The 2016 BMW M3 marks the second year of production for BMW's latest small super-sedan, and it's been an eventful run so far. Like its two-door M4 sibling, the latest M3 challenges BMW's M division tradition with its turbocharged inline-6 engine, departing from the model's long history of natural aspiration with no added boost. This choice led to an initial backlash from purists, but their protests have been muted as of late. Maybe that's because they've had a chance to drive the car. Once you're in the pilot's seat, it doesn't take long to realize that the current M3 is still a singular machine.
The 2016 BMW M3 feels right at home on a racetrack.
As ever, the M3 is based on the 3 Series, sharing that best-selling model's basic exterior and interior design but boasting its own styling flourishes, chassis tuning and engine specs. True, the 3 Series offers a turbocharged inline-6 with the same 3.0-liter displacement, but that's pretty much where the similarities end. Heavily modified, the M3's motor pumps out 425 horsepower, far eclipsing anything the regular car can muster. Throw in razor-sharp steering, a sophisticated active differential and an M-specific suspension with available adaptive dampers, and you've got all the ingredients for a world-beating high-performance sedan.
If you're shopping around in this segment, you've got some enviable alternatives to consider. The Mercedes-AMG C63 sedan wins the arms race with a turbocharged V8 that's good for up to 503 hp, and it's more athletic than ever through the bends. The Cadillac ATS-V lacks the BMW's interior polish and rear seat room, but it compensates with a brawny turbocharged V6 and perhaps the quickest reflexes in the segment. If you can make do with a bit less speed but still want a sporting edge, the supercharged Audi S4, the Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG and BMW's own 340i serve as in-between options. But with its crowd-pleasing blend of race-ready dynamics and daily-driver civility, the 2016 BMW M3 continues to lead the charge.
The 2016 BMW M3 is a four-door, five-passenger high-performance sedan that's based on the 3 Series.
The M3 comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels with summer tires, adaptive xenon headlights, a sport-tuned suspension, an active locking differential, a performance exhaust system with quad tailpipes, a sport body kit, exclusive exterior body panels (including a "powerdome" hood and wider rear fenders), power-folding auto-dimming heated mirrors, automatic wipers, keyless entry and ignition, leather upholstery with cloth accents, heated 10-way power front seats (with four-way power lumbar), driver memory settings, carbon-fiber interior accents, fold-down rear seatbacks, cruise control and dual-zone automatic climate control.
Although a number of extra-cost options are available, the 2016 M3 comes packed with features, even in standard trim.
Standard technology features include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a navigation system, an 8.8-inch display screen, a suite of applications under the BMW ConnectedDrive banner, BMW's iDrive electronics interface and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with HD radio, satellite radio, a USB audio input, an auxiliary audio jack and a CD player.
The optional Executive package adds parking sensors, a rearview camera, a head-up display and a heated steering wheel. The Lighting package contributes adaptive LED headlights and automatic high-beam control. The Driver Assistance Plus package gets you blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, a surround-view camera system, speed-limit display and a frontal collision warning and mitigation system with automatic emergency braking.
Stand-alone options include a few of the packaged items above plus 19-inch wheels, upgraded carbon-ceramic brakes, adaptive suspension dampers, a self-parking system and a power rear sunshade. A sunroof is available at no cost for buyers who are so inclined.