300 twin-turbocharged ponies not enough? No worries.
What it Is
2008 BMW M3 Preview – 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show: In the world of cardom, there are a few very special names that accelerate the heart rates of mainstream and affluent enthusiasts alike – Corvette, Shelby, AMG, Evo, and perhaps the one that appeals to the broadest range, M3. Throughout its history, this particular German machine has thrilled with its power and exceptional handling, characteristics that appear to triumph on in the newest iteration, the 414-horsepower 2008 BMW M3 Coupe and Sedan. Regardless of whether you go with two or four doors, 60 mph will come in about 4.7 seconds.
Why it Matters
BMW has long been synonymous with “Ultimate Driving Machine” and, to a large degree, the connection is deserved. But the competition is coming on strong, with exceptional products from Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz zeroing in on the 3 Series’ mark of perceived infallibility. Lexus is even offering up a serious player in its IS-F. As expected, BMW has responded with a ride in Coupe and Sedan form that aims to firmly remind all enthusiasts, and automakers, who owns this category. We’ll see how it all pans out when the M3 goes on sale in the spring of 2008.
What’s Under the Hood
With the regular 3 Series Coupe and Sedan now boasting up to 300 horsepower from a twin-turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine, there was little doubt that the new M3 would be pumping power out of eight cylinders. That’s exactly the case, as the 2008 M3 Coupe and Sedan feature a 4.0-liter V-8 pushing 414 horses at a lofty 8,300 rpm and 295 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,900 rpm. The new uber Bimmer also boasts a six-speed manual tranny with a locking differential, an aluminum chassis, electronic damper control, cross-drilled cast iron rotors, and Servotronic steering with Normal and Sport modes.
What it Looks Like
Like models before it, the 2008 M3 appears as a 3 Series Coupe or Sedan that’s been to the gym – not like a dude on ‘roids but rather someone who’s been doing twice-a-days and eating nothing but chicken and tuna. In other words, lean and mean. The package includes a revised front and rear fascias, a rippled aluminum hood with vents, additional vents on the fenders, quad chrome exhaust tips, and lightweight M-specific alloy wheels measuring 18 inches. Tack on a limited number of special badges and you’ve got the 2008 M3 – an exquisite machine that doesn’t require exaggerated body kits to draw attention.
Just because it’s a high-performance car doesn’t mean the 2008 M3 needs to include a spares interior. Quite the contrary – the M3 features leather trim, door sills with the M logo, audio components such as Sirius and HD radio, a thick leather-wrapped steering wheel with secondary controls, a navigation system, and BMW’s love-it-or-hate-it iDrive central command technology. Enthusiasts will enjoy the sport seats with adjustable backrests, perfect for keeping you in place when slicing through narrow canyons. Buyers can even sift in a bit of utility by opting for folding split rear seats in the new M3.
What BMW Says
BMW’s marketing trust had this to say about the brand’s updated icon: “BMW once again proves there is nothing inherently slow about evolution with the introduction of the 2008 M3 Coupe, fourth in the line of compact sport coupes which set the standard in minimizing any compromises between race-inspired performance and luxury and convenience. Sharing the high-revving 414-horsepower V8 and balanced chassis designed to be “faster than its engine,” the motorsports arm of the German automaker, BMW M GmbH, will offer next spring the most powerful, best performing series production M3 to the North American market.”
What We Think
We’re admitted enthusiasts and this is a 414-horsepower, V-8 powered, rear-drive BMW with a manual transmission that’ll hit 60 mph in less than five seconds. Plus, it’s available in family-friendly Sedan style or the child-seats-are-for-suckers Coupe variant. Whatever package you opt for, the flavor inside remains the same, and it’s one we’re salivating to get a taste of. Factor in the guaranteed battles with models like the Lexus IS-F and the stage looks set for a wondrous time for all of our fellow sports car nuts.
By Thom Blackett
Photo Credit: Thom Blackett