Exploring Cars Similar to BMW M3 – The year 2022 saw a significant evolution in the BMW M3’s legacy as it introduced an all-wheel-drive option for the first time.
This marked a noteworthy shift in the M3’s performance landscape. While this newly available feature can only be paired with the Competition model’s automatic transmission.
The BMW claims it has made the M3 Comp faster than its rear-wheel-drive counterpart, even though it means sacrificing the DIY six-speed gearbox.
The BMW M3, a renowned high-end sports sedan, boasts a formidable turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six powertrain under its hood.
This engine is a powerhouse, capable of generating a robust 473 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. Furthermore, every M3 comes standard with adaptive dampers and a customizable brake-pedal feel.
For those seeking an even more potent option, there’s the possibility of upgrading to carbon-ceramic brakes, complete with calipers sporting a stylish gold paint job. With a starting price of $69,900, the BMW M3 offers a thrilling driving experience.
However, as automotive enthusiasts know, the world of high-performance sports sedans is teeming with options. The BMW M3, while exceptional in its own right, may not fulfill every requirement you have in mind.
If you’re on the lookout for cars similar to the BMW M3, alternatives that can hold their own against this legendary sedan, you’re in the right place. Let’s explore some competitors and see what they bring to the table.
15 Best Cars Similar to BMW M3: Exploring Alternatives and Competitors
When it comes to high-performance sports sedans, the BMW M3 has long been a benchmark of power, precision, and style.
However, the automotive world is teeming with worthy competitors and alternatives that offer their unique blend of exhilaration and luxury.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the 15 best cars similar to the BMW M3, exploring their specifications, features, and what sets them apart.
Whether you’re a die-hard BMW fan looking to explore alternatives or simply seeking a high-performance sedan, you’re in for a treat.
1. Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio: Italian Elegance Meets Raw Power
The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio stands as a direct competitor to the BMW M3, boasting a captivating Italian design that turns heads wherever it goes.
What sets the Quadrifoglio apart is its astonishing power output, thanks to a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that generates a staggering 505 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque.
In the sprint from 0 to 60 miles per hour, the Giulia Quadrifoglio shines, accomplishing the feat in just 3.6 seconds, outpacing the M3’s 4.1 seconds.
Like the M3, it features rear-wheel drive, a configuration cherished by automotive enthusiasts.
Additionally, the Quadrifoglio boasts a carbon fiber hood and top, reducing weight and enhancing the vehicle’s center of gravity for improved maneuverability.
The base price for this range-topping Alfa Romeo is $80,030, reflecting the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for an Italian masterpiece that challenges the BMW M3 head-on.
Related: Alfa Romeo Giulia vs BMW 2 Series
2. Audi RS 5: A Coupe with a Different Flavor
While the Audi RS 5 may not be available as a sedan, it was designed to provide an exhilarating driving experience similar to that of the M3.
Under the hood, a turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 engine produces a robust 444 horsepower. However, the RS 5 offers a different driving character compared to BMW’s more aggressive M3.
The RS 5 features all-wheel drive, a hallmark of high-performance Audis, coupled with advanced technology that swiftly adapts to changing conditions.
In standard situations, 60 percent of torque is sent to the rear wheels, but this can be adjusted to 85 percent, sending power to the front when needed. The result is impressive grip and stability.
The starting price for the Audi RS 5 is approximately $76,995, positioning it as a formidable alternative to the M3, offering its distinct flavor of performance and sophistication.
3. Audi RS 6: A Family Wagon with Supercar Power
If you’re familiar with Audi’s RS lineup, you’ll know that the RS 6 is no ordinary family station wagon.
This practical and comfortable vehicle is equipped with Audi’s most powerful engine and cutting-edge electronics.
With a 4.0-liter V8 engine that churns out nearly 600 horsepower, the RS 6 can sprint from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a mere 3.6 seconds.
While the RS 6 comes in one standard configuration, there are numerous customization options available to suit your preferences.
If you desire a unique paint color, be prepared to pay a premium. The RS 6 also comes equipped with advanced driver-assistance technologies, including adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist.
