2013 BMW M3 Vehicle Overview
View information about the 2012 BMW M3
BMW's high-performance M3 features V-8 power and returns as a coupe or convertible. The four-seat M3 serves as the most powerful version of the 3 Series, with a 414-horsepower, 4.0-liter V-8 and aggressive styling that's common to BMW's M cars. Competition includes the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, Lexus IS-F and Chevrolet Corvette.
Except for the chassis, doors, trunk lid and fuel-filler cap, BMW says the M3 doesn't have any other parts in common with the regular 3 Series. BMW calls the bulge on the M3's aluminum hood a "powerdome." It's flanked by two air intake accents, one on each side of the bulge. Exterior features include:
- Carbon fiber roof to save weight and lower the center of gravity
- Large openings in front for increased cooling
- Xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights
- Flared fenders for wide wheels and tires
- Quad-tipped dual exhaust
- Lightweight 18-inch wheels with performance tires
- Available 19-inch wheels
The driver can choose from a multitude of suspension and engine preferences using M Drive, which controls the electronic stability system, steering response, ride comfort and throttle response. It varies the settings to make the M3 suited for either everyday driving or track duty. Interior features include:
- Leather-clad interior highlighted with a choice of carbon fiber or wood trim
- Push-button start
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Available moonroof
- Available navigation system with iDrive
- Available iPod and USB adapter
Under the Hood
With 414 hp, the 4.0-liter V-8 revs up to 8,400 rpm. BMW's double-vanos variable valve timing is used, as are individual throttle bodies for each cylinder that provide improved throttle response. Mechanical features include:
- 414-hp, 4.0-liter V-8 with 295 pounds-feet of torque
- Six-speed manual transmission
- Available seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual with paddle shifters
- BMW says the M3 goes from zero to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds
- Electronically limited 155 mph top speed
As you would expect from a performance car, large four-wheel disc brakes bring the M3 to a halt. Safety features include:
- Antilock brakes
- Electronic stability system
- Side-impact airbags
- Side curtain airbags (coupe)
- Head extensions for side-impact airbags (convertible)
2012 BMW M3 Vehicle Overview
Is there anything the 2012 BMW M3 can't do well? We've tried to find some fault or glaring deficiency with BMW's alpha car?but we're at a loss. The 2012 BMW M3 is simply one of the best high-performance cars available that doesn't ask you to sacrifice for your daily needs. With seating for four, a comfortable but firm ride and 11 cubic feet of trunk space, the M3 calmly gets you across town, yet breathes fire and moves out quickly when called upon.
The 2012 BMW M3 carries over mostly unchanged, except that it now has a few more features as standard equipment. As before, it's powered by an exclusive, naturally aspirated 4.0-liter V8 that has ample midrange power complemented by an addictive high-end rush as it winds out to an 8,400-rpm redline. In a straight line, the M3 is nearly as quick as a Porsche 911. A supremely balanced chassis and available adaptive suspension dampers help the M3 corner steady and true without sacrificing ride comfort on the highway or during the city slog. And the M3's well-constructed cabin, cosseting seats and high-tech features make long hauls as enjoyable as short sprints.
BMW has discontinued the M3 sedan for 2012, but we suspect it's only a temporary absence. With this year's introduction of a new 3 Series, a redesigned M lineup isn't far behind. The next M3 will likely be lighter and use a turbocharged inline-6 for improved fuel efficiency. While a turbo-6 will likely maintain the M3's ripping acceleration, we can't help but think a force-fed power plant will inherently change the nature of the car. Could the 2012 M3 be the last of the traditional M cars? It certainly looks that way.
The M3 has few peers that are as well-rounded, but for the money, there are several good alternatives. The Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG is available as a sedan and coupe, and its brutish V8 power and adept handling give the M3 a run for the euros. Cadillac's CTS-V is a larger, American-style take on the M3 ethos with eye-popping performance. Lexus' IS F sedan is often overlooked, but thanks to its recently retuned suspension that improves the ride quality, it's a desirable choice as well.
Still, for a world-class sports car that deftly navigates the daily grind, the 2012 BMW M3 is unbeatable.
New for 2012
For 2012, the BMW M3 coupe and convertible get a USB/iPod interface, Bluetooth, BMW Assist and an anti-theft alarm as standard features. The M3 sedan has been discontinued for 2012.
The 2012 BMW M3 is available in coupe and convertible body styles. There is no M3 sedan for 2012.
Standard equipment includes 18-inch wheels, a limited-slip rear differential, automatic and adaptive xenon headlights, automatic wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, manual sport seats with power-adjustable side bolsters and lumbar support, leather-cloth upholstery, Bluetooth, the BMW Assist telematics service and a single-CD sound system with HD radio, USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack.
The coupe adds a carbon-fiber roof and split-folding rear seat, while the convertible gets a power-retractable hardtop, power front seats with driver seat memory and sun-reflective leather.
The Cold Weather package adds heated front seats and retractable headlight washers, while the Premium package bundles comfort and tech features, including power-folding mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, upgraded leather, different interior trim, rear parking sensors and a navigation system (with real-time traffic and voice command). The same package for the coupe also includes power front seats, a power rear sunshade and leather upholstery.
Many of the above items are available à la carte along with 19-inch wheels, a sunroof (requires replacing the coupe's carbon-fiber roof with steel), heated front seats and a premium sound system.
Finally, the coupe can be fitted with the Competition package, which adds adaptive suspension dampers, 19-inch wheels with high-performance tires, a lowered suspension and different programming for EDC and stability control.
The M3's sport seats manage to be outstandingly supportive in hard driving, yet also very comfortable during long trips. The rear quarters are similarly soothing provided its passengers are smaller, but we still wouldn't keep adult friends back there too long. In the coupe, an automatic seatbelt arm delivers occupants their belts, which eliminates awkward torso twisting to belt up. In the convertible, the heat-reflective leather keeps the seats from getting scorching hot during those perfect top-down afternoons.
In terms of fit and finish, the M3 is excellent. But despite the different available metallic and wood accents, the overall design is a little sleepy (though some may find it classic in a minimalistic way). Regardless, the iDrive electronics interface -- mandatory with the optional navigation system -- is the best version of BMW's system thus far and reasonably easy to use.
Under the Hood
A 4.0-liter V8 powers the 2012 BMW M3, sending 414 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a seven-speed dual-clutch automated-manual transmission (M DCT) is optional. The latter offers manual operation via steering-wheel paddles as well as a full automatic mode. All M3s feature a specialized locking rear differential.
In Edmunds testing, an M3 coupe with manual transmission sprinted from zero to 60 mph in a quick 4.6 seconds. A convertible with the dual-clutch automated manual transmission makes the same run in 4.8 seconds. With either transmission, EPA-estimated fuel economy is 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined. A manual-equipped convertible gets 13 mpg city.
Standard safety features for the 2012 BMW M3 include front seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, antilock disc brakes, traction control and stability control. The convertible lacks the side curtains but does feature rollover hoops and front side airbags that rise to head level. Braking performance is simply phenomenal. In Edmunds testing the M3 stopped from 60 mph in 100 feet, which is among the shortest distances we've recorded.
Though the M3 itself has not been crash-tested by the government or insurance industry, the previous-generation 3 Series sedan earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's highest rating of "Good" in both frontal-offset and side-impact crash testing.