronicity with the steering angle you&rsquove dialed in to the front wheels. Let your driving ability and insurance coverage be your guide.

Ultimately, the Competition package&rsquos prime attraction is its split personality. Without sacrificing daily-driving practicalities, it allows this sedan to shine as a weekend track star. Like the M2 and M4 that bracket it, the M3 never turns a cold shoulder to BMW&rsquos better days.

Specifications

SPECIFICATIONS

2016 BMW M3 DCT Competition

VEHICLE TYPE
front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE AS TESTED
$88,095 (base price: $64,495)

ENGINE TYPE
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve inline-6, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement
182 in 3 , 2979 cm 3
Power
444 hp @ 7000 rpm
Torque
406 lb-ft @ 1850 rpm

TRANSMISSION
7-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 110.7 in
Length: 184.5 in
Width: 73.9 in
Height: 56.3 in
Passenger volume: 96 ft 3
Cargo volume: 17 ft 3
Curb weight: 3651 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS
Zero to 60 mph: 4.0 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 8.6 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 14.6 sec
Zero to 150 mph: 21.1 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 4.6 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 2.2 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 2.8 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 12.2 sec @ 120 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 163 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 146 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.98 g

FUEL ECONOMY
EPA city/highway driving: 17/24 mpg
C/D observed: 18 mpg


Tested: 2016 BMW M3 DCT Competition Dials Up the M3's Fury

A new M Competition package adds 19 horses and a returned suspension to BMW's already potent sports sedan.

BMW baked this automotive version of a German chocolate cake to celebrate the M3&rsquos 30th birthday: an M Competition package containing a 444-hp 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six (a 19-hp upgrade over the standard M3), 20-inch wheels and tires, a retuned Adaptive M suspension, revised exhaust plumbing, and a few distinctive exterior-design touches. This delicacy is available on both the M3 and the M4 coupe for $4750 because the seats are not included in the M4 convertible, the cost of the Competition package drops to $4250.

The M3 was born in 1986 as a limited-production racer, the ideal gambit for BMW&rsquos Motorsport division (later shortened to the M division) to advance its tuning expertise in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) racing series. Major power upgrades, handling and braking gains, and lighter body parts ensued through five design generations. Starting with 16-valve four-cylinder engines, the M engineers stepped up to 24-valve inline-sixes in 1992. A hellbent 32-valve V-8 arrived in 2007, followed by a twin-turbo six for the current (fifth) generation in 2014.

Countless journalists have proclaimed the V-8­&ndashpowered E92 M3 coupe, which was sold from 2008 through 2013, the best car in the world. The loss of natural aspiration and two cylinders, not to mention the move to electrically assisted power steering, are major setbacks for the current 3- and 4-series in general and the M3/M4 in particular. Consider this new comp(ensation) package the M division making amends.

Keeping Up in the 4.0-Second Club

BMW had little choice. With Cadillac&rsquos two V-cars, overpowered Chevrolet Camaros, the Shelby Mustang GT350R, and the Mercedes-AMG C63S all cracking the 4.0-seconds-to-60-mph barrier for less than $100,000, the boys from Bavaria had to put up or go home. Give BMW extra credit for assaulting V-8 enemies with its supremely potent twin-turbo straight-six.

HIGHS: Excels in both street and track racing, superb front seats, discreet exterior design, tasteful interior.

The M3 and M4 are BMW&rsquos double-whammy gifts to owners willing to sacrifice some suppleness during regular driving for razor-edged reflexes on the occasional track day. The adaptive M suspension and a wealth of steering, damping, throttle-response, and transmission-calibration settings give this pair flexibility unmatched by any competitor. Our experience with these M&Ms during routine commuting, on visits to the test track, while hammering our favorite back roads, and while lapping Chrysler&rsquos 10-turn, 1.7-mile closed circuit in the M3 convinced us BMW has definitely not lost the scent.

Kudos go to the M3 for topping the M4&rsquos value. The sedan&rsquos $64,495 base price is $2200 cheaper, and you get two more doors and a third seatbelt in back, which the M4 lacks. This may be all the ammo necessary to convince a skeptical spouse that the M3 is, in fact, a dual-purpose &ldquofamily sedan.&rdquo Also, a four-door tends to draw less attention in traffic than a slinky, fast-moving coupe.

Our test car was equipped with a $550 Yas Marina Blue Metallic paint job and six options beyond the Competition package: carbon-ceramic brakes for $8150 a $3500 Executive package containing a head-up display, a heated steering wheel, a rearview camera, a backup warning alarm, and headlamp washers a $2900 dual-clutch automatic transmission top- and side-view cameras costing $750 and a $350 enhanced USB port for easing smartphone connection via Bluetooth. (The car tested here was a late-2016 model for the 2017 model year, a slight shuffling of standard equipment results in a $500 rise in the base price of an M3, nicely offset by a $750 reduction in the cost of the Competition package.) The total tab of $88,095 is steep in comparison with the Camaro and Mustang alternatives but on par with super sports sedans offered by Alfa Romeo (the Giulia Quadrifoglio), Cadillac, and Mercedes-AMG.

