Satisfying to spectacular as you ascend model lines. Each engine a paragon of smoothness, and all best enjoyed with conventional manual transmission. SMT feels ill-mannered in all but racetracklike driving. With automatic, test 325 convertible did 8.1 sec 0-60 mph. With manual, test 330 coupe did 6.8 sec, M3 convertible 5.4. BMW pegs 330s at 7 sec 0-60 with automatic, 6.4 with manual.
Test 325 convertible with automatic transmission averaged 16.2-22.0 mpg, depending on city/highway mix. In M3 tests, coupe with SMT averaged 17.7 mpg, convertible with conventional manual 18.7. All models require premium-grade fuel.
Firmly composed. Comfort deteriorates somewhat with tires larger than 17s. Stiffer-yet settings, high-speed, low-profile tires make M3s thumpy, though not brutal.
The class benchmark for overall control, steering feel, though margin is slim over best rivals. Standard antiskid system adds to safety, but mediocre traction in snow with base tires, poor grip on wet roads with sport treads. All stop with swift, stable assurance.
Convertibles suffer the most wind rush, M3s emit pronounced tire roar and a loud, raspy engine note. Others pretty quiet overall, and all are mechanically refined.
Steering-wheel audio, cruise controls complement well-arranged dashboard, but navigation system a chore to program. Making leather optional for most models is penny pinching by BMW.
Upright cabin seems narrow, but isn't cramped. Leg room plentiful. Standard tilt/telescope steering wheel helps driver comfort, but tester complaints included subpar lumbar support, tight head room for the very tall. Visibility fine except top-up in convertibles.