Andrew Richmond – Test Drive of the 2011 BMW M3 Sedan

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Andrew Richmond, Director of Oxley Insurance Brokers, spends a weekend getting to know the 2011 BMW M3 Sedan

 

 

 

 

My first experience with BMW’s M3 was a couple of years ago at Eastern Creek International Raceway. With an overcast day threatening to grease the track, a brief sermon about safety and not launching an M3 into a concrete wall, I found myself behind the wheel in no time. What followed has made any Beemer with a genuine tri-coloured M badge one of my most admired performance vehicles on the road today.  The M3 is the hero of the BMW’s extensive 3 Series range and is available as a coupe, convertible or four door sedan. The cars are transformed by BMW’s ‘Motorsport’ division, where  they push the boundaries to create a line of up of high performance machines, with models such as the new M1, recently released new M5, M6, XM5 and X6M Coupe … all available locally, not at some exclusive division that exists in Sydney or Melbourne!

On the inside

The car, as tested, came with black leather electronically controlled sports seating with the BMW ‘M’ logo embossed on the headrests. Thankfully for us family men, this is a true 5 seater. Some sports sedans are fitted with a 2 + 2 seating configuration which can be very restrictive, particularly for the smallest in the family if they find the boot too claustrophobic! The cockpit also includes BMW’s iDrive system, which allows easy navigation through a large screen displaying features which include radio, CD, iPod, satellite navigation and phone, all at the touch of one central button. The leather trimmed M multifunction steering wheel with its signature tri-colour red and blue stitching, houses several easy reach buttons including one with an ‘M’ on it. When selected, this engages the M Dynamic mode, which backs off the Dynamic Stability Control for when you want to loosen things up a bit … all with the comfort of knowing that it’s not entirely disengaged. Of course, you’ll find things such as dual zone air conditioning, exceptional Harmon Kardon speakers and air bags galore, just to name a few. The BMW gods looked after us, as this car was also was fitted with the M DCT Drive logic transmission, as opposed to your standard six speed manual box. This option allows the driver to change gears seamlessly without interrupting power using either the paddles, gear shifter or automatic mode. For those of you who like splitting hairs, this allows the M3 to unleash its fury from 0 – 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds … which is two tenths of a second faster that the manual transmission version.

On the outside

It’s all aggressive, lightweight and aerodynamic. The bulging front bonnet is designed to house the V8 high revving engine, with vents designed to allow air to be sucked straight into the air box. The guards are boxed out to house the 18” staggered lightweight wheel set. The muscular rear end allows for a wider track and four tailpipes, which are a majestic symphony for any car perve who hears the car approach before they see it. To tell you the truth, it sounded so good, I found myself backing off to third gear just to enjoy the eruption … (not to mention the glorious engine blips on the downward shift!) 

Where it counts 

What keeps this car at the sharp end of the arrow is a high revving 4 litre 8 cylinder power plant that feels unbreakable, producing 309kw/402hp at 8,300 rpm.It’s incredibly responsive in gears 1 to 4, throwing you back in the seat as the gear change indicators flare up the instrument cluster. As mentioned previously, 0 – 100 km/h is achieved in just 4.6 seconds with the maximum speed restricted to 250 km/h. This is, of course, specially reserved only for those days at the race track. Now, most manufacturers could achieve straight line speed, but it’s how the M3 stops and corners that also sets it apart – especially considering it’s a high powered rear wheel drive car. Braking is by way of four lightweight cross drilled part aluminium discs, designed to maximise deceleration, without sacrificing durability or wet weather performance. Most performance car buyers aren’t focused on fuel economy, but if you’re interested, the combined average usage is 12.4 L/100 km.

 To sum it up

If you’ve reached 40 something, are questioning the meaning of life, don’t have enough ink or facial hair for a Harley and want to spend your money (or the bank’s, for that matter) on something for yourself … then this is for you! The 2011 BMW M3 is everything you would expect and more. If you want a true performance car that also ticks the boxes of quality, fit and finish, with the unusual ability to take the kids with you… then the M3 would be at the top of the list. This is a car that would be right at home on the race track just as much as in auto mode leaving your driveway to work on a Monday morning. At $144,900 on the road, the car you see on this page is a premium performance machine that will leave you grinning from ear to ear with every outing (plus you’ll be the envy of all your friends). To find out more, go to www.mcguiganbmw.com.au or call Shane McGuigan, Shaun Ferguson or the friendly team at McGuigan BMW, Port Macquarie.

Keep it safe on our roads … your family uses it too!

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