Long term tests

BMW M3 Competition

1000 miles in, how's our new BMW M3 Competition feeling? Auto gearbox and matt paint thoughts here

One thousand miles in, and I still feel like I don’t really know the M3. It looks sensational, sounds fab and really motors, but it’s taking me a while to feel at one with it. In large part, I reckon this is because of the gearbox.

Don’t get me wrong, the M double-clutch seven-speeder is very fine – silky smooth at trundling speed and swift and seamless at big revs. Trouble is, I find I want to be involved in between, and I’m not. I’m currently tinkering with the shift-speed settings in manual mode, slowing it down, to try to get a more natural feel. It seems the sensation of being connected to the car, integral to its progress, that you get via a clutch and gearlever (and throttle), is especially important given the M3’s dynamic potential.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

Maybe I need to get on track (the forthcoming evo trackday at Silverstone could be ideal) to see where the BM’s limits are, start to get to know it better, and also to see if the optional Competition Pack fitted to our car makes any difference. Costing £3315, the pack brings those tasty, inch-bigger alloys, 10mm lower suspension, electronic damper control with a Sport setting and retuned stability control.

I wasn’t quite sure how to handle the matt-finish Frozen Grey paint (a £1755 option) when I first washed the car – it’s smooth, but run a hand over it and you can feel that there’s a fine texture to it. Instructions have since come through from BMW and, as anticipated, they warn against using wax: ‘Never polish the vehicle. This can lead to glossiness.’ Microfibre cleaning cloths, I’ve discovered, work a treat.

Running Costs

Date acquiredMay 2010
Total mileage3593
Costs this month£0
Mileage this month1018
MPG this month22.9
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/bmw/4-series/201608/2020-bmw-4-series-revealed-new-coupe-range-topped-by-369bhp-m440i
BMW 4 Series

2020 BMW 4-series revealed – new coupe range topped by 369bhp M440i

The new 4-series Coupe is bigger, faster and sportier, but that’s not what people are talking about
2 Jun 2020
Visit/features/17660/the-best-four-cylinder-engines-ever-we-pick-our-favourites
Features

The best four-cylinder engines ever

We've gathered a selection of our very favourite four-pots ever produced
27 May 2020
Visit/porsche/911-targa/202681/2020-porsche-911-targa-4s-heritage-design-edition-revealed
Porsche 911 Targa

2020 Porsche 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design edition revealed

Porsche reveals new 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design edition chock-full of retro touches
1 Jun 2020
Visit/suzuki/swift-sport/202682/mild-hybrid-suzuki-swift-sport-goes-on-sale
Suzuki Swift Sport

Mild-hybrid Suzuki Swift Sport goes on sale

More money, less performance for latest Swift Sport may be a hard sell
1 Jun 2020