Long term tests

BMW M3 Competition

John Barker's new long termer - a matt grey BMW M3 coupe in new Competition spec. What's it like?

I’ve just taken delivery of a car in a colour I hadn’t seen until it rolled into the car park. It had been recommended by a colleague. ‘Frozen Grey. It’s got to be, no question,’ he insisted when I was speccing our new long-termer. It was, he said, a sort of matt grey. In fact, it looks like bare metal, like it isn’t painted at all. The contrast with the carbon roof and the chrome parts, like the four tailpipes and the M badge, is exquisite. Only thing is, I have absolutely no idea how to clean it.

I’m afraid I can’t tell you in much detail how this new Competition model drives because almost as soon as it arrived I drove it to Heathrow and parked it. The work BMW has done is quite subtle. Is it a bit firmer than the last one I drove? Possibly. It certainly looks better on its CLS-alike wheels. Does the seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox add to or take away from the experience? The jury is out on that one at the moment, but I find I can’t leave the paddles alone, wanting to take control entering roundabouts and the like. Meanwhile the rear feels quite mobile on the Michelin Pilot Sport 2s, not actually moving around but hinting that that’s an option.  

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to our exclusive new offer and SAVE 39% on the shop price, get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £20!

One thing that did strike me as odd was looking in the mirror and seeing the ‘ED’ logo (denoting Efficient Dynamics) in the back window. But, yes, this twin-clutch M3 does the full stop-start thing, as I discovered at the traffic lights on the run around to Terminal 4. Come to rest in Drive with your foot on the brake and the engine cuts, re-starting when you move your foot off the brake and go for the throttle. Quite what ED can do for a 414bhp, 4-litre V8 with an 8200rpm red line remains to be seen.

Running Costs

Date acquiredMay 2010
Total mileage2575
Costs this month£0
Mileage this month73
MPG this month24.5

Most Popular

Aston Martin

2020 Aston Martin Vantage Roadster revealed

Two-seater Aston Martin Vantage Roadster gets a sleek new look and a new roof
12 Feb 2020

819bhp Lamborghini Aventador-based V12 hypercar nears production 

Track-only Squadra Corse machine fired up for the first time at Sant’Agata Bolognese factory
11 Feb 2020
Ford Mustang

1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 given 986bhp twin-turbocharged V8

A pair of turbochargers and a modern Coyote V8 turn this ’69 Ford Mustang into a near four-figure quarter-mile hero 
13 Feb 2020
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 N versus Hyundai i30 TCR

Can Dickie Meaden beat Steve Sutcliffe in a straight(ish) race? We sent them to the Circuit Nuvolari with a pair of Hyundai i30 Ns to find out.
20 Sep 2019