M. There are few letter designations that carry more weight in the automotive world. BMW’s famed Motorsport division has been modifying all manner of Bavarian driver’s cars for decades, and every car wearing the M badge demands respect both on the street and at the track.
Maybe the best known M is the M3. Flying under a single model designation are three cars, the M3 coupe, M3 convertible and M3 sedan. There are similarities between all M3 versions, but they each possess their own distinct character.
This high-performing two-door cuts a slick profile with its retractable hardtop. The M3 convertible (MSRP $67,550) is the ultimate way to revel in sunny days – you can retract the roof and take in the sights and sounds of your favorite stretch of twisty pavement without isolation. You’ll also be less isolated from the roar of the 414-hp V8 engine that all M3s pack. When skies grow ominous, the power-operated top keeps the finely finished interior snug and dry. An available seven-speed Double Clutch Gearbox (DKG) snaps off race-quick shifts with uncanny precision, and optional steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles are a nod to BMW’s long motorsports experience. The engine’s power is just as ready to take on every season as the comfortably protected cabin, thanks to the Variable M Differential Lock that works with the stability control to keep the M3 convertible pointing in the intended direction, even when it’s not shorts weather.
The quintessential M3, the two-door M3 coupe (MSRP $58,900) is lithe and sinewy, and has long been the choice of discerning drivers. The 4.0-liter V8 is tucked under the distinctively domed hood that telegraphs this coupe’s M3 identity clearly. In case you missed it, the V8’s 8,400-rpm roar won’t have any problem driving its point home. Such a high-revving engine is normally the domain of racing machinery, but BMW is committed to making the M3 a car that excels both on the street and at the track.
Dynamic Damper Control with Electronic Damping Control (EDC) is available on all M3s. It automatically adjusts the shock absorbers for performance (with “comfort,” “normal” and “sport” settings) and automatically controls the firmness of the dampers to deliver the desired driving character. Along with segment-defining performance, the M3 coupe is also available with plenty of luxury like Comfort Access keyless entry, Enhanced Premium Sound with 825 watts of power, navigation and, the biggest comfort of all, standard BMW Ultimate Service, which covers maintenance for the first four years or 50,000 miles of ownership.
Offering the same performance delights as the M3 coupe, the M3 sedan (MSRP $55,900) is more accommodating for drivers that regularly ferry passengers or need an easily accessible backseat. The “family” M3 is the same hot-blooded premium European performance car underneath it all. Despite driving its rear wheels with 414 hp, the M3 sedan returns an EPA-estimated 20 mpg on the highway, and BMW’s deep options and configuration list allows buyers to drive away with a car that’s nearly a one-off custom. Standard features include luxurious leather, pushbutton start and an M designed instrument cluster, along with unique exterior design.
If you thought an off-road-capable BMW Sports Activity Vehicle shouldn’t be expected to return much in the way of speed or agility, BMW offers the X5 M as a game-changer. Filled with luxury and packing an M Tuned xDrive all-wheel drive system, the X5 M (MSRP $85,700) rockets forth thanks to a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 that delivers 555 brawny hp. A six-speed M Sports Automatic Transmission handles gear changes, and M Dynamic Performance Control works with the xDrive all-wheel drive system to distribute power and deliver cornering performance and acceleration that’s truly astounding. Audiophiles will enjoy the 600-watt, 16-speaker premium high-fidelity sound system.
X5 M occupants are treated to some of the most supportive sport seats in the business. The M Sport front seats are 14-way power adjustable and are upholstered in leather that carries M-specific stitching. BMW’s iDrive system incorporates navigation, entertainment and other vehicle function options in a single, easy-to-use interface. Real-time traffic alerts are part of the GPS-guided navigation system’s arsenal, ensuring you get to your destination while helping you avoid traffic snarls.
The X6 M (MSRP $89,200) combines a sporty hatchback roofline with sure-footed Sports Activity Vehicle architecture to create an altogether new class of sports machine. With the same 555-hp V8 as the X5 M, there are few vehicles on the road that can keep up with the X6 M, and its M-tuned xDrive all-wheel drive system doesn’t get left behind when roads are twisty or slick, either, thanks to its ability to apportion power between the axles.
From the comfort of the leather-upholstered, highly adjustable M Sport seats, the X6 M delivers a smooth, swift driving experience. Adaptive Drive with Electronic Damper Control deserves some of the credit for keeping the X6 M on an even keel as its engine serves up big power managed by the M Sports Automatic Transmission. M Sport suspension with Self-Leveling Rear Air Suspension, Active Roll Stabilization, Dynamic Stability Control including Brake Fade Compensation, Start-off Assistance and Brake Drying are just some of the active technologies the X6 M seamlessly employs to watch your back. With a deep list of options and an even deeper list of performance and technology features to enable speed and safety, the X6 M is a vehicle like no other on the road.
All BMW M vehicles are like nothing else out there, and that’s the result of a focus on performance through cutting-edge technology. With the M3, X5 M and X6 M, there’s a BMW for those drivers who won’t accept compromise.