2021 BMW M3

MSRP $67,000

Ranked #3 in Midsize Sedan

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2021 BMW M3 Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: June 30, 2021

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Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


When BMW first unveiled the new looks of the all-new M3 sedan alongside the M4 coupe, although most people loved the sharp and bold styling, most of them also were irked with the obnoxious front grille. Once you manage to overlook the large and unusual grilles, there is a lot more that has changed for the M3 which includes an improved power output of upto 503 hp from the turbocharged inline-6 engine.

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Pros

Strong engine and lightning-quick acceleration

Available manual transmission

Athletic handling and driving dynamics

Spacious cabin and trunk

Cons

The front grille is controversial in terms of design

Lack of manual transmission on the Competition variant

Mediocre steering feel 

The new torque converter automatic isn’t as quick as the older transmission

What's New?

Completely redesigned for 2021 model year

Improved engine output from the turbocharged inline-6

Enhanced traction control system


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$67000

bodystyle

4dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

top speed

155 mph

engine type

displacement

83 cu.in.

horsepower

473 hp @ 6250

torque

406 lb-ft @ 2650

transmission

8 speed Automatic

chassis

brake rotors (f/r)

15/14.6 in.

dimensions

wheelbase

112.5 in.

length

189.1 in.

width

74.3 in.

height

56.4 in.

curb weight

3840 lbs.

ground clearance

4.7 in.

performance

zero to 60 mph

4.1 sec.

warranty

basic warranty

4 yr. / 50000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

4 yr. / 50000 mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

Base$67,000 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 BMW M3 in Alpine White color
Alpine White

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

8.0

Engine and Performance

9.0

Fuel Economy

7.0

Interior

8.0

Exterior

7.0

Safety

9.0

Competition

8.0

8.0

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

8.0

Overall Rating


Even in the base version, the engine has more grunt than most of its rivals and the continued availability of the manual transmission has kept the purists' interests peaked. The higher Competition provides track-ready hardware and yet manages to comply with the real estate needs of a daily driven car. With prices starting at an MSRP of $70,895 the M3 undercuts most of the sports compact sedans which include the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, Audi RS5, and the Mercedes-Benz AMG C 63 sedans. 

2021 BMW M3 Sedan front view
2021 BMW M3 Sedan rear view

8.0/10
Features

9.0/10
Engine and Performance

7.0/10
Fuel Economy

8.0/10
Interior

7.0/10
Exterior

9.0/10
Safety

8.0/10
Competition


2021 BMW M3 Features

8.0/10

BMW offers the M3 sedan with two different variants. Mostly in terms of features and creature comforts, both variants are identical. The only difference lies in the higher engine output from the inline-6 engine which is mated to an automatic transmission and larger 20-inch alloy wheels on the Competition trim. The base trim on the other hand gets a manual transmission and 19-inch wheels.

Trims

M3

M3 Competition

MSRP

$70,895

$73,795

Key Features

3.0L, 473 hp Turbocharged Inline-6 engine

3.0L, 503 hp Turbocharged Inline-6 engine

 

Blind Spot And Lane Departure Warnings

8-speed automatic transmission

 

Self-Leveling LED Headlights

20-inch Painted Alloy Wheels

 

464W Harman/Kardon Premium Speakers

 
 

Three Zone Climate Control

 
 

Heated Sport Front Seats

 

Which trim should you buy?

As most purists love the rush of a manual gearbox and since the base M3 comes loaded with everything that BMW has to offer and is also plenty quick and powerful, it is better to opt for the base M3 and enjoy the sport sedan as it was best intended to be. 

2021 BMW M3 Engine and Performance

9.0/10

The all-new 2021 BMW M3 is powered by a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-6 engine in two stages of tune under its hood. The base engine generates 473 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission while the Competition trim offers a higher output of 503 hp and 479 lb-ft with 8-speed automatic transmission. Both the trims are rear-wheel driven with a switchable AWD coming later this year as the 2022 model year.

