BMW has sold all 700 M3 coupés it has been allocated for 2007 with each buyer specifying on average £4,700 worth of extras, says Carl Sanderson, general manager product and market planning.

Top of the list are the 19-inch alloy wheels. “It’s the UK so buyers like their options to be visible,” says Sanderson.

Audio options are also popular, especially DAB radios despite their lack of visibility. “It’s a good talking point down at the pub at the weekend, though” says Sanderson who points out that the UK is leading Europe in digital broadcasting which explains the popularity of DAB radios for in-car use.

This takes the average cost of the new M3, on sale from September 8, to £55,325 – on the road price for the car is £50,625.

Does £4,700 represent a big spend on options? The average spend on options for X5 is £8,000, says Sanderson.

This includes a high take-up of the rear seat DVD players at more than £1,000 and Bluetooth connectivity. “I don’t think it will be long before Bluetooth becomes a standard fit for most BMWs,” says Sanderson.

Next year, sales of M3 Coupé are expected to reach 2,000 units and stay at that level through to 2010 before demand for this, the fourth generation M3, begins to tail off.

Sales of the previous M3 hit a peak of 1,800 a year. Supply is restricted by the number of engines that BMW’s M division can build.

The three main M3 markets, German, UK and the USA, have all put in their sales forecast and the M cake divided. “This gives us a bit of flexibility to increase production if demand is higher,” says Sanderson.

M3 uses a new 420 hp V8 engine cast in BMW’s Landshut light alloy foundry alongside the BMW Sauber F1 team’s powerplants. This engine is 15kgs lighter than the six-cylinder engine it replaces.

The body is 80 per cent different – only the doors, boot lid, windows and front and rear lights are carried over from the 3 series coupé. It has also a carbon-fibre reinforced plastic roof which saves 22kgs compared to a conventional steel construction incorporating a sunroof.

Published : 16/08/07 Author : Melanie Carter

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