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2011 BMW M3: Awesome Performance, Questionable Cup Holders

Our test 2011 BMW M3 Coupe had a suggested retail price of $69,925.

From a performance standpoint, the 2011 BMW M3 was absolutely everything I expected it to be. The M3’s nimble handling and powerful engine offer the kind of confidence-inspiring performance that you’ll love, but your loved ones might fear.

I enjoyed the M3 so much that my significant other forbade me from driving it unsupervised on a recent 400-mile road trip. Under her watchful eye, the M3 averaged 19.7 miles per gallon during two weeks of mixed city/highway driving. That’s pretty decent for a 414-horsepower car that gets an EPA-estimated 14/20 mpg city/highway.

Options included the competition and technology packages, as well as a M double-clutch transmission.

Still, there is just one thing that irks me about the M3, and all current 3-Series models – I don’t get the cup holders. As amazing as the M3 is from a performance standpoint, I wonder why “The Ultimate Driving Machine” refuses to let you comfortably enjoy a beverage.

Two cup holders can be deployed from the dash, directly above the glovebox. And if you’ve got a passenger, the fear of being scalded by an extra-hot, no-foam latte while taking a sharp turn is all too real.

The M3's cup holders hover above the front passenger's legs.

Things aren’t much better on older 3-Series either. My 2004 BMW 330ci has two cup holders centrally-located between the front seats, but only one of them can be used without raising the center armrest. If you and your passenger both have a drink, you may be hydrated, but slightly less comfortable.

Want to use both cup holders and the armrest at the same time? You're out of luck in my 2004 BMW 330ci.

Sure, neither of these cars are geared toward utility, but the lack of decent cup holders is just one example of how the current 3-Series falls short with inadequate interior storage. Beverage or no beverage, today’s driver is often equipped with accessories such as a cell phone, sunglasses and an iPod. It would be nice to have a convenient place to put them.

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