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The fourth-generation M3 continues that high-performance legacy, now packing a 414-hp 4.0-liter V-8 engine and a suspension tuned by BMW’s M Division.
The M3 is based on BMW’s hot-selling 3 Series, and is available in two body styles for 2012, including both coupe and convertible models.
A high-revving, 414-hp 4.0-liter V-8 still drives the rear wheels through either a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, while BMW’s Variable M Differential Lock distributes the V-8’s power accordingly for optimal grip.
In line with BMW’s aesthetic identity, the M3 reflects both the brand’s current design language as well as some of the more traditional styling elements the German marque is known for.
Grip is also exceptional thanks to standard 18-inch wheels shod in 245/40-size tires in the front and extra-wide 265/40 in the rear.
A standard close-ratio 6-speed manual can make the driver feel like the king of speed, but models equipped with the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission are ultimately quicker.
In fact, that now-classic BMW was made only because Mercedes-Benz made the 190E 2.3-16. The film company, along with Electronic Arts, recently announced plans to produce a movie based on Need for Speed, the popular video game franchise.
Dream Works is expected to start work on the film sometime next year.
A lightweight aluminum chassis developed by BMW’s M Division specifically for the M3 helps keep the car’s curb weight down.
The slightly flared front fenders sport the M Division’s signature “gills,” which proudly display the in-house tuner’s colors and logo.
A unique rear valance and side skirts, along with a set of wide 18- or 19-inch alloy wheels round out the M3’s exterior, giving the car an overall muscular and athletic look.
The M3 keeps the standard 3 Series’ front end, complete with dual kidney grilles and quadruple round headlights, but adds a unique front valance with a wide-open air inlets.
The hood has a substantial power bulge flanked by a pair of vents, hinting at the V-8 powerhouse underneath.Body style: Two-door coupe or convertible Engine: 4.0L, V-8Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual Models: M3 Coupe, M3 Convertible The four-door M3 sedan doesn’t return for 2012, as production of that car is scheduled to end this year.