Inside the RS 6, you’ll find a cutting-edge interior design complemented by the latest in automotive technology.
The RS 6 defies convention, offering the practicality of a family wagon combined with supercar-level power.
4. BMW M2: Compact Dynamism
The BMW M2 is a compact powerhouse that harks back to the earlier, more nimble M3 models. With its appealing size and maneuverability, the M2 offers an exhilarating driving experience in a smaller package.
Under its hood, you’ll find a 3.0-liter inline-six engine that churns out an impressive 405 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque.
What sets the M2 apart is its transmission options. Enthusiasts can opt for the standard six-speed manual gearbox, delivering a classic, engaging driving experience.
Alternatively, the dual-clutch seven-speed automatic transmission is available for those seeking a more seamless ride.
In terms of fuel efficiency, the M2 with the manual transmission is a bit more economical, achieving 18 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA.
The automatic version, while slightly less fuel-efficient, still provides a respectable 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.
The M2 starts at an attractive price point of $59,895, making it a more accessible option for those seeking the BMW M experience.
However, it’s worth noting that the interior build quality, while adorned with flashy carbon fiber and faux-suede accents, falls short of expectations in its price range.
Related: Cars Similar to BMW M2
5. BMW M4: Two-Door Elegance
Sometimes, the only car that can replace a BMW is another BMW. Enter the BMW M4, the two-door sibling of the M3, offering a blend of comfort, elegance, and everyday usability.
Surprisingly, the M4’s rear seats provide a reasonable amount of legroom, making it practical for daily commuting or occasional passenger transportation.
The BMW M4 impresses not only with its power but also with its gripping performance. The base model is equipped with a formidable twin-turbo inline-six engine that produces 473 horsepower.
For those seeking even more potency, the Competition model boasts a robust 503-horsepower engine, a more responsive automatic transmission, and specialized chassis enhancements.
All-wheel drive is an option available exclusively on the M4’s automatic transmission, providing added traction for various driving conditions.
Regardless of your choice, the M4 promises an exhilarating driving experience, even on days when you’re not pushing its limits.
Related: Cars Similar to BMW M4
6. BMW M5: Elevating Sportiness
While the BMW M3 is undoubtedly a respectable sports car, the BMW M5 takes sportiness to new heights. The M5 Competition, in particular, outshines the M3 in nearly every aspect where it can excel.
Step inside the M5, and you’ll be enveloped in luxurious leather and a host of high-end amenities.
The cabin’s spaciousness adds to its practicality, ensuring that it’s not just a thrilling performance machine but also a useful daily driver.
Under the M5’s hood lies a formidable 4.4-liter V8 engine that churns out a staggering 617 horsepower, making it one of the most powerful engines BMW has ever produced for a production vehicle.
This powerhouse delivers dynamic engine performance and handling, complemented by a roomy cabin, comfortable seats, a wealth of standard tech features, and an easy-to-use entertainment system.
Related: Cars Similar to BMW M5
7. Cadillac ATS-V: American Muscle with a Twist
Priced starting at $68,750, the Cadillac ATS-V is available in both sedan and coupe variants. If you still associate Cadillac with large, ponderous vehicles, the ATS-V will surprise you.
It goes head-to-head with the BMW 3 Series as a serious contender in the high-performance sports sedan category.
Under the hood of the ATS-V, you’ll find a 3.0-liter V6 engine that has received upgrades like titanium connecting rods, pushing it to produce an impressive 464 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque.
These power figures result in an engaging and exciting driving experience, with a 0 to 60-mph sprint in just 4.2 seconds.
Standard equipment includes an adaptive suspension, and the 6-speed manual gearbox is calibrated to allow smooth shifting without needing to lift off the throttle pedal.
Additionally, an automatic transmission with eight speeds is available for those who prefer a more relaxed driving experience.
Read also: Cars Similar to BMW X7
8. Corvette C8: Mid-Engine Marvel
The all-new Corvette C8 has caused quite a stir in the automotive world, and rightfully so. It introduces a brand-new mid-engine layout, a departure from previous Corvette models.
