2021 BMW M3 Review

5/5

Overview

This is the all-new sixth generation BMW M3, continuing a tradition that goes all the way back to 1986. This is a time of great opportunity for this car with rivals such as Alfa Romeo’s Giulia Quadrifoglio starting to age. It retains the simple four-door bodyshell and twin-turbo straight six under the hoot. An all new eight-speed automatic controversially replaces the seven-speed twin clutch with BMW justifying their decision based on the fact that only one per cent of buyers went with manual transmission in the last models final year on sale. This is also the first time BMW have taken the M3 beyond 500bhp for the first time while developing a mammoth 479lb ft from 2,750 – 5,500 rpm. At 1,730kg, it weighs over 150kg more than its predecessor with the higher spec blamed for this. 

Pros
  • Typical BMW reliability and pedigree
  • Ergonomic interior design
  • Comprehensive list of safety equipment
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
Cons
  • Safe interior styling

Exterior

The new model has more imposing front and rear bumpers, deeper side skirts and a pair of signature kidney grilles. There is also a new set of alloy wheels, 19-inches at the front and 20-inches at the rear. Potential buyers also get passive LED headlights as standard and there is a choice of either red, black or blue brake calipers, along with three new exclusive paint finishes – Sao Paulo Yellow, Toronto Red and Isle of Man Green. Buyers can also choose from a wide array of optional extras that includes a 360-degree parking assistant, a choice of alloy wheel designs and a carbon fibre exterior styling package.

Interior

The lightweight carbon seats are wonderfully shaped and extremely supportive. The thick-rimmed steering wheel and excellent driving position are all spot on and combine to assist in giving you a great driving experience. A simple button on the centre console allows the driver to switch between Road, Sport and Track dash displays. There is no faulting the material or build quality of the M3 with BMW pulling out all the stops to justify the price increase in this model. It is 120mm longer than the previous model and most of this extra length can be seen in the rear where there is more legroom and a generously proportioned 480-litre boot. 

Performance

Although some commentators have noted the firm ride at low speeds, overall it is a smooth drive with little in the way of engine noise and smooth gearchanges. It is incredibly fast with masses of torque and a great free-revving nature. There is a lag-free immediacy and response, particularly over 3,500 rpm. The automatic is a great gearbox and brilliantly integrated and you will love the nippy paddle action. Overall the car makes little work of difficult roads with the directness of the controls, steering and chassis meaning it remains fun at any speed. 

Reliability

BMW’s recent reliability record is very good and all new BMW models come with a three year / unlimited mileage warranty.

Running Costs

Running costs won’t be cheap of course, but BMW offers a comprehensive servicing package, and we’d expect you to average 23-24mpg in mixed driving. Just remember you don’t need to work this engine hard in order to enjoy the chassis.

Handling

The first thing you notice about the M3 is the accurate steering. It is electric meaning there is little in the way of feedback yet one is able to place the car with utter precision. You know exactly where the limits are in this car and have the confidence to approach them. Obviously the steering does not operate on its own and requires precise damping, suspension set-up and calibration, all of which is done with expert precision. The rear end feels as accurate as the front while engine response and torque is wonderful while you have the choice of Comfort and Sport modes with the latter firming up the pedal feel and reducing travel. 

Safety

The 2021 BMW M3 comes with a wide range of standard safety equipment and was awarded a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. 

Summary

Exterior
80%
Interior
90%
Performance
90%
Reliability
90%
Running Costs
90%
Handling
90%
Safety
100%

This is the all-new sixth generation BMW M3, continuing a tradition that goes all the way back to 1986. This is a time of great opportunity for this car with rivals such as Alfa Romeo’s Giulia Quadrifoglio starting to age. It retains the simple four-door bodyshell and twin-turbo straight six under the hoot. An all new eight-speed automatic controversially replaces the seven-speed twin clutch with BMW justifying their decision based on the fact that only one per cent of buyers went with manual transmission in the last models final year on sale. This is also the first time BMW have taken the M3 beyond 500bhp for the first time while developing a mammoth 479lb ft from 2,750 – 5,500 rpm. At 1,730kg, it weighs over 150kg more than its predecessor with the higher spec blamed for this.