The interior layout, fit and finish
Here, the only differences between an M3 and a standard 3 Series are model-specific badges, sports seats and performance-themed instrumentation. If you choose the automatic, you’ll also get tactile shift paddles that enable quick, driver-selected gear changes.
Thanks to a wide range of steering column adjustments and decently supportive seats, it’s easy to get comfortable. Visibility is good all around and there are lots of storage places for odds and ends.
All of this, together with good materials, fine detailing and precise, slick controls, gives the car a suitably premium feel. The M3 is not as flashy as some alternatives but many drivers will prefer its more restrained look and feel.
There’s lots of standard equipment, including dual-zone climate control, electric heated memory seats, DAB, sat-nav, Bluetooth and USB connectivity. In fact, it’s so well equipped that you won’t have to buy any options.
The M3 also comes with BMW’s excellent iDrive infotainment system. It’s linked to an 8.8in colour screen and is controlled via a handy rotary dial down by the gearstick. It’s simple to use and easy to look at because the screen is mounted high up on the dash. The standard-fit BMW Professional Media Pack also gives you access to a greater number of online services and an upgraded sat-nav.