Sliding behind the wheel of a new BMW M3 is always a moment to savour. There’s something about that letter and number that still captivates, even after all this time and series of cars, some markedly better than others. An M3, any M3, is the heart of BMW’s high-performance division and should always be a special thing.
Do not be fooled by ‘Competition’ tacked onto the end of this one’s name into thinking it’s some kind of derivative of an extant model. As you can see from its toothsome smile, this is a new M3, and while Competition does indeed mean it’s a fast model, the standard M3 is not coming to the UK. What is coming this summer is the first ever four-wheel-drive M3 and then, at the end of next year, the first ever M3 Touring. The mechanically identical two-door M4 Competition is also on sale now.
Everything has changed about this car compared to 2016’s M3 Competition. Yes it has a twin-turbo 3-litre straight-six engine, but it’s not carried over and has a different cubic capacity. What it does have is 503bhp compared to the 444bhp of its predecessor, a substantial gain in power, but only enough to offset a scarcely less substantial 135kg gain, which is why BMW claims the new car is a scant tenth of a second swifter to 62mph.