A brief history of the BMW M3
We've just driven the new BMW M3. A perfect time to look back on M Division's classic moniker...
Posted: 09 May 2014
BMW M3 Coupe: E92
A V8? In a production M3? Yes, and yes. Here was the final M3 Coupe, sporting a 4.0-litre eight-cylinder engine producing 420bhp and 295lb ft of torque, enabling a 0-62mph time of 4.8 seconds. It also revved to 8,400rpm and shrieked noises that could make a grown man weep.
OK, so it's only one-tenth of a second quicker to 62mph than the old CSL, but that's because - despite BMW's talk of a lightweight chassis - this new V8 was a bit of a porker, weighing in at 1655kg. Still, it did have a cool carbon fibre roof, and the chassis was a fine thing. A double-strut setup up front, with a five-link rear axle, all-round vented discs, a variable M differential and many driver aids. It's a good ‘un, this M3, as the telly chaps found out when they pitted it against the C63 and RS4.
A few special editions popped up in this E92 guise too: there was the M3 DTM Champion Edition, limited to just 54 models (one for each of BMW's DTM race victories), the really rather lovely M3 GT2 Art Car created by Jeff Koons, and of course, the bewinged, bombastic and lightly brutal 450bhp M3 GTS. When we got our fists of ham around it, we found that BMW had well and truly tangoed the M3. In a good way, of course. At last count, BMW rolled out more than 40,000 E92 V8 Coupes; a far cry from the 17k of the original.
Naturally, all good things come to an end, and this bright orange coupe is the very last two-door 3-Series to be badged ‘M3'. Because the next M3 will only be a saloon, and the coupe will be called the 'M4'...