Long term tests


There are more comfortable ways to travel than with the M3, but few are more exciting

Sometimes I seriously doubt that the M3 is the best in its class. Shocking, I know. Heresy almost. The slight headache I’m hoping paracetamol will cure in about ten minutes’ time is quite possibly due to the M3 owners’ forum sticking pins into a gangly Catchpole voodoo doll. But the Lexus IS-F is more relaxing to just jump into and drive and is also a lot easier to reach the limits of. So too the C63 AMG. And as art editor Paul Lang commented when he handed the M3’s keys back to me after borrowing it the other day, in normal driving the BMW can actually be mildly obstreperous if you’re not used to it.

He’d discovered that, particularly when it’s cold, if you mistime building-up the revs as you engage the clutch then the transmission will happily try to bodypop the car away from the lights or into a roundabout. (He also suggested that the M3’s bonnet bulge makes it look like it’s trying to conceal an erection, which probably tells you all you need to know about the workings of Paul’s mind.)

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!

So, on an everyday basis, I think you’d probably get more enjoyment out of the Merc or Lexus. But then I have a drive like the one last week and I remember why the M3 is still the best. We were in Wales for this month’s KTM group test and YB57 UYA was there as a support car. At the end of a day in which I’d driven a Caterham R500 for five hours from Surrey to Wales, the M3’s Goth-spec interior – Novillo Black leather topped off with Titanium Shadow (light black) trim – was hushed. But on the drive to our overnight resting place the car was fantastic. On a lowland road, tightly walled on either side, following the meandering path of a small river, the following KTM was nowhere to be seen in my mirrors after just a mile as the BMW got up on its Michelin-shod toes, dancing around the corners as only it can.

At 7000rpm the V8 howls and the throttle is sharper and cleaner than a paper cut. And it is a fast car. Very, very fast. Compared with its competitors it might be a case of delayed gratification, but cometh the hour…

Running Costs

Date acquiredFebruary 2008
Total mileage10,822
Costs this month£0
Mileage this month2074
MPG this month23.5



BMW M3 review

5 Feb 2020
BMW M3 saloon

Next BMW M3 to go all 4WD

25 Mar 2019

Most Popular

Honda Civic Type-R

Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition revealed amongst range-wide updates

Our hopes have been addressed and more, as Honda launches two more Civic Type R versions at the top and tail of the range
20 Feb 2020
SEAT Leon Cupra

New 2020 Cupra Leon revealed

Cupra’s launched not just one, but a whole range of hot Leons to rival the rapidly expanding hot hatch class in 2020
21 Feb 2020
BMW 3 Series

New BMW M340d xDrive Saloon and Touring revealed

BMW has released its range-topping black pump 3-series models, with a predictably impressive torque figure
20 Feb 2020
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019