Throughout history, there have been many car manufacturers, many of them have remained over the years, some have disappeared, and some have evolved. BMW is one of the largest companies that have prevailed. Founded in 1916, this German company is responsible for producing some of the most iconic cars in history, and the E46 M3 GTR is no exception.
Although this type of brand focused on producing trams for the public, they also had what for some people could be an internal battle to produce a competitive race car. And the fact that in the ’90s, Porsche had a huge advantage, spurred BMW to make the best racing car in the world.
Joining the GT circuit, the BMW E46 M3 GTR V8 was never intended to take to the streets. However, due to a rule that states that for every racing car they participated in, there must be at least 10 units on display to the public, and the car must be built for the street.
About the BMW E46 M3 GTR V8
Like most major auto companies, some cars stand out from the rest. Of the BMW lineup, the only car that has taken the crown for many enthusiasts is the M3 GTR. A car that was 6 years before there was a V8, 4 liter engine. The M3 GTR was a surprise when it was released in 2001.
Built to race in the US Le Mans Championship under the GT class, this car won seven out of 10 events in the 2001 season, overwhelmingly beating the Porsche 911 GT3R. After that season due to a change in the rules, he was removed from the competition. He made it appear again in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
BMW E46 M3 GTR V8 Design
If you try to recognize this car on the street, you will find it difficult because its chassis and design are very similar to that of the BMW M3 E46 released in 2001. It’s like having an M3 from that year with a regular body kit, but everything changes when you get in. There are no rear seats, with the look of the CLS making sense due to the car’s true purpose: racing.
BMW did everything in its power to reduce the weight of this car to the max. Carbon fiber all around, no unnecessary panels, two doors, plenty of airflow, and more. They needed to reduce a lot of weight to make up for the large engine under the hood. The 4.0 liter V8 engine was ahead of what BMW was producing at the time.
BMW E46 M3 GTR V8 Specifications and Features
This car was competitive and surpassed Porsche’s proposal for the GT class in the 2001 season, which is really impressive due to the high dominance that Porsche had at the time.
If you take a closer look at the engine, you’ll find a DOHC 4.0-liter V8 that produces 355 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive. The E46 M3 GTR V8 has a big, much needed engine to compete with the Porsche 911 GT3-R.
This vehicle is not designed to be comfortable or fuel efficient. That’s why if you ever go in, you’ll notice how hard their seats and suspension system are. Fuel consumption is abnormal, and although the company has tried to make it street-friendly, it is not.
The main purpose of creating this car was to end the battle that BMW and Porsche have fought since 1995 on the racetracks of North America. Porsche led this fight until 2001, when BMW used a new engine, the P60B40, which was a derivative of the V10 used in F1 but built on an E46 chassis.
What makes the BMW E46 M3 GTR V8 so special?
Even just looking at it and seeing what BMW was able to produce in 2001 is impressive. This same car would outperform a lot of cars in the industry, but there is one very important fact that makes this car a true legend: BMW produced only 10 units in total.
What could be one of the brand’s greatest achievements due to the context in which it is built is also a complete enigma and, to many eyes, a complete waste of a perfect drive machine. No one has seen this car on the streets. There is no indication that it was in the possession of someone other than the company, and only a few people had the privilege of driving it.
The closest you can get to this car is to finish the video game, Need for Speed Most Wanted, where this car is the final achievement. You can compare it to a legend, something you will only read about and see some photos, but never forget how BMW changed the GT class by creating such an advanced car with an unusual backstory.
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