Heavier, more expensive, but also more powerful and more refined than any previous model of M3, the 2012 BMW M3 is at once very different yet also evocative of the core essence of its predecessors' best traits.
Straddling the touring and grand-touring categories with its extensive high-tech systems and 414-horsepower 4.0-liter V-8, the 2012 M3 retains an E92 (Coupe) and E93 (Convertible) internal designations assigned to last-generation 3-Series models; the rest of the 3-Series lineup was updated to the all-new F30 series for 2012. Despite being left behind, it's still well ahead in many respects.
In terms of style, however, the 2012 M3 still looks like the last model, with flared fenders, a bulging hood, and, in the case of the Coupe, a carbon fiber roof wrapping sleekly around to the rear. The convertible's folding hard top closely mirrors the coupe's lines when the top is up, but has a low, sleek presence all its own with the roof tucked neatly away.
Whichever body type you choose, you'll find the M3 a performance powerhouse. The lighter Coupe is more nimble, readily engaging corners at the limits and rocketing away from them with either the seven-speed M DCT dual-clutch transmission ripping through the gears or the six-speed manual engaging the driver's senses. The heavier Convertible has the same basic character, but is somewhat muted in its ability and feel. The Coupe is much quicker to 60 mph, reaching the mark in just 4.8 seconds, while the Convertible requires nearly six seconds.
Inside, the 2012 BMW M3 is comfortable, well-built, and well-appointed, though its largely black dash and upholstery can give a somewhat somber feeling. A wide range of options, upgrades, and apperance tweaks can be had, allowing owners to add a dash of individuality straight from the factory.
The cabin is comfortable, too, handling road irregularities with aplomb, though larger bumps will remind occupants that this is a performance sedan as much as a luxury sedan. The seats are comfortable, though rear-seat occupants will be very short on leg room.
On the whole, however, the 2012 M3 balances its many aims well, offering a high-tech, capable, and fun-to-drive sports car along with the feel of a comfortable, luxurious grand tourer. For a more complete analysis of the 2012 BMW M3, read the full review at TheCarConnection