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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist


BMW spruces-up M3 inside and with more powerful Competition

While still to be confirmed, expectations are that both sedan and Touring will arrive in local soil before the end of the year.


UPDATE: BMW South Africa has confirmed the commencing of sales from the fourth quarter of the year, unsurprisingly in xDrive Competition guises only, meaning both the sedan and Touring will be offered.

Introduced as the most controversially styled model in its 38-year history nearly four years ago, BMW removed the wraps from the updated M3 sedan, as well as the M3 Touring estate.

Showcased at the same time as the revised standard 3 Series, the internally named G80 M3’s external revisions are equally as minor, though the opposite applies underneath its Domagoj Dukec-penned body.

New inside and out

Aesthetically, the oversized kidney grilles remain, with the key differences being restyled LED or optional Matrix LED headlights, a silver badge surround for Competition models and new alloy wheels ranging from 18-inches to 20-inch in either silver, Jet Black or bi-colour depending on the model.

ALSO READ: Officially out: BMW unleashes all-new South Africa-bound M3 and M4

Inside, more extensive changes have taken place, namely a new M steering wheel, a reduction in physical switchgear and a selection of inlays ranging from carbon fibre to aluminium.

While the standard M sport and optional M Carbon bucket seats are carried over, both with illuminated headrests, a new Sensatec dashboard-trimmed option can be had, along with a first time heating option for the steering wheel.

Updated BMW M3 sedan and Touring revealed
Curved Display now features inside. Image: BMW

The final change is the inclusion of BMW’s latest Curved Display, already available on the Touring, which consists of the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and the 14.9-inch iDrive infotainment system.

New for the latter is the 8.5 operating system, which has resulted in most of the climate control switches being located on the display rather than at the base of the dash as usual.

More Competition poke

Up front, the M3 continues to be powered by the 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six S58 engine, albeit with more power in Competition versions only.

Opening the range up, the conventional M3, previously called the Pure, develops an unchanged 353kW/550Nm that goes to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox.

BMW shows facelift M3
Alloy wheels range up to 20-inches and in different finishes depending on the model. Image: BMW

Taking 4.2 seconds to reach 100 km/h from standstill, the base M3 has a limited top speed of 250 km/h, which can be lifted to 290 km/h with the optional M Driver’s Package selected.

Commencing the Competition range, the rear-wheel-drive M3 doesn’t benefit from the mentioned power hike, yet still produces 375kW/650Nm.

Updated BMW M3 sedan and Touring revealed
M sport seats are standard, but can be swapped for the M Carbon buckets chairs at the front. Image: BMW

The claimed top speed is similar to the standard M3, though 0-100 km/h takes 3.9 seconds as a result of not only the greater output, but also the eight-speed Steptronic gearbox that replaces the manual.

At the range’s sharp-end, the xDrive all-wheel-drive-equipped M3 now offers up 390kW/650Nm thanks in part to a reconfigured engine control unit.

BMW shows facelift M3
First ever M3 Touring will come to South Africa aimed at the Audi RS4 Avant Image: BMW

The sole variant the Touring can be had in, the 15 kW’s of added twist means the sedan takes 3.5 seconds to reach 100 km/h from standstill, while the estate, which debuted two years ago as the first ever station wagon M3, requires a tenth-of-a-second longer.

Similar to rear-wheel-drive Competition, the xDrive’s only transmission option is the eight-speed Steptronic, with the respective top speed figures being identical as well.

Patience

Set to go on-sale in July at the same time as the regular 3 Series, the M3 remains unconfirmed for South Africa, but should approval be given, expect it possibly arrive before year-end.

The same applies to the M3 Touring which will become available in limited numbers aimed at the Audi RS4 Avant.

NOW READ: BMW M3 Competition lives up to the hype

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