Here at Big Motoring World we were huge fans of the M4 Coupé – and now we’ve also come to love its close relative, the M3 ‘super-saloon’ too.

A practical high performer

In our opinion, the M3 loses none of the appeal of the M4 – despite its four doors and more conservative lines. Why? Because this is still an incredibly fun car to drive. What it gains in practicality (four doors really are handy when it is more than just you and a single passenger), it certainly doesn’t lose in terms of performance. Its twin-turbocharged, three litre engine can be paired with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, and it delivers a driving experience that is right up there with the considerably sportier looking M4 Coupé.

So, this is a fast, powerful car – it’s sharp and quick through the corners and handles beautifully – and even BMW themselves have admitted that when they tested it up against the M4 on the Nurburgring they were neck and neck: “We’ve run both cars extensively, both together and in separate tests,” says BMW’s Albert Biermann. “Apart from nuances in driving style between our engineers, they are all but inseparable in lap time.” That’s a pretty remarkable effort from the team to create a car that is this practical – but which still performs at the highest level.

The drive you want

Overall, one of the things that we were most impressed with was the way in which the M3 delivers a driving experience that can be tailored to whatever you need at any given time. You can adjust everything from the throttle to the damping and steering with a number of different driving modes, and the M3 always responds in a thoroughly pleasing and dynamic way. And of course the interior is great too – you get the iDrive infotainment system as standard, as well as plenty of other features such as electric seats and DAB radio.

All in all, the M3 offers a great alternative to the M4 for anyone who wants a little more practicality in their lives – without losing any of the fun.