The Competition model is obviously the quicker of the two, managing a 0-60 mph run in just 3.7 seconds as compared to the 4.0 seconds of the base trim. Both models are limited to 155 mph of top speed but opting for the M Driver's Package increases it to 180 mph. The new ten-way adjustable traction control system ensures safety to novice drivers while the optional Drift Analyzer also rates the angle, duration, and speed of the drifting maneuvers. 

2021 BMW M3 Sedan engine bay

The manual transmission is slightly updated over its predecessor and is marginally smoother to shift with a light clutch feel. The lack of a manual gearbox for the Competition model is disappointing for many and the new ZF conventional converter isn’t as quick as the older dual-clutch automatic transmission. That being said, it is the minute difference and if you aren't as sneaky-eyed as the experts, ZF transmission is an absolute delight to drive as well. 

Model

BMW M3

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

Audi RS5

Mercedes-AMG C63

MSRP

$70,895

$76,845

$76,145

$69,650

Engine

3.0L, Twin-Turbo Inline-6

2.9L, Twin-Turbo V6

2.9L, Twin-Turbo V6

4.0L, Twin-Turbo V8

Drivetrain

RWD

RWD

AWD

RWD

Transmission

6-speed manual

8-speed automatic

8-speed automatic

9-speed automatic

Power

473 hp @ 6,250 rpm

505 hp @ 6,500 rpm

444 hp @ 6,700 rpm

469 hp @ 5,500 rpm

Torque

406 lb-ft @ 2,650 rpm

443 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm

442 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm

479 lb-ft @ 1,750 rpm

0-60 mph (sec)

4.0

3.6

3.8

3.7

Quarter Mile (sec)

11.7

11.9

11.8

11.9

Top Speed (mph)

155

191

155

180

The BMW M3 is the only luxury sports sedan to offer a manual transmission in this comparison and is also priced aggressively. The Mercedes-AMG C63 is marginally cheaper and offers superior torque output which results in faster acceleration. The Audi RS5 is just one-tenth of a second slower than the AMG while the Alfa Romeo Giulia is the quickest of the lot, even faster than the M3 Competition. 

How does the 2021 BMW M3 Sedan handle?

As is the case with all rear-wheel-driven BMWs, the chassis is balanced with enough technological aids that can either allow or restrict smoking tires based on the need of the hour. The electrical steering is accurate and sharp as it can be but lacks any feedback whatsoever, thereby spoiling the experience for enthusiasts. 

The adaptive suspension on the M3 does a great job in keeping the car planted and sure-footed while also smoothening road imperfections relatively well. Again, similar to BMW standards, the ride is on the stiffer side even in the softest setting but that also limits any sort of body roll as well. The automatic rev-matching system on the manual aids in keeping the speeds into corners and helps set better track timings than its peers.

2021 BMW M3 Braking Performance

BMW offers large carbon-ceramic brakes to make sure that they have enough bite to stop the car with the mammoth power available on tap. It employs large 15-inch and 14.6-inch rear disc brakes which does a phenomenal job at stopping the over 3,800 lbs sedan in just 102 feet when panic braking from 60 mph. Clever tech like brake drying and brake-fade compensation with adjustable feel ensures optimum performance while on the track. 

Model

BMW M3

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

Audi RS5

Mercedes-AMG C63

Brake Rotors: Front (in)

15.0

14.2

14.8

14.2

Brake Rotors: Rear (in)

14.6

13.8

13.0

14.2

Curb Weight (lbs)

3,840

3,806

3,990

3,968

60-0 mph (ft)

102

101

108

NA

Even with the largest set of brakes on offer, the BMW M3 takes a foot more than the lightweight Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio which employs a much smaller set of rotors. The Audi RS5 is the heaviest of them all and the smaller rear brakes result in a considerably longer braking distance. Although we don’t have the exact numbers for the C63, the AMG should travel the farthest with its heavyweight and average-sized brakes.

2021 BMW M3 Fuel Economy

7.0/10

Though fuel economy is not what comes to anybody’s mind when thinking of a performance-oriented sports sedan, with rising pollution and environmental concerns, manufacturers are trying their best in this regard as well. The 2021 M3 does not do much though with a combined 19 mpg for both the trims means the cruising range is also limited to a maximum of 350 miles on a single 15.6-gallon fuel tank. 

