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BMW M3 saloon (2008) review

Published:22 April 2008

BMW M3 saloon (2008) review
  • At a glance
  • 4 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5

By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator

By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator

The BMW M3 saloon has two more doors, weighs 25kg extra, features blander taillights and, at £49,415, costs £1415 less than its E92 coupe sibling. Anyone with an internet connection can work that out. But, and here’s the key question, does the saloon feel different to drive?

A small digression. I owned an M3 saloon once. In fact, for six months I owned both the E36 M3 saloon and the E36 M3 coupe. Where the early 3.0-litre saloons had softer suspension than the coupe, my Evo-spec saloon had an identical set-up to its lesser-doored sibling. The mags would go on about the saloon being better balanced than the coupe and I’d feel perplexed. One day I’d drive the saloon, the next the coupe. And you know what? They’d feel exactly the same.

What I would notice was the awful faux wood trim in the saloon, and the less attractive, comfort-spec/US-spec coupe (sorry, once an M3 anorak, always an anorak) chairs and the saloon-spec/optional US-spec coupe (must stop this) wheels.

So is the new BMW M3 saloon different from the M3 coupe?

This time the seats are the same, the wheels are the same, wood isn’t compulsory. But does that 25kg – equivalent to around two modestly packed suitcases – actually make a difference?

No. Once again, I couldn’t tell the difference. Which gives the saloon considerable appeal. It’s cheaper, more practical and those extra doors – to my eyes – add a little M5 Q-car understatement and tone down the coupe’s slightly beaky looks.

Click 'Next' below to read the rest of our BMW M3 saloon first drive

Scroll down the page to the embedded player below to see how the BMW M3 saloon matches up against the Lexus IS-F and Mercedes C63 AMG

Click here for our video road test of the BMW M3 coupe

And is the engine identical to the one found in the coupe?

You get the same brilliant V8 – all throaty burble in the mid range soaring to a metallic, screaming crescendo at 8300prm – the same supple suspension, the same brilliant M-diff and, unfortunately, the same steering that seems to sacrifice feel on turn-in to maximise – bizarrely but amusingly – feel when the tail’s at 45 degrees.

It might be getting overlooked now, but the lower numbers will undoubtedly make the saloon a wise buy. After six months use I sold my last saloon within a week for £700 more than I paid for it.

Click here for our video road test of the BMW M3 coupe

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Specs

Price when new: £49,415
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 3999cc 32v V8, 414bhp @ 8300rpm, 295lb ft @ 3900rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Performance: 4.9sec 0-60mph, 155mph, 22.8mpg, 295g/km
Weight / material: 1680kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4580/1817/1447

Rivals

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Photo Gallery

  • BMW M3 saloon rear three-quarter
  • BMW M3 saloon interior
  • BMW M3 saloon engine
  • BMW M3 saloon interior
  • BMW M3 saloon side
  • BMW M3 saloon front three-quarter
  • BMW M3 saloon rear three-quarter
  • BMW M3 saloon front

By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator

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