BMW M3 explained

BMW M3
Class:Sports car
Compact executive car
Sport compact
Layout:FR layout

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 fierce competition from Mercedes-AMG and Audi quattro GmbH[1] [2] .

E30 M3

E30
Production:1986–1992
Body Style:2-door saloon
2-door convertible
Related:BMW 3 Series
Transmission:5-speed manual
Wheelbase:101.10NaN0
Assembly:Regensburg, Germany
Garching, Germany
Rosslyn, South Africa
Length:171.10NaN0
Height:53.90NaN0
Width:66.10NaN0
Weight:28650NaN0
Engine:2.3 L I4

Based on the 1986 model year E30 3-Series, the first M3 was introduced with a 2.3 L I4 S14B23 engine (also known as S14). The engine design was based on various BMW parts: basic block layout from the M10 4-cylinder (found in the 2002 and 320 series) overbored and reinforced to similar specifications of the BMW M88 inline-6. The valve train and head architecture from BMW's M1 and, later, M6 inline-6-cylinder was adopted for aggressive breathing.

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 250hp naturally aspirated.

The E30 M3 road car

The third car road-going version produced 1920NaN0 (catalyzed model) and 197.30NaN0 (non-catalyzed model). Evolution models (not sold in North America) continued with 2.3 litres but adopted a number of changes including a revised intake camshaft profile and modified exhaust camshaft timing, increased compression, and a more efficient cylinder head intake port design. Larger diameter exhaust header tubes along with the lack of a catalyst contributed to produce approximately 220hp. 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.[3] Later the Sport Evolution model production run of 600 (sometimes referred as Evolution III) increased engine displacement to 2.5 L and produced 2380NaN0. Sport Evolution models had higher lift intake and exhaust camshafts, 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

BodyThe 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.
SuspensionThe 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 where 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.
BrakesThe E30 M3 had special front and rear brake calipers and rotors. It also has a special brake master cylinder.
DrivelineThe 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.

Wrap up

To keep the car competitive in racing following year-to-year homologation rules changes, homologation specials were produced. Homologation 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 18inches 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 2004, Sports Car International named the E30 M3 car number six on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1980s.

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.

E30 performance

Production figures

ModelPower (kW)Coupe and saloonConvertible
Euro model143.50NaN0 / 1470NaN08,661
US model143.50NaN04,996
Evo 11470NaN0505
Europa late model1580NaN01,519
Evo 21620NaN0500
Convertible143.50NaN0 / 1580NaN0786
Sport Evolution1750NaN0600
Sport Evolution Convertible1750NaN01
Europameister
(all signed by Roberto Ravaglia)
143.50NaN0148
Cecotto
  • 25 as special edition Ravaglia
  • 50 as Cecotto Switzerland (throttled to 155 kW)
1580NaN0505
colspan=2Total= 16202 cars

Significant victories in auto racing

Championships

Races

E36 M3

E36
Production:1992–1999
71,242 built
Body Style:4-door saloon
2-door coupe
2-door convertible
Assembly:Regensburg, Germany
Rosslyn, South Africa
Toluca, Mexico
Related:BMW 3 Series
Transmission:5-speed automatic
5-speed manual
6-speed manual
6 Speed SMG
Wheelbase:106.30NaN0
Convertible: 106.70NaN0
Length:174.50NaN0
Lightweight: 1780NaN0
Height:52.60NaN0
saloon: 53.70NaN0
Width:67.30NaN0
saloon: 66.90NaN0
Weight:14600NaN0
Convertible: 15600NaN0
Engine:3.0 L I6 (1995)
3.2 L I6

The E36 M3 debuted in February 1992 and was in the dealers' showrooms in November that year; it was the first M3 powered by a six-cylinder engine, displacing 2990 cc and developing 2860NaN0. 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. The E36 is also the first M3 to be built in right-hand drive.

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 2950NaN0 3.0-litre engine. 350 GTs were built.

In September and November, 1995, the M3 coupé and saloon, respectively, were upgraded to a 321 PS (236 kW; 316 hp) 3.2-litre inline-6. 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.[4]

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.[5] 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 Cabriolet in December, 1999.

