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BMW USA has released details on the production version of the new BMW M3. This new model will be released in the US in mid-2008 as a 2009 model year, but it will probably reach the European market sooner.

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On the exterior, only the two doors, the bootlid, the windows, the headlights and the rear lights have been carried over from the standard E92 3 Coupe. The rest are unique for the M3, which should have given the car a more aggressive wider stance but somehow, well, not that aggressive. Many have commented that the new M3 looks too much like the standard 3 Coupe, despite most of the body panels being different. The tell-tale signs that the car is an M3 would be the powerdome on the front bonnet, the two air intake openings on the sides, as well as a roof made of clearly visible carbon fiber plastic, or CFP. Wheels are some lovely 18 inch alloys as standard with an option for larger 19 inch alloys.

Under the hood is a new 4.0 litre V8 engine which has already been explained in detail in a previous post. To recap a little, it makes 420hp and reaches peak power at 8,300rpm before revving abit more all the way up to 8,400rpm. It makes 400Nm of torque achieved from as low as 3,000rpm, which is amazingly low for such a high revving engine. 85% of this peak torque remains available for a wide range of 6,500rpm. This 105hp per litre engine is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox with integrated oil cooling, and a mass inertia-optimised double-plate clutch. Of course, the difference that sets the 335i and the M3 apart is the Variable M Differential Lock, which can transfer power from the left rear wheel to the right rear wheel up to 100% each side, ensuring optimum traction.

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Driving dynamics can be controlled via MDrive, where you can set and retrieve the driver’s configuration of the engine control map, suspension, Servotronic power steering and also DSC set-up. The suspension involves using special weight-optimised components, forged aluminium track control arms, and there is optional Electronic Damper Control (EDC) that has three different damper settings to choose from – Normal, Comfort, and Sports.

On the interior, the meter panel incorporates the classic variable redline warning, which slowly increases up to the maximum of 8,400rpm as the engine warms up. You steer the car gripping a BMW M leather steering wheel, which also house audio system controls, mobile phone controls, and the MDrive button. For larger people, which I suspect I will need, there is an option for special seats with adjustable backrest width to ensure you are snugly fit into the seats comfortably.

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The windscreen has intentionally been surrounded by dark colours to help the driver focus on the road in front of him. The interior leather used is black, and all the other trim are dark coloured, creating a sporty interior ambiance. Not like that’s needed when you can easily be reminded this is an M3 with a tap of the brushed aluminium accelerator pedal. Other optional trims are Palladium Silver, Bamboo Beige and Fox Red.

As for colour, there will be 4 special M Metallic paintwork options – Melbourne Red, Jerez Black, Interlagos Blue, and Silverstone. Silverstone is already available on both the M5 and M6 – it’s basically a lovely shade of light silver with a tinge of blue. Melbourne red is the colour you see in these photos. Jerez Black has slight blue pearl pigments to it, and Interlagos Blue has some red pigment in it, which causes an interaction of blue and violet especially when combined with Chris Bangle’s trademark “flame surfacing” effect on the body panels. There are also other colours available – Alpine White and Black, as well as Sparkling Graphite and Space Grey.

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