The design is nothing short of exotic, resembling supercars that command significantly higher price tags.
Priced noticeably lower than an M3, the Corvette C8 offers more power and excitement. It’s equipped with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission with paddle shifters mated to a V8 engine that generates an impressive 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque.
What’s particularly remarkable is the engine’s flat torque curve between 3000 and 6000 revolutions per minute, ensuring ample power throughout the rev range.
Inside, the Corvette C8’s cockpit is reminiscent of a fighter plane, with a driver-focused layout and advanced technology that enhances the driving experience.
This American icon is a worthy competitor to the BMW M3, offering exceptional performance and style.
9. Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400: Japanese Precision
Infiniti, the premium Japanese brand, has made strides in matching BMW’s handling prowess, and the Infiniti Q50 is a testament to that effort.
The Q50 is Infiniti’s compact sedan, refreshed for the 2018 model year. The Red Sport 400 trim, starting at around $54,000, is the most athletic version in the lineup.
Powering the Q50 Red Sport 400 is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that delivers 350 pound-feet of torque and 400 horsepower.
While it might be capable of more, this engine still provides a smooth and enjoyable ride. Infiniti equips this model with a host of advanced technological features, enhancing both convenience and safety.
However, it’s worth noting that the Q50 Red Sport 400 falls slightly short when it comes to cabin quality compared to its competitors.
Nevertheless, if you’re seeking a Japanese alternative that combines handling prowess with performance, it’s a compelling option.
10. Kia Stinger GT: Surprising Sportiness
At first glance, a Kia might not seem like a direct replacement for a BMW M3, but the Kia Stinger GT has defied expectations and earned praise for its impressive driving capabilities.
With power sent to either the rear wheels or all four, thanks to a 365-horsepower, turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 engine, the Stinger GT offers a compelling alternative.
Mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, this engine delivers a robust 376 pound-feet of torque, resulting in remarkable acceleration.
The Stinger GT can sprint from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 4.4 seconds, showcasing its performance pedigree.
All of this can be yours for a starting price of around $40,500, significantly less than two-thirds of the price of a brand-new M3.
Read also: Cars Similar to BMW X4
11. Lexus RC F: Naturally Aspirated Thrills
There’s something undeniably magical about a naturally aspirated engine, especially when it’s a high-revving 5.0-liter V8, much like the one found in the Lexus RC F.
This engine responds with precision to throttle inputs, and its traction control technology ensures a confidence-inspiring drive.
With 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque at your disposal, the RC F is a formidable competitor to the M3. It accelerates from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a quick 4.4 seconds.
Lexus, known for its exceptional build quality, ensures that the RC F offers a premium driving experience. Starting at $65,645, this coupe combines performance with luxury, making it an appealing alternative.
12. Mercedes-Benz C-Class 63 AMG: Performance and Luxury Combined
For those seeking a blend of performance and luxury, the Mercedes-AMG C-Class 63 AMG stands out as an enticing option.
Mercedes-Benz is renowned for its luxurious offerings, and this sedan doesn’t disappoint in that regard.
It pairs luxury with a potent 503-horsepower engine that can propel the vehicle from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a mere 3.8 seconds.
Compared to the BMW M3, the Mercedes-AMG C63 offers a more powerful engine and a plush interior, all at a similar price point.
Whether you prefer the coupe, convertible, or sedan, the C63 lineup caters to your preferences. The sedan, in particular, is lighter than the coupe, making it more practical for rear-seat passengers.
Inside, you’ll find a premium cabin with a choice between metal and wood accents, and a 10.3-inch infotainment display with connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Upholstery options vary, with the standard version featuring black faux leather and microfiber, while the S versions come with leather seats.
13. Mercedes-AMG C 63/C 63 S: A BMW Rival from the Same Region
In the world of high-performance sedans, Mercedes-Benz offers a formidable contender through its Mercedes-AMG C 63 and C 63 S.