North American models

The first E36 M3 to be imported to the United States was the 1995 model, which received a 3.0 L 24-valve DOHC inline-six engine with 2400NaN0 and 305Nm (S50B30US), a different suspension setup and a 0-60mph time in about six seconds. It was available with 5-speed manual and automatic transmissions.

A CSL (Lightweight) M3 was produced in limited numbers for the 1995 model year:

The 1996–1999 model years had displacement bumped up to 3.2 L, still with 2400NaN0, but torque increases to 320Nm 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 coupes, 7,760 saloons and 6,211 convertibles.[6]

E36 performance

colspan=2VersionPower0–60 mphTop Speed
rowspan=43.0 L-24v I6
Euro2100NaN0
5.4 s[7]
155mph (electronically limited)
Euro GT2160NaN0
5.4 s
155mph (electronically limited)
U.S.1790NaN0
5.6 s
137mph[8] (electronically limited)
rowspan=33.2 L-24v I6
Euro2360NaN0
5.2 s
155mph (electronically limited)
U.S.1790NaN0
5.5 s
139mph (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 2860NaN0 (more than the US model by some margin).The 3.2 Evo was introduced with 3160NaN0 .

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 2860NaN0 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 race-ready version with which to compete against Porsche 911s in sports-car racing.

In 1995, BMW relented and began building batches of the M3 LTW at BMW Individual. 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 goodies." In the trunk there was a different oil pan with dual pick up oil pump, longer oil dipstick tube, front strut bar, lower x brace that owners could install at the risk of voiding the standard BMW warranty. The car also came with the normal M3 low wing mounted but most dealers installed the special high wing when prepping the car for sale. An adjustable front lower lip/spoiler was installed. Each new owner was given a 1 page legal document to sign stating that any installation of trunk items voided the new car warranty. The ECU had the top speed limiter removed which resulted in a drag induced top speed. Forged 17-inch alloy wheels, inches wide in the front and inches wide in the rear, mounted with identically sized 235/40-17 tires front and rear were an additional difference from the standard 17 × -inch cast alloy wheels mounted with 235/40-17 tires on standard M3s. A 3.23 rear differential was installed vs the normal 3.15 installed in 1995 model year M3s.[9]

Although BMW promised to build at least 85 examples, 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 120 models.

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.

Racing history

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

M3 GT

The M3 GT Coupe was a limited-edition mainland Europe only edition of which 356 were made, 50 further M3 GT Individuals were made in right-hand drive for the UK market. All were built in 1995.

Famous for being British Racing Green with a Mexico Green interior – a peculiar choice when the traditional German national racing colours were white with red numbers.

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 longdistance races.

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.

M3-R

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 2400NaN0. 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)

M3 GTR

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, it features a stripped out interior and lightweight body panels (dropping the curb weight to 1300 kg), bumper flares to accommodate the 18-inch wheels and tires, adjustable front and rear spoilers, a full roll cage and a 300 hp version of the S50 B30 engine. Only two street-legal examples were built.[10]

M3 compact

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.[11]

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.

E46 M3

E46 M3
Production:2001–2006
85,744 built[12]
Body Style:2-door coupe
2-door convertible
Assembly:Regensburg, Germany
Related:BMW X3
BMW 3 Series
Transmission:6 Speed Manual
6 Speed SMG Drivelogic
Wheelbase:107.50NaN0
Length:2001–02: 176.80NaN0
2003–06: 176.90NaN0
Height:Coupe: 540NaN0
2001–02 Convertible: 53.70NaN0
2003–06 Coupe: 53.90NaN0
Width:70.10NaN0
Engine:3.2 L I6
Weight:Coupe: 3415lb

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 engine ever made by BMW (except in the McLaren F1), producing 343HP and 365Nm. 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 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 3330NaN0 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.

E46 performance

The M3's S54 naturally aspirated engine produces 343PS / 3.2-litre.

