|Manufacturer||BMW M GmbH|
|Body and chassis|
Compact executive car
The BMW M3 is a high-performance version of the BMW 3-Series, developed by BMW's in-house motorsport division, BMW M. M3 models have been derived from the E30, E36, E46 and E90/E92/E93 3-series, and sold with coupé, saloon and convertible body styles. Upgrades over the "standard" 3-Series automobiles include more powerful and responsive engines, improved handling/suspension/braking systems, aerodynamic body enhancements, and interior/exterior accents with the tri-colour "M" (Motorsport) emblem. Over the years the M3 and M5 have become the benchmark vehicle against which most sport sedans in its class are compared despite competition from Mercedes-AMG and Audi Quattro GmbH (Audi RS). The last M3 coupe rolled off the assembly line in Germany on 5 July 2013. The M3 name will remain with the sedan, but the coupe model will be replaced by the M4 beginning with the 2014 model year.
- 1 E30 M3
- 2 E36 M3
- 3 E46 M3
- 4 E90/92/93 M3
- 5 F80 M3
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Rosslyn, South Africa
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door coupé
|Related||BMW 3 Series|
|Engine||2.3 L I4|
|Wheelbase||101.1 in (2,568 mm)|
|Length||171.1 in (4,346 mm)|
|Width||66.1 in (1,679 mm)|
|Height||53.9 in (1,369 mm)|
|Curb weight||2,865 lb (1,300 kg)|
In contrast to later M3 iterations, the E30 M3 was campaigned by BMW as well as other racing teams including Prodrive and AC Schnitzer competing in many forms of racing including rally as well as German, British, Italian, Belgian, French, and Australian touring. The production of the E30 road car was to homologate the M3 for Group A Touring Car racing. It was to compete with the "2.3-16V"-model of the Mercedes-Benz W201 190E that was introduced in 1983. In its final years of competition, the 2.5-litre S14 engine in full race trim was capable of over 250 hp (190 kW) naturally aspirated.
The E30 M3 road car
The road car engine produced 192 hp (143 kW) with a catalytic convertor and 197 hp (147 kW) without a catalytic convertor.
The "Evolution" model (also called "EVO2") produced up to 217 hp (162 kW). Other Evolution model changes included larger wheels (16 X 7.5 inches), thinner rear and side window glass, a lighter bootlid, a deeper front spoiler and additional rear spoiler.
Later the "Sport Evolution" model production run of 600 (sometimes referred as "EVO3") increased engine displacement to 2.5 L and produced 235 hp (175 kW). Sport Evolution models have enlarged front bumper openings and an adjustable multi-position front splitter and rear wing. Brake cooling ducts were installed in place of front foglights. An additional 786 convertibles were also produced.
Changes from the standard 3-series
The E30 M3 differed from the rest of the E30 line-up in many ways. The M3, although using the same basic unit-body shell as the standard E30, was equipped with 12 different and unique body panels for the purposes of improving aerodynamics, as well as "box flared" wheel-arches in the front and rear to accommodate a wider track with wider and taller wheels and tires. The only exterior body panels the standard model 3-series and the M3 shared were the bonnet, roof panel, and sunroof.
The E30 M3 differs from the standard E30 by having a 5x120 wheel bolt patern. The E30 M3 had increased caster angle through major front suspension changes. The M3 had specific solid rubber offset control arm bushings. It used aluminum control arms and the front strut tubes were changed to a design similar (bolt on kingpins and swaybar mounted to strut tube) to the E28 5-series. This included carrying over the 5 series front wheel bearings and brake caliper bolt spacing. The rear suspension is a carry over from the E30.
The E30 M3 had special front and rear brake calipers and rotors. It also has a special brake master cylinder.
The E30 M3 had one of two Getrag 265 5-speed gearboxes. US models received an overdrive transmission while European models were outfitted with a dogleg version, with first gear being down and to the left, and fifth gear being a direct 1:1 ratio. Rear differentials installed included a 4.10:1 final-drive ratio for US models. European versions were equipped with a 3.15:1 final drive ratio. All versions were clutch-type limited-slip differentials with 25% lockup.
To keep the car competitive in racing following year-to-year homologation rules changes, homologation specials were produced. Homologation (motorsport) rules roughly stated that the race version must reflect the street car aerodynamically and in engine displacement. These include: the Evo 1, Evo 2, and Sport Evolution some of which featured less weight, improved aerodynamics, taller front wheel arches (Sport Evolution; to further facilitate 18-inch (460 mm) wheels in DTM), brake ducting, and more power. Other limited-production models (based on evolution models but featuring special paintwork and/or unique interior schemes commemorating championship wins) include the Europa, Ravaglia, Cecotto, and Europameister.
Production of the original E30 M3 ended in early 1992.
The M3s were entered by BMW as well as private racing teams and its wins included the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft, British Touring Car Championship European Touring Car Championship, Australian Touring Car Championship, as well as the one-off World Touring Car Championship title in 1987. The E30 M3 is also a multiple winner of Guia Race, 24 Hours Nürburgring and Spa 24 Hours.
The M3 also saw service as a rally car, Prodrive-prepared examples contesting several national championships and selected rounds of the World Rally Championship between 1987 and 1989. By the latter year, the cars, based on the standard M3, were equipped with six-speed gearboxes and produced 295 bhp. The M3 was not competitive with the four-wheel-drive cars on loose surfaces, but a very effective car on asphalt. Its most notable success was victory on the Tour de Corse in 1987, driven by Bernard Beguin.
Notable publication accolades
In 2007, Automobile Magazine included the E30 M3 in their "5 greatest drivers cars of all time" under their 25 Greatest Cars of All Time.