This standard C-Class-based lineup presents buyers with versatile choices, including a coupe, convertible, and a sedan that directly competes with the BMW M3.
Under the hood of the C 63 resides a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine, which produces a substantial 469 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque.
If you’re looking for even more power, the C 63 S takes those numbers to an impressive 503 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque.
These robust powerplants propel the C 63 lineup to 60 miles per hour in just 4.0 or 3.9 seconds, depending on the specific model.
Despite their blistering performance, the C 63 sedans maintain a sporty yet refined demeanor. With a starting price of $67,095, they offer a compelling alternative to the M3.
14. Porsche 718 Cayman T: Porsche’s Precise Balance of Power and Luxury
The Porsche 718 Cayman T might have fewer horsepower than the iconic 911, but it strikes a perfect balance between performance, luxury, and aesthetics.
After all, it’s a Porsche. Equipped with a 300-horsepower engine and Porsche’s excellent PDK dual-clutch gearbox, the Cayman T exhibits exceptional performance dynamics.
This sports car can achieve a top speed of 170 miles per hour and handles corners with grace and precision. Priced at $70,000, it’s undoubtedly one of the best sports cars available.
The Cayman T offers room for two passengers, although taller individuals might find it slightly challenging to get into the low-slung seats. However, once inside, there’s ample head and legroom, even for those who are six feet tall.
While the base model starts at $60,500, the Cayman T provides a unique blend of performance and luxury that sets it apart from the competition in its class.
Related: Aston Martin vs Porsche
15. Volvo S60 Polestar: Volvo’s Stealthy Performance Sedan
For those seeking a stealthy alternative to the BMW M3, the Volvo S60 Polestar is an enticing option. At first glance, it may appear similar to a standard S60, but it’s what’s under the hood that truly matters.
Priced from $60,995, the S60 Polestar features a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder engine that’s both turbocharged and supercharged, resulting in an impressive 362 horsepower and 347 lb-ft of torque.
It accelerates from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a brisk 4.4 seconds. All-wheel drive and shock absorber suspension come standard, enhancing both traction and ride quality.
This unassuming sedan packs a punch and provides a unique alternative to the traditional high-performance offerings in its class.
Read also: Cars Similar to BMW X3
Is the BMW M3 a luxury car?
Yes, the BMW M3 is considered a luxury car. It offers a balance between everyday driving comfort and the excitement of a high-performance engine, making it an exclusive and luxurious choice.
Does the BMW M3 hold its value?
BMW M3s have a forecasted 5-year depreciation rate of 38%. However, the actual resale value of a specific M3 depends on factors such as its age, condition, and mileage.
Is the BMW M3 good on gas?
The BMW M3’s fuel economy is not its strong suit. It is rated at up to 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. If equipped with all-wheel drive, the highway estimate drops slightly to 22 mpg.
How many miles to break in a BMW M3?
During the break-in period for a BMW M3, it is recommended to drive with alternating engine and vehicle speeds for the first 1,000 to 2,000 kilometers (620 to 1,240 miles).
During this period, it is advisable to avoid full load on the engine in the first, second, and third gears, while keeping engine speed and vehicle speed within suggested limits.
Is the BMW M3 engine reliable?
The second-generation BMW M3 has a reputation for being relatively unreliable. Issues such as oil burning are common, and if not addressed, they can lead to internal engine problems, particularly in the hands of inexperienced owners.
Final Thoughts: BMW M3 Competitors
In conclusion, when exploring the world of high-performance sports sedans, it’s evident that the BMW M3 holds a significant place as a symbol of power and luxury.
However, for those seeking alternatives and competitors that offer their unique blend of performance and style, the options are both exciting and diverse.
From the Italian elegance and raw power of the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio to the precise handling and alluring design of the Audi RS 5, each car offers a distinctive driving experience.
Whether you prefer the roar of a V6 or the sophistication of a twin-turbocharged engine, these alternatives prove that the high-performance sedan market is rich with choices.
When considering cars similar to the BMW M3, remember that the thrill of the drive knows no bounds, and the perfect match awaits those who seek it.