BMW had two, seemingly divergent goals that needed to be met with the new M3. The new car had to be both faster and easier to live with, making more power than the previous model, but also getting better fuel economy. BMW tackled the problem by replacing the old V8 with a twin-turbocharged 6-cylinder engine for the 2015 model year. The new engine makes 425 hp, 11 more horsepower than last year's engine. More impressive however, is the 406 lb-feet of torque that the new 6-cylinder engine offers, 121 ft-lbs more than the old V8 made. BMW claims that the new 6-cylinder engine is up to 25 percent more fuel efficient than the old V8.
Power is sent to the rear wheels exclusively, via either a traditional 6-speed manual or a 7-speed dual clutch automatic. The 6-speed manual offers more feel and driver involvement, but the 7-speed DSG is undoubtedly both the speed and fuel economy champ, with its ability to change gears in the blink of an eye.
The M3 is more than just a sedan with a big engine. The car is lower and wider than the standard 3-series, with aggressive styling, a wider stance and a more aerodynamic front end. An aggressive diffuser at the back helps channel air out from under the car at speed. The 2015 M3 also makes extensive use of exotic materials such as carbon fiber and aluminum, helping to keep weight down and avoiding the weight gain that is typically associated with a ground up redesign.
Standard features on the BMW M3 include heated exterior mirrors, HID Xenon headlights, 10-way power adjustable front seats, automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, 3-stage heated front seats, a leather wrapped steering wheel with controls for Bluetooth, cruise control and the radio, a navigation system with real time traffic updates and dynamic cruise control.
Due to the high levels of standard equipment, the M3 comes in only one trim level, but there are several option packages available on the car. A Drivers Assistance Plus Package adds several cameras, a lane departure warning system, active blind spot protection and a speed limit display. The Executive Package adds headlight washers, comfort access keyless entry, a heads up display system, a heated steering wheel and a rear parking sensors with a camera.
Options on the M3 include several different types of 19" wheels, carbon ceramic brakes, adaptive suspension, a power rear sunshade, a moonroof, enhanced smartphone integration and a Harman Kardon sound system. Interiors can be optioned in cloth, partial or full leather, with a choice of colors for the leather.