from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Production period: since 1986
Class : Middle class
Body versions : Sedan , coupe , convertible
BMW M3 Evolution II (front) and M3 Sport Evolution (rear)
Logo on a BMW M3 (E46)

The BMW M3 is a sports model of the 3 series by BMW that has been manufactured since the beginning of 1986. This is a vehicle that was developed by the BMW subsidiary BMW M GmbH and initially produced (E30 and E36). The later series (E46 and E90) originated on the production lines of BMW AG. The BMW M3 is a particularly powerful variant of the respective 3-series production vehicle.

The BMW M3 (E30) was only available as a two-door sedan when it was launched in spring 1986. From mid-1988 the M3 was also offered as a convertible.

In the successor model based on the E36 introduced in autumn 1992, the two-door variant of the 3 series was first referred to as a coupé. From 1994 this was also available as a four-door sedan and a convertible.

The third series of the M3 ( E46 ) was only produced as a coupé and cabriolet from mid-2000 to summer 2006.

The fourth M3 version ( E90 ) was available again as a sedan in addition to the coupé and convertible for the first time since 1999. The convertible now had a three-part folding steel roof instead of a fabric top for the first time.

In spring 2014, the fifth generation of the M3 was presented, which is now only produced as a sedan, as the coupé and convertible are sold under their own name, M4 . Furthermore, the M3 got its own development code for the first time: it is therefore not listed under the abbreviation F30, but referred to as F80 . The M4 models were also given their own names (Coupé: F82; Convertible: F83).


E30 (1986-1991)

The first M3 series was presented in early 1986 as a homologation model for the German Touring Car Championship and was based on the E30 series .

The BMW M3 was initially only available as a two-door sedan , while the Cabriolet followed in May 1988. The base of the M3 , the BMW E30 , was available as standard as a sedan with two doors, although four doors were also available for an extra charge. However, this option did not apply to the M3 .

The body shape was for the M3 changed to, among other things, the torsional stiffness , the c w value continue to improve and the driving dynamics. The focus was on suitability for racing, so restrictions on comfort and production costs could be made.

E36 (1992-1999)

The second version of the M3 ( E36 series ) was presented by BMW Motorsport GmbH in the summer of 1992 , which was based on the two-door coupé in the first production phase and was later expanded to include a sedan and convertible. It had an in-line six-cylinder ( S50B30 ) with 2990 cm³ displacement and four valves per cylinder. It had a maximum output of 210 kW (286 hp) and already had a fully variable VANOS (inlet camshaft only, steplessly with high pressure). The maximum torque was 320 Nm at 3600 min -1 .

With a revision of the engine (S50B32), it had a capacity of 3.2 liters and a maximum of 236 kW at 7400 min −1 , received a 6-speed gearbox and was the first BMW vehicle with a double vanos .

The considerably increased engine power of the M3 E36 compared to its predecessor called for a revision of the chassis and the braking system. With the M3 3.2, a compound brake system was introduced at the front .

E46 (2000-2006)

Built by mid-2000 to the summer of 2006 M3 ( E46 ) has a high-revving 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine ( BMW S54 ), which up to 252 kW (343 hp) at 7900 min -1 making. Outwardly, it differs from other models of the 3 series u. a. through the bulge on the aluminum bonnet, the so-called "power dome", which however has no technical function.

The engine is built according to the high-speed concept and works smoothly up to the limit of 8000 min −1 , but offers a wide usable speed range and already develops 80 percent of its maximum torque at 2000 min −1 . The chassis was a further development of the predecessor chassis of the M3 E36. The variable M differential lock was also used, which allows a locking value between 0-100%, as well as a floating compound brake system on the front and rear axles.

E90 - E92 - E93 (2007-2013)

The fourth generation M3 was available in three body styles. The Coupé (E92) first appeared in autumn 2007 , while the Cabriolet (E93) and sedan (E90) followed in spring 2008 . Some details of the predecessor, such as the elevation on the bonnet, the wider wheel arches, the four-pipe exhaust system and the air inlets on the fenders, have been adopted. The exterior mirrors are similar to those of the M3 from the E36 series.

BMW tried to reduce weight during development. For this purpose, the standard roof of the coupé was developed from carbon fiber reinforced plastic, the bumper beams made from thermoplastic reinforced with endless glass fibers (so-called organic sheet made of polyamide 6 and glass) and an aluminum bonnet was used. The curb weight is 1655 kg ( Coupé ) and thus almost 100 kg more than that of the predecessor. All three variants have the S65 V8 high-speed engine. From May 2008 there was the BMW M3 with the dual clutch transmission developed by GETRAG (marketing name: "M-DKG"). This has seven gears, can be operated via paddle shifters on the steering wheel and offers an automatic mode.

Comparable vehicles from German manufacturers are the Audi RS4 and RS5 , the Mercedes-Benz CLK 63 AMG and the C63 AMG .

F80 (since 2014)

The fifth edition of the M3, which will be available from spring 2014, is only available as a four-door sedan. The technically largely identical Coupé ( F82 ) and the Cabriolet ( F83 ) are now called M4.

Is driven the M3 on the BMW F30 is based, by a turbo-line six-cylinder 3.0 liter displacement, the maximum 317 kW (431 hp) and 1850 to 5500 min -1 provides a maximum torque of 550 Nm. It accelerates from 0 to 100 km / h in 4.1 to 4.3 seconds, depending on the transmission. There is a choice between a manual six-speed gearbox and a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox, the latter being responsible for the faster of the two acceleration values ​​despite 40 kilograms more weight. In summer 2018, production for Europe was stopped early due to the lack of WLTP approval.


