BMW chose the M Night event in the lead-up to the Nürburgring 24-hour race to debut the sedan version of the BMW M3 GTS. The new model is called the M3 CRT (Carbon Racing Technology) and debuts the new production process for CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced plastic) components. It will be limited to only 67 units, each priced at 130,000 euro - or about $185,000 at the current exchange rates.
Like with the GTS, the new M3 CRT’s drive system, chassis technology, and intelligent lightweight design has been inspired directly by motor sport. It features a weight reduction and a more powerful engine, but the main feature of the M3 CRT is the car’s bonnet which is made from a cellular carbon honeycomb This material is produced in a globally unique process pioneered for the manufacturer of body components for the BMW i3 and BMW i8 models.
UPDATE 06/28/2011: BMW’s newest special edition hasn’t even been out for a week yet and already there are reports stating that the BMW M3 CRT (Carbon Racing Technology) has completely sold out. That’s right, according to German magazine, Autobild, any hopes of owning one of the 67 available units may be dashed.
If this rumor does hold any water, don’t expect BMW to amp up their production efforts to quench the demand. An insider has already stated that the company only has the resources and timeframe to produce 67 units, and a total of zero of those units will be making their way over to the States. Once again, the US gets a big fat goose egg on the cool special edition models and what’s worse, the BMW M3 CRT didn’t even need the US market to fill its orders.
Hit the jump to read more about the BMW M3 CRT.
Exterior and Interior
The M3 CRT previews BMW’s future models - like the i8 - in which the entire body of the car as well as the passenger cell area is made of CFRP. What makes the CRT unique is that BMW has taken the leftover CFRP and reprocessed it with synthetic resin to create a bonnet that has the strength of a conventional steel hood at a quarter of its weight. This new hood is even 50% lighter than an aluminum hood.
Additional weight savings were achieved by using a sports exhaust system with an extremely lightweight titanium muffler and two individual rear seats that take their cues from the lateral support-enhancing contours of the front seats. Other features of the M3 CRT include an M double-clutch transmission with Drivelogic, Navigation system Professional, BMW Individual High End audio system, a light, exterior mirror and luggage area package, an alarm system, and Park Distance Control with sensors at the front and rear of the car.
With all of this equipment jammed into the M3, the vehicle weighs 3483 lbs, dropping 99lbs compared to the standard M3 sedan. Take out the extras and we’re left with an additional 154 lbs weight loss.
Aside from the vehicle’s weight plan, the M3 CRT can be distinguished by an exclusive Frozen Polar Silver metallic exterior paint combined with Melbourne Red metallic applications and special treatment for the BMW kidney grille. The interior gets an Alcantara-covered M steering wheel, featuring the M Drive button with spontaneous activation of the sharpest throttle response and M Dynamic Mode of DSC. The front and individual rear seats stand out in special Sakhir Orange and Black bi-colour covers, while the exclusive door sill strips, door panels, and trim strips are made from an aluminum grain structure.
Under the hood of the M3 CRT is the same engine found in the M3 GTS: a 4,360 cc V8 that delivers a total of 450 HP at 8,300 rpm and a peak torque of 324 lbs-ft at 3,750 rpm. The car delivers a weight-to-power ratio (DIN) of 4.8 kg/kW which will sprint the car from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and achieve a top speed of 180 mph.
This engine will be mated to a seven-speed M DCT Drivelogic transmission which allows for an uninterrupted flow of power through gear changes to deliver extremely dynamic acceleration. Its shift characteristics have been tuned specially for the engine powering the BMW M3 CRT. Shift paddles on the steering wheel allow the driver to change gear manually with optimum ergonomics and a Launch Control function is on hand to generate maximum acceleration off the start line.
The list of equipment for the M3 CRT will include: a rigid rear axle subframe and coilover suspension, vented brake discs measuring 378 x 32 millimeters at the front axle and 380 x 28 millimeters at the rear, a specially tuned DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system – including ABS and M Dynamic Mode (MDM) - and a set of 19-inch M light-alloy wheels in Y-spoke design.
In December 2011, German magazine Autobild gave themselves a little present: they took all of the current BMW M models and tested them on the circuit to see which one was the fastest. All of the tests were done on the Sachsenring circuit in Germany and, surprising or not, the fastest model turned out to be the M3 CRT (E90). In fact, according to Autobild, not only was it the fastest from all the models tested, it was also the fastest M Car they have ever tested on the Sachsenring.
The M3 CRT lapped the circuit in 1:38.87 , closely followed by the M5 with a lap time of 1:38.90 and the 1-Series M Coupe with a time of 1:40.18. The list continues with the M3 in coupe, sedan, and convertible forms and ends with the X6M and X5M. Both SUVs were faster than the old E60 M5.
And just for fun, Autobild also brought a Porsche Panamera Turbo S and a Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG to the test.
| Autobild Shootout || Sachsenring lap time |
| BMW M3 GTS (on semi-slicks) || 1:37.30 |
| BMW M3 CRT || 1:38.87 |
| BMW F10 M5 (driven by Claudia Hürtgen. Other cars were driven by Autobild drivers) || 1:38.90 |
| BMW 1M Coupe || 1:40.18 |
| BMW M3 Coupe DCT || 1:40.52 |
| BMW M3 Sedan DCT || 1:40.60 |
| BMW M3 Convertible DCT || 1:42.63 |
| BMW X6 M || 1:43.67 |
| BMW X5 M || 1:43.72 |
| BMW E60 M5 || 1:43.77 |
| F10 M5 Competition || Sachsenring lap time |
| Porsche Panamera Turbo S || 1:38.13 |
| BMW F10 M5 || 1:38.90 |
| Mercedes E63 AMG PP || 1:40.59 |
The BMW M3 GTS is limited to only 135 units, but the M3 CRT is even more exclusive with only 67 planned units. Prices in Germany will start at 130,000 euro - or about $185,000 at the current exchange rates.
BMW may have put in a lot of work deciphering a new way to make carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) weigh less, but the 450 HP found under its hood still falls short of some of its competitors, like the Cadillac CTS-V sedan (556 HP) and the Mercedes C63 AMG (457 HP). Not to mention the fact that the M3 CRT is also priced way higher than the competition.
In the end, it really doesn’t matter anyway. Only 67 people will have the luxury of driving the cutting edge and lightest BMW M3, and we have a feeling that none of those people will live in the U.S.
First vehicle ever to feature the Reprocessed Carbon-fiber reinforced plastic
Lighter, more powerful, faster
Brand new individual rear seats
Only 67 units will be produced
No units for the U.S.
Competition is still more powerful