BMW M3 Competition review & buyer's guide: Ultimate sedan supercar | Auto Expert John Cadogan

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There are faster performance cars, and more expensive performance cars, and certainly more overtly ridiculous performance cars - but every time I drive an M3, I fall madly in love with it. This car is my kryptonite. It renders me powerless.

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What’s it actually like, living with a BMW M3 Competition? Frankly, it’s a paradox - it’s like owning an Extra 300L - the world’s top unlimited aerobatic aircraft, and only ever flying it straight and level. Takeoff, four right turns - not to exceed 20 degrees angle of bank - and land. Repeat. That’s driving to the office in your M3.

No loops, no snap rolls, no stall turns. Ever. Ultimately that’s probably a good thing. Because very few M3 owners would be capable of driving a car like this near the limit of its performance.

This car offers 216 W/kg, which is awesome in a straight line. 0-100 in 3.9 seconds #respect. And that’s not even what this car does best.

But 375kW and 650 Nm, from an awesome twin-turbo straight six… I mean, V8s are awesome, but give me a straight six any day - perfect balance and awesome rev characteristics beats that scavenging-inspired burble. Like, if you actually want to go fast. And BMW is the world champion of building the hottest straight sixes ever. So there’s that…

...But an M340i xDrive is $50,000 cheaper and more refined, and few people could drive an M3 quicker from A to B in the real world. Like I said, it’s a paradox. You can probably only make an M3 go as fast as you can make it go, and you probably can’t make it go appreciably faster than an M340i xDrive. And, tantalisingly, M xDrive is coming to this car in the last quarter of the year. So there’s that, if you want to split the tractive effort front to rear, in extremis.

Grip? Yeah. It’s a collaboration with Spiderman, basically. 20-inch wheels and 285/30s Michelin Pilot Sport 4s at the rear, and (just for kicks) 19s at the front with 275/35s. Rear brakes: bigger than most cars’ front brakes. To me, this car is like the supermodel you can’t have, and wouldn’t know what to do with, even if you could.

I’m pretty sure that ‘fun’ is entirely the wrong filtration for some sort of diligent assessment of a car of this nature.

That’s because these cars are terrifying, or at least intimidatory. If you step into the ring with this car and drop your guard, they will not hesitate to clock you. It’s an unforgiving environment in which to dance.

Therefore, I think the ownership proposition is either about bragging to the boys (most women don’t care - like, my wife and daughter both hate this car). Or it’s about bragging to yourself, about owning the ultimate engineering execution of a particular kind of car. This is certainly that.

It’s also as close to perfect as a practical supercar could ever be. Is it comfortable? Yeah. Kinda. But not in the context of a car designed to offer the ultimate in luxuriousness. It’s more comfortable than a car that performs like this has any right to be.

It’s comfortable enough to live with. But that’s definitely not why I would want one. I want it because it’s the best. But also because it will be completely indifferent to killing you if you turn off the electronic oversight and take it to the edge. It’s very hard to exist at the edge, with a car like this.
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