BMW M3 Sedan Returns to BMW Lineup
- October 29, 2007
- BMW, New Model Introductions
- Posted by George Peterson
- Comments Off on BMW M3 Sedan Returns to BMW Lineup
2002 Reincarnated, M3 Brings Back a Four-Door
September and October brought plenty of BMW news, all leading up to a hot spring/summer 2008 for BMW dealers. The X6 Concept and X6 ActiveHybrid Concepts shown at the 2007 Frankfurt auto show, previewing a vehicle due by the end of next year, and the show was the backdrop for the formal introduction of both the M3 coupe and the new 1-Series coupe. Also in Frankfurt, a 1-Series convertible was confirmed, with initial photos released shortly afterward. If that wasn’t enough, the M3 sedan returns with a worldwide introduction at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show. Just to keep you interested, here are the first photos of the M3 sedan. See a following story for photos of the new 1-Series convertible.
M3 Goes V8, and Brings Back a Four-Door
BMW confirmed the M3’s V8 420HP 4.0L DOHC 32v V8 months ago with the M3 Concept at the Geneva auto show, well ahead of the coupe’s Frankfurt introduction. (There isn’t magic about BMW reaching that number; it is the same as Audi’s RS4 sedan and convertible.) While U.S. buyers must wait until spring 2008 to buy an M3 in any form, European buyers get the coupe now and sedan later.
This M3, on paper at least, lives up to its heritage and brings only the second M3 sedan. While coupes typically take a sexier look, the practicality of extra doors is of more importance for some lifestyles, and BMW isn’t likely to have difficulty finding homes for the sedan. The M3 sedan takes much of the look of the M3 coupe, for a much more aggressive look than the standard sedan. The coupe is the only one, however, to get a carbon fibre roof panel.
Transforming a 3-Series into a model worthy of the M badge includes upgrades to suspension, and efforts to lose weight, as well as a new fast engine and exterior aero and cool-factor tweaks. For this fourth M3 coupe and second M3 sedan, the suspension layout is similar to its less fast brethren, but more aluminum is used in the front double-joint spring strut axle and the rear five-arm axle is of also new construction. The high-performance brakes are lighter, too. Electronic aids for the M3 include the M Variable Differential M Lock, a defeatable dynamic stability control, and optional electronic damper control.
The optional MDrive doesn’t allow video-game style driving with the iDrive controller, it allows the driver to configure dynamic driving parameters for their preferences and retrieve the settings by pressing an MDrive button. The M3’s iDrive does allow setting the degree of Servotronic steering assistance with two available control maps and there are three available engine management control maps. Between all these electrics, the lost weight, and the V8, this M3 BMW reports “significantly” outperformed all prior M3s on the Nordschleife.
In revising the body from standard coupe to M3 coupe, BMW carried over only the doors, decklid, windows, and front and rear lights. All other sheetmetal bits are new; it is a similar story with the M3 sedan. Among the functional and weight-saving changes are elements of long-fibre thermoplastic beneath the bumper panels; in minor accidents they will return to their original shape, as well as saving weight. Larger air intakes get more cooling air to the V8 while the hood’s powerdome and additional intakes are functional and add an aggressive element to the look.
About the M3 Sedan
BMW dropped the ball for USA M3 buyers with the 3rd gen M3. They had a perfect case study with the second generation car when they had an overwhelming sales success for the M3 sedan in the USA. In Germany, the coupes outsold the sedans by a wide margin. In the USA, the result was the opposite. So, for the third generation BMW dropped the sedan. Guess they learned because the sedan is back. HOOOOOOORAY!!!!!!!!
All in all, 2008 is shaping up to be a good year to buy a BMW. For me, the hot spots are the M3 sedan and 135i coupe; actually, the coupe is probably the vehicle I’m looking forward to most next year. It’s small and light, should be nimble and relatively fuel efficient. I like small cars, and this one on paper seems perfectly sized for our two-person household. But the M3 sedan has its own draw. I can go for the practicality of the four-door over the two-door in the larger M3 package, and the extra 120HP over the 135i should deliver a rush all its own.