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2010 BMW M3 Overview
Overall User Score
Based on 8 reviews
Currently in its fourth generation, the BMW M3 receives only a few minor updates for 2010. The M3 now comes equipped with HD Radio as a standard feature, and the automaker adds automatic high beams as a new stand-alone optional feature.
As in previous years, BMW offers the 2010 M3 in Sedan, Coupe, and Convertible trims. A lightweight V8 engine, introduced in 2008, powers all three trims. This 4.0-liter, light-alloy engine generates an impressive 414 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, and drives the sport coupe from 0-60 in 4.7 seconds. An engine management system controls all engine functions, as well as the transmission, steering, and brakes, to ensure optimal performance and efficiency.
In its standard configuration, the V8 mates with a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission, which directs torque to the rear wheels. However, owners can opt for an M Double Clutch Transmission with Drivelogic, which shifts gears seamlessly for smooth, quick acceleration and gives drivers the option of shifting manually for a more visceral driving experience. The transmission's Drivelogic control offers 11 different shift programs, including five for automatic shifting and six for manual shifting, to match the style of each individual driver.
Using the optional M Drive system (a simplified version of the automaker's iDrive), drivers can manage many of the M3's performance-related components, such as the steering, engine response, and damping for optimal ride and handling. For instance, via a Power button, drivers can adjust throttle settings to Normal, Sport, and SportPlus, and steering settings to Comfort or Sport modes. In addition, drivers can adjust the settings for the M3's Dynamic Stability Control System for a more racetrack-oriented feel. However, many owners and reviewers find the M Drive overly complicated to operate.
Although it's based on the BMW 3 Series, the M3 comes equipped with a long list of unique features. Only the two doors, trunk lid, windows, headlights, and taillights carry over from the 3 Series Coupe. All other body components are unique to the M3. It rides on a performance-tuned suspension designed to match the V8's prodigious output and makes use of lightweight materials throughout its body, including its carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic roof. Other standard exterior features include an aluminum hood with a powerdome, xenon headlights, flared front and rear fenders, a flat-paneled underbody, heated side mirrors, M rear apron with diffuser, and M quad polished stainless steel exhaust tips.
Like the powerplant and exterior, BMW designed the M3's interior for performance driving while ensuring passenger comfort. The M3 seats four passengers, and comes standard with leather, anthracite, and black-cloth upholstery, as well Titanium Shadow interior trim and an anthracite headliner. The power-adjustable front seats feature four-way lumbar support and manually adjustable thigh support. In addition, the driver's side includes memory settings for the seat and outside mirrors.
An M-design instrument cluster features titanium-finish-ringed dials with red needles, while an on-board computer displays such information as travel range and external temperature. Other standard features for the M3 include automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped multifunction M sport steering wheel, and an AM/FM audio system with a CD player and HD radio.
Standard safety features include front-seat-mounted side-impact airbags and a front and rear head-protection system. Traction control, compound disc brakes, and high-performance antilock brakes also come standard. The M3 rides on 18-inch wheels with performance tires.
Rob has been a contributor to CarGurus since 2007, and an automotive test-driver and writer since the early ’90s. He’s test-driven everything from BMWs and Jags to Bentleys and Saabs, with an occasional Range Rover, Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini thrown in. He also created the annual Car of the Year and Exotic Car of the Year awards for Robb Report magazine. He currently resides in Florida.