Based on the 1986 model year E30 3-Series, the first M3 was introduced with a 2.3 L I4 S14B23 engine (or S14 in shorthand). The engine design was based on various BMW genealogy; 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 BMWs M1 and later M6 inline-6 cylinder was adopted for aggressive breathing, resulting in outstanding performance for the day.
The most notable characteristic of the E30 M3 (relative to later M3 iterations) is its racing pedigree. It was campaigned by BMW as well as other racing teams including Prodrive and AC Schnitzer competing in many forms of racing including but not limited to Rally, DTM, Australian touring car and other series.
One of the main reasons for production of the road car was to homologate the M3 for Group A Touring Car racing. One of the reasons often cited for its creation was that it was to compete with the "2.3-16V"-model of the Mercedes-Benz W201 190E which was introduced in 1983, although this was only speculative. When the E30 M3 was in its final years of top level competition, the 2.5 liter S14 engine in full race trim was capable of plus, naturally aspirated.
Production of the original E30 M3 ended in early 1992.
Having won more road races than any other model in history, the E30 M3 is considered by many to be the world's most successful road race car. M3s entered by BMW and privateer racing outfits did dominate the competition for the years it was in production. Its wins include the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft, European Touring Car Championship and even 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.
In 2007 "Evo" Magazine rated the E30 M3 top of all the M series BMWs at time of print
|Model||Power (kW)||Coupe and Sedan||Convertible|
|US model||238 BHP(US)||4,996|
|Europa late model||158||1,519|
(all signed by Roberto Ravaglia)
The E36 M3 débuted in February, 1992 and hit the dealers`showrooms in November that year; it was the first M3 powered by a six-cylinder engine, displacing 2990 cc and developing . Initially available as a coupé only, BMW introduced M3 convertible/cabriolet and saloon/sedan versions in 1994. The E36 is also the first M3 to be manufactured 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 3.0 liter engine. 350 GTs were built .
In summer, 1995 M3 coupé and saloon were upgraded to a 3.2 liter inline-6; at the same time, the cars received clear indicator lenses, new wheels and a 6-speed gearbox. The Cabriolet did not receive these changes until spring 1996.
All E36 M3s were built in BMW`s Regensburg factory; 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.
BMW also produced somewhere between 200 and 320 M3 Lightweights also known as the M3 CSL (only 180 were imported into the US). Some refer to it as the LTW as CSL stands for Coupe Sports Lightweight, and it was available as a sedan. Internal BMW designation documented it as a CSL however. These were reduced weight versions of the model intended to be used both on the road and on the track. It was about 100 to 200 pounds lighter than a stock M3 with many of the car's features removed, such as sound deadening, radio, air conditioning, leather seats, and sunroof. Other extras that came with this version included an extendable front splitter, strut tower brace, x-brace, aluminum Doors and hood. It could also be fitted with a dual pickup oil pan however, BMW AG stipulated that fitting the dual pickup GT oil pan to the car would void the warranty.
The 1996-1999 model years had displacement bumped up to 3.2 L, still with 240 hp (176 kW), but torque increases to 320 N•m (236 ft·lbf) 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. The 1996+ model is known for being more difficult to tune for performance, due to slightly smaller intake manifold runners and more complicated electronics (OBDII). It was also available as a sedan starting in model year 1997, and as convertible in 1998. Production of the sedan was halted in 1998, while the other models continued until 1999.
US sales figures include a total of 18,961 coupes (including 180 Lightweight versions), 7,760 sedans and 6,211 convertibles.
|Version||Power||0-60 mph||Top Speed|
|Euro||210 kW/286 bhp|| ||155 mph / 250 km/h (electronically limited)|
|U.S.||177 kW/240 bhp|| ||137 mph / 220 km/h (electronically limited)|
|Euro||236 kW/321 bhp|| ||155 mph / 250 km/h (electronically limited)|
|U.S.||177 kW/240 bhp|| ||139 mph / 225 km/h (electronically limited)|
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 just 3 days. Unlike the other special versions of the E36 M3, buyers were free to choose any colors and options they wanted on their cars. The cars all came equipped with the 286 bhp 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.
In 1995, BMW relented and began building batches of the M3 CSL 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 boot there was a different oil pan with dual pick up oil pump, longer 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. 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. A 3.23 rear differential was installed vs the normal 3.15 installed in M3's.
There is a minor controversy in which some people believe the M3 CSL should not be called an M3 CSL (referring to the famous 3.0 CSL), but rather an M3 Lightweight, as that was the name that BMW advertised the car as.
While it is true that BMW's press referred to the car as the M3 Lightweight, each M3 CSL's build sheet (the instructions from BMW AG to BMW Individual) clearly labeled the car as an M3 CSL, so there can be no doubt that the factory itself thought of the car as a CSL. In addition, the additional manual that came with the car identified it as the CSL.
