The joys of rowing your own gears, there’s nothing else like it. This is even more evident when you get to do it in the 2015 BMW M3. Such a vehicle is deserving of a manual transmission, something BMW is praised for retaining, even if the take rate is at an all-time low when compared to those who opt for the lightening-fast shifting 7-speed dual-clutch-transmission DCT. Sure, the DCT is faster, but it just isn’t as fun as the 6-speed manual if you ask me.
To add to the fun and excitement of the new BMW M3, the sedan variation that retains the historic nomenclature while the 2-door receives the M4 designation, BMW’s latest M car is a nearly perfect balance of an every-day commuter and track toy wrapped up in a hot little package. My experience with BMW M cars goes back many years and I can say that the latest M3 (and M4) is my newfound friend that will be soon joining my older E46 M3 in the garage if things pan out the way I have them planned.
The 2015 BMW M3 feels like it has at least 500 horsepower, it continually boggles my mind that on paper the twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder is transmitting 425 horsepower (5,500 – 7,300 rpm) and 406 lb-ft of torque (1,850 – 5,500) through one of the best manual transmissions I have experienced. Helping the 6-speed manual along to make it one of the best is in part due to the rev-matching program in Efficient and Sport drive modes permitting you precisely-matched downshifts and upshifts making heel-toeing an afterthought. Despite the longer than desirable throws on the 6-speed transmission’s shifter, you can easily perform magic through the active M differential that uses dynamic stability control data to determine power distribution for the two rear forged 19-inch wheels wrapped in sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. The nearly perfect weight balance of the M3’s chassis allows you to muster short drifts into and out of corners while the latest electric steering rack is delightfully tuned in the Sport and Sport-Plus mode settings to give just enough weight and feedback to keep a harmonic weight shift under control – so you look like a pro.
The 2015 BMW M3 is every bit of that initial Motorsport heritage initiated by the original E30 M3. The only disparity, the new M3 is wrapped up in today’s technology moving the weight figure down, power figures up, and the forward momentum at its highest level yet getting up to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds with the manual trans. Fuel consumption estimates also attribute to new tech getting an EPA estimated 17 mpg city and 26 mpg highway. I saw a steady 27 mpg on the highway even with the 6th gear winding the throaty twin-turbo six to a trumpeting tune at 70 mph.
By now you have heard all of the press. The benchmark setting BMW M3 is better than ever and has the looks, balance, and available feature content to appease those who are accustomed to laying down twice the M3’s price on the competition.
See Also: 2015 BMW M4 Convertible Review & Test Drive
My only concerns with the 2015 BMW M3, other than me having to dig into my pocket to the tune of about $74,750 to claim the same vehicle in my current possession, is how many highly sought-after features are options and the a-la-cart selection method really burns my idea of what a $75K vehicle should consist of for feature content. My test vehicle, equipped with only a few select options, such as hard-biting carbon ceramic brakes, larger 19-inch wheels and tires to fit over those massively large brakes, and remarkably bright adaptive headlights by way of a LED lighting package, my BMW M3 still lacks the stuff that matters to me. It may sound petty, but my M3 test vehicle is missing a backup camera and parking sensors. I know, I can easily turn around and look when backing up – but we’re talking about a $75K vehicle here. Still, to the benefit of BMW, a Driver’s Assistance Plus package can be had for $1,900, which features a side and top view camera system. Okay, there, that’s my only qualm. Giving it a second thought, this is an ideal track car setup.
BMW has done their homework, and done it well, with the new BMW M3 and M4. The standard cloth seats are worthy of track days to keep you firmly planted with heavy bolsters, while the controls through the latest iDrive system with a touch-pad for writing letters or numbers into the Navigation system for a new destination are user-friendly after a short acclimation period. The fit and finish exudes every bit of what you expect in a premium luxury vehicle, nothing short of BMWs countless interior design efforts tailored for their best performing driving machines.
A driving machine, that’s what BMW says it is and I really can’t argue against that case. One of the best? Yes, the 2015 BMW M3 is just that. A short drive in the 6-speed manual transmission-equipped BMW M3 in my garage will delight any hard-core enthusiast who likes three pedals and a stick.
I’m signing up for this one.
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