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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.  

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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

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