Blistering performance and handling aside, one of the great things about the BMW M3 is its stealth appeal.
Whereas many steroid-fed rivals scream their intentions with lurid colour schemes and bulging wheelarches, the M3 is far more measured in its approach.
Apart from some tasty alloys and a quartet of tail pipes, there’s little to imply the M3 is anything other than a discreet and distinguished sports coupe. Make no mistake, though; the M3 is the consummate performance car, in every sense of the word.
Thanks to a 3.2-litre straight-six engine developing 343bhp at a howling 7900rpm, allied to 269lb ft of low and mid-range shove, the M3 delivers truly stunning performance. Pounding that power into the road via a six-speed gearbox, the 0-60mph dash is dispatched in under 5.0sec.
The M3’s talents run much deeper, however. Thanks to its front-engined rear-wheel-drive set-up and near-perfect 50-50 weight distribution, the M3 is impeccably balanced. The steering is supremely weighted and the supple suspension is compliant enough to cope with the vagaries of UK blacktop.
While only slippery conditions and excessive use of the throttle will exceed the M3’s grip, BMW ensures the cause is never completely lost thanks to a plethora of traction aids and a full complement of airbags.
Like all the best BMWs, the M3 is beautifully bolted together and immaculately appointed. All the trappings normally associated with the best luxury cars are in place to soothe occupants, including some of the finest figure-hugging hide-covered sports seats and a sound system of concert hall quality.