BMW has introduced the new M3 in its more practical sedan/ saloon body to the public in the United Kingdom. At the same time Munich's new M-DCT, a 7-speed double-clutch gearbox debuts.

The BMW M3 saloon, having skipped a generation, is now snarling at your nearest UK dealership, ready to be accosted for small sums starting at £49,415 for the sedan manual and £52,005 for the M-DCT version. Its entire allocated consignment of about 400 is expected to be on roads by the end of 2008.

Apart from the most obvious; two extra doors, coupe and sedan are virtually mechanically identical, both using the same 4.0-litre V8 premium unleaded petrol engine that’s 15kg lighter than its multi-award-winning 3.2-litre straight 6 predecessor. Performance numbers are still 420 bhp/ 309kW, 0 – 100km/h dash times of 4.9 (manual) and a lower 4.7 seconds for the M-DCT, with both topping off at a limited 250km/h. No doubt these double clutch gearboxes are making a major impact in straight-line performance, at the same time proving ideal for start-stop heavy traffic situations.

M3 saloon will be one of nine M derivatives on sale in the UK by the end of 2008. These are Z4 M Roadster, Z4 M Coupe, M6 Coupe, M6 Convertible, M5 sedan, M5 Touring, M3 Coupe, M3 sedan and M3 Convertible.

BMW M3 saloon: UK pricing revealed