- (2.3 L-16v I4) – 195 PS (143 kW; 192 hp) − 0–62 mph: 6.9 s. Top Speed: 146 mph (235 km/h)
- (2.3 L-16v I4) – 215 PS (158 kW; 212 hp) − 0–62 mph: 6.7 s. Top Speed: 149 mph (240 km/h)
- (2.5 L-16v I4) – 238 PS (175 kW; 235 hp) − 0–60 mph: 6.1 s. Top Speed: 154 mph (248 km/h)
|Model||Power (kW)||Coupe and saloon||Convertible|
|Euro model||143.5 kW (195 PS; 192 hp) / 147 kW (200 PS; 197 hp)||8,661|
|US model||143.5 kW (195 PS; 192 hp)||4,996|
|Evo 1||147 kW (200 PS; 197 hp)||505|
|Europa late model||158 kW (215 PS; 212 hp)||1,519|
|Evo 2||162 kW (220 PS; 217 hp)||500|
|Convertible||143.5 kW (195 PS; 192 hp) / 158 kW (215 PS; 212 hp)||786|
|Sport Evolution||175 kW (238 PS; 235 hp)||600|
|Sport Evolution Convertible||175 kW (238 PS; 235 hp)||1|
(all signed by Roberto Ravaglia)
|143.5 kW (195 PS; 192 hp)||148|
||158 kW (215 PS; 212 hp)||505|
|Total||= 16202 cars|
Significant victories in auto racing
- World Touring Car Championship; 1 title (1987)
- European Touring Car Championship; 2 titles (1987 and 1988)
- British Touring Car Championship; 2 titles (1988 and 1991)
- Italia Superturismo Championship; 4 titles (1987, 1989, 1990 and 1991)
- Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft; 2 titles (1987 and 1989)
- Australian Touring Car Championship; 1 title (1987)
- Guia Race; 5 wins (1987, 1988, 1991, 1992 and 1993)
- 24 Hours Nürburgring; 5 wins (1989–1992)
- Spa 24 Hours; 4 wins (1987, 1988, 1990 and 1992)
- World Rally Championship; 1 win (Tour de Corse, 1987)
Rosslyn, South Africa
Toluca, Mexico (BMW Mexico)
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||4-door saloon
|Related||BMW 3 Series|
|Engine||S50B30 3.0 L (1992–1995)
S50B32 3.2 L (1995–1999)
6 Speed SMG
|Wheelbase||106.3 in (2,700 mm)
Convertible: 106.7 in (2,710 mm)
|Length||174.5 in (4,432 mm)
Lightweight: 178.0 in (4,521 mm)
|Width||67.3 in (1,709 mm)
saloon: 66.9 in (1,699 mm)
|Height||52.6 in (1,336 mm)
saloon: 53.7 in (1,364 mm)
|Curb weight||1,460 kg (3,219 lb)
Convertible: 1,560 kg (3,439 lb)
The E36 M3 debuted in February 1992 and was in the dealer's showrooms in November that year; it was the first M3 powered by a straight-6 engine. The engine used is a 2,990 cc (182 cu in) S50, which produces 210 kW (282 hp).
Initially available as a coupé only, BMW introduced M3 convertible/cabriolet and saloon versions in 1994, the absence of any M5 models in the BMW line-up between the end of E34 M5 production in 1995 and the launch of the E39 M5 in 1998 prompting the introduction of the four-door Motorsport model.
Also in 1994, BMW produced the limited-edition M3 GT as a racing homologation special; all GTs were British Racing Green and featured an upgraded 295 PS (217 kW; 291 hp) 3.0-litre engine. 356 GTs were built.
In September and November 1995, the M3 coupé and saloon, respectively, were upgraded to the 236 kilowatts (316 hp) 3.2 litre S50B32 engine. At the same time, the cars received clear indicator lenses, new wheels and a 6-speed gearbox. The convertible did not receive these changes until February 1996.
The majority of E36 M3s were produced at the Regensburg factory; however, a small number of detuned right hand drive M3s were assembled at BMW's Rosslyn plant in Pretoria, South Africa. In total, 46,525 coupés, 12,114 Cabriolets and 12,603 saloons were produced. Saloon production ended in December 1997; the coupé ceased production in late 1998; and the convertible in December 1999.
The E36 chassis M3 was touted as one of the best handling cars of the 90s in independent tests by Car & Driver. Known for its benign handling and balance, the car is popular amongst circuit racers and track enthusiasts. The E36 was also one of the first cars BMW designed mainly with computer aid with the use of detailed Finite Element Analysis and other software.
North American models
The first E36 M3 to be imported to the United States was the 1995 model, which used the S50B30US engine with 240 bhp (179 kW; 243 PS) and 305 N·m (225 lb·ft), a different suspension setup and a 0-60 mph (97 km/h) time in about six seconds. It was available with five-speed manual and automatic transmissions.
A LTW (Lightweight) M3 was produced in limited numbers for the 1995 model year:
The 1996–1999 model years had displacement bumped up to 3.2 litres, still with 240 bhp (179 kW; 243 PS), but torque increases to 320 N·m (240 lb·ft) which is the same S52B32US engine used in the early M Roadster and M Coupe. The manual gearbox remains a 5-speed despite the European versions being upgraded to 6-speed. It was also available as a saloon starting in model year 1997, and as convertible in 1998. Production of the saloon was halted in 1998, while the other models continued until 1999.
US sales figures include a total of 18,961 coupés, 7,760 saloons and 6,211 convertibles.
Other notable differences between North American and their European counterparts were as follows: Floating rotors were standard on the Canadian and European cars, but absent from the American variations. As well, the differential and rear axles on the North American cars were of lighter duty builds than the Euro cars.
All late model M3's received subframe re-inforcements and more aggressive front end suspension geometry due to the differences in caster and camber yielded by top hat design and lower control arm bushings.
