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The rear-drive BMW M3 is dead, but the xDrive now has more power

BMW has given the M3 a subtle design update and an uprated 520bhp engine, but the rear-drive version is no longer available

The G80-generation BMW M3 is one of the finest sports saloons (and fast estates, in Touring form) you can buy, and the recipe is being refined further still this year to offer improved performance, connectivity and a subtle exterior facelift; look away now those who still can’t get over the buck-tooth look. The revised M3 is on sale now, still exclusively in Competition trim in the UK (and now only available with four-wheel drive xDrive), costing from £82,420 in saloon form and £84,700 for the Touring. 

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Visually there isn’t much to distinguish the latest M3 from the car it replaces. There’s a new pair of LED headlights with arrow-shaped DRLs at the front, along with revised rear lights and new forged wheel designs that measure 19 inches at the front and 20 at the rear. Oh, and the badge on the tailgate now has a silver-coloured surround. We said it was subtle.

More meaningful are the changes to the powertrain. The M3’s 3-litre twin-turbocharged straight-six has received a power boost from 503bhp to 523bhp, courtesy of a significant remap of the car’s electronic brain. Torque remains unchanged at 479lb ft, but that peak is now spread across a wider rev range than before, arriving at 2750 and hanging around until 5730rpm. 

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With the only option to have a rear-drive M3 now down to you switching the xDrive four-wheel drive system into rear-drive mode, the 0-62mph time remains unchanged for both body styles, with the saloon completing the sprint in 3.5sec and the Touring a tenth later. Both models will go onto a maximum of 155mph, but the optional M Driver’s Pack raises this to 180mph for the saloon and 174mph for the Touring. Where the extra power really pays dividends is in the run from 0-124mph, which is completed half a second quicker (11.8sec and 12.4sec for the saloon and estate respectively). 

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As before, power is sent through an eight-speed automatic gearbox and an Active M differential in the rear axle, with three configurable modes for the four-wheel drive system – 4WD, 4WD Sport and a rear-wheel drive setting. Bespoke M chassis hardware, including adaptive dampers, an M Servotronic steering system and M Compound brakes come as standard, with ceramic discs available as an option saving a total of 14kg of unsprung mass. The excellent adjustable M Traction software remains.

Inside, the revised M3 gets a new flat-bottom steering wheel with a red 12 o’clock marker, and elements of the instrument panel and centre console are available with either a grey aluminium finish or optional carbonfibre trim. Specifying M carbon bucket seats instead of the standard items saves 9.6kg, and further carbon parts can be added through an optional carbon exterior package.

The firm’s iDrive 8.5 infotainment system has been installed too, displayed across a curved dual-screen panel on the dash. It features an M Laptimer and Drift Analyser to monitor your performance on a track, as well as M-specific graphics, cloud-based navigation, BMW’s Personal Assistant and wireless smartphone integration. 

Order books for the new M3 are open now, with production beginning in July.

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