EURO Models

US Models

E46 special models

There were three models of E46 M3s produced: Model M3 (Sport, Winter, Competition), the M3 CSL, and the M3 GTR V8 (limited production).

M3 GTR

An E46 GTR came to life on February 2001, powered by the P60B40 a 3,997 cc V8 producing 4930NaN0. 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.

Private teams (Scheid, Getrag, etc.) also have fit 3,997 cc BMW V8 engines into the E46 body to race on the Nürburgring, winning some VLN races in the last years.

M3 CSL

The BMW M3 CSL (Coupé Sport Leichtbau)[19] was a limited edition version of the M3, with only 1,400 cars being produced for its 2004 model year run.[20] 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 1385kg, 110kg lighter than the regular M3.[21] [22] [23] The CSL features many weight saving technologies taken from BMW's Formula One racing applications.[24] A large proportion of the M3's sound insulation has been removed, electric seats, and navigation systems. Air conditioning and stereo systems could be retrofitted free of cost, but were not available standard.[22] The CSL's unique body pieces are all crafted from carbon fiber reinforced polymer.[21] Glass-reinforced plastics are used throughout structural points in the car.[22] The standard rear window was replaced with one made from thinner glass.[25] 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.[26] This is to retain the ideal 50:50 weight distribution characteristics the E46 has.[21] For example, the roof is constructed from carbon fiber reinforced plastic.[21] While this only reduces the curb weight of the car by 7kg, it lowers the center of gravity of the car and decreases body flex.[26] In order to improve the handling ability of the car, the entire suspension system was further refined.[21] 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.[24] The braking system is also modified, with larger front and rear floating rotors and calipers from the E39 M5.[27] [28] 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.[24]

The 3.2 L engine used in the M3, the BMW S54, has been modified to increased output by 170NaN0 and 50NaN0 over the European M3.[28] [24] This is achieved through a high flow carbon fiber air intake, modified valve and camshaft timing, and a retuned DME.[28] [24] However, the engine is further modified in order to reduce weight – it features a lightweight exhaust manifold and thinner exhaust piping.[24] Additionally, the intake and exhaust manifolds are slightly straightened to improve engine responsiveness.[27]

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%,[21] 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.[21] 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.[21] The CSL was sold with distinct 19-inch lightweight cast BBS alloy rims that came with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup semi-slick racing tires.[28] [29] The interior of the CSL is redesigned with a sporty-weight saving theme. The CSL obtains fiberglass front racing bucket seats,[21] and fiberglass backed rear seats.[21] The center console, door panels and trim, and headliner are all formed from carbon fiber,[28] [21] 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.[28]

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.[24] This is the standard 6-speed Getrag transmission with an electrohydraulically actuated clutch pedal, similar to a Formula One style transmission.[28] However, the CSL received a more advanced drivelogic unit than the standard M3 that was capable of making shifts in 0.08 of a second.[28] [24]

M3 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:

E90/92/93 M3

E90/92/93
Production:2007–present
Body Style:4-door (E90) saloon
2-door (E92) coupe
2-door (E93) convertible
Related:BMW 3 Series
Transmissions:6-speed manual
7-speed M-DCT
Wheelbase:108.70NaN0
Assembly:Regensburg, Germany
Length:2011– Coupe & Convertible: 181.80NaN0
2011– saloon: 180.40NaN0
2008–2010 Coupe: 181.40NaN0
2008–2010 Convertible: 181.70NaN0
Height:2011– Coupe & 2008–2010 Convertible: 55.60NaN0
2008–2011 saloon: 570NaN0
2011– Convertible: 54.80NaN0
2008–2010 Coupe: 54.20NaN0
Width:2011– Coupe: 71.70NaN0
2011– saloon: 71.50NaN0
2011– Convertible: 710NaN0
Weight:Coupe: 3704lb
saloon: 3726lb
Convertible: 4145lb
Engine:4.0 L V8

