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Driving pleasure par excellence; wide variety of bodies and drivetrains; the best inline six-cylinder engines for those who love motoring; the near-supercar M3.
BMW's excellent 3-Series returns for 2008 with minimal changes to the core lineup, save for the addition of the all-wheel-drive 335xi coupe (previously available only with rear-wheel drive). Paddle shifters are newly optional on the entry-level 328 versions. On the 335i coupe, a new 19-inch alloy wheel set is available, and the standard 16-inch alloy wheels have been restyled for the 328 sedans and sport wagons. The new M3 is 2008's big change. The coupe is expected to go on sale in the U.S. in spring of 2008 starting at around $62,500. M-level exhilaration will be provided by an all-new ridiculously light high-revving 4.0L V8 engine--it is 33 pounds lighter than the previous M3's inline six--creating 420 horsepower at a pulse-raising 8,400 rpm. It will make 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. A carbon fiber roof will lighten and lower the car. Other firsts for this latest generation of M3 are an aluminum suspension, Mdrive for driver configuration of the engine control, and a nifty regenerative braking system that powers the electronics. Convertible and sedan versions will follow later in 2008.