BMW also uses the BMW M3 as a base vehicle for its motorsport commitment :

BMW M3 DTM (1987)

The M3 of the E30 series is the most successful touring car in the world. He recorded more than 1,500 individual victories, 60 national championships in road and mountain races as well as in rallying, plus seven European mountain championships , five Mitropa Rally Cups and eight victories in the 24-hour races at the Nürburgring and in Spa . The first year of 1987 was already a triumphal procession: Roberto Ravaglia became World Touring Car Champion . It was the first in history. Winfried Vogt secured the European Championship in 1987 and Eric van de Poele became German champion .

The M3 GTR (E46) was originally built for the American Le Mans Series and was initially equipped with a 3.2-liter in-line six-cylinder in the 2000 season. The factory-supported team Prototype Technology Group finished 7 of the 12 championship races on the podium and won the race in Laguna Seca with Hans-Joachim Stuck and Boris Said in the GT category. At the end of the season, the team finished third behind two teams supported by Porsche.

In 2001 Schnitzer Motorsport was sent into series production with a revised M3 GTR with a four-liter V8 engine to compete against the Porsche 996 GT3 RSR . However, at the Petit Le Mans , the season finale, the situation escalated. Schnitzer Motorsport had won the last five races in a row, and works drivers JJ Lehto and Jörg Müller were on course for the title. However, BMW had so far failed to present the road version of the M3 with a V8 engine required by the GT regulations . According to the guidelines of the FIA and the ACO, this should have happened at the beginning of the year. This is how the main competitor Porsche wanted to see the road car with the four-liter engine. The only thing behind the Schnitzer box was an M3 with a V8 engine and a German registration.

BMW M3 GT2S (2006)

Ten copies had been submitted by the end of the year. BMW would have had to build 25 units during the 2001 season in order to comply with the rules. Those responsible for the American Le Mans Series decided in favor of BMW, which secured the driver and team title in the GT class. The ACO regulations were modified for 2002. All vehicle brands now had to be able to show at least 1000 units of the street counterpart. However, all small series vehicles , such as the M3 GTR , could continue to take part in the championship, but in return the air restrictors of the 1,100 kg vehicles were reduced from 30.4 mm to 29 mm. The weight should also be increased. BMW then ended its involvement with Schnitzer in the series.

From 2003 the M3 GTR was used in 24-hour races , in Spa-Francorchamps and, above all, for three 24-hour races at the Nürburgring, where after the gearbox damage caused by cooling with dry ice in the introductory lap in 2003 in the two following years a double victory were achieved each time. These two winning cars are no longer in use. One car is in the BMW Museum in Munich, the second can be viewed in the museum of the Schnitzer Motorsport team.

BMW M3 ALMS (2009)

For the 2006 season, an M3 was converted again for use in the American Le Mans Series after the series organizer IMSA announced a newly designed GT2S vehicle category. In addition to the BMW team, the Prototype Technology Group , Lexus originally wanted to enter the series, but the Japanese manufacturer's project was never implemented. In addition, winning the GT2 with a vehicle in the GT2S subcategory did not entail an invitation to the Le Mans 24-hour race . The race appearances were not very successful, however, only Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand finished two of the ten championship races on the podium in the GT2 category.

The M3 ALMS was presented in early 2008. At 1150 kg, the coupé based on the E92 is around 430 kg lighter than the production vehicle and, thanks to the spoiler kit, is also considerably wider. Extremely lightweight construction was necessary for this weight reduction, so that many parts were replaced by carbon parts. The V8 engine now delivers 357 kW (485 hp) instead of the standard 309 kW. The electronics as well as the aerodynamics have been optimized with the help of BMW's Formula 1 experience. The new M3 ALMS made its first appearance in 2009 at the Sebring 12-hour race . Until then, Jörg Müller , Augusto Farfus and Andy Priaulx had completed a tight test program in order to drive development forward. The M3 ALMS was used in the 2009 ALMS season by the US team Rahal Letterman Racing .

BMW M3 DTM (2012)

In 2010 the M3 from Schnitzer Motorsport was used in the VLN series with the 24-hour races at Nürburgring and the LMS series with the 24-hour races at Le Mans and the 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps. The 19th overall victory was celebrated at the Nürburgring and the class victory in Spa. In Spa they even led the overall standings until the last hour before losing valuable time after a suspension damage.

BMW has been participating in the DTM again since the 2012 season . The vehicles used in this racing series are similar in appearance to the coupe version, but have nothing else in common with the production model. In accordance with the regulations, it is powered by a 4.0-liter V8 engine with an output of approx. 480 hp (353 kW). A total of six racing vehicles are used by the Racing Bart Mampaey , Reinhold Motorsport and Schnitzer Motorsport teams.


  • Jeremy Walton: BMW 3 Series. Heel Verlag, Königswinter 1993, ISBN 3-89365-341-4 .
  • BMW dimensions: BMW 3 Series. Concepts, technology, design , Hans-Hermann Braess, Heel, ISBN 3932169344
  • Peter GH Sebald: 17,970 emotions , Starnberg / Bielefeld 2005 (only M3-E30S)
  • Wilbert / Holz: BMW M3 - Scenes from a career (only M3-E30S)
  • Walter Matthias Wilbert, Friedbert Holz: F = m · a: if Isaac Newton had built a sports car; the BMW M3 CSL. Gloor Verlag, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-938037-01-6 . (M3 CSL-E46S only)

Web links

Commons : BMW M3  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files