The battle for the best sports sedan has never been much of a battle. More of a mild scuff, really, with winner always being the BMW M3. There’s just been nothing better over the years. Lexus hasn’t beat it. Jaguar tried once and failed. It will try again, but first needs to dust itself off from the beating the X-Type received. Audi has come close with the S4, but never threw the knockout punch.
Not many other automakers have even tried to dethrone the great M3. The few that have — Acura, Infiniti, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz — not a single one has produced an M3-killer. Or even a 3 Series-killer.
But the landscape could be changing, as at least three competitors have learned what it takes to compete with the Ultimate Driving Machine.
The Audi S4 may not look much different for the 2013 model year, but it has adjustable shock absorbers and a 333-horsepower 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine offering plenty of power. The question is, will the new electric-assist steering system give as much road feel as the outgoing hydraulic system? If Audi doesn’t nail that, BMW wins. Simple as that.
Of course, for Caddy to compete with the M3, it will need an ATS-V edition. But the standard ATS seems like it has promise. The ATS will be the lightest car in its class, feature RWD or AWD, have a Magnetic Ride Control suspension and Brembo brakes. Expect both a turbocharged 2.0-liter 270-horsepower 4-cylinder and a 3.6-liter 318-horsepower V6 engine. Come on Cadillac, add the V…
With an all-new suspension, new limited-slip differential, Lexus’ 5.0-liter V8 churning out 416 horsepower and 371 pound-feet of torque, the 3,780-pound Lexus IS F will accelerate to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds and top out at an electronically limited 170 mph. Whoa, baby, this one could give the Bimmer a run for its money. Oh… but that V8 engine adds some weight to the front, making the IS-F’s tight-cornering abilities pale in comparison to the still-superior M3.
A new M3 for the 2013 model year is on the way. Considering how close the competition has come to catching the German super sedan, you can be sure perfection and dominance will continue. The new M3 will likely use a twin-turbo 6-cylinder generating somewhere in the neighborhood of 450 hp. We shall see, but I don’t foresee any reason why this Ultimate Driving Machine would give up its title. At least not this year.
Does any car beat the BMW M3? I’ve read in some places that the Ford Mustang GT, of all cars, is a worthy competitor. Yes?