In 2012, an E36 M3 driven by Daniel Merkins and Ryan Smiley of Team GotOrgans? competed in the Alcan 5000 Winter Rally, a rally starting in Seattle to the Arctic Circle and back, marking the first time that an M3 had competed in this gruelling motorsport event. The M3 was an unprecedented vehicle choice for this rally, however, it proved to be one of the most reliable cars competing that year, never citing a breakdown or hard start in the cold, as well as never becoming snowbound.
|Version||Power||Torque||0–60 mph||Top Speed|
|3.0 L-24v I6|
|Euro||210 kW (286 PS; 282 hp)||320 N·m (236 lb·ft)||
||155 mph (250 km/h) (electronically limited)|
|Euro GT||216 kW (294 PS; 290 hp)||323 N·m (238 lb·ft)||
||155 mph (250 km/h) (electronically limited)|
|U.S.||179 kW (243 PS; 240 hp)||305 N·m (225 lb·ft)||
||137 mph (220 km/h) (electronically limited)|
|3.2 L-24v I6|
|Euro||236 kW (321 PS; 316 hp)||350 N·m (258 lb·ft)||
||155 mph (250 km/h) (electronically limited)|
|U.S.||179 kW (243 PS; 240 hp)||320 N·m (236 lb·ft)||
||139 mph (224 km/h) (electronically limited)|
The E36 M3 was also available as a saloon in the UK for a limited period during 1995–6, during which around 400 RHD models were sold in the UK. This variation had slightly softer suspension but could be purchased with the firmer coupe set-up if the customer wished. Performance figures did not change with the standard 286 bhp (213 kW; 290 PS) (more than the US model by some margin). The 3.2 Evo was introduced with 316 bhp (236 kW; 320 PS) .
E36 special models
There were six special-edition models of the E36 M3 produced: the M3 Euro-Spec (Canadian Edition), M3 LTW, M3 GT, M3 GT-R, M3-R, and the Imola Individual (often referred to as the GT2) (the last of the E36s)
There was also an M3 Anniversary Edition only produced in 1999 for Australia. This was the final year of production for the E36, with only 50 coupes and 70 convertibles being made. Furthermore, "BMW Individual" were able to custom design an M3 with specific coloured leather, woodgrain and other personalized options including polished magnesium alloy wheels from the Anniversary edition. Convertibles lacked the sports seats found in the coupe but retained every other feature.
M3 Euro-Spec (Canadian Edition)
In 1994 agreements existed between Canada and several countries in Europe which allowed any car authorized in one participating country to legally be sold in any of the others. Though BMW had unveiled the next generation E36 M3 in Europe in 1992, the company felt that the production version would need to be priced much higher for export to North America than the market would allow. While the engineers worked on a less expensive North American version of the E36 M3, BMW Canada seized the window of opportunity: 45 numbered European specification M3 coupes were specially produced and imported into Canada.
Even with a base price of $59,900 (a substantial sum for the day given that the standard equipment list did not include forged lightweight wheels, air conditioning, a sunroof or even metallic paint), all 45 cars were spoken for in 3 days. Unlike the other special versions of the E36 M3, buyers were free to choose any colours and options they wanted on their cars. The cars all came equipped with the 286 PS (210 kW; 282 hp) 3.0 L inline 6-cylinder engine, vented brakes with floating rotors, glass headlights and other European standard equipment. They were initially delivered to Toronto, then shipped all across the country to the dealerships where they were ordered.
Canada would not see another E36 M3 for sale until two years later, when BMW finally made the American versions of the 1997 M3 available for sale. Forty five Euro-Spec Canadian Edition cars were built, each one having a numbered engraved plaque in both the glovebox and the custom leather case which holds the owners manuals. Only the Australian M3-R was built in lower numbers.
M3 Lightweight (LTW) (E36)
Beginning with the first E36 M3s delivered, BMW racers began pressuring BMW for a homologation version with which to compete against Porsche 911s in sports-car racing. A homologation version is a car with special modifications from the factory that are allowed in racing as "production" cars, if enough cars are made and sold.
In 1995, BMW relented and offered the M3 LTW. The major changes to the car were to lower the weight for racing. The cars came without a radio (although the speakers were installed and the car pre-wired for the radio), air conditioning (later offered as a dealer installed option), leather seats, tool kit, or a sun roof. The doors have aluminum skins. There is no underhood insulation blanket and the trunk only has carpet on the floor. The under body insulation is thinner and there is special carpeting to lower weight. Overall the changes added up to 200 -300 pounds less than a standard M3.
The engines were specially selected from the assembly line for the highest power. The ECU had the top speed limiter removed. The cars also came with a 3.23 rear axle ratio versus the standard 3.15 of the 1995 M3s. The cars were fitted with a sport suspension with stiffer springs and shocks.
Cosmetically the M3 LTW came only in Alpine White with the Motorsports flag decals on the left front and right rear corners of the car. There is an aggressive wing on the trunk lid. There was some carbon fiber interior trim and the badges (side molding and dash) say "BMW Motorsports International." The seat fabric is black with a red pattern.
Upon completion they were sent to Prototype Technology Group (PTG) Racing in Virginia for final preparation, which included the front and rear Motorsport flag decals, and "trunk kit." In the trunk there was a different oil pan with special oil pump, longer oil dipstick tube, front strut bar, lower x brace, spacer blocks to raise the rear wing, and an adjustable front splitter. The oil pump was actually two pumps, one for feeding oil to the engine as normal, the second fed from a second pick up at the front of the pan and pumped the oil back into the sump to prevent build up of oil in the shallow area of the oil pan. Each new owner was given a 1 page legal document to sign stating that any installation of trunk items voided the new car warranty. Later cars did not come with the "trunk kit" in the trunk, but with a form that allowed the owner to order the items at no cost.
Unique forged 17-inch alloy wheels, 7 1⁄2 inches wide in the front and 8 1⁄2inches wide in the rear, mounted with identically sized 235/40-17 tires front and rear were an additional difference from the standard 17 × 7 1⁄2-inch cast alloy wheels mounted with 235/40-17 tires on standard M3s.
Although BMW promised to build approximately 100, BMW never released the number of M3 LTWs built, and because of the peculiar assembly line, to this day may not be known. However, enthusiasts now believe that there exist approximately 125 built, with some 116 sold to the public.
