2008 BMW M3

Times change. First, the M3 ditched the manic inline four for a six cylinder powerplant. Now, with the fourth-generation M3, BMW is leaving the straight six by the wayside and turning to a 4-liter V8, derived from the V10 that resides under the hood of the then-current M5. Pair the high-revving (peak horsepower, 414 in total, is available at 8,300 RPM) with a chassis weighing less than 100 lbs. less than the outgoing model, and it’s clear that the M3 isn’t just going to perform well—it’s also going to be very entertaining to drive. That proves to be the case, as everything that was great about the M3—poise, balance, and driver feedback—is still there, just to the sound of a wailing V8. In case you get too excited about the rapid forward progress of the M3, huge binders allow you to slough off speed enthusiastically. Be aware, though, that while the M3 is fast at low RPMs by any objective standard, this car is happiest near redline, so keep speed up and you’ll be rewarded with great performance and the sounds of a happy motor.

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6-speed Transmission

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