The Ultimate Driving Machine


Hank Larsen, Staff Writer

Ever since it was first introduced in 1975, the BMW 3 series has been the best-selling model of the BMW family. A small yet versatile 4-door sedan, it accounts for over 70% of sales. The combination of practicality and notorious BMW performance make for, as they say, “The Ultimate Driving Machine.”

What BMW had been starting at that time was the development of their “M” performance and sport division. Among many new “M” models was the legendary M3. Since the 3-series was already making a successful impression, a model centered around pure performance and racing was sure to be a hit.

Junior Claire “Peaches” Restrepo has the joy of driving (on occasion) her dad’s 2009 BMW M3 hardtop convertible. “I really love having the top down while I’m driving,” Restrepo said. “You can feel the wind in your hair and hear the engine perfectly.”

This era M3 comes equipped with a four litre DOHC V8 making a generous 414 horsepower, mated to a quick-shifting 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission. “The transmission advancements made it as close to an F1 car as I’m good to get to,” Claire’s father and M3 owner Edwin Restrepo said.

Restrepo is always trying to learn more about it. “I know the reason it shifts gears so well is because it has two clutches,” she said. “When one is in use, the other is open and ready to shift.” This helps give the M3 fantastic acceleration and makes it very fast on the road.

The gas and brake are extremely sensitive, which can sometimes cause Restrepo to go a hair over the speed limit. “You just get so caught up when driving it you feel almost invincible,” Restrepo said. “You just forget how fast you’re really going.”
What is most important about her M3 is that it plays such a significant role in her family. Though some may think it’s just a car, to Restrepo it’s a place where memories are made. “It’s where my brother and I both learned how to drive, and we’ve passed countless weekend washing it.”

With engine built for speed and a near F1 transmission, the M3 is without a doubt a legendary German sports car that will be remembered in car history forever. But above all, Restrepo’s M3 is a symbol of eternal love and iconic family pastimes. “I’ll always have those memories of evening drives in the summertime,” Restrepo said. “Top down, listening to country music with my dad.”