When picking up a car at one of my local dealerships, my contacts offered me a chance to be one of the first non-employees to take the M3 out for around an hour. For context, I drove my M2 CS down to the dealer, and we have a 2015 F82 M4, 2019 i8, 2020 228i, 2018 X2, and 2010 135i between my partner and I.
My initial impressions are as follows:
- The car feels quite a decent chunk bigger than the F8X, and it definitely shows in the space for the ear passengers.
- The S58 sounds completely different than any other BMW engine I can remember. Not anything like an S55, and it did not remind me of the B58, N55, or N54 – if anything it sounds much closer to what you’d experience with a Porsche flat six like the one in the 718 GT4, which was a very pleasant surprise.
- I really appreciated the addition of an Exhaust button in the configuration, and overall there setup is even more flexible than it was in the F8X generation. I was surprised that you could even adjust the brake-by-wire feel between Comfort and Sport.
- I was surprised that BMW developed the manual for this car to feel quite a bit different than the previous generation. The shift feel is quite a bit shorter and feels more direct – not quite the same rubberyness you got with the F8X and E9X cars. The clutch itself has a different feel too, one that I didn’t really like because it was much less of a linear progression than the previous car.
- It’s very quick, except at first it feels slow because of how quickly the computers kill your torque especially in cold temperatures. It’s also much less obvious when your inputs are being dampened than it was in the F8X, to the point where I was completely blown away when we turned all the safeties off.
- I hate the electronic parking brake and it took me a hot second to figure out where it even was.
- Black is a very safe color on this car, but its also very difficult to photograph the styling on this one. I think that any highly reflective color or colors that really help cast shadows around the different geometry (like the frozen colors) are going to work really well.
- I personally don’t care for the new shape of the carbon fibre roof. There’s a weird transition between being flat in the front to these two fins/creases towards the rear, and I think the previous generation did this better.
- The interior is next-level compared to what came before it. Much closer to what you’d expect in and M5 than what you’d see in M3s of days past.
- I especially love the M version of Live Cockpit and all of the sensors integrated in the car. We were already exposed to this with our 228i GC, and this just has more of everything as you’d expect.
Edit: Since this got pinned to the front page, I wanted to go ahead and clarify that this is in fact a demo unit that has already been driven a decent bit and that the traction off part of the clip was shot with one of the store managers in the car on the second trip out. No reputable store would ever do this with a customer car.
I didn’t bring my normal gear with me because I didn’t expect to get a shot at driving this car until sometime next week, but here is a short video with some of my initial impressions from the drive:
Last edited by Silber; Today at 09:28 AM..