BMW is preparing a sport version for its best high-performance car, the E92 M3 sportscoupe that will go on sale in spring 2007 at a price of $55.000 (est). A high-performance four-seater convertible it is also expected six months later. BMW will also introduce M versions of the sedan and touring models.

  • 2008 BMW M3 Preview
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  • 0-60 time:
    4.5 sec.
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    155 mph
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The BMW M3 will have as main competitors the Audi RS4 and Mercedes-Benz C55 AMG.

The sport version for the current 3-series Coupe will be distinguished by its wider fender flares and quad tail pipes. The front, side, and rear skirts are placeholders, and the makeshift hood barely conceals the big V8 beneath. The front sports an aggressive yet subtle bumper while the rear displays quad exhausts like the new M5/M6.

M3 will feature four exhausts pipes, large air intakes, front wing vents and obviously the very desirable quote ’M’ badging. From the 3-series will take the aggressive nose and deeply sculpted flanks.

The rear will have an extremely muscular look, thanks to a rear diffuser and flaps to the left and right of it. Also like all other M models, the M3 will boast four typical round tailpipes. The rear diffuser will fulfill a central function in underbody air routing. Together with the discrete spoiler integrated into the rear lid and the almost entirely flat underbody it will improve airflow across the underbody producing an excellent drag coefficient and a reduction in lift forces.

Under the hood you will see a 4.0-liter V8 engine based on the V-10 under the hoods of the BMW M5 sedan and M6 coupe. The maximum output will go up to 415 bhp. This will help the car to make the 0 to 60 mph sprint in less that 5 second. Also the top speed is 155 mph (limited).

The gearbox will offer the Drivelogic system, already known from the M5. With that at the driver’s disposal are eleven program options that enable the SMG’s shift characteristics to be tailored to suit the driving situation and the mood. Six of these programs will be selected in the sequential manual gearbox mode (S mode). These programs adjust shifting speed and style because, in the S mode, the driver does all the shifting. In the Drive (D mode) the transmission will shift automatically, depending on which of the five programs is selected, the driving situation, the road speed and the position of the accelerator pedal.

The front panels will be produced from aluminum and the side panels will be adapted to the wheel size. Emphasized sills will optimize air routing in the underbody and upgrade the dynamic qualities of the vehicle. The new M3 will catch-up in wheel size with the M5 and will therefore get 19-inch wheels with traditional M double spoke design.


BMW E30 M3

First produced in 1986, the 3 Series E30 M3 was the product of a factory effort to participate in German Touring Car racing. The primary opponent was the Mercedes 190 class. Both companies recognized the great interest in racing and the positive effects of racing on auto sales.

2008 BMW M3 Preview
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Based on the 1986 E30 3-Series body, the first M3 was introduced with a 2.3 L S14 engine, derived from the M10 inline-4 block and the valve train and head architecture from BMWs M1 and later M6 inline-6 cylinder. One of the main reasons for production of the road car was to homologate the M3 for Group A Touring Car racing, as an answer to the "2.3-16V"-model of the Mercedes-Benz W201 which was introduced in 1983. A notable characteristic of the E30 M3 is its racing pedigree, campaigned by BMW as well as other racing teams including Prodrive and Schnitzer Motorsport.

The original E30 M3 was followed by a variety of Evolution models and some special editions. The highlight of the Evolution models was the 1990 Evo III, featuring a 2.5 liter engine and 238 hp. The E30 M3 Cabriolet version was produced from 1988 to 1991. The E30 M3 Cabriolets were all hand built on BMW Motorsport GmbH’s production line at Garching in Munich. Only 786 models were made. From 1987 to 1990, only the 195 hp model was officially imported into the USA.

BMW E36 M3

In 1992 the second generation M3, based on the E36 platform, was introduced at the Paris Auto Show. BMW Motorsports started with the M50TU engine used in various E36 and E34. The bore and stroke was enlarged and the intake was modified to include individual throttle bodies. A new variable valve timing system on the intake camshaft, called VANOS, was adapted to the engine. The engine, dubbed the S50, was capable of producing over 280 horsepower.

2008 BMW M3 Preview
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Aesthetically, the E36 M3 was similar to the regular three series with only a few distinctions. The exterior of the M3 had a front air dam, aerodynamic side mirrors, and deeper side valance panels while the interior had a M shift knob, M instrument cluster, and M sport seats. An M-Technic rear spoiler could be purchased as a dealer option, giving the vehicle a very sportier look.

The E36 M3 did not reach US until 1994. Even when it did it was outfitted with a special American version of its potent engine, which was dubbed the S50 B30 USA. Throttle bodies had been removed to lower compression and the continuous VANOS was replaced with a two-stage one. This lowered the cost but also lowered the horsepower, now producing 240.

