It isn't often that one gets the chance to talk about the cars that have made an impression on one's life...
I have a four-door E90 BMW M3. It takes my breath away every time I drive it.
The motor is a masterpiece and is coupled to the DCT gearbox that marries the usability and comfort of a full auto with the hard edged racing-style performance of an affordable supercar.
I've had the V10 M6 and the straight-six Z4M prior to my M3 V8 and they have all categorically blown my mind.
Let me make one thing painfully clear, though, the 4.0-litre V8 isn't light. Compared to the V10 it's a Prius, but averaging 18L/100km is no joke. Especially when you only have a 65-litre tank to get you places – but I guess all indulgences come with their own set of drawbacks.
Tyres aren't cheap either. The fronts are 245s and the rears are 265s. Michelins are the best but they are almost too good at what they do, and end up hampering your driving a bit, especially if you enjoy a little (or a lot) of oversteer. Continentals are decent enough but I'd stay away from the Pirellis – I munched through my rears in two months.
In terms of dynamics ... it is the kind of car that wants to help you drive it fast. It make the average driver look good, and the good driver look brilliant. The font end keenly dives in to meet the apex and the rear end will happily step out with just a prod of the throttle. It is a car that you can learn how to drive hard.
My M6 and Z4M were intimidating cars to learn. They were unforgiving and uncompromising in what they demanded of you as a driver. The Z needed razor sharp reaction times, and the V10-powered M6 demanded complete concentration and respect at all times. I love both those cars for what they are and I love M division for creating them. The BMW M3 is a graceful compromise between the two. A razor sharp tool when you need it, with the low-end torque to remind you that it is a V8 muscle car with the legs to take on just about anything on the road.
I have been privileged to own these cars and I am thankful everyday for the experience. If you can afford to put yourself in any one of the three cars I've been privileged to own, without having to compromise your lifestyle, do it. Don't think about it, just do it. It will change your life.