21:38, Feb 17 2009

Vital statistics

Drivetrain: Front, inline-mounted rear-drive quad-cam, 32-valve 3999cc fuel- injected V8, producing 309kW at 8300rpm and 400Nm at 3900rpm. Six-speed manual transmission. Max 280km/h, 0-100km/h 4.8 secs, 12.4L/100km, 295g/km CO2.

Chassis: Front: MacPherson struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar. Rear: Multi-links, coil springs, anti-roll bar. Vented disc brakes front and rear. ABS, dynamic stability control, dynamic brake control, and cornering brake control standard. Servotronic power-assisted rack and pinion steering. 19 8.5J (front), 10 9.5J (rear), alloy wheels, with 245/35 ZR19 and 265/35 ZR19 tyres respectively.

Dimensions: l 4615mm, W 1817mm, H 1418mm, W/base 2761mm, F/track 1538mm, R/track 1539mm, Weight 1655kg, Fuel 63L.

Pricing: $169,900, HP (high-performance) model $181,900.

HOT: Stirring engine and performance; immense grip and balance; brilliant front seats; slick six-speed shifter; earth-stopping brakes; unobtrusive chassis electronics; relatively good value. NOT: Numb steering, double binnacle dash is awful; not the best in white. VERDICT: The new V8 M3 keeps Porsche and Ferrari honest and undercuts some of them by up to $300,000.


The Press