The fourth generation BMW M3 was announced on the 2007 Geneva Auto Show (Switzerland, March 6–18th, 2007) with the BMW M3 concept. As was the case with the E46 M3 Concept and E60 M5 Concept, the M3 Concept hid almost nothing of the looks of the production version, that had its world premiere on the 2007 Frankfurt Auto Show IAA (Germany, September 13 to 23rd). 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, 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 S65B40 is a naturally aspirated, high-revving 4-litre V8 that is based on the 5-litre S85B50 V10 that powered the E60/E61 M5 and the E63/E64 M6. It delivers 4140NaN0 at 8300 rpm, with peak torque of 295lbft at 3900 rpm, which represents a power increase of 22% over the E46 M3. The engine weighs 15kg less than the outgoing six-cylinder for a total weight of 202kg. 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 0-100km/h 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 2009, 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.[30] 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 220NaN0 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 600NaN0 in 4.3 seconds in a Motor Trend test,[31] 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 4410NaN0 to the weight of the car, bringing the total to 41450NaN0 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.[32]

A CSL lightweight version did not materialize and the M division has stated they did not plan to offer an e9x M3 CSL and had instead focused on producing M versions of the X5 and X6, in a significant departure from M's historic practices[33]

E90, E92, and E93 performance

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 4500NaN0. The car weighs 300 pounds less than the standard M3 due to various weight savings. A total of only 250 units will be produced.In Germany deliveries begin in May 2010 while other countries are scheduled for the summer. The BMW E92 M3 GTS will start at €115,000 per unit.[36] All E92 M3 GTS models have now been sold.[37]

E90 M3 CRT

The M3 CRT (Carbon Racing Technology) was announced in June 2011 as a 2012 model.[38] It's 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.

Racing

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 . 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.[39] 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.

E92 M3 GT4

On April 10, 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 May 23 and 24, with Jörg Müller, Andy Priaulx and sport auto journalist Jochen Übler at the wheel. Despite qualifying as best SP10/GT4 car at 57th[40] overall and being at least 10 seconds per lap faster, the team finished third[41] in the class, behind two Aston Martin V8 Vantage N24. The overall rank was 47th.[42]

BMW Motorsport announced on July 7, 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.[43] While BMW states[44] 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"[45] 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.

Critical reception

BMW M3 Challenge

The "BMW M3 Challenge" is a freeware racing simulation developed by Blimey! Games for simulation and entertainment purposes. The PC game includes single and multi-player modes and represents a high level of fidelity with the real-life E92 M3 and includes damage modelling.[53]

BMW M3 Challenge features a drivable representation of the GP portion of the famous Nürburgring German race track.[54]