The first two cars, which were used as press cars, are not technically M3 LTWs as they were regular production M3s that PTG made similar in appearance to the not-yet-built LTW. After press duties, those two cars were brought back into the PTG stable.
Outside of multiple cars raced in the BMW CCA Club Racing series (an amateur series specific only to BMW models) PTG had between two to four models that they raced in IMSA. It seems that one of those cars was sold to Jeff McMillian, in which he won the SCCA World Challenge series, without winning a single race. One was raced in the SCCA's Touring 1 class by John Browne. The now defunct team Massari Muller won the 1998 Motorola Cup "Grand Sport class" championship with drivers Terry Borcheller and Andy Pilgrim in an M3
The M3 GT Coupe was a limited-edition mainland Europe-only edition of which 356 were made; 50 were made in right-hand drive for the UK market and were built in 1995 February–June. Six prototypes were made in December 1994.
Famous for being British Racing Green (#312) with a Mexico Green interior – a peculiar choice when the traditional German national racing colour is silver.[clarification needed]
The BMW M3 GT was a homologation series special built to allow the E36 M3 to compete in the FIA-GT class II, IMSA GT and international long-distance races.
It differed from the standard M3 with a deeper, adjustable, front spoiler with corner splitters, higher rear double wing, doors in aluminium. Forged BMW Motorsport wheels, 17x7,5 in front and 17x8,5 in rear, stiffer suspension in front, x-brace and strut brace. Engine had raised compression (10,8:1), slightly changed intake and camshafts (264 deg duration), motorsport oil pump and double oil pickups in the special oil pan as well as special software for engine and VANOS, producing 295 bhp at 7100 rpm and 323 Nm at 3900 rpm. The M3 GT was around 30 kg lighter than the standard M3 and had a derestricted top speed of 275 kmh.
M3 Evolution Imola Individual (M3 GT2)
The M3 Evolution Imola Individual was a limited-edition (200 units for Europe with part VIN WBACB5103-AN307--, 50 for the United Kingdom) car sometimes referred to as the M3 GT2. The engine and performance characteristics of the car were unchanged from the 1996+ euro M3, and a special exterior and interior colour combination was once again chosen by BMW; Imola red (405) paint with Nappa leather & Amaretto seats in Imola red and anthracite seats. It also included side airbags, the M3 GT Class II rear spoiler, front class II corner spoiler extensions, electric seats, and double-spoke polished alloy wheels.
Prior to the release of the Imola Individual there was a pre-production model made which was used as the basis of the special edition, it featured the Class II front and rear spoilers, special order Imola red Paint, special order Nappa + Anthracite Amaretta interior, SMG gearbox, GSM Phone Kit, headlamp washers and double-spoke polished alloy wheels.
This car is believed to be the car BMW used for the Imola individual advertising, though not officially confirmed. The car was professionally converted to a 6-speed manual in June 2010 when the SMG Gearbox failed.
Fifteen M3s were ordered by BMW Australia in 1994 to race in the Australian Super Production series. All were delivered to Tony Longhurst Racing for final preparation by the Frank Gardner run team. Eleven were made available to the general public, (who have to possess a CAMS license to be allowed to buy one), four were retained for the race series, the M3-R had locally sourced King springs fitted to Group N adjustable struts and rear perches, AP Racing twin plate clutch and four piston brake calipers, dual pickup sump, an oil restrictor in the head, A C Schnitzer cams, a 3.25:1 ratio medium case diff and M5 driveshaft, cold air snorkel into air filter box replacing left hand fog light, non functional rear seat, air conditioner delete and more aggressive tune, GT front splitter and rear spoiler with extensions and gurney strips. This was the most powerful production E36 made with 240 kW (326 PS; 322 hp). A bolt-in FIA approved roll cage was also a factory option (locally produced by Dencar) there were several differences between the cars depending on customer requirements, early numbers had non-staggered BBS wheels, later had staggered BBS wheels (individually numbered plaque fitted to centre console below emergency brake lever)
The E36 M3 GTR is the road-going version of the competition machine built to compete in the 1994 ADAC German GT Cup Touring Car series. Essentially a race car with license plates,
To celebrate the 50th birthday of the German automobile magazine Auto Motor und Sport in 1996, BMW M GmbH hand-built (at least) one official BMW E36 M3 compact. The car was tested and described in the June edition of the magazine.
The car embodied all the mechanical (engine, driveline, suspension) and visual (bumpers, wheels, mirrors, dashboard) characteristics of the stock E36 M3. It was powered by the 321 DIN-hp 3.2-litre engine, and its colour was red with a black cloth/alcantara interior. It had the forged Styling 24M 5-doublespoke wheels that came standard on the M3 cabriolet, an exhaust with fairly centered quad exhaust tip, Recaro sports bucket seats, red four-point seat belts and an alcantara wrapped steering wheel and gear lever.
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door coupe
|Related||BMW 3 Series|
|Engine||3.2 L I6|
|Transmission||6 Speed Manual
6 Speed SMG Drivelogic
|Wheelbase||107.5 in (2,731 mm)|
|Length||2001–02: 176.8 in (4,491 mm)
2003–06: 176.9 in (4,493 mm)
|Width||70.1 in (1,781 mm)|
|Height||Coupe: 54.0 in (1,372 mm)
2001–02 Convertible: 53.7 in (1,364 mm)
2003–06 Coupe: 53.9 in (1,369 mm)
|Curb weight||Coupe: 3,415 lb (1,549 kg)|
The E46 M3, first introduced in October 2000, appeared worldwide with the new 3.2 L S54 M-tuned engine. At the time of the car's introduction, this engine had the highest specific output naturally aspirated of any engine ever made by BMW (except in the McLaren F1), producing 343 horsepower (256 kW) and 365 N·m (269 lb·ft). It was only available in coupe and convertible bodies as the saloon version was dropped.
