Thursday, 12 June 2008

E90 BMW M3 DCT sampled at Sepang circuit, Malaysia

BMW's answer to the Audi RS4's (B7) and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG's practicality is finally here in Malaysia. Yours truly was there to sample the twin-clutched version aka DCT in the E90's 4 -door saloon form of the latest M3.

No, the above wasn't the writer in all his crowning glory (or the lack thereof) as the delegates of Destination M were only being ferried in the new M3 around the Sepang F1 Circuit. Upon close observation (thanks BMW Driver Trainer Kevin for that exhilarating ride!) the 7-speed DCT is as good as VAG's famed DSG but it was manic the way the manual cogs were being abused around the track. At one point the robotised tranny got confused when more than a couple of cogs were dropped in an instance.

The M engineered 4.0L V8 sounded pretty sedate at revs below 4000rpm but beyond that the V8 growl is unmistakable. That said, I found that most kinetic action took place circa 5000rpm, 6000rpm and above all the way to its lofty 8200rpm redline. No dramatic pinned-in-your-seat or eyeballs-pushed-into-your-orbital-socket feeling. But its darn quick around those turns, in fact as fast as 160 t0 180 km/h!

The BMW M3 sedan with DCT retails for RM713,800 (excluding insurance) and is available for booking now at Auto Bavaria and other BMW Malaysia's dealers. Be prepare to wait for more than 6 months if you want that E92 form of M3 with DCT.

For most of us regular drivers, we'd be better off on the streets with the 335i sedan (pictured below) or the sleeker E92 335i Coupe. The twin turbo 3.0L in-line 6 would be much more tractable, responsive and peppier in town or city traffic, more often than not. After all, the 335i's forced-induced torque is a more useable 400Nm beginning at 1300rpm and stays accessible (plateau) through to 5000rpm; as opposed to new M3's similar torque figure of 400Nm at a headier 3900rpm. A couple of the highly skilled and qualified Malaysian BMW Driver Trainers attested to this fact as well, after having driven a 135i Coupe that was on track that day.

The 335i is now available as 335i sedan Individual costing a shade over RM500k, with special paints, interior trims, more distinct alloy wheels and individualised specs.

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