The BMW M3 series became successful in setting the standard for performance and quality among modern sport sedans. Based on the regular E3 series, the M3 took a great leap forward and surpassed its predecessor by incorporating powerful upgrades in the engine, handling/suspension, exterior and interior body. The new BMW cars received a lot of positive feedback, and until today, these car models are still hot in the market despite the tight competition between Mercedes and Audi.
1986: BMW M3 E30
The E30 was developed and designed to compete in the coveted World Touring Car Championship. The first car in the series was powered by a 195-horsepower-four-cylinder Formula 1 engine, known as the BMWS14. It also had flared wheel arches and a more rigid suspension for better handling and steering. BMW must have done really something good because the M3 won not just once, but several times in the European Touring Car Championship. It was also a two-time champ in the German Touring Car Championship.
1988: BMW M3 E30 Road Car
A newer version was produced, and this time, it was made to be driven on the common streets. A lot of changes were incorporated in this model to totally veer away from the standard E3 series as well as the earlier version of the M3 E30. Twelve unique panels were added in the new car’s body to improve its aerodynamic features. The enhancements done on the wheels include the box-flared arches in front and rear that can accomodate the bigger and wider 5x120 wheels. Some of the other notable mechanical adjustments were the addition of brake cylinders, front and back brake rotors, and calipers. This model was well appreciated by the consumers, and because of that, an additional 786 convertible versions were made to satisfy the customers’ demands.
1992: BMW M3 E36
The next version looked almost the same as the models released before. The most significant change was the inclusion of a better engine that boasts 240 horsepower. Because of a better engine, this model is way faster than the earlier M3 versions, even though it gained about a hundred pounds. The chassis was also altered. The modification greatly improved the handling and balance, so the E36 became known as one of the best handling cars of the 90s billed by a popular auto enthusiast magazine, Car and Driver. This was also the first BMW car that included a high-tech computer software and system.
2000: BMW M3 E46
The hooligan style that was featured in the previous models made a come back in the E46. The car looked more rowdy with its bulging hood, fender grilles at both sides, and again, flared wheel arches. To top it all, a 3.2-L, S54-M-tuned engine was added and it produced a powerful 343 horsepower. Other high-performance models were derived from it and were sold in the U.S. The M3 GTR and M3 CSL were some of these.
2007-present: BMW M3 E90, E92, and E93
The announcement the fourth generation BMW M3 was first heard at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show. Initially, the next car version was set to be called M4, but due to the popularity of the M3 series, BMW decided to retain the name. The latest version is more powerful than ever with a BMW S65 engine that generates 414 horsepower. Aside from the engine upgrades, the newer M3s have the recent technological innovations such as LED rear tail lights, M-DCT automatic transmission, and carbon fiber hood and roof. The E92 M3 is available as a coupe and the E93 as a sedan. BMW has already announced details about F80 M3, which is the next model in the series. It is set to make its first appearance in the 2013 Geneva Motor Show.