The E46 M3 was offered with a standard 6-speed Getrag transmission, but optionally came with a SMG drivelogic transmission (also known as the SMG II). This is the standard 6-speed Getrag transmission with an electrohydraulically actuated clutch (no clutch pedal). Shifts are made via the SMG gear knob or the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. The engine had a redline of 8,000 rpm. As with most M engines, the S54 again had 6 independent throttle bodies and this time electronically operated throttles (drive-by-wire throttle with no cable).
In the U.S., the E46 M3 came with similar engine output as the European version, unlike in the E36, whose engine was derived from the M50/52 series engine. Power was now at 333 bhp (248 kW; 338 PS) due to close-coupled catalytic converters closer to the engine exhaust ports. In 2009, Road and Track magazine announced the 2006 M3 with the SMG transmission as its favorite sports car of all time.
The M3's S54 naturally aspirated engine produces 343 PS (252 kW; 338 hp) / 3.2-litre.
- 343 PS (252 kW; 338 hp) @ 7900 rpm
- Torque: 365 N·m (269 lb·ft) @ 4900 rpm
- 0-100 km/h (62 mph) — 5.1 s for manual and SMG, 5.5 s for cabriolet
- 1/4 Mile — 13.3 s @ 104 mph (167.4 km/h)
- Top Speed: 155 mph (250 km/h)(electronically limited); 191.38 mph (308.00 km/h) (delimited)
- Skid Pad: 0.89 g
- 333 hp (248 kW; 338 PS)
- Torque: 262 lb·ft (355 N·m)
- 0-60 mph (97 km/h) — 4.8 s for manual and SMG, 5.6 s for cabriolet
- 4.5 s is reported for E46 M3 manual transmission via independent magazine.
- 0–60 mph — 5.1 s for cabriolet as measured by Car and Driver magazine
- 1/4 mile – Coupe: 13.0 s @ 104 mph (167 km/h), convertible: 13.7 s @ 104 mph (167 km/h)
- Top speed – Coupe: 155 mph (250 km/h) (electronically limited), 170 mph (270 km/h) (delimited)
- Skid pad – Coupe: 0.89 g, convertible: 0.81 g
E46 special models
There were four models of E46 M3s produced: Model M3 (Sport, Winter, Competition), the M3 CSL, the M3 GTR V8 (limited production) and the M3 CS (Club Sport).
An E46 GTR came to life in February 2001, powered by the P60B40 a 3,997 cc V8 producing 493 hp (368 kW; 500 PS). Unlike the straight-six powered M3 versions, which were outpaced by the Porsche 996 GT3, the racing version of the E46 M3 GTR 16 was very successful in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), entered by Schnitzer Motorsport.
Rivals such as Porsche pointed out that this car was more of a prototype as no V8 engine was available in the road-going BMW E46, which is in violation of the spirit of Gran Turismo. In 2001, ALMS regulations stated that cars must be for sale on two continents within twelve months of the rules being issued. To fulfill this rule, BMW put 10 road going GTRs on sale after the 2001 season, for 250,000 euros (then $218,000) each.
The ALMS rules were altered for 2002 to state that 100 cars and 1,000 engines must be built for the car to qualify without penalties. Although BMW could have raced the V8 with the new weight and power penalties under these new regulations, they chose to pull out of the ALMS, effectively ending the short-lived M3 GTR's career.
Two Schnitzer Motorsport GTR cars saw a comeback in 2003 at the 24 Hours Nürburgring, winning 1–2 in 2004 and 2005, as well as entries in the 24 Hours Spa. Onboard coverage recorded in 2004 Hans-Joachim Stuck, Pedro Lamy, Jörg Müller and Dirk Müller on the Nürburgring and Spa-Francorchamps.
The car is widely known to be portrayed as the main character's car with a distinctive blue and white livery in Need for Speed: Most Wanted and Carbon. It is also appeared in the 2012 Most Wanted as downloadable content.
The BMW M3 CSL (Coupé Sport Leichtbau) was a limited edition version of the M3, with only 1,400 cars being produced for its 2004 model year run. The CSL was never released into the North American market, and was only available in two colours – Silver Grey Metallic and Black Sapphire Metallic.
As its name suggests, an emphasis was put on reducing weight. The M3 CSL has a curb weight of 1,385 kg (3,053 lb), 110 kg (240 lb) lighter than the regular M3. The CSL features many weight saving technologies taken from BMW's Formula One racing applications. A large proportion of the M3's sound insulation has been removed, along with electric seats and navigation systems. Air conditioning and stereo systems could be retrofitted free of cost, but were not available standard. The CSL's unique body pieces are all crafted from carbon fiber reinforced polymer. Glass-reinforced plastics are used throughout structural points in the car. The standard rear window was replaced with one made from thinner glass. Although the CSL loses a considerable amount of curb weight from its original version, the focus was put on strategically reducing or moving the weight in the car rather than the raw amount of weight that could be lost. This is to retain the ideal 50:50 weight distribution characteristics the E46 has. For example, the roof is constructed from carbon fiber reinforced plastic. While this only reduces the curb weight of the car by 7 kg (15 lb), it lowers the center of gravity of the car and decreases body flex.
In order to improve the handling ability of the car, the entire suspension system was further refined. Specially developed racing springs and dampers are given to the CSL, and a tightened steering ratio (14.5:1 vs 15.4:1 on the regular M3) improves responsiveness. The braking system is also modified, with larger front and rear floating rotors and calipers from the E39 M5. The CSL is given a retuned dynamic stability control system with a "M track mode" setting that allows the car to be pushed to its absolute limits before being activated.
