The 2016 BMW M3 is one of the industry’s most impressive and popular European sport sedans, serving up track-tested driving dynamics, a premium ownership experience and nimble, compact dimensions.
After a complete redesign last year, the 2016 M3 is offered with one engine choice: a twin-turbocharged six-cylinder power plant that can be paired with either a manual or automatic transmission. BMW adds more variety to the M3 lineup with a range of upgrade packages for the car.
For instance, new for the 2016 model year is a Competition package for M3 models with the automatic transmission. It delivers more power and adds exterior design enhancements that include black chrome tailpipes for the car’s dual exhaust, 20-inch alloy wheels and high-gloss exterior trim. Supportive M sport seats and seatbelts with a woven M stripe accent are also included with the Competition package.
New standard features also debut for 2016, including a Harman Kardon sound system, satellite radio and proximity key with push-button start.
The BMW M3 takes a form-follows-function approach to exterior design, with an emphasis on aerodynamics that’s both highly effective and highly dramatic. Up front, blade-like shapes highlight the lower-intake areas, while the brand’s traditional “kidney” grille stands out with black, vertically oriented grille bars. The sideview mirrors have a particularly dramatic, wind-swept appearance, and the back of the M3 is distinguished by a subtle rear spoiler and four exhaust tips.
Athletic details for the car also go from the top to the bottom: Its roof is made of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) that shows a distinctive weave pattern, and when its 19-inch alloy wheels are matched with optional carbon-ceramic brakes, gold-painted calipers show through the spokes. LED daytime running lights are standard, and adaptive LED headlights and 20-inch forged-alloy wheels are among the optional design cues found in the M3’s option packages.
The driver-focused cabin of the M3 benefits from standard sport seats with power adjustability and heating. There are also contoured rear seats that can be folded with a 60/40 split for added interior versatility. Additionally boosting the M3’s day-to-day usability is a 12-cubic-foot trunk.
A leather-wrapped, multifunction steering wheel is standard in the M3 as well, as are woven carbon fiber accents, chrome trim, contrast-color stitching, and an assortment of “M” logos (including illuminated logos on the front-seat backrests). BMW’s high-performance M division further pitches in with an M-specific gearshift lever, door-sill finishers and instrument graphics. That steering wheel can be heated, too, as part of the available Executive package.
The 2016 M3 delivers on its performance positioning with a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine in an inline configuration, so all six cylinders are in one single row. With twin turbochargers on board, that unit produces 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, which allows the M3 to achieve a top speed of 155 mph. A six-speed manual is the standard transmission, and it enables 0-60 mph acceleration of 4.1 seconds. Drivers can shave another 0.2 seconds from that time with the available seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The available Competition package delivers an extra 19 horsepower under the hood, reduces 0-60 mph times to 3.8 seconds, and features additional suspension enhancements.
An aluminum-intensive suspension furnishes track-friendly handling characteristics in all M3s, although the available three-mode adaptive suspension can sharpen the car’s reflexes noticeably. Similarly, while the standard brakes were engineered for outstanding stopping power, carbon-ceramic brakes are available for serious enthusiasts.
EPA ratings for the 2016 M3 with the six-speed manual are set at 17/26 mpg city/highway. Equipping the M3 with its automatic transmission results in fuel efficiency grades of 17/24 mpg city/highway.
The 2016 M3 comes standard with plenty of infotainment technology, including a touchpad controller, a navigation system with 3D mapping, voice recognition, and 20 gigabytes of hard-drive storage for audio files. The audio system itself is from Harman Kardon and is supported by 600 watts of power, 16 speakers, HD Radio and satellite radio. Bluetooth for hands-free calling and audio streaming also is standard.
Available driver-assistance technologies include adaptive headlights, automatic high beams and a rearview camera, along with an available package that provides blind spot monitoring, side- and top-view cameras, lane departure warning and forward collision warning with autonomous braking.