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2017 BMW M3 Overview

If there's one vehicle that can be used as the poster child for BMW’s M division, it would be the M3. Introduced in the mid-1980s, the M3 became a legend out on the racetrack, where it dominated various championships. On the road, drivers loved how the vehicle felt poised and willing to give more expensive sports cars a run for their money. Thirty years later, the BMW M3 carries on the tradition of providing thrills in an unassuming body.

The M3’s biggest change for 2017 is a special-edition model called the 30 Jahre M3 that celebrates 30 years of this iconic vehicle. Outside, the 30 Jahre M3 is finished in Macao Blue metallic. This color pays homage to the last and most powerful version of the first-generation M3, the Sport Evo. A set of 20-inch wheels with a star pattern come wrapped in performance rubber. BMW has added the optional competition package with revised suspension components, modified settings for the driving modes and stability control, and a modified Active M differential. This package also bumps the horsepower rating of the 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline 6-cylinder engine from 425 to 449. The increase in power drops 0-60-mph times to 4 seconds with the manual and 3.8 seconds with the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. BMW will be building 500 30 Jahre M3 models, with 150 coming to the U.S.

BMW isn’t leaving the standard M3 out in the cold for 2017. One key change is that the optional Adaptive M Suspension system becomes standard. This solves one of biggest criticisms leveled at the M3, as many have found its standard suspension to be too harsh on most road surfaces. BMW is also making the Executive and M Driver packages standard. The former adds rear parking sensors, a backup camera, a heads-up display, and the ability to make the M3 into a Wi-Fi hotspot. M Driver increases the top speed and includes a high-performance driving course at BMW’s Performance Driving school in South Carolina.

The current M3 brought two key exterior revisions that have split BMW fans. The first is that BMW only offers the M3 as a sedan. If you want a coupe, you’ll need to check out the M4. The other key revision deals with the overall styling. Previous M3s looked like your standard 3 Series--only those with a keen eye could pick out the small differences that set the M3 apart. The current model makes it known that it isn’t your ordinary 3 Series sedan. The front features a bulging hood, a bumper with larger air intakes, and wider front fenders. Around back is a new rear bumper and quad exhaust tips.

Inside, the M3 comes equipped with a number of features to denote its special status. There’s an M steering wheel, an M instrument cluster, and a set of sport seats. The rest of the interior is like that of the 3 Series, and that isn’t a bad thing. The dash is well laid out and controls for the various functions are easy to find. The new model year also marks the introduction of iDrive 5.0. This latest version of BMW’s infotainment system introduces a larger screen with better resolution and an improved interface. This should help with improving the overall usability of the system. The back seat is one of the roomiest in the class, with plenty of head and legroom for most adults. Trunk space measures out to 12 cubic feet and can be increased thanks to a 60/40 folding rear seat.

Under the hood lies a 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline 6-cylinder engine with 425 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. If you want a bit more power, you can opt for the Competition package, which increases horsepower to 449. You can pair this with either a 6-speed manual or or a 7-speed M dual-clutch transmission (DCT). BMW quotes 0-60 mph times of 4.1 seconds for the manual and 3.9 seconds for the DCT. A launch control system that gives you a clean start when accelerating is standard with the DCT. The M3 is rated by the EPA at 17 mpg city/26 highway/20 combined for the manual and 17/24/19 for the DCT.

On the safety front, the 2017 M3 comes equipped with front side airbags, front knee airbags, side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, traction control, and the BMW Assist telematics system. BMW Assist can call for emergency assistance in the event of a crash, recover your M3 if it's stolen, and provide roadside assistance. The list of optional safety equipment includes front and rear parking sensors, a surround-view camera system, blind-spot warning, lane-departure warning, and a collision-mitigation system with automatic braking.

Pricing for the 2017 BMW M3 begins at $64,995. If you want to be one the lucky people who get their hands on the 30 Jahre M3, be prepared to shell out $83,250 for the manual and $86,150 for the DCT. Prices for 30 Jahre M3 include destination and handling charges.


Ask William Maley how he started as an automotive writer and he would say he just fell into it. Based in Michigan, William has driven vehicles of all sizes and shapes. His work has appeared on Autobytel, CARFAX, Cheers & Gears, and U.S. News Best Cars.

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