Very interesting view from a TopGear journalist which i happen to agree with:
Ever since I drove the new BMW M3 last week, I've been checking out some of the comments from other journalists and internet commentators, and plenty of them seem to suggest that it has gone a bit soft.
Great. Because I tend to find that if you make a car that pleases the majority of motoring journalists, you're making a car for a very, very defined section of the population - and the M3 is a mass-market car, not a track special.
In my opinion, the new M3 isn't a massively aggressive, no-compromise set-up - but why should it be? It needs to be driven as a flagship car by people who only own one motor, and BMW readily agrees that there's space for a more hardcore 'CSL' version later in the model life.
So we've got a four-seater that has 420bhp, serious acceleration, both from a standstill and through the gears, and a set-up that forgives as much as it lets you play. It feels fast. It feels honed and it feels very sporting.
It feels fun. It sounds glorious - different to the yowl of the previous straight-six, for sure - but still brilliantly inspiring.
Where the M5 is the aloof express and the Z4 M Coupe the slightly over-playful puppy, the M3 is somewhere in-between. Excellent. Yes, it does powerslide - but it won't exactly chuck you through a hedge on the first corner. It's more accessible than the previous generation, though no slower, and I find that refreshing.
Truth is, I'm more for a car that's fun to drive than a car that's gained the last 10th around the track. I'm more for a car with soul than speed. The new M3, for me, has it.
Forget immediate comparisons with the RS4 and C63 and let's just soak up a really interesting car. Let's enjoy a thing of beauty without immediately getting all frothy over the fact that it laps the Nurburgring only as fast as the old version.
Am I just not competitive enough? Or are we really a Top Trumps nation?