Long term tests

BMW M3 Competition

Finding the optimum car settings using the BMW M3 Competition's 'Power' button

I’ve been here before, only with not quite so much opposite lock. Same up-ramp off the roundabout, same model of car and same wet surface. Same result, too, in that for the first time I feel truly connected to the M3, paradoxically when its rear wheels are not solidly connected to the road. It happened with the last long-term M3 we ran and, after a couple of thousand miles, it’s happened with our new M3 Competition.

On this evening, with the ‘M’ button pressed and the ramp glisteningly, invitingly empty, I get the revs up high and unstick the rear tyres of the BMW. And even though I’m ready for it, it’s quite a snap, a handful and that extra bit that makes you catch your breath, but a measured back-off and it stabilises and then comes straight. And it felt great; poised, alive, responsive.

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It’s a moment I’ve been seeking for a while, and for which I’ve configured the ‘M’ button. If an opportunity looks likely and I’m in the mood, I can have the car on high alert in an instant. My settings are the sharpest throttle response via the Power option, electronic dampers (EDC) set to softest and Drivelogic (the gearshift speed/severity) set midway.

In the dry, even thus configured, you have to rev the engine very hard and work the rear tyres to the point where it looks like you’re trying to have an accident before the rear will play. In the wet it’s much easier to get the chassis working and have some fun, the sort of fun you expect with a 400bhp-plus rear-drive M3. From where I’m sitting a few more summer showers would be very welcome.

Running Costs

Date acquiredMay 2010
Total mileage5247
Costs this month£0
Mileage this month1654
MPG this month22.4
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