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Specification:
BMW M3
Engine:
2979cc, in-line 6cyl, RWD, 425bhp, 405lb ft
Claimed MPG:
32.1mpg, 232g/km CO2
Performance:
0–62mph in 4.1secs, 155mph
Weight:
1560kg
Price:
£56,505/£64,560 as tested

It’s a wheel thing. I thought the M3 was looking just too sporty on its 19-inch M Double Spoke wheels, so I’ve switched them in for something with more stealth appeal. More 320d-ish. Less ‘mmmm’, more ‘ermmmm’.

This isn’t actually true. What I’ve done is switch to winter tyres and taken the opportunity to see what visual difference a new set of wheels makes. Quite considerable, isn’t it? They’re still 19s, but less fang-wagony. Keep them clean and the bright silver rims ping in the light and look really sharp, but the trouble is the ‘keeping them clean’ part.

Same goes for the Frozen Silver paint. I spend half my time thinking I should have gone for something bolder or more interesting and then the light will fall on it in a certain way and I just think, ‘cor’.

On to more practical matters. The old Continental CSC 5Ps have given way to a set of CWC TS830Ps. Together with the rims, BMW quotes an all-in price of £3,090, but the difference they make is marked. Good stuff first. When the temperature drops really low, they’re fantastic – much more predictable and grippy. They also run a fraction more quietly on the road. The app on my phone says the decibel difference is nil, but my ears reckon the noise that comes back into the cabin is less shrill and penetrating, and since that’s my only real criticism of the car’s rolling comfort, this is an important thing.

Drawbacks? The tyres haven’t cured the M3’s lairiness. I didn’t really expect them to, but the softer compound has probably exacerbated the issue. Accelerate hard and you can feel the back end squirm as the rubber blocks flex. It just introduces a degree of imprecision, but I’m happy to accept that for the time being while the temperatures are low and I’ve got a trip to the Alps ahead.

And I can’t tell you how much I relish driving this car. I continue to love the fact that I can’t just plant the throttle and have the car sort everything out. It makes me work. I like that.

Good stuff: Starting to get the hang of the ConnectedDrive app. Being able to sit in the office and send satnav destinations to the car is very useful. Split-fold rear seats – so useful, even in a saloon

Bad stuff: Drove an M5 30 Jahre the other week. Expected it to feel big and baggy in comparison, but when I pushed it, it proved even tauter and more responsive than mine. Well, it does cost £91,890

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