External links

Notes and References

  1. Web site: BMW M3 Celebrating 20 Years of a Sporting Legend. 2-27-2012. http://www.worldcarfans.com. 2-27-2008.
  2. Web site: BMW M3 – The Evolution of the Benchmark. 08-04-2011. clubsportiva.com. 2-27-2012.
  3. Walton, Jeremy. BMW 3-Series Enthusiast's Companion. Bentley Publishers, 2001, pp. 121–123, ISBN 0-8376-0220-3
  4. Web site: FAQ E36 M3 3.2. BMW M Registry. 2010-06-20.
  5. Web site: FAQ E36 M3 3.2. BMW M Registry. 2009-06-12.
  6. All figures: Book: Covello, Mike. Standard Catalog of Imported Cars 1946–2002. 2002. Krause Publications. Iola. 0-87341-605-8. 160–163.
  7. Web site: BMW M3 Specs. Carautoportal.com. 2010-10-03.
  8. Road & Track Sports & GT Cars 1996, p. 18.
  9. Web site: 95M3LTW. Bmw-m.net. 2009-06-12.
  10. Web site: BMW M Registry – E36 M3 3.0 FAQ, Special Versions.
  11. Auto Motor and Sport, 13/1996, pages 38–40
  12. http://www.bmwmregistry.com/model_faq.php?id=19
  13. Web site: 2002 BMW M3 vs. 2008 BMW 135i vs. 2008 BMW 335i Comparison Test. Edmunds.com. 2008-04-27. 2009-06-12.
  14. Motor Trend, December 2000 – A Brief History of the Ultimate Driving Machine
  15. Web site: BMW M3 Convertible – Short Take Road Test. Car and Driver.
  16. [Motor Trend]
  17. [Car & Driver]
  18. BMW M3 Owners Manual
  19. Web site: Tut uns Light. Sportauto. 2010-10-10.
  20. Web site: BMW M3 CSL. Autoblog. 2009-07-10.
  21. Web site: BMW M3 CSL. Cartorque. 2009-07-10.
  22. Web site: BMW M3 CSL (E46). diseno-art. 2009-07-10.
  23. Web site: Car reviews – BMW M3 CSL. 2009-07-10.
  24. Web site: [Glass-reinforced plastic The New M3 CSL]. Car pages. 2009-07-10.
  25. Web site: Top Gear. BBC. 2012-1-3. /
  26. Web site: BMW M3 CSL. Automobile magazine. 2009-07-10.
  27. Web site: BMW M3 CSL Performance. Automobile Magazine. 2009-07-10.
  28. Web site: BMW M3 Parts CSL. US auto parts. 2009-07-10.
  29. Web site: BMW M3 CSL – Auto Shows. Car and driver. 2009-07-10.
  30. Web site: 2011 Audi RS5 vs. 2010 BMW M3, 2011 Cadillac CTS-V – Comparison Tests. Caranddriver. 2010-08. 2010-09-07.
  31. Web site: 2008 BMW M3 Sedan – specifications and road test data. Motor Trend.
  32. Web site: 2010 BMW M3 Convertible Review. Automoblog.net.
  33. Web site: BMW ‘cancels E92 M3 CSL'. Car Magazine. 26 August 2008.
  34. Web site: BMW Technical Data. BMW. 23 October 2011.
  35. Web site: BMW Convertible Specifications. BMW. 23 October 2011.
  36. Web site: BMW M3 GTS is the most extreme M3 ever.
  37. Web site: buy r4 says:. Sold Out: 2011 BMW M3 GTS. Gtspirit.Com. 2010-01-02. 2010-06-05.
  38. Web site: 2012 BMW M3 CRT Lightweight Sedan – Official Photos and Info.
  39. Web site: BMW returning to American Le Mans Series. AutoWeek. 6 February 2008. 2008-02-06.
  40. Web site: 37. ADAC Zurich 24h Rennen. 21–24 May 2009. 2011-01-13. .
  41. Web site: 24h-Klassen_123. 2010-06-05.
  42. Web site: 24h-Gesamt_123. 2010-06-05.
  43. Web site: Joy loves the race track, the BMW M3 GT4 (PR brochure). bmw-motorsport.com. 2011-01-02.
  44. http://www2.bmw-motorsport.com/cars/bmw_m3_gt4 BMW M3 GT4.
  45. Web site: Balance of Performance – 38. ADAC Zurich 24h-Rennen. Adac.24h-rennen.de. 2010-06-05.
  46. Web site: E90 M3 Long-Term Test. motortrend.com. 2009-08-08.
  47. Web site: BMW M3 Long-Term: The Perfect Sports Car?. Car and Driver. 2009-12-01.
  48. Web site: What Do I Drive? Ezra Dyer Buys a Used BMW M3. Automobilemag.com. 2010-10-03.
  49. Web site: Top Gear Series 16 – Episode 5. www.bbc.co.uk. 20 February 2011. 2011-06-01.
  50. Web site: BMW M3: Best Car In The World. InsideLine.com. 2009-11-07.
  51. Web site: BMW M3 vs. Audi RS4 vs. Cadillac CTS-V vs. Lexus IS-F vs. Mercedes C63 AMG. Mike. Solowiow. The Truth About Cars. 2009-02-23. 2011-01-02.
  52. Web site: 2011 Audi RS5 vs. 2010 BMW M3, 2011 Cadillac CTS-V – Comparison Tests – Auto Reviews. Tony. Quiroga. Car and Driver. August. 2010. 2011-01-02.
  53. Web site: BMW M3 Challenge the game.
  54. Web site: BMW M3 Challenge the game.