Model

BMW M3

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

Audi RS5

Mercedes-AMG C63

MPG (City)

16

17

18

17

MPG (Highway)

23

25

25

26

MPG (Combined)

19

20

20

21

Fuel Tank Capacity (gal)

15.6

15.3

15.3

17.4

Range (City / Highway / Combined) (miles)

250 / 358 / 296

260 / 383 / 306

275 / 383 / 306

296 / 452 / 365

In spite of having the highest torque output to offer, the S63 is also the most frugal amongst all and also employs a much larger gas tank which translates to around 350 miles of combined driving. Both the Audi RS5 and the Giulia Quadrifoglio have very identical fuel efficiency figures and an identical gas tank as well. 

2021 BMW M3 Interior

8.0/10

BMW offers a perfect blend of comfort and sportiness inside the cabin of the M3 which is complemented by a long list of creature comforts. The dual high-definition LCD screens, a tri-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, tons of leather, and ambient interior lighting all make up the list of convenience features. 

2021 BMW M3 Sedan cockpit area

The sport seats up front are very comfortable and hold you in place very well around the corners while the optional M Carbon bucket seats make ingress and egress difficult due to heavy bolstering. There is plenty of space at both front and back rows and although it is rated for 5 occupants, the middle passenger at the back wouldn’t be very comfortable. 

2021 BMW M3 Sedan front seats

Model

BMW M3

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

Audi RS5

Mercedes-AMG C63

Seating Capacity

5

5

4

5

Front Row (Head / Shoulder / Leg) (in)

40.6 / 56.0 / 41.6

38.6 / 56.1 / 42.4

37.4 / 55.3 / 41.3

37.1 / 55.3 / 41.7

Rear Row (Head / Shoulder / Leg) (in)

37.8 / 54.6 / 35.6

37.6 / 53.6 / 35.1

36.1 / 50.7 / 32.7

37.1 / 55.0 / 35.2

Trunk Capacity (cu-ft)

13.0

13.0

10.9

12.6

The Alfa Romeo offers the best legroom at the back and also has an identical trunk size as that of the M3. The Audi RS5 has the least amount of headroom and the back seat is particularly cramped when compared to others. It also has the smallest boot on offer with the Mercedes-Benz AMG C63 offering a similarly sized cabin and cargo space as that of its Italian counterpart. 

  • 12-Way Heated Power Front M Sport Seats w/Lumbar Support
  • 40-20-40 Folding Bench Fold Forward Rear Seat
  • Extended Merino Leather Seat Upholstery
  • Tilt/Telescoping Sport Leather Steering Wheel
  • Dual Zone Front Automatic Air Conditioning and Rear HVAC w/Separate Controls
  • Memory Settings for Driver Seat and Door Mirrors
  • Live Cockpit Pro w/Navigation
  • Ambient interior lighting 

What’s there to keep you entertained?

BMW might have launched the all-new iDrive 8.0 system for its electrics but the M3 continues to be offered with the older iDrive 7.0 unit which performs exceptionally well in the M3. The system is nearly flawless which offers crisp graphics and intuitive menus and can be controlled with a rotary iDrive controller on the center console and redundant steering wheel buttons. The Harman/Kardon Surround Sound System offers thumping audio output but features like navigation, mobile hotspot, and a wireless charging pad are optional. 

  • 10.25-inch BMW iDrive 7.0 infotainment system
  • 16-speaker 464W Harman/Kardon Surround Sound System
  • Apple CarPlay & Android Auto Compatibility
  • ConnectedDrive Services 
  • BMW TeleServices and BMW Assist eCall
  • Real-Time Traffic Display
  • SiriusXM w/1 year all-access subscription
  • Voice Activation

2021 BMW M3 Exterior

7.0/10

Other than the countless arguments about the oversized awkward-looking vertical front grille, the all-new M3 looks very stylish and sharp in this generation. Standard LED headlights to look menacing as always and can be had with Laserlight tech or in Shadowline spec with darkened shrouds. The chiseled hood and M-specific mirror caps and a carbon-fiber roof add to the aggressive appeal of the car. At the rear, the large diffusers house the quad exhaust tips which help the M3 look distinctive from its 3-series counterpart.

