“M” and “3” are considered ordinary as they are, until they are combined in the classification of the BMW car brand – then, Boom, an iconic model appears. Performance enthusiasts outshine or mention the M3 sight, and we totally understand why. The Bimmers M3 are beasts of performance. Notably, it all started in the 1980s with BMW seeking to compete in the DTM Touring Championship, and motorsport in general. Hence, BMW M, the in-house motorsport division, was tasked with building a proper racing car.
In order to be competitive and to meet the FIA’s Group A regulations, the team decided to improve the BMW 3 Series lineup of compact cars, which led to the creation of the M3 model. Upgrades include the engine, aerodynamics, brakes and weight reduction, as well as interior upgrades. However, homogenization requires that it be mass-produced. Hence, this model has been produced in every generation of the 3 Series since 1986. Let us remind you of the iconic BMW M3, by highlighting some of its unique generations and special models.
10 E30 . generation
This is where the M3 journey began. Designed to satisfy the German Touring Car Championship and Group A Tour regulations, the first BMW M3 was based on the E30 3 Series and was revealed to the public at the 1985 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Built primarily as a coupe, a few E30 M3 convertibles were also produced. It is powered by a BMW S14 four-cylinder engine rated up to 197 hp without the catalytic converter.
9 evolution series
The sporty E30 M3 already became even sportier with the introduction of the Evolution I (Evo 1) in 1987. The Evo 1 was produced to match the improvements over the E30 M3, and featured a revised cylinder head with an output of 200 hp. 505 units were built. This was followed by the Evo 2 in 1988.
The Evo 2 is officially called the “M3 Evolution” due to its significant mechanical upgrades, as it had an increased output of 220 horsepower, and 501 units were produced. However, the 1989 M3 Sport Evolution had the most extensive modification, making it 238 horsepower.
8 E36 . generation
The E36 M3 was produced from 1992 to 1999. Based on the E36 3 series, the model was powered by the BMW S50 straight-six engine to become the first M3 to adopt a six-cylinder engine. Notably, the model was not sold in the United States until 1995.
The majority of the cars were produced at the Regensburg plant in Germany, while a few others were assembled in South Africa. Besides many stunning trims, a total of 46,525 coupes, 12,114 convertibles and 12,603 sedans were produced from the E36 M3.
7 E46 . generation
In 2000, the E46 M3 generation was introduced with the new 3.2-liter S54 M-tuned 6 engine. This engine was good for 338 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. Produced in both coupe and convertible models, the E46 M3 Coupe can accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 5.1 seconds, and has an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.
In total, 56,133 coupes and 29,633 convertibles of the E46 M3 were produced from the beginning to the end of production in 2006.
6 E9x generation
E9x M3 generation It is based on three 5th generation body styles for the standard Series 3 models. They are the E90 (sedan), E92 (coupe), and E93 (convertible). Introduced into production form in 2007, the E9x was the first M3 model and remained the only one to be powered by a V8 engine.
This is the S65’s engine, and it’s rated at 414 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque in the standard model. Production of the E9x M3 continued through 2013, with 40,092 coupes, 16,219 convertibles, and 9,674 sedans produced.
Everyone must have forgotten the M3 GTS. When launched in 2010, the M3 GTS was the most powerful version of the BMW M3 high-performance car. A beast of road driving, the GTS engine was enlarged to a 4.4-liter 444 horsepower.
Mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the GTS can officially go from zero to 62 mph in 4.4 seconds, and weighs less than the standard M3. Only 135 units were made.
4 F80 جيل generation
The F80 generation was introduced in 2014. It is the M3 version of the F30 Series 3, and was powered by the S55’s twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine, thus becoming the first M3 model with a turbocharger. Thanks to the boost, power is increased by up to 425 horsepower, with peak torque of 406 lb-ft.
Officially, the F30 M3 goes from zero to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds when mated to the M-DCT transmission, and was only produced as a sedan. The coupe was sold as the M4.
3 G80 . generation
relatively recent, G80 M3 is an upgraded version of the G20 3 series Introduced in 2018, it represents the sixth and current generation of the legendary sports car model. In its standard form, the model is powered by a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged six-cylinder with 473 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque.
This power is managed by a 6-speed manual transmission only and sent to the rear wheels. Notably, the G80 M3 also features an optional four-wheel drive system, a first for an M3.
2 Motorsports champions
The M3’s feats in motorsports are very unusual. Upon its arrival, the E30 M3 campaigned in various types of motorsports with great success. Specifically, the first generation M3 won the 24 Hours of Nurburgring five times and the 24 Hours of Spa four times.
Also, the inaugural model appeared in rallying and was very successful in motorsports. Subsequent generations of the M3 continued the motorsport tradition, appearing in the Turanwagen Super Cup, the FIA European Championship, the American Le Mans Series and the Deutsche Turnwagen Masters, among many other championships.
1 M3 pickups
M3 pickups? Yes, BMW made not one but two M3 pickup trucks. Of course, it was more of an in-house experimental thing and was never produced for the public. The first was the E30 M3 which was converted into a prototype in 1986.
It was initially powered by a 192 hp 2.0 liter engine but was later upgraded to a 200 hp 2.3 liter engine. Subsequently, a second, more powerful version was produced in 2011, powered by a 4.0-liter V8 with 420 horsepower.