2015 BMW M3 Walk Around

Though the 2015 BMW M3 is based on the latest iteration of the 3 Series sedan, it has unique features and styling all its own.

The new front end is both aggressive and functional, with larger front air intakes that help improve aerodynamics. Vertical vents alongside the front fenders channel air down the sides of the car. A rear spoiler keeps the car planted, while a smooth underbody and rear diffuser help the M3 to slice through the air with as little resistance as possible.

Compared with the previous e90 M3, the new F80 M3 is about four inches longer, more than two inches wider, and nearly an inch lower. And the wheelbase is stretched two inches.

As with all M cars, BMW offers a distinct and unique palate of exterior colors. The only basic paint available is the non-metallic Alpine White; the rest are metallic and cost an extra $550, including the new Yas Marina Blue, a bright, medium hue that, depending on the light, can look either cool or downright Smurfy. Also new is the greenish Austin Yellow, named in honor of F1's new U.S. racetrack, the Circuit of the Americas. While these colors might be polarizing, they most certainly garner attention.

Standard wheels are V-spoke 18-inch alloys, wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport mixed performance tires. Two designs are available for the optional 19-inch wheels, with optional carbon ceramic brakes that are visually differentiated by gold-painted calipers that look like something out of a mediocre Austin Powers sequel.


Inside the cabin, the design is similar to that of a 3 Series sedan, but splashier with a variety of colors and finishes, including optional two-tone full leather upholstery. Contrast stitching accents the sport seats, M steering wheel, doors and dash, and carbon fiber trim comes standard. The M logo can be found everywhere, reminding drivers that they paid a premium for a much faster car than those regular BMWs.

Regardless of trim, the M3's cockpit remains oriented around driving, the dash angled slightly toward the driver bringing all controls within easy reach. Climate controls are traditional BMW, intuitive and easy to operate.

Unlike many manufacturers who are switching to digital instrument clusters, the M3 keeps traditional analog gauges, with glowing white text atop a black background. A small display between the large tachometer can show a variety of information, including music, navigation, MPG and vehicle diagnostics. An optional head-up display included with the Executive Package, makes it easy to check speed going down the straights.

BMW's widescreen display and iDrive controller come standard on the M3. As with the 3 Series models, the iDrive monitor sits fixes atop the dash, unlike screens made by Audi which retract out of sight when not in use. Navigation and real-time traffic information are standard, which is a nice touch on a car that can reach $90,000 with options. Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity lets users access a suite of apps and functions, including a new GoPro app, which lets drivers control a car-mounted GoPro camera (sold separately) directly from the iDrive interface.

One of the things that makes the M3 so appealing is that it can be a practical daily driver in spite of its raceworthy performance. There's plenty of interior storage space, like wide door pockets that can accommodate water bottles and mugs, plus two cupholders on the center console. Sport seats are comfortable and have a wide range of adjustability, and aggressive bolstering keeps everyone firmly in place, whether on a long road trip or cranking through the turns on a fast track. Rear seats fit most adults and are fine for short to moderate trips, with 37.7 inches of rear headroom and 35.1 inches of rear legroom.

Cargo space measures 12 cubic feet, the same as with the old e90 M3, which is enough to fit a couple of large suitcases with a bit of room to spare. Standard 60/40-spilt folding rear seats allow for even more carrying capacity.

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