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BMW M3 — long-term review
Enter the dragon
Toothless. Yep, barely arrived on the fleet, but already got a nickname. This is good. Cars that gain nicknames seem to have more about them – more character, more fun, more part of the family. Saying “I’m taking the M3 to the shops” isn’t half so personal as “I’m taking Toothless.”
So Toothless is off to a flying start. There’s the beginnings of a feeble pun in there, given how the name came about. Have you seen How to Train Your Dragon? Cracking film. So my kids come outside to see the M3 for the first time and we chat about the four exhausts, the matt paint, the broad stance and the wing mirrors and how the upper arm doesn’t join up to the car. We surmise about aerodynamic or cost reasons, but also decide it looks rather like a dragon’s ear (or head – the argument still occasionally descends into all-out warfare…).
So, Toothless has stuck. I could try to draw further analogies about how the star of the film is a Night Fury, the fastest, most stealthy dragon of them all, but my Toothless isn’t painted matt black, instead a rather fetching blue/silver that draws people towards it like mosquitoes to an Insect-O-Cuter light. As, the M3 has been out for 18 months now, you’d think the M-car excitement would have worn off. Apparently not.
I have a theory about this: it’s because you only see M4s, not M3s. Personally I think the 4dr M3 is the more interesting choice. It’s also 80mm wider than a standard 3 Series saloon, where the width difference between regular coupe and M4 is only 40mm. This has all been applied to the arches. In a low setting sun, the way this colour and those arches combine is mesmeric.
So what we have here is a £56,505 M3 in Frozen Silver (a hefty £1,855 special order) adorned with the £2,645 M DCT doubleclutch gearbox, Merino leather, head-up display, Harman/Kardon sound system and rear sunblinds, but not a whole heap else. Then again, that heap still adds £2,940…
But it supped the first running-in tank of fuel at over 28mpg, and, barring tyre noise, ride and refinement are better than expected. Not completely up to scratch, mind – my wife found it a struggle to text from the left seat.
When I’m by myself, I’m discovering that Continental CSC 5P summer tyres, bleak weather, 405lb ft of torque at 1,850rpm and some surprisingly wayward chassis dynamics is anything but Toothless. Just like the dragon.