Updated: Apr 1, 2022
Let's examine, for a moment, the current state of the BMW 3-Series sedan. There's a base 3-series and a plug-in hybrid on the mild (by BMW standards) side of things--lovely premium cars you can drive everyday, and a rip-roaring take-no-prisoners M3 Competition model.
So where does that put the non-competition M3?
After a week at the wheel, I believe I have the answer. The 2021 BMW M3 Sedan is the Cessna Citation X+ of cars. A private jet, just without the wings---capable of eating large distances at speed and in comfort, with enough power and panache to put the other planes in their place, battling wake turbulence.
Under the hood is a twin-turbo BMW M Power 3.0-liter inline six making 473 horsepower. There's a six-speed manual transmission and knowing exactly when to push down the left pedal and move the lever can result in 0-60 runs of 4.1 seconds. The less thrilling numbers are the EPA fuel economy estimates of 16 miles per gallon city, 23 highway, but internal combustion power is thirsty.
The good news is that BMW's M Performance knows---always has known---that handling and braking are what make power usable. That bracing in the engine compartment isn't just for show. On a winding Sierra Foothills back road, the M3 hunkers down and morphs from biz jet to fighter jet.
The interior? We're talking logical control layout, all-day seating comfort and stellar materials as well as fit and finish.
The base price of the 2021 BMW M3 Sedan is $69,900, but unless this is your first BMW review, you know what's coming next. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see for yourself, but among the standard equipment highlights at that price are adaptive suspension, dual-zone climate control and a Harman Kardon surround sound audio system.
Here's the part you knew was coming (unless it's your first BMW review): Our tester had $19,400 in extra-cost options. The Isle of Man Green Metallic paint is $550, the Kayalami Orange and Black leather interior is $2,550. There's an Executive Package (heated steering wheel, power trunk release, Icon Adaptive LED with LaserLight, head-up display, wireless charging, gesture control and a Wi-Fi hotspot with three free months of service) for $2,800. But wait---there's more! M Drive Professional is $900, 19 and 20 inch bi-color wheels add $1,300 to the tab. M carbon ceramic brakes are $8,150. Toss in front ventilated seats for $350, the M Driver's Package for $2,500 and you're done. With $995 destination charge, the as-tested price of the 2021 BMW M3 Sedan is $90,295.
I'll say this. There's a big difference between reading that number before you drive the M3 and after. Half an hour on some winding back roads will have your brain rationalizing that bottom line really quick.
After all, 90 grand is cheap---for a private jet.