By Clive Funziwe
At the time of launch – the 6th gen BMW M3 was probably the most controversial launch with the grill sending waves of controversy everywhere. We, at khulekani On Wheels always believed that this was a bold move in every way, from the design (yes, the grill included) down to the use of two different sized wheels and everything in-between.
The M3 Competition is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-litre 6-cylinder engine that pushes out 375kW/650Nm via an 8-speed gearbox. It is worth noting that the gearbox is now a torque converter – changed from the DCT that was in the previous model. We will touch on that in a moment. Power is sent to the rear wheels only for this model. The recipe is nothing new, but the question remains – is it a worthy predecessor and more than anything, where in the world or benchmarking and hierarchy’s does it fit?
The short answer is in the next paragraph that is not so short. The M3 may have gained some weight over the few generations – but this is not something you necessarily feel or an aspect that hinders agility and performance. In fact, it is amongst the lightest in its performance sedan category, and it feels that way. This ‘feather’weight and its power plant equate to a car that is rapid, handles well when you know what you are doing, but also doesn’t remind you at every bump that you are driving a precision machine by having a harsh or hard ride. The ride is actually quite commendable for a car of this nature. The M3 Comp can easily be experienced as a GT. It carries speed in a way that is not intrusive, but also allows a lot of feel from upshifts under brisk acceleration with quick shifts and a fair amount of steering feel, barring a slightly dead on-center feel.
A slight criticism depending on one’s taste might be the standard exhaust ‘loudness’. Some may feel that it is a tad bit subdued. There are optional performance exhausts that will please folk who do not have words like, discrete, in their petrol head vocab.
Overall, the performance credentials are amongst the best in class and more so because this can easily be used as a daily car from a practicality standpoint as the feature list, and aforementioned comfort levels suggest. Our test unit was equipped with a Harman Kardon system, carbon fibre mirrors, roof and interior trimmings. Dual climate control, radar-guided navigation, park distant control, lane keep assist and BMW’s iDrive system that remains at the top of its game – from a user experience standpoint. When you consider that we averaged a healthy 9.5l/100km throughout our time with the M3 Comp, it paints a very clear picture that this is a sensational daily car.
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