Reviews

2017 BMW M3 Driving Impressions


The M3 handles well but isn’t as nimble as the lighter M2.

The front suspension is a double-joint sprung axle with aluminum control arms, wheel carriers, and axle subframe. When the M3 was redesigned for 2015, those aluminum pieces shaved 11 pounds off the front suspension. It means a lot to handling. The five-link rear suspension uses forged aluminum control arms that shaved 6.6 pounds of unsprung mass. The driveshaft is carbon fiber, to save weight and reduce loss of horsepower between the engine and the wheels.

In the wind tunnel, advanced aerodynamic work focused on cooling and lift, not just aero drag. That rear spoiler with a Gurney lip reduces the lift, so if you’re on the Autobahn at 250 kilometers per hour, the car won’t fly. As for cooling, that’s what the gills in the body are for. And the sculpted side mirrors reduce drag.

The three tweaks work together to symbiotically and successfully manage airflow. Another way of putting it is to say that the M3 runs to the horizon with glee.

The electronic Active M Differential system is all about grip, namely the grip of the tire at each corner, measured and responded to within milliseconds. It helps the car rotate in the turns and accelerate positively. The competent chassis stays neutral no matter how wild the input of the driver in the turns.

The 7-speed DCT has a launch program that provides quick getaways, no burnouts. Efficient but not as much fun.

At the stopping end, the available carbon-ceramic brakes lower the car’s speed with alarming enthusiasm. They are available for $8150, if your enthusiasm can stand that much alarm.

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