As we’re getting closer to the launching date of the new 2008 BMW M3, more and more test drive reviews are being published. Here is a review from an australian magazine, which goes in detail about the 2008 BMW M3.
The M version of BMW’s E90 3-Series has behaved impeccably throughout, but enough is enough. On a challenging Spanish mountain pass the car has proven its point with astonishing aplomb: late on the brakes, fast in the apex, early on the gas, with nary a groan.
That’s besides the scream of the new V8, as the M3 rocketed uphill and downhill out of second and sometimes first gear corners. And just to get it out of the way: first to second is a touch notchy and slow in this 6-speed box, derived from a newly-developed manual for the M5’s American market.
It’s nowhere as light, quick and slick as the phenomenally fast first-to-second shift in Audi’s RS4, for instance. That?s one little observation. Another is the M3?s ratio differential that will sometimes – in tight stuff too fast for second, yet too slow for third – lock up the rears under conditions of maximum attack. That’s a road rather than car dependant feature, of course.
Yet the biting point on the M3’s tightly-packaged new twin-plate clutch (with unique ventilation characteristics, by the way) is not always easy to modulate. Even a slow pedal release might result in a jerky transition from third to second. And whilst we’re on it: the soundtrack is vaguely disappointing. It’s a rasp, rather than a roar, let alone a demonic wail, bark, bellow or howl. It’s also a tad muted and one-dimensional. Note and timbre stays unchanged from low to high revs, leaving rising pitch and frequency as the only indicators of sky-rocketing revs, delivering linear power and pull all the way up to the 8 400 r/min red line.
Aurally, the M3 is therefore thrilling, rather than awe-inspiring. And awe-inspiring is the rich and refined double-layered engine and exhaust notes of Audi’s RS4. Is BMW losing it? The M3 cabin is nothing special, either, again measured against the class and sophistication of Ingolstadt interiors. Is Bee-Em losing this contest, then – especially keeping in mind that the RS4 drives via quattro as well? And that BMW steering as of late just ain?t that great?
For low and behold, the latest M3’s rudder does not deliver encyclopedic feedback, even though links and valve mapping have been revised, exactly for better feel, and even though power assistance can be varied between normal and sport modes. With a 12.5:1 ratio it is still very sensitive and ultra-quick, however. With all that hydraulic assistance it’s also easy. And once you’re dialed in, there’s just enough weight and resistance to find a dependable and predictable groove. Confidence, then, is what counts. And after a tentative start, the M3 rudder delivers. So does the rest of the car, in buckets and spades. First up is ride and body control. Read the rest of the article here