BMW M3 saloon (2007-2011)
"The M3 saloon is the cheapest BMW M3 available, offering the same 4.0-litre V8 engine with four doors and a larger boot"
- Most practical M3
- Sensational to drive
- Engine noise
- Uncomfortable on standard suspension
- Expensive to buy and run
- Interior not special enough
The BMW M3 saloon has the same powerful 414bhp 4.0-litre V8 as the M3 coupe, and it offers a very similar driving experience. The major external difference between the two is the additional rear doors, which bring an added dose of practicality, but the four-door M3 is still capable of 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds. What's more, the M3 saloon is the cheapest version of BMW's sports car available.
This generation of BMW M3 saloon has now been replaced by an all new model. You can read our review here.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Emissions fall into the highest Road Tax category, and although the M3 features stop/start, the performance flagship can only manage 25.2mpg when fitted with the automatic transmission. Servicing, tyres and replacement parts are also far more expensive than the average family saloon. As with the rest of the BMW range, M3 buyers can take advantage of a fixed-price servicing scheme which offers maintenance over five years for £1,000.
Engines, drive & performance
The BMW M3's 4.0-litre V8 engine is fantastic. It provides Porsche 911-rivalling performance and a hair-raising soundtrack, while maximum power is produced at 8,300rpm. The rear-wheel-drive chassis provides excellent handling offering a near-perfect balance of ride quality and cornering ability. The M3 saloon is highly competent as a back-road entertainer or long-distance cruiser.
Interior & comfort
The M3 saloon is fitted with sports suspension that offers a firm ride at low speeds, and without the optional electronic dampers it's only completely happy on newly surfaced roads. While the interior is based on lesser models, BMW has included supportive sports seats. Interior space is the same as the rest of the BMW 3 Series range, offering only average levels of head and leg room.
Practicality & boot space
The four-door M3 saloon is easier to live than the coupe version. The rear doors provide much easier access to the rear seats and due to a boot that is 20 litres larger, luggage carrying capacity is increased to 450 litres. The rest of the cabin is virtually identical to the standard BMW 3 Series, featuring leather sports seats and M Sport steering wheel and gearlever.
Reliability & safety
The standard BMW 3 Series has a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating, so the M3 will offer excellent protection to occupants in the event of an accident. As the M3 is the flagship of the 3 Series range, it has a raft of hi-tech safety kit, including electronics which control stability, brake force distribution and traction.
Price, value for money & options
The M3 saloon is the cheapest M3 available, undercutting the coupe and convertible models by £1,500 and £5,000 respectively. Nevertheless, the M3 saloon is far from cheap. The interior is probabaly the biggest letdown, as it shares much with the standard 3 Series saloon. Standard equipment is generous, though, featuring dual-zone air conditioning, cruise control, sat-nav, 18-inch alloy wheels and rear parking sensors. We would highly recommend adding the Electronic Damper Control (EDC) from the options list, as it improves the cars handling and comfort.