ELKHART LAKE, WI – Get the re-engineered ’15 BMW M3 sedan or M4 coupe up to speed on a 2-lane country road, and this high-performance car with a long legacy in motorsports becomes positively feline.

At 2,500 rpm, the all-new 425-hp inline 6-cyl. twin-turbo purrs along in fifth or sixth gear. Drop a few rungs, watch the tach needle climb to 4,000 rpm and the dinner-time meows gain a bit of urgency. At 5,500 rpm, the testy cat begins batting around a smaller house mate, asserting dominance.

When the lightweight forged crank is spinning 6,500 times a minute, this reasonably docile pet has spotted an unfamiliar cat in the backyard through the doorwall, studies it intently and lets out eerie howls as a warning.

As the needle pushes confidently toward the 7,600-rpm redline and Valvetronic is allowing maximum air and fuel into the combustion chambers, the doorwall opens, the territorial ball of spiky fur dashes for the hapless intruder, hissing, clawing, tumbling and biting.

It’s a full-on kit-kat smackdown. The intruder limps away while the victor saunters back indoors.

Four generations of M3 have earned BMW the kind of respect every automaker envies. The dual-purpose car is designed to be just at home on the racetrack as tootling through suburbia.

Having done a little of both here at the legendary Road America track and in and around this quaint Upper Midwestern town, it’s easy to understand this car’s vaunted status.

The M3, quite literally, embodies every brand attribute BMW holds dear. The product-development process begins with good stock, the 3-Series sedan, hands-down the best-selling luxury car in the U.S.