Being a family man and soccer dad, I fall into the same category as many other parents who constantly run around every weekend taxiing the kids to and from their extra curricular sporting and dancing activities. With this comes a requirement for at least four doors and a generous interior with cargo space, which is why your typical soccer field car park is full of SUVs and 4WDs. Practical and spacious, yes, but if you are a car enthusiast who loves the joy and passion of driving and everything about cars, blending in with the masses with another SUV or 4WD is nothing short of mind-numbing and an instant cure for insomnia (if you suffer from it). Add to this an SUV's dead and lifeless steering feel, wallowy handling, and sloppy throttle response, it is basically nothing to be proud of in that department. So what is a car enthusiast supposed to do to fulfil that passion and yet also fulfil all the vehicular demands and requirements of being a soccer parent?
Introducing my 2009 E90 BMW M3, with four-door sedan practicality for the whole family, a boot to fit the soccer balls and water bottles, and - for the car enthusiast - a naturally aspirated M-powered 4.0-litre V8 with 309kW of power, 400Nm of torque and an 8400rpm redline, with 7 speeds of dual-clutch transmission to propel that V8 to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds. And best of all, an engine note to absolutely die for - something that only a naturally aspirated V8 can produce out of those quad exhaust pipes at the rear.
The M3 comes with an array of different driving modes that the driver can individually customise to suit personal preferences, along with the feature to allow them to program this combination into the "M" button on the steering wheel. The car defaults to "Comfort" mode whenever it is started, which is most suited to your weekend soccer runs or daily commute to work. But, by the time Friday comes around the car enthusiast in you is by now itching for a spirited blast through some canyon or mountain roads, so hitting that "M" button with your pre-programmed settings for Sport or Sport + modes (which affect steering, handling and speed of gear shifts), instantly turns the M3 into a car that anticipates your every move with instant throttle response. The engine pushes you to push it harder, and rewards you with a soundtrack and pure driving enjoyment that will wash away all your problems in the world as you pilot it through its paces on a heavenly and scenic sweeping and winding road out in the countryside.
The interior is adorned with quality leather seats with hip-hugging side bolsters which are all electrically adjustable. The sedan misses out on the carbon-fibre roof of the coupe, however there is a sunroof to enhance that open air feeling when driving through the countryside. The dash layout is typically BMW; slightly oriented towards the driver with logical ergonomics and a much-improved iDrive interface from the previous generation. The interior is simplistic and functional, but this generation does lack the overall feeling of first class interior luxury of its rivals from Audi and Mercedes.
The S65 engine is the only V8 variant available in any generation of M3, with the previous E46 generation having a naturally aspirated 3.2-litre straight six engine, and the current model F80 having a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre straight six engine. This makes the E90/E92/E93 generation of the M3 the last naturally aspirated generation before switching to turbocharged technology, and being the only V8 in the lineage should make it a future collectable.
As a family man and soccer dad who is also a die-hard car enthusiast, the E90 M3 sedan offers supreme driving enjoyment to satisfy any car lover's passion for driving, and yet retains the practicality and demands of transporting kids and cargo to all of their activities. It is an awesome driving machine, and simply put, it is the best car I have ever owned.