The CSL also has various aesthetic modifications over the standard M3. It received an aerodynamic lightweight body kit which included carbon fiber front splitters that improved downforce at high speeds by 50%, as well as a carbon fiber rear diffuser. The front bumper has a distinct hole that is used to draw cool air into the newly designed air intake. The trunk floor is made of lightweight fiberboard. The trunk lid is redesigned to incorporate a raised lip, unlike the standard M3 where one is simply added onto a flat trunk. The CSL was sold with distinct 19-inch lightweight cast BBS alloy rims that came with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup semi-slick racing tires. The interior of the CSL is redesigned with a sporty-weight saving theme. The CSL obtains fiberglass front racing bucket seats, and fiberglass backed rear seats. The center console, door panels and trim, and headliner are all formed from carbon fiber, and the steering wheel is redesigned with cruise control, stereo, and phone controls removed to include just a single button that activates the M track mode.
Unlike the standard M3, which was offered with a standard 6-speed Getrag transmission, or optionally a SMG drivelogic transmission (also known as the SMG II), the CSL was offered only with the SMG II transmission. This is the standard 6-speed Getrag transmission with an electrohydraulically actuated clutch pedal, similar to a Formula One style transmission. However, the CSL received a more advanced drivelogic unit than the standard M3 that was capable of making shifts in 0.08 second.
M3 CS (Competition Package)
While it is known as the M3 Competition Package (ZCP) in the US and mainland Europe, it is also known as the M3 CS (Club Sport) in the UK.
Although the M3 CSL was never exported to the United States, for 2005 BMW introduced an M3 Competition Package in both Europe and the US (a.k.a. CS/Club Sport in the UK): a $4,000 option which offered a number of upgrades taken from M3 CSL. The package includes:
- 19-inch BBS spin-cast (flow formed) alloy wheels (marketed as "forged"); 19"x8"front, 19"x9.5"rear: weigh 26 lb (12 kg).
- Specially tuned spring rates for the Competition Package; this was carried over to all M3 production from 12/04 on.
- CSL steering rack: More direct steering ratio of 14.5:1 (vs. standard M3's 15.4:1)
- CSL's M-Track Mode DSC with a button mounted on the steering wheel (deletion of cruise control and steering wheel mounted radio/phone controls)
- CSL's Compound cross-drilled rotors; larger front rotor of 13.6 inches (from 12.6 inches) with black painted calipers
- Alcantara steering wheel and hand brake
- Interlagos Blue exterior paint available as an exclusive colour option.
- Unique cube aluminum interior trim
|Production||2007–2013(sedan dist 2011)|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||4-door (E90) saloon
2-door (E92) coupe
2-door (E93) convertible
|Related||BMW 3 Series|
|Engine||4.0 L S65 V8|
|Wheelbase||108.7 in (2,761 mm)|
2011– Coupe & Convertible: 181.8 in (4,618 mm)
2011– Coupe: 71.7 in (1,821 mm)
2011– Coupe & 2008–2010 Convertible: 55.6 in (1,412 mm)
Coupe: 1,580 kg (3,483 lb)
As was the case with the E46 M3 Concept and E60 M5 Concept, the M3 Concept had almost nothing of the looks of the production version, that had its world premiere on the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show IAA (Germany, 13 to 23 September).
It was originally set to be called M4 along with 3 Series coupes and convertibles that were to become the 4 Series, but due to the interest in retaining the M3 line, as well as the plan for a separate 4 series line, this change was scrapped.
Similar to the previous M3 generations that introduced a new engine, the fourth generation M3 did the same: the BMW S65 engine. The engine produces 414 bhp (309 kW; 420 PS) at 8300 rpm, with peak torque of 295 lb·ft (400 N·m) at 3900 rpm, A six-speed manual transmission is standard. As from April 2008, BMW offers a new seven speed Getrag double-clutch gearbox, called M-DKG (Doppel-Kupplungs-Getriebe) or M-DCT (Double Clutch Transmission) as an option, which reduces shift pauses to less than a tenth of a second and shortens the car's 0-100 km/h (62 mph) sprint time by 0.2 seconds vs. manual. It features both automatic and manual modes similar to the SMG gearboxes in the E36 and E46, but with more speed and efficiency.
The E92 M3 coupe inherited a carbon-fiber roof similar to the one used on the E46 CSL. For 2011, the E9x M3 received a model refresh commonly referred to as a LCI (Life Cycle Impulse) by BMW. Those changes included minor interior trim pieces and LED rear tail-lights. Recent testing by Car and Driver magazine has shown that the 2011 M3 equipped with an M-DCT transmission accelerated from 0–60 mph in 3.9 seconds and went on to record a 12.4 second quarter mile time. This is almost half a second quicker than 2008–2010 M3 models with the same engine and transmission.
The new M3 is again available as a 4-door saloon, based on the E90 3-Series saloon, but unlike the regular saloons, the M3 version shares the coupé's wide and sculpted front end, including headlights. Saloons, however, do not get the coupé's carbon-fiber roof, and are 22 lb (10 kg) heavier than identically equipped coupés.
Although BMW M3 saloon front-end design matches the specific look and high-performance character of the Coupé; the side-sills and rear diffuser are tailored for the saloon. The M3 saloon is powered by the same engine as the other two versions. In 2008, a four-door (E90), six-speed manual transmission M3 accelerated to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.3 seconds in a Motor Trend test, matching the performance of the M3 Coupé.
The E93 hardtop convertible version joined the M3 lineup shortly after the E92's launch, and is based directly on the M3 Coupé. The convertible uses a power retractable hardtop which adds 441 lb (200 kg) to the weight of the car, bringing the total to 1,810 kg (3,990 lb)  with a negative impact on the convertible's overall performance. The convertible features a special leather surface for the seats that reflect sunlight to reduce the tendency of seats to become uncomfortably hot with the top down.
