For 2011 the new BMW M3 has entered our test car fleet. Throughout the year we will be providing updates on the reliability, drivability and performance of the newest M3 on the market.
During the first 1,200 miles of ‘M’ ownership you are advised not to take the car over 5,500rpm. This is to allow all of the seals and engine components to properly wear in. However, that does make it difficult to fully experience and enjoy the 414 horsepower that the V8 engine produces. Luckily, the peak torque of 295 pound-feet is available at 3,900 rpm. While waiting for the 1,200 miles to pass by it is possible to enjoy every other aspect of the car. The exhaust note from the V8 sounds fantastic. It goes from a deep, throaty, rumble to a nice roar as it approaches 5,500 rpm. I am sure that it will scream like a banshee as it approaches 8,300rpm.
Our test car is equipped with the Competition package. While this may seem like a pricey option, in my opinion it is worth every penny. Included in the package are the visually stunning multi-spoke wheels. Measuring half an inch wider than the stock 19” wheels they help offer better stability and improved handling. Additionally, cars equipped with the competition package are 0.4 inches lower.
Combining the competition package with the M dual clutch transmission (DCT) is a match made in heaven. With 11 different drivelogic modes available it is almost impossible to not find a perfect setting for almost any condition. The seven speed DCT has a very close ratio. It is actually surprising that BMW did not engineer 7th gear to be a little bit longer to allow for improved highway fuel economy.
Over the first 1,000 miles the 2011 M3 has averaged 14.4 miles per gallon. This V8 is thirsty and unfortunately it also has a relatively small gas tank (16.6 gallons) considering the mileage. I can only hope that once the car passes through 1,200 miles and continues to wear in that the mileage will improve. However, once the 1,200 mile service has been completed the engine will be fully available, so mileage may actually decrease depending on driving style.
It is rumored that the next generation M3 will be a turbo charged 6 cylinder engine. That will make the current M3 the last of a dying bread. BMW’s M cars have always been naturally aspired, but due to fuel consumption requirements and emission controls that could soon be a thing of the past.
Our heavily optioned Interlagos Blue M3 arrived with a window sticker of $73,880 from BMW North Scottsdale. Onboard is the Competition Package ($2,500); Premium Package ($2,000); Technology Package ($2,500); M Double-clutch Transmission ($2,900); Anti-theft alarm system ($400); Moonroof ($1,050); Split fold-down-rear seats ($475); Heated front seats ($500); Park distance control ($380); Automatic high beams ($250); Satellite radio ($350); iPod and USB adapter ($400); Smartphone Integration ($150); Enhanced Premium Sound ($1,900); Gas Guzzler Tax ($1,300) and Destination ($875).
Stay tuned over the next year as we bring additional updates on the 2011 M3.
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