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2008 BMW M3 Coupe

2008 BMW M3 Coupe Road Test Review

by Jeff Voth

A famous saying states, “East is east, and west is west, and never the twain shall meet”. In essence, this is meant to say Europe and North America will always have a different cultural mindset than the Far East. Of course, we know this not to be true as the Internet and 21st Century technology have changed the size of the globe from infinitely large to amazingly small.

2008 BMW M3 Coupe
2008 BMW M3

The 2008 BMW M3 Coupe is the epitome of global thinking when it comes to high-performance automobiles. This is one serious sports car sure to grab the attention of passersby in Munich, Los Angeles or Shanghai. On this point, at least, the world is united. Having a BMW M3 Coupe in your driveway is nothing less than a dream come true.

My test drive of the new M3 Coupe took place on the well-paved back roads near Monterrey, California and at the infamous Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Both offered dramatic changes in topography, perfect asphalt and enough high-speed cornering to test the mettle of this amazing 4-seat coupe from Bavaria.

At the heart of the 2008 BMW M3 Coupe beats a 90° V8 engine with 4-valves per cylinder. Horsepower is rated as 414 @ 8,300 rpm. Torque is equally impressive; 295 @ 3,900 rpm. Performance is designed to be smooth, with a steady build in the powerband all the way to redline.

A naturally aspirated engine, there is no sense of lag since this is not a turbocharged motor similar to the smaller, yet equally impressive, twin-turbo found in the 2008 BMW 335i. Instead, where lesser sports cars might run out of steam, the M3 Coupe presses on. Think of it as a tidal wave of power waiting to explode underfoot with a simple push of the accelerator pedal.

Top speed is limited to 155 mph. Acceleration for 0-60 mph takes a mere 4.7 seconds for the 6-speed manually equipped coupe. Combined city and highway fuel economy is rated at 16 mpg.

As you would expect in a high-powered automobile such as this, brakes are massive when compared to a more conventional vehicle. Vented front and rear brakes measure 14.2 and 13.8 inches respectively. Equipped with Dynamic Stability Control, the M3 Coupe is anything but unstoppable.

2008 BMW M3 Coupe
2008 BMW M3 - Profile

The optional Electronic Damper Control, (EDC) allows chassis dynamics to be set in one of three modes; sport, normal and comfort. Sport mode significantly decreases squat and dive motion when accelerating or braking. 

When not driving the coastal highways around Monterrey, CA, the stopping power of oversized brakes was most appreciated on the approach to turns 7, 8 and 8A at Laguna Seca. Those familiar with racing may recognize this section of the track by its more revered name, “The Corkscrew”.

Accelerating hard through “Rahal Straight”, the uphill approach to turn 8 and 8A presents the driver with an opportunity to enjoy the ride of a lifetime. Get it right, and the incredible power and stopping ability of the M3 Coupe is truly breathtaking. Get it wrong, and breathtaking takes on a whole new meaning.

Inside, the 2008 BMW M3 Coupe wraps all occupants in fine leather with brushed aluminum and carbon-fiber accents. The attention to detail is first-class, equal to what you would expect from a limited production such as this.

Firm sport seats grab hold in all the right places. Back support is excellent, as is thigh, hip and leg length of the bottom cushion. A brawny 3-spoke steering wheel provides solid feedback for both high and low speed maneuvers.

2008 BMW M3 - Interior
2008 BMW M3 - Interior

Controls for heating and air conditioning are a series of easy to reach buttons and switches. Everything about the M3 Coupe makes sense, providing the driver with an environment completely bereft of attention seeking distractions. Though you may never use it, the AM/FM stereo with CD player and 10 speakers provides excellent sound. Trunk space is outstanding given the fact this is a sport coupe.

In a changing world, BMW has replaced the outgoing 6-cylinder M3 Coupe with a light-weight, high performance V8 engine that achieves better fuel economy. When it comes to new world thinking, going farther and faster with less is always a good thing.

Features and Specifications:
Wheelbase: 113.8 inches
Overall length: 181.8 inches
Overall width: 71.0 inches
Transmission: 6-speed manual transmission
Steering: Vehicle-speed-sensitive variable-assist power steering
(M Servotronic)
Brakes: 4-wheel vented disc brakes with ABS
Fuel economy, city/highway: 14/20
MSRP: $56,500

Read about all 2008 BMW Models in RTM's Vechile Model Guide.

To learn more about sexy sports cars of 2008:
visit RTM's 2008 Sexy Car Buyer's Guide

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