BMW E46 M3

The E46 M3 coupe, launched in 2000, was one of the most highly anticipated BMW models ever. Following the success of the previous two generations of M3 - production 3 Series models, developed to ultra-high performance standards by BMW M, the Munich-based subsidiary of BMW - the E46 M3 elevated the performance capability even further. Based on the contemporary generation BMW 3 Series coupe, known internally as E46, the M3 begins with a more rigid body structure than even it’s highly competent predecessor - a car which in race trim, won the Sports Car GT racing championship 3 years in a row.

2008 BMW M3 Preview
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A new 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine, mated to a six-speed manual transmission, will deliver an estimated 330-horsepower, up from 240 in the previous M3. Torque will increase as well, to an estimated 255 lb.-ft. This will allow the M3 to accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in approximately five seconds.

The available SMG Drivelogic (also known as SMG II) transmission, a Formula 1-style electrohydraulic manual gearbox with no clutch pedal and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, is also a highlight. The model also came with a new 6-speed transmission and red-line RPM of 8000, a first for any BMW. The engine also consisted of 6 independent throttle bodies and electronically driven throttles (without a cable).

Of the limited-run models of the M3, the M3 CSL (E46) is the most celebrated. BMW made a limited run (less than 1,400 units) of these machines between June and December of 2003.

2008 BMW M3 Preview
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Carbon fibre has replaced the original materials used in the front air dam, the exterior mirror housing and roof, doors and rear lid. Racing-style bucket seats have also been introduced to reduce weight and carbon fibre reinforced plastic has replaced much of the centre console. A higher rear spoiler and rear end diffuser also distinguish this car from it production brother.

In addition the engine has been modified boosting maximum power to 350 bhp from 343 bhp for the standard M3. This concept model features BMW’s Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG), which incorporates Formula One gearshift technology.


Audi RS4

The second generation RS4 is built on Audi’s "B7" A4 platform. The B7 RS4 is an almost complete departure from previous RS cars.

power comes from an FSI equipped, naturally aspirated 4.2 litre V8, whereas all previous RS cars have been turbocharged. Nonetheless, this engine is very powerful, producing a total output of 420 Horsepower. The 0-60 MPH sprint is made in 4.8 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph (limited electronically).

2008 BMW M3 Preview
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FSI technology is already deployed in the world’s most successful racing car, the Audi R8, winner of the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours race no less than four times in the last five years alone (to mention just some of the car’s outstanding achievements). The figures illustrate the outstanding potential of the eight-cylinder unit. At 7,800 rpm the 4.2 litre engine delivers 420 bhp of power output. Peak torque is 317 lbs-ft at 5,500 rpm. And no less than 90 per cent of this maximum torque is maintained consistently throughout a wide range of engine speed from 2,250 all the way to 7,600 rpm.

Mercedes C55 AMG

The C55 AMG is the first of the current Mercedes-Benz C-Class models to feature an eight-cylinder engine and delivers performance on a par with a thoroughbred sports car: the power output of 367 hp and peak torque of 376 lbs-ft are new records in this vehicle category. From a standing start, the new C 55 AMG acceler-ates to 100 km/h in just 5.2 seconds. Furthermore, the AMG sports suspension – fitted as standard – and the five-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted gearshift buttons and AMG-SPEEDSHIFT make for a very sporty driving experience.

2008 BMW M3 Preview
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On the outside, the C 55 AMG is clearly distinguishable from the other C-Class models by virtue of its unique front end which has been extended by around 80 mm in order to accommodate the powerful V8 engine and now incorporates elliptic twin headlamps. Not to mention a nose end that. Further features which emphasise the high-performance characteristics of the eight-cylinder model include the sporty side skirts, boot lid and rear bumper. Available as a Saloon or an Estate and introduced to replace the outgoing C32 AMG, the new C55 AMG comes complete with 18-inch light-alloy wheels, 225/40 R 18 front tyres, 245/35 R 18 rear tyres, AMG sports seats with Alcantara covers and a distinctly sporty instrument cluster with silver dials.

2008 Lexus IS500

The highly successful Lexus IS medium sedan series has already been trouble for the German BMW 3-Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class. It seems that Lexus will not settle with competing against the low and mid-end medium sedans, but is committed to dare the league of the “bad boys”. The new high-performance Lexus will be called IS500

2008 BMW M3 Preview
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The new sports-saloon Lexus will probably feature a detuned version of the 5.0L V8 currently in development for the LF-A supercar production version. As first information show, for the IS500 the V8 ( code-named 2UR-FSE) engine will produce 420 bhp @ 5800 rpm and 405 lbs/ft of torque @ 3800 rpm from 5.0 liters of displacement. The new Lexus V8 will be a bored out version of the 4.6 L engine from the new Lexus LS460 saloon.

This is a slower engine than those used by the German competitors (the RS4’s reaches 8250 rpm and the M3’s is expected to rev up to 9000) as Lexus has no experience on the high-revving principle. In order to compensate for that the Lexus has a bigger displacement, 5.0 L against 4.2 L in the Audi and 4.0 L in the BMW.

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