In the past we’ve had M3 Sport Evos, GTs and CSLs from BMW, all building on already brilliant foundations, all adding a little more petrolhead attitude. But with the E92 generation’s lightweight CSL project long since canned, the M3 Edition is as close as we’ve yet come to an even more desirable M3.
What’s the difference between a regualr BMW M3 Coupe and this M3 Edition?
The Edition sits 10mm lower than the car it’s based on, but otherwise it’s a cosmetic makeover. There’s a choice of Alpine White as seen on other M3s, or the Edition-only Dakar Yellow and Monte Carlo Blue, plus all Edition models are distinguished by darkened kidney grilles, bonnet vents and wing mirrors. The 19-inch alloys, meanwhile, come in either the familiar silver or optional black.
Inside there are body-coloured highlights on the Novillo leather and contrasting stitching, plus tastefully chunky trim to bisect the dash (BMW calls it black carbon-structure leather) while the white cars get a suspect, colour-coded centre console. I’d plump for blue – more saleable than yellow, plus it reminds of the stunning Estoril Blue previously used on the E36 M3.
What’s the damage?
At £53,435 you’ll pay £2.5k extra for your special edition Edition compared with the existing M3. A stretch too far for some, perhaps, but if you spec the Novillo leather and 19s on a regular M3 you’ll end up with a £2k bill anyway. Factor in the ride height drop, the numerous little touches and the extra exclusivity of the Edition and it starts to look like decent value.
Does it feel different?
Not really. Two CAR road testers drove the Edition back-to-back with the standard car on track, and our findings were less than conclusive. I noticed only that the new car was slightly less reluctant to tuck – and hold – its nose into tight, slower corners. Yet tester number two thought it was more stable under acceleration out of corners. Had we not had the standard car for reference we wouldn’t have noticed any difference at all.
The rest is business as usual. There’s a brilliantly well-balanced chassis that’s actually quite hard not to oversteer on track; initially over-light steering; a peach of a high-revving, incredible-sounding V8; and luxurious comfort and space that makes this car far easier to live with than a 911.
Equipped with our car’s double-clutch semi-auto transmission, the M3 is even more versatile, acting as both a smooth auto, and a fast-firing manual that puts the clunky sequential manual M5 to shame.
The Edition might lack the kudos of previous special edition M3s, but it does represent good value in combining what are surely the most frequently ticked options boxes (19-inch alloys and the extended leather package) in a slightly more special-feeling package for similar money.
More than anything, it’s still an M3 and as such represents one of the very best performance cars you can buy.
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