BMW has a proven track record of producing cars that are not only well-designed and luxurious, but also surprisingly sporty. It’s no surprise, then, that the brand has been responsible for a huge amount of stunning sports cars over the years, such as the new BWW M1, Z3, Z4 and M8 Competition.
What is not known is that BMW has created some of the best engines known to mankind, such as McLaren F1’s V12, but it is well known for its 3 Series sports saloon. The nameplate focuses on giving the driver the most exhilarating experience possible by moving the rear of the car, engaging in a driving experience without costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, and M3s went and took all of these characteristics to the extreme.
From golden antiquity to modern, tech-packed machines, all M3s are great driving machines, but to be honest and frank, some BMW The models definitely outperform the others. Whether it’s due to a particular engine configuration, handling characteristics, or based on absolute design, certain generations are more beloved by the motoring community, let’s explain why.
9 Best: E92 M3 Competition
The BMW M3 of the late 2000s stands out as a sore thumb from the rest of the M3 lineup, as this engine ditched the traditional inline-six for a less refined, more formidable V8 that pumped 414 horsepower to the rear wheels through a six-speed.
And if you want to add the Competition package to your E92’s configuration, you’ll end up with a 10mm lower ride, three-stage electronic dampers, and 19-inch lightweight alloy wheels similar to those installed on the E46 generation M3 CSL but more on that hardcore German racer. It was adapted for the road later. Oh, and before we forget, the Competition package resulted in a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds, which is 0.5 seconds faster than the benchmark E92 M3.
8 Worst: E93 M3 Convertible
The aforementioned E92 was billed as a great boundary-breaking M3, but once you added some extra weight in the E93, with its retractable electric rooftop, it lost a good part of its appeal…well, after all, throughout history, drop-down M cars have never been As successful as their hardtop counterparts.
Not only did a new roof mechanism slow the M3 by adding 350 pounds to its curb weight, it also took up 220 liters of trunk space, and on top of all that, if the M3’s E90-generation V8 didn’t drain your wallet enough questionable reliabilityyou’ll opt for a leaky roof, over an exciting E92 carbon-fiber roof.
7 Best: E46 M3 CSL
There’s no doubt that generation E46 M3s will likely go down in history as one of the most well-designed M cars in existence, but the CSL was more than just a pretty face. “CSL” stands for Coupé Sport Leichtbau, which stands for Coupé Sport Lightweight, and when you take a closer look at it.
The E46 M3 followed an extreme diet and lost nearly 250 pounds, all thanks to its carbon-fiber roof, aluminum hood and rear window, which was redesigned with thinner glass instead. Not only did the M3 CSL go on a diet, it also went to the gym bumping up its 3.0-liter power numbers to 355 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque.
6 Worst: F80 M3
In the past, the F80 M3 was nowhere near a bad car, in the past, it might have been a great car. This four-door M3 had a 430-horsepower turbocharged engine, an optional standard transmission, skid-slip rear-wheel drive, and a rugged look, but it wasn’t necessarily a great M3.
M3s are usually a naturally aspirated two-door coupe with an optional sedan option, but the F80 broke tradition completely by offering it strictly as a sedan (with the coupe shape renamed the M4) and was the first ever M3 turbocharged, which had some lag The turbo is junk, and it uses an electric power steering system, rather than a hydraulic system. Besides not feeling like an M3 fit right in, It even lost to some of its competitors like Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrofoglio.
5 The best: G80 M3
Yes, the front end of the newer BMW M3 might look a lot like hog gills when peeking through a wide-angle lens, but it sure has grown on us, and when driving a real M3 you don’t want to go on the road mixed with traffic, do you now.
Powered by a 3.0-liter inline-six engine that screams 473 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels and unlike the M3 Competition, the standard M3 is accompanied by a very satisfying six-speed transmission. We cannot stress the world of difference this gearbox made; Not only did it harness all the power of the M3 in a way that didn’t make you feel insecure, but it allowed you not to get caught up in all of the technological advancements.
4 Worst: The G80 M3 Competition
The M3 Competition may have the upper hand over the standard M3 when it comes to power, but that seems rather useless when you can’t control it yourself. Of course, the competition was insanely fast, accompanied by the 502hp figure with BMW’s impressive xDrive system, 0-60 was possible in under 3.5 seconds. It all sounds like heaven on earth, but there is one huge one uncomfortable.
It’s only when you get behind the wheel of yourself and realize that you can’t grow through your gears like on the standard M3, the powerful experience feels somewhat simulated, and feels just like any other fast car, not like a proper M3. Feeling.
3 Best: E36 M3 Lightweight
When initially launched, the M3 Lightweight received some weird looks, and no one really understood the reasons behind this limited edition E36 M3 other than the M-flag badges and hidden rear wing. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the M3 Lightweight was exactly what its name said, a 3,000-pound E36 M3 die-cast, packed with a 240-horsepower 3.0-liter inline-six coupled with a 5-speed manual gearbox, suspension adopted Of the European-spec M3, after all, it was superior to the American in just about everything.
No one can be completely sure how many lightweight models have actually been produced, but some sources Claim About 126 units sold in the USAnd if that wasn’t reason enough to prove that the M3 LW was a great M3, Paul Walker certainly agreed with us, having 5 of them, and One Sold for $385,000 at Barrett-Jackson’s 2020 Auction.
2 Worst: US spec E36 M3
Yes, the E36 M3 was a great sports car worthy of the M badge, but when US motoring regulations lowered the M-ness, with the result that the US spec was far worse than the M3 received by the European motoring community.
Both had a 3.0-liter straight-six coupled with a five-speed manual gearbox, but the American M lacked more than 50 hp compared to the European spec, and that gap eventually grew to 80 hp. The icing on this frustrating cake. However, a 6-speed automatic transmission was eventually delivered to the European market while a 4-speed automatic transmission was only added to the American market. The land of the free is royally collapsing if you ask us.
1 Best: E30 M3 Sport Evolution
The E30 M3 Sports Evolution, also known as the Evo III, might look like a regular third-generation E30 series with a uniquely small rear spoiler to the untrained eye, but in reality, the Evo was an entirely different machine.
The 4-cylinder in all E30 M3s now produced 235 horsepower, and externally the only component the Evo shares with its base model is the hood, and every other inch of the Evo has been specifically engineered to ensure the Sport Evo is the best possible M3 it can be. If you happen to see one of these with your own eyes, consider yourself a lucky man, since only 600 units were manufactured and It costs a lot more than $100,000 today.
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