Athletic at the Track

Even though the comp-pack M4 we tested broke the 4.0-second zero-to-60-mph barrier with relative ease (in 3.8 seconds), the M3 reviewed here did not. Reporting a lack of launch adhesion, our test driver clocked the sprint in 4.0 seconds flat on the way to an impressive 12.2-second, 120-mph quarter-mile. While that&rsquos a tad slower than a Cadillac CTS-V (3.6 seconds) and a Mercedes-AMG C63 S (3.9 seconds), it&rsquos comparable to a Corvette Grand Sport, a Shelby GT350R, and a few of the current Camaro SS cars we&rsquove tested. The M3&rsquos most impressive feats were hustling to 160 mph in 26.1 seconds and beating the aforementioned Vette to 150 mph by two seconds.

LOWS: Expensive, lacks steering feedback, premium-fuel thirst.

While it&rsquos no secret we prefer three-pedal cars, this M3 uses its dual-clutch automatic to excellent advantage. The 7500-rpm upshifts are crisp and perfectly timed to keep boost on the boil and the superlative six in the meat of its powerband. With a significant share of its exhaust energy recycled to the intake tract and only three liters of piston displacement at work, this engine accelerates the M3 with less commotion than is typical for the V-8 crowd. For majestic motor music, a BMW inline-six is tough to top.

Other track stats are just as impressive as the M3&rsquos ability to streak in a straight line. Stopping from 70 mph in 146 feet with no hint of fade and circling the skidpad at 0.98 g with all four tires shouldering their fair share of the cornering effort are performance figures to envy.

These results are handy for taking the M3&rsquos pulse versus the world&rsquos best sports sedans, but they don&rsquot dig deeply enough to touch this car&rsquos soul. That requires road miles and track laps, tasks we thoroughly enjoyed. The acceleration surge feels like an atomic particle flung by the Large Hadron Collider. Whether it&rsquos a smooth escape from a green light or a passing blitz, the M3 performs delightful disappearing acts. Then, at 100 mph in seventh gear, the sweet six hums a 2900-rpm growl a notch lower in intensity than the wind ruffling past the A-pillars.

Adaptable to Daily Chores

Five switches and the dual-clutch automatic&rsquos shift lever let you play the M3 like a baby grand. In addition to a full-auto mode, the stick and paddles behind the wheel offer ratios perfect for every occasion, holding each gear in manual mode even when the engine runs out of revs at 7500 rpm. One quirk is the lack of a park position when you switch off the engine with the lever left in gear, the driveline automatically locks with a P displayed in the instrument cluster.

A drive-mode switch below the shifter offers efficient, relaxed, and sporty modes when the shift lever is in D and comfortable, fast, or really fast shifting when the S (sequential) position is selected. Control freaks will also love the Efficient, Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ programs for the power steering, the dampers, and the engine dynamics provided by push buttons to the left of the shifter.

Cycling through every alternative takes patience, but that&rsquos the only way to plumb the depths of the M3&rsquos personality. Doing so, we discovered that care must be used in first gear with the engine dynamics button set in Sport+ to avoid neck-kinking jumpiness. We were surprised to find that with the dampers maxed out in Sport+, the ride quality never enters the punishment zone, although the tires clomp heavily over even mildly broken pavement.

While stiffer springs and anti-roll bars are key elements in the M3 Competition package&rsquos makeup, the suspension&rsquos secret weapons are brilliantly tuned computer-controlled dampers. Peter Schmid, BMW M&rsquos head of driving dynamics, acknowledged that extra effort was invested in tuning the M3&rsquos ZF Sachs continuous damping control system for optimum performance on a wide variety of road surfaces. The starting calibration is soft to avoid harshness over bumps and expansion joints. A sensor array keeps an electronic controller well informed to increase damping forces in fractions of a second according to the road conditions. Extensive structural reinforcements at the front and rear of the M3 allow high damping forces to be transferred to the body without the shake, rattle, and roll that kills comfort in less astute sports sedans.

The stability-control button at the top of the M3&rsquos four-button stack merits due deliberation. One tap disables traction control, handy for extracting the M3 from a snowbank. Pressing and holding the button for a few seconds engages the M Dynamic mode, where nearly all stability-control assistance is suspended. This eliminates understeer at the limit of adhesion. M Dynamic mode should be restricted to the racetrack, where neutral handling allows you to glide around sweepers with the tail hung wide in perfect synchronicity with the steering angle you&rsquove dialed in to the front wheels. Let your driving ability and insurance coverage be your guide.

Ultimately, the Competition package&rsquos prime attraction is its split personality. Without sacrificing daily-driving practicalities, it allows this sedan to shine as a weekend track star. Like the M2 and M4 that bracket it, the M3 never turns a cold shoulder to BMW&rsquos better days.

Specifications

SPECIFICATIONS

2016 BMW M3 DCT Competition

VEHICLE TYPE
front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE AS TESTED
$88,095 (base price: $64,495)

ENGINE TYPE
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 24-valve inline-6, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement
182 in 3 , 2979 cm 3
Power
444 hp @ 7000 rpm
Torque
406 lb-ft @ 1850 rpm

TRANSMISSION
7-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode

DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase: 110.7 in
Length: 184.5 in
Width: 73.9 in
Height: 56.3 in
Passenger volume: 96 ft 3
Cargo volume: 17 ft 3
Curb weight: 3651 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS
Zero to 60 mph: 4.0 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 8.6 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 14.6 sec
Zero to 150 mph: 21.1 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 4.6 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 2.2 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 2.8 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 12.2 sec @ 120 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 163 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 146 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.98 g

FUEL ECONOMY
EPA city/highway driving: 17/24 mpg
C/D observed: 18 mpg


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