2021 BMW M3 Sedan 

Model

BMW M3

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

Audi RS5

Mercedes-AMG C63

Curb Weight (lbs)

3,840

3,806

3,990

3,968

Length (in)

189.1

182.5

186.0

187.2

Width (in)

74.3

73.7

73.5

72.4

Height (in)

56.4

56.1

54.0

56.1

Ground Clearance (in)

4.5

3.9

4.7

3.6

Wheelbase (in)

112.5

111.0

108.9

111.8

The 2021 BMW M3 is larger in terms of dimensions as compared to its rivals and also offers the longest wheelbase which opens up extra space on the inside. Alfa Romeo Giulia is the most compact of the lot and also weighs the least. The AMG C63 has the most hunkered down stance in this comparison while the Audi RS5 offers the best ground clearance. Audi also has the shortest wheelbase to offer and hence feels the most cramped inside its cabin. 

  • Automatic Projector Beam LED Auto-Leveling Auto High-Beam Daytime Running Headlamps
  • LED Brakelights
  • Power Heated Side Mirrors w/Driver Auto Dimming, Power Folding, and Turn Signal Indicator
  • Lip Spoiler
  • Black Grille, Side Windows Trim, and Front Windshield Trim
  • Rocker Panel Extensions
  • 19-inch M Bi-color Double-spoke Alloy Wheels

2021 BMW M3 Safety

9.0/10

Although high-value low-volume cars like the M3 are never crash tested and is also the case for the 2021 M3, the 2021 BMW 3-series sedan on which the M3 is based does fare well in every safety test. It scores a perfect 5-star overall rating from the NHTSA and gets the “Top Safety Pick” accolade from the IIHS. The 2021 M3 gets all the latest safety functions and driver aids that BMW has to offer, some of which are listed below.

  • M Traction Control ABS And Driveline Traction Control
  • Park Distance Control Front And Rear Parking Sensors
  • Frontal Collision Warning
  • Blind Spot Detection
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Tire Specific Low Tire Pressure Warning
  • Back-Up Camera

2021 BMW M3 Competition

8.0/10

2021 BMW M3 vs Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

Being on the more affordable side, the 2021 M3 has a lower engine output as compared to the Alfa Romeo and hence is also the slower of the two. Even the M3 Competition with similar power output is marginally slower than the Giulia Quadriofoglio. Alfa Romeo also offers slightly better fuel efficiency and a slightly better front-row legroom. That being said, BMW offers superior technology and is a bit more dependable in the long run. With very little compromises and around $6,000 to save, the 2021 M3 is the better pick of the lot. 

Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

2021 BMW M3 vs Audi RS5

The 2021 BMW M3 is not only more affordable by around $6,000 than the Audi RS5, but it also generates more power and has a very similar performance to offer. The fuel efficiency is very identical as well with the Audi being marginally better despite the AWD, it loses out in terms of braking performance. The cabin of the RS5 is quite cramped as compared to the M3 and it also offers a smaller trunk. Therefore, the BMW M3 is the clear winner in this comparison. 

Audi RS5

2021 BMW M3 vs Mercedes-AMG C63

The 2021 Mercedes-AMG C63 is priced marginally lower than the M3 and with the superior torque output to offer, it is also considerably quicker off the mark. It is also substantially more efficient and also has a very similar cabin and luggage space to offer. There is plenty of technology on offer as well and the car looks neat inside and out. Thus, the Mercedes-AMG C63 is the more practical and better choice amongst the two Germans.

Mercedes-AMG C63

 

2021 BMW M3 Final Verdict

The 2021 model year redesign brings plenty of updates to the M3 sedan which has evolved the car considerably and made it an even more exciting prospect in this segment. The new front-end design may or may not be to your liking, but there is hardly anything else to a fault in the all-new M3. With BMW pricing the car aggressively and making the car as practical as it could be, there is not much the competition can do against one of the most favorite name tags in the enthusiast world. 

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