This controversy can perhaps be attributed to the fact that the English translation of CSL is Coupé Sports Lightweight.
Although BMW promised to build at least 85 examples, BMW never released the number of M3 CSL's 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 CSL's as they were regular production M3's that PTG made similar in appearance to the not-yet-built CSL. After press duties, those two cars were brought back into the PTG stable. Racing History
In an ironic twist, the car that BMW built to race was hardly raced.
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, and one or two may have been raced in the extinct Motorola Cup.
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 built in 1995.
Famous for being British Racing Green with a Mexico Green interior - a peculiar choice when the traditional German national racing colors 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.
The car embodied all the technical (engine, driveline, suspension) and optical (bumpers, wheels, mirrors, dashboard) characteristics of the stock E36 M3. It was powered by the 321 DIN-hp 3.2-litre engine, and its color 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 seatbelts and an alcantara wrapped steering wheel and gear lever. For some reason, BMW M GmbH removed the front fog lights.
The car was donated to the automobile magazine, but there are no details of the car's present whereabouts.
The E46 M3, first introduced in October, 2000, appeared worldwide with the new 3.2 L S54B32 engine. At the time of the car's introduction, this engine had the highest specific output naturally aspirated engine ever made by BMW, producing 343 PS (338 hp) and 370 N·m (273 ft·lbf).
The first batch of E46 M3s delivered were Laguna Seca Blue. The available SMG Drivelogic (also known as SMG II) transmission, a Formula 1-style electrohydraulic manual gearbox with no clutch pedal and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, is also a highlight. The model also came with a new 6-speed transmission and red-line RPM of 8000, a first for any BMW. The engine also consisted of 6 independent throttle bodies and electronically driven throttles (without a cable).
In the US, the E46 finally comes with virtually the same engine output as the European version, unlike in the E36 where it was heavily detuned. Power is now at , five down on the German model due to an extra catalytic converter in the downpipe.
Cabriolet / Convertible model 1/4 Mile +/- ~.5 sec
Due to this, the ALMS rules were altered for 2002 to state that 100 cars and 1000 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 shortlived 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 & Dirk Müller on the Nürburgring and Spa-Francorchamps.
While the CSL was comparable in performance to the Ferrari 360 at half the price, this version of the M3 is often criticized as being too racing-oriented and significantly more expensive than the standard model. With its design so highly focused on weight loss the CSL became less of the "every day car" that the M3 is known for. Another criticism was the unavailability of a manual gearbox as some purists did not find the SMG as satisfying as a traditional stick-shift. Aftermarket tuners like AC Schnitzer have also tweaked regular M3s to perform like the CSL, but at a much lower cost.
Although the M3 CSL was never exported to the United States, for MY2005 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:
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 13th to 23rd).
Just as the previous M3 generations all introduced a completely new engine, the fourth generation M3 did the same: the BMW S65 engine was introduced. This S65B40 is a naturally aspirated, high revving 4-litre V8 (based on the S85B50 5-litre V10 that powers the E60/E61 M5 and the E63/E64 M6 to date) delivers 420 DIN-hp (309 kW, 414 SAE-hp) at 8,300 rpm and peak torque is 400 N·m (295 ft·lbf) at 3,900 rpm, which represents a power increase of 22% over the E46 M3. The engine weighs 15 kg (33 lb) less than the outgoing six cylinder for a total weight of 202 kg (445 lb). A six-speed manual transmission is standard. As from April 2008, BMW offers a new 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 kp/h sprint time by 0.2 seconds vs. manual. It features both automatic and manual modes in a manner similar to the SMG gearboxes in the E36 and E46. The E92 M3 coupe inherits the carbon-fiber roof from the E46 CSL as part of the weight-saving program.
The new M3 is once again available as a 4-door sedan, based on the E90 3-Series, but unlike the regular models, this car shares the coupe's front end, including headlights. However, it doesn't get the 2-door's carbon-fiber roof. The E93 hardtop convertible version joins the lineup shortly after the E92's launch, while an E91 wagon is due in the first quarter of 2009. A CSL lightweight version is heavily debated and longed for amongst car enthusiasts, and cars suspected to be the new M3 CSL have already been spotted at the famous Nordschleife (North Loop) of the German Nürburgring.
The "BMW M3 challenge" is a freeware racing game developed by BMW for simulation and entertainment purposes. The PC game includes single and multi-player modes.
It allows the player to perform advanced driving maneuvers such as feathering the brakes, moderating the clutch engagement level, or using lower gears to slow down the engine, thereby decreasing speed.
BMW M3 Challenge features a drivable representation of the GP portion of the famous Nürburgring German race track.