E90, E92, and E93 performance
Official times as published by BMW (6-speed manual times in parentheses):
- Coupe/Sedan 0-100 km/h 4.6 s (4.8 s)
- Coupe/Sedan 0–60 mph 4.5 s (4.7 s)
- Convertible 0–100 km/h 5.1 s (5.3 s)
- Convertible 0–60 mph 4.9 s (5.1 s)
- Coupe/Sedan 80-120 km/h in 4th/5th gear 4.9/6.0 s (4.2/5.2 s)
- Convertible 80-120 km/h in 4th/5th gear 5.7/7.1 s (5.0/6.3 s)
- 0–60 mph 3.9 s measured by Car and Driver magazine (2011 E92 w/ DCT)
- 1/4 mile: 12.4 s @ 114 mph measured by Car and Driver magazine. (2011 E92 w/ M-DCT Trans)
- 1/4 mile: 13.1 s @ 109 mph (2009 E93 Convertible w/ M-DCT Trans)
- Top Speed: 155 mph (electronically limited) Delimited: 203 mph (327 km/h)
- Skid Pad: 0.98 g
- Slalom: 114.9 km/h (71.4 mph)
E92 M3 ZCP Competition Package
For 2011, BMW added the ZCP Competition Package to the M3’s lineup. Unlike the ZCP offered on the previous generation E46, the newest package didn’t change very much about the E92. Most of the adjustments were made to suspension components and the computer governing stability control. The changes for the E92 ZCP are as follows:
- The suspension has been lowered by 10mm. The spring rates are the same, but the springs themselves are shorter, to compensate for the shorter stance. The suspension’s shock damping was also adjusted by the M division. This was in order to compensate for the lower ride height, primarily for rebounding damping rates as opposed to actual compression.
- The Electronic Damper Control in the “Sport Mode” has been modified. A quote taken from the Manager of BMWNA’s M Division, Larry Koch: “The Sport Mode before ZCP was locked at 75% of the way to full stiff. It still has that as a default, but is now variable like the ‘Comfort’ and ‘Normal’ modes.” This translates to a stiffer ride whilst sport mode is engaged, aiding heavy cornering on a track at a cost to ride comfort when driving normally on the road.
- Modifications have been made to the computer governing the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) in M Dynamic Mode. It is reworked and renamed to “Dynamic Traction Control” (DTC) which allows for larger angles of slip in heavy cornering. This translates to the rear end sliding out further than would be allowed on a non-ZCP M3 before the DTC kicks in to stop the tail slide. Also, once the DTC does kick in, instead of cutting power to the wheels in order to correct the slide (which is normal for the DSC on stock M3s), the DTC computer instead applies the brakes to individual wheels in order to keep the car from spinning excessively.
- In addition, forged 19 inch wheels in the same style as those on the E46 CSL are added to the car.
E92 M3 GTS
BMW announced the M3 GTS in November 2009. The car is powered by a 4.4-litre V8 based on the 4.0-litre engine found in the standard M3, which produces a maximum of 450 PS (331 kW; 444 hp). The car weighs 300 pounds less than the standard M3 due to various weight savings. A total of only 250 units were produced. This can accelerate from 0-62 mph in just 3.6 seconds and 0-100 mph in 7.8 seconds In Germany deliveries began in May 2010 while other countries were scheduled for the summer of 2010. The BMW E92 M3 GTS was priced at around €115,000 per unit. All E92 M3 GTS models have been sold.
E90 M3 CRT
The M3 CRT (Carbon Racing Technology) was announced in June 2011 as a 2012 model. It is powered by the same engine as the GTS, but in opposite to the GTS coupe with roll cage and 4-point harnesses, the CRT is a saloon with navigation, high-end sound system etc. as standard equipment. Despite these luxury extras, the car still weighs 100 pounds less than a regular M3 saloon. Compared to a saloon with the same luxury equipment, it weighs 155 pounds less. The production will be limited to 67 cars, all numbered with a plaque on the dashboard. And it is claimed that it can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in just 4.4 seconds.
E92 M3 DTM Champion Edition
BMW Motorsport returned to the DTM in 2012, and the "DTM Champion Edition" was built to commemorate it winning the championship. The "DTM Champion Edition" was available only in the Frozen Black paint finish with the same M stripes over the roof and boot lid as on Bruno Spengler’s race car. It also incorporated visual clues to the race car, such as carbon flaps and gurney, dark chrome elements and matt black wheels. The interior had some exclusive parts such as interior trim in carbon fibre, Alcantara steering wheel and "M Power" embroidered on the handbrake grip. Each car had a numbered plaque with Spengler's signature and the text "DTM champion 2012" above the glove box.
As the car was focused on high performance, options as M Drive, M DCT Drivelogic and the M Driver’s Package were fitted as standard equipment. For the car to have everyday usability, options as navigation system, heated seats and PDC were also standard.
The DTM Champion Edition was produced from February 2013, in a limited number of 54 cars, the same number as BMW's victories in DTM. In Germany, the price started at €99,000.00 including VAT.
E92 M3 Lime Rock Park Edition
The M3 Lime Rock Park Edition production run was limited to 200 cars, painted in Fire Orange. All 200 of these 2013 vehicles came with carbon fiber performance parts, such as roof, front splitter, rear spoiler, competition package, a lowered ride height in front of .60 inches, track style steering with fewer turns to lock and a lightweight muffler, courtesy of BMW's MGmbh division. BMW claims the model has no added horsepower, however, when marketing the lightweight Inconel-titanium BMW Motorsports Exhaust to stock M3 vehicles, BMW Claims that the system adds about 5 H.P. The Lime Rock Park editions were equipped with either 6 speed transmissions, or the optional DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission). No changes made to the original 4.0L V8 (414 HP, redline 8300 rpm); however the ECU is programmed slightly differently from standard M3 vehicles with less interference from the dynamic stability control and a less interfering traction control. Each LRP edition's governor is limited for achieving its natural top speed, which is claimed to be 187 MPH (Roughly 300 kph). Each M3 LRP Edition comes with a numbered plaque and paper certificate, each one reading "One of 200" instead of a numbering sequence. BMW did this to ensure none of the cars were worth more than another. 
