Advertisement
BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Advertisement feature
WELCOME TO HYUNDAI’S HAPPINESS MACHINE
View the latest news
First Look

BMW has given its 4WD M3s more power and more… headlights

Saloon and Touring turbos now come with 523bhp, are 0.5s faster to 124mph

Published: 29 May 2024

In other parts of the world, BMW offers its new M3 saloon in a beguiling spec: 473 horses, manual gearbox, rear-wheel-drive. Alas in the UK we have to make to do with [checks notes] the most powerful and most… 4WD versions.

Now, BMW has filled both those ‘Competition’ versions of the M3 saloon and M3 Touring with even more horses and even more acceleration.

Advertisement - Page continues below

Not to 62mph, which remains the same for the M3 saloon (3.5s) and, OK, is one tenth faster for the excellent M3 Touring (3.6s), but from 0-124mph. Because both cars can crack that benchmark half a second faster than before, with the M3 saloon taking just 11.8s and the Touring 12.4s.

That’s thanks to a power boost from – yes, more numbers! – 503bhp to a new high of 523bhp, courtesy of “optimised configuration of the digital engine control unit”. Which we understand to mean that somewhere deep in the M3 Competition’s ECU, a few 0s were changed into 1s. Possibly.

There’s 479lb ft of torque on offer from the twin-turbo 3.0-litre straight-six, which, says BMW, offers an “even more ferocious, sustained power delivery”, especially when on a circuit. Which is probably where that improved 0-124mph time makes sense.

So, enough numbers, time to play Spot The Difference. No, still the same. Nope, that’s the same too. Correct! The headlights are new: a new design that excitingly brings both low and high beam into a single module, with arrow-shaped vertically arranged LEDs.

Advertisement - Page continues below

There’s a new steering wheel inside, “sophisticated” materials for the instrument panel (perhaps they like jazz and a glass of red), version 8.5 of BMW’s Operating System, and new 19in/20in alloys. Otherwise it’s as you were before: eight-speed auto, 4WD, prodigious pace and talent, tonnes of driver assistance, lots of M-focused goodies, M-specific modes, and that kidney grille.

Very accomplished cars, Mssrs M3 saloon and M3 Touring, of course. Prices in the UK kick off from £82,420 for the four-door, and £84,700 for the estate. Though, we wouldn’t begrudge a beguiling, even-baser spec of fewer horses, a manual gearbox and rear-wheel-drive.

Top Gear
Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

More from Top Gear

Loading
See more on BMW

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

BBC TopGear

Try BBC Top Gear Magazine

subscribe