Parkers overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 4.3

It’s difficult to criticise such a well-built, high quality and ergonomically sound dashboard as the BMW M3’s but save for some M-specific features like the seats, steering wheel and automatic gear lever, you’d be hard-pressed to know whether you were in the flagship sports model or a lowly 318d.

Yes, you can make it more special with BMW’s Exclusive package but it should feel more special than lesser 3 Series anyway.

This though, is a relatively minor criticism, as the M3’s cabin is a refined and comforting place in which to travel, especially given the wide range of adjustment from the superb front seats, although we have reservations about the gaucheness of the illuminated M badges on the seat backs.

Prod and poke the switchgear, flick the switches and pull the levers and you realise that while it might not look extraordinary, the sheer depth of quality is outstanding. Well-damped controls offer a level of solidity that feels like the car will remain a paragon of excellence for years to come.

Everything feels intuitive, including the i-Drive rotary controller with all its sub menus and levels of adjustability for the car’s different parameters. Instruments look clear and classy, although while the 8.8-inch display screen offers pin-sharp reproduction and excellent graphics, it does look somewhat incongruous and doesn’t glide away when not in use like some other brands’ screens.

There’s no escaping this is a rapid and engaging sports saloon but equally impressive are BMW M3 comfort levels.

The secret are the adaptive suspension dampers at each corner. Sure, when you put it into Sport or Sport Plus modes, it sharpens considerably, with the latter setting making the ride particularly firm, but in Comfort mode you’re unlikely to get any complaints from your passengers.

It’s not a comfort-oriented car though and with 19-inch alloy wheels shod in very slender yet wide rubber, there are going to be odd jolts and noises but nothing particularly jarring.

Depending on which engine mode you choose, it can be quite soothing in the cabin too, the six-cylinder motor sounding almost subdued at times, should you want it to be, although tyre roar from the beefy rubber can be tiresome on motorway jaunts if you drive without the infotainment system switched on.

Front seat occupants are very well catered for with superb seats offering support and grip without feeling like your kidneys have been pummelled after a long journey. Those in the back fair reasonably well, although three adults might find it a bit of a squeeze – 3 Series saloons are known for being snug rather than spacious and the M3’s no exception.