What Changed for 2008:
- All-new M3 coupe, Convertible and Sedan for 2008
- New 4.0-liter V-8 engine rated at 420 hp
- Six-speed manual transmission is standard
- New Brake Energy Regeneration for greater efficiency
- MDrive allows driver customization of vehicle dynamics
- Optional 825-watt audio system
- Distinctive "M brand" design elements
The new-for-2008 BMW
M3 coupe is the fourth-generation 3 Series
to wear the "M" badge, and the first to hide a V-8 engine under its aluminum hood. Based on the 3 Series platform, the 2008 M3 coupe, Convertible and Sedan follow a lineage of race-prepared BMW performance vehicles that include the M5
. Differentiating itself from the standard 3 Series offerings mechanically and by design, the M versions offer a larger engine, more aggressive body panels, upgraded suspension, and a sporty quad-tipped exhaust. The interior of the M3 models sport M-specific seats, steering wheel, instrumentation, and a host of features not found in the standard lineup.Model Lineup
While all M3 models are based on standard 3 Series vehicles, the performance-oriented 2008 BMW M3 coupe, Convertible and Sedan share few body panels with their standard siblings. Regardless of body style, all M3 models share the same V-8 engine, 6-speed manual transmission, and rear-wheel-drive platform. Standard wheels are staggered 18-inch, driven through a variable M-specific locking rear differential for higher performance.
The M3 coupe is distinguished by its unique carbon-fiber roof, a feature shared with the larger BMW M6. The M3 Convertible offers a 3-piece lightweight steel roof structure with an integrated heated glass window. It is fully automatic in its opening and closing function; a process that takes about 22 seconds and can be activated via remote control. The M3 Sedan brings its own aggressive appearance to the table in the form of muscular contoured bumpers, a split rear diffuser, and M-specific aerodynamics. BMW offers four metallic paint colors that are exclusive to the M-line, and not available on the standard 3 Series. The interior of the M3 models may be customized with different equipment and trim variants, cloth or leather, that are all upgraded from the standard offerings.
Major options on the M3 coupe, Convertible and Sedan include Electronic Damper Control (EDC) and MDrive, an electronic system that allows the driver to control four different parameters of the vehicle (stability control, suspension, engine mapping and steering) through customized dashboard settings. The high-powered BMW Individual audio system, with a digital 9-channel amplifier, will also be an option.Powertrain
Inspired by the engine found in the BMW Sauber F1 racecar, the new 4.0-liter V-8 engine in the 2008 BMW M3 variants is rated at 420 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. Redline is 8300 rpm. The sole transmission available for 2008 is a 6-speed manual, with advanced self-shifting gearboxes expected in the near future. The M3 coupe and Sedan can accelerate to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds on their way to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. The convertible, slightly heavier, is only marginally slower. All 2008 BMW M3 models are covered by a 4-year/50,000-mile basic and drivetrain warranty that includes free roadside assistance during the warranty period. The M3 convertible models earned EPA fuel economy estimates of 13 mpg city/19 mpg highway, while the coupe and sedan earned estimates of 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway.Safety
Standard electronic safety systems on the 2008 BMW M3 models include performance-oriented stability control and traction control. The high-performance brake system features a standard anti-lock control (ABS) working with BMW's Brake Drying and Brake Stand-by features-both designed to keep the braking system effective regardless of the driving conditions. The M3 models are outfitted with dual front air bags, a front and rear head protection system (coupe and Sedan only), and seat-mounted front side-impact air bags. The M3 Convertible is also equipped with a rollover sensor system that permanently monitors the vertical and horizontal movements of the vehicle. If a rollover is imminent, safety roll bars positioned behind the rear headrests are activated to pop up immediately to limit the danger to occupants, BMW says. At this time, the 2008 BMW M3 has not been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA
) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS
In addition to the previously cited MDrive, an electronic system giving the driver customization of four different vehicle dynamics to tailor the vehicle's response and driving characteristics, the 2008 BMW M3s are equipped with iDrive-BMW's answer to all-in-one navigation, entertainment, communication, and climate control system. All technology is managed from a 16:9 high-resolution screen in the dashboard. iDrive is designed to work hands-free with all on-board electronics, including Bluetooth-enabled phones and iPod. Options for the M3 models include satellite radio and an audio system that uses DIRAC technology to envelop the passengers in 825 watts of sound from 16 high-performance speakers.