E92 M3 GT2
BMW Motorsport announced in February 2008 that Rahal Letterman Racing will campaign two factory-backed E92 M3s in the American Le Mans Series in 2009, following a two-year absence by the brand. This was the cover car for the simulation racing game Need for Speed: Shift. Schnitzer Motorsport entered 2 cars at the 1000 km of Spa and finished 4th after a move by the Ferrari in the final corner. For 2010, BMW Motorsport has been granted entry in the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans and in the 2010 24 Hours Nürburgring. BMW Motorsport/Schnitzer Motorsport went onto to take an overall win at the 24 Hours Nürburgring with the #25 M3 GT2 of Jörg Müller, Augusto Farfus, Pedro Lamy, and Uwe Alzen while the top competitors from Porsche and Audi dropped out one by one. In addition, one of the M3 GT2's that competed at Le Mans (#79) has been chosen as the 17th BMW Art Car, which will be done by American artist, Jeff Koons. At the 24 Hours of Spa, BMW qualified 2nd and maintained 1st with the #79 car throughout the race until it succumbed to a suspension failure with just half an hour remaining, leaving the top spots to Porsche. The BMW M3s won the GT2 category in the ILMC 1000 km of Zhuhai. In 2011, the BMW achieved a 1,2 finish in the 12 Hours of Sebring. In the 2011 American Le Mans Series GT class, BMW Team RLL swept all categories, winning the GT manufacturer, team and driver championships. They contest another year in the ALMS GT class, coming off of another fantastic win at the 2012 60th running of the 12 Hours of Sebring. The M3 GT2 Race Car is to be replaced by the BMW Z4 GTE, a GT/GTE specification of the successful BMW Z4 GT3 beginning with the 2013 season of ALMS.
E92 M3 GT4
On 10 April 2009, the week after the debut of the GT4, BMW's Customer Racing program announced it had partnered with Schubert Motorsport (sponsored by Motorsport Arena Oschersleben) to run the BMW M3 GT4 in the 2009 24 Hours Nürburgring race, in the new class for GT4 cars, listed as SP10 there. The BMW M3 GT4 also raced in the Nürburgring VLN ADAC Westfalenfahrt in April 2009, taking the win in the SP10 class and finishing 30th overall. The 2009 24h race took place on the weekend of 23 and 24 May, with Jörg Müller, Andy Priaulx and sport auto journalist Jochen Übler at the wheel. Despite qualifying as best SP10/GT4 car at 57th overall and being at least 10 seconds per lap faster, the team finished third in the class, behind two Aston Martin V8 Vantage N24. The overall rank was 47th.
BMW Motorsport announced on 7 July 2009 the launch of a line of BMW M3 race cars which meet the SRO/FIA's GT4 spec and are oriented for sale to private teams and drivers. The BMW M3 GT4 price is 121,500 EUR without VAT. While BMW states that 'the BMW M3 GT4 weighs just 1,430 kilograms' and the '420 bhp engine remained largely untouched', the 2010 24 Hours Nürburgring "Balance of Performance" requires that the power must not exceed 390 PS, while the minimum weight is set to 1400 kg.
The M3 GT4 is offered in Europe as a homologated production race car for sale to the general public. According to Larry Koch, then BMW NA M-brand manager, a feasibility study is currently being conducted to evaluate the possible sale of the M3 GT4 in North America. However, without a sanctioned GT4-class racing series in the USA, the sale of the M3 GT4 in the States is not likely.
- Arthur St. Antoine of Motor Trend magazine says: "World's single greatest car? Seriously? Yes – the new BMW M3 is unquestionably a contender. Probably no other car combines so many virtues – speed, handling, good looks, roominess, practicality – into one package. Driving the new BMW M3 is an absolutely blissful experience, flooding your brain with dopamine as if you were arriving to courtside seats at the Lakers game with Jennifer Connelly on your arm." -and- "If you put an F1 car and a premium sedan in a blender, the M3 would be the cocktail that pours out. Mmmm, nothing else like it. A toast then: To the BMW M3, the greatest all-around car in the world."
- Mark Gillies of Car and Driver magazine says: "A car has got to be pretty spectacular to win over the curmudgeons here at 1585 Eisenhower Place, especially when familiarity sets in over the course of 40,000 miles. But our Sparkling Graphite Metallic M3 did indeed win us over.", and "Based on our experience, the current M3 is the world's all-around best car for the money, although several staffers would have preferred to trade some of the coupe's looks for the added practicality of the sedan.", and "This is the finest car on the market, period."
- Ezra Dyer of Automobile magazine once suggested that "...car magazines generally regard the M3 the same way a four-year-old regards Santa Claus."
- Jeremy Clarkson of BBC television show Top Gear says: "This [The M3] is the best car, and always will be, and there's no point in ever thinking otherwise."
- Mark Magrath of Edmunds Inside Line wrote these comments after driving a 2009 E90 M3 saloon in the canyons of Southern California: "This is the best most complete car in the world. It's actually a bargain for what you get. Wow."
- In the high-performance sports luxury niche (an entry-level luxury/compact executive car with a V8 engine), the E90 M3 (usually an E92 M3 Coupé being tested) has won comparison tests against rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, Lexus IS-F, Audi RS4, Audi RS5 and Cadillac CTS-V.
BMW will produce the F80 M3 for the 2014 model year, introducing it as only a saloon, as the coupe/convertible is expected to be spun off into a separate nameplate as the BMW M4, following the company's plans to split off the BMW 4 Series coupe/convertible from the BMW 3 Series. While the saloon F80 was expected to be introduced at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, as of July 2013 it has yet to be officially revealed.
This fifth generation M3 platform structure will be made of steel, with the bonnet and doors from aluminum. According to the other news, M3 production is closed and there will be no other M3 Coupe. The next M3 Coupe is called M4. M3 Convertible is still going production until September 2013.
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|1 Series Coupe/Convertible||E82/ E88|
|1 Series Hatchback||E81 / E87||F20|
|Compact exec||3 Series||E21||E30||E36||E46||E90 / E91 / E92 / E93||F30|
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|X6||E71 / E72|