Happy 40th birthday to BMW's M Division
Don your party hat, grab a kazoo and revel in the history of M cars
Posted: 18 May 2012
BMW M3 (E36)
This was BMW's ‘difficult second album', the perilous ‘sequel'; The Godfather II to the original, barnstorming E30 M3's Godfather. And it was a different barrel of apples to the original. In fact, BMW itself says the E36-gen M3 "was the end of an era for an uncompromising sports car that was consistently tailored to be competitive in racing". It now wanted a sophisticated, elegant brute.
The first iteration ushered in a 3.0-litre straight-six - BMW's trademark - producing 286bhp and took six seconds to hit 60mph. It used the rear axle from the Z1, tauter anti-roll bars and dampers than standard and, of course, those fabulous (and sought after) door mirrors.
A tweaked version came along in 1995, sporting new wheels, a black air intake, and white indicator lenses. Oh, and a 3.2-litre, 321bhp straight-six. Not as sharp as the original, but still a mini-bruiser.