Photos: Kevin Miklossy
The menacingly flared and arched exterior is pure alpine white, which on this car makes it as sinful as a “little white lie” that leads to Armageddon. The interior is swept with Fox Red Novillo Leather, the colour of mad illicit flings and blackmail. The roof is composed of carbon-reinforced plastic. The hood of aluminum with a power bulge. And, there is a button marked M, likely standing for “Mein Gott!” as it unleashes 414-horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque from a rev-addicted normally aspirated 4.0-liter V8. We are of course speaking of the BMW M3.
For those who are looking at the numerology of sin, two other figures to set the heart racing; 0 to 100kph/60mph in 4.6 seconds in the real world; 8300-rpm redline. Yet, those numbers hardly tell the story; this one phrase does, “Should the entire garage smell like burning rubber?”
For the record this is not something to tweet while standing in the underground parking lot of the Sun Peaks’ Delta hotel, when the head of BMW Canada Marketing is one of your followers. But, how could we not engage the M3 fully on a run to the Autumn Bounty, a harvest festival celebrating local cultivated and raised foods.
Really though, that is just an excuse to toast a rousing drive with an appetizer of screaming fast ascent of the Coquihalla, a main course of some of the best curves to cut across a province with the 5A, and a dessert of shredding ski-mountain hairpins to Sun Peaks itself.
That latter part had to be repeated multiple times, because sometimes a good dessert is just a little bit too small.
So seconds, thirds, fourths… Let’s not get carried away into gluttony, because there’s always leftovers the next day too.
Making the hills come alive with the sound of horsepower, our M3 was kitted with the M double-clutch transmission, which replaces the six-speed manual with an optional seven-speed dual-clutch unit. So the option is yours, rocket along to a sonorous V8 soundtrack with the M3 pretending to be an automatic. Or, as you play the ratios with smooth and instantaneous paddle shifts and wring the most out of the snarling engine.
Either mode is remarkable, but one can’t help but give the M3 a good paddling… it is a kinky beast. Just don’t be too hasty, it’s tempting to change gears at a “mere” 7,000rpm, and then you realize that engine has another 1300-rpm to give and you back your fingers away from the paddle… but only for an instant.
In the twists the BMW chassis and suspension offer you no surprises, it doesn’t bite back, or reveal untoward quirks – even bumps midcorner are a drama-free affair. And despite repeated photo passes (purely out of necessity) the world-stopping brakes retained their excellent initial bite without fade. There’s only one time the M3 will scare you, I mean really scare you.
That’s when, after you’ve played with the optional electronic damper control and the throttle maps using the ‘Power’ button, you switch everything off. For your first time I’d recommend a very large open lot, preferably where you can inscribe big concentric black circles… or better a three-double-sixes in a row. Then go to into a few corners to really get your heart going.
A nice sit down luncheon of locally grown produce, locally raised livestock and locally vinted wine? Yes, I don’t mind if I do, once I’ve changed my pants and had a couple highballs to stop shaking. Yet, you’ll find me right behind the wheel again the next day.
There are a couple small issues that do deserve mention. The throttle’s tip-in from standstill is surprisingly lazy, the car hesitates a moment when you want it to jump out of its skin off the line. The iDrive, well everyone loves to whine about that, but in reality there’s only a couple points where the menu transitions from vertical to horizontal or visa-versa that would confuse anyone not of the Wii-Station generation. Still, my iPod plugged in and played, which is more than I can say for the Microsoft Sync system that is the technological gem of Ford’s offerings. Oh, and the back seats are difficult to get into for an adult.
Of course BMW offers a solution for that too, in the form of the M3 Sedan, which adds two doors, 25mm of height, 25kg of weight and a tenth of a second to the 0-100kph mark. What do you lose? A hint of the aggressive looks and the carbon-reinforced plastic roof. The solution for those who worry about passengers starts at $69,900 before you start ticking the option boxes, while the coupe is based at $71,300. For me though, it’s the M3 coupe, if only for its sheer bestial presence.
The M3 in total is as close to perfection as I dare drive though, because while it offers madness and performance, you can also use it as a daily driver and put your luggage in the trunk. Though admittedly you’ll want to avoid anything effervescent in high-G corners, which means we’ll have to be careful in our purchases if we attend the Sun Peaks Annual Winter Wine Festival.
Perfection then is a 2009 BMW M3, a “practical” car that will happily immolate the rubber off the optional 19” M Double Spoke Alloy Wheels in the corners. And we know, we’ve tried.
2009 M3 Coupe
Base Price: $71,300
Price as Tested: $ 87,695
Executive Package – $4,000
– Power Fold Mirrors
-Universal Garage Opener
– Electric Rear Sunshade
– Adjustable Seat Width with Lumbar Support
– Compass Mirror
– Park Distance Control
– SIRIUS Satellite Radio Tuner
– USB Audio Integration
– BMW Individual Audio System
MDrive Package – $2500:
– BMW On-Board Navigation
– Voice Control
– High Definition Radio
Stand Alone Options:
– M Double Clutch Transmission with Drivelogic ($3,900)
– 19” M Double Spoke Alloy Wheels ($2,000) (Performance Tires: 245/35ZR 19 &265/35ZR 19)
– Electronic Damper Control ($2,000)
– Novillo Leather ($1,200)
– High Gloss Shadow Line ($795)
– Carbon Black Leather Trim (No Charge)