2013 BMW M3 Lime Rock Edition – Drive Notes
Larry Webster Holy ferocious V8! Just rips up to the redline with a wonderful wail. Performance-wise, the M3 is a tick behind the times, yet it remains highly entertaining. Love the orange paint. PLUS: Clear steering and benign handling. MINUS: Suspension is way too stiff for everyday use. David Gluckman Ignoring the fact that this one is painted look-at-me-now-please orange and lacks a manual, Im going to miss a lot of things about the E90 M3. Like the moving redline on the tach—it changes as the engine gets up to operating temperature. Heck, a real tach. All the gauges are real. They have physical moving needles and everything, and they dont need to be reconfigured. Of course, theres the engine those gauges are attached to. The V8 took some getting used to at first, but it was an M-specific piece top to bottom, something well lose with the next cars switch to a turbo inline-six. The hydraulic steering, which is naturally weighted and transmits just enough to you; you can even watch this cars blue steering wheel stripe dance back and forth, acting like a road texture gauge. And the tiny key. I almost forgot it was in my pocket. PLUS: Feels like a real M car, not just something with a badge. MINUS: So, so orange. Matt Tierney One complaint and one complaint only: Make mine manual. The M3s DCT went about its business once underway, and the beefy metal paddles make a nice connection, but a car like this just makes me want to row the gears myself. Using the gearshift on the console is annoying, and the DCT is balky at low speeds. But thats it. Everything else about the car is amazing. Time in this car makes one understand why the 3 Series and the M3 in particular have been so highly regarded for so long. I have a feeling we will miss this car when the new M4 replaces it. Ill be happy to be proven wrong, but my faith in BMW is shaken as of late, and a last ride in the outgoing M3 only heightens the anxiety. The M3s soon-to-depart V8 and the visceral driving experience will surely be matched or bettered by the new M4 on paper, but I think something else will be lost: Everything about this car feels more solid and substantial, like it was hewn from a single block of metal and then lined with an immaculately executed interior, with its raw carbon fiber trim, terrific seats, and absolutely fantastic steering wheel—a sensation no version of the F30 has yet imparted. With several staffers out of town for the 2013 LA Auto Show, this car was beckoning from the parking lot more often than not, and I drove it every chance I got. PLUS: Looks, feels, sounds, and drives like a perfectly evolved sports coupe. MINUS: The gearbox. A car like this is more fun with a manual. Period. And the DCT gearshift is annoying to engage.