The current-generation BMW M3 Coupe went into production in 2007, and now, 40,000 units later, the company announced the model was officially taken out of production. Along with these M3 Coupe units, BMW also sold a total of 10,000 sedans and 16,000 convertible units, which will remain in production until September 2013.
During the car’s 6 years of production, the most important markets were the U.S., Great Britain and Germany. Special versions launched during the years includes an art car developed by U.S. artist Jeff Koons, an M3 GT2 raced in the American Le Mans series where it obtained five titles and a victory at the Nurburgring 24-hour race.
Since 2007, the M3 Coupe received no major updates and it retained the same glorious V-8 engine under its hood.
The BMW M3 Coupe will be replaced by the future BMW M4 Coupe.
Click past the jump to read more about the BMW M3 Coupe.
The BMW M3 Coupe is powered by the same engine as the sedan: a 4.0-liter V-8 engine that delivers a total of 420 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque at 8,400 rpm. The model sprints from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds and goes up to a top speed of 155 mph.
The engine offers numerous innovative features, like electronically controlled individual throttle butterflies, ion current knock control and dynamically optimized oil supply.
In the U.S. market, the M3 Coupe is priced from $60,100.
Image courtesy of Rudolf Stricker via Wikimedia Commons
BMW added the M3 to its lineup in 1986 and it remained in the lineup in one form or another through 2013.
The first-generation M3 was based on the
E30 3 Series model and BMW initially offered it for the Group A Touring Car racing. The road-going version arrived shortly after with an S14 DOHC four-cylinder engine that produced 197 horsepower. In 1988, the company also offered an Evolution model that produced up to 217 horsepower;’ also added that year was a convertible M3.
The second-generation M3 arrived in 1992 and was based on the E36 3-Series. The model used a 3.0-liter straight-six-cylinder engine with a total output of 282 horsepower. The second generation initially came only as a coupe, but a sedan version arrived in 1994.
In 1995, BMW brought the M3 to the U.S. market for the first time. For the American market the M3 delivered a total of 240 horsepower and 225 pound-feet of torque. This torque-happy engine allowed the M3 to hit 60 mph in 5.6 seconds. In Europe, an M3 Evolution arrived in 1996 with a 3.2-liter engine with 321 horsepower, but the U.S,-spec model was only slightly revised with horsepower remaining at 240 and torque jumping to 236 pound-feet at just 3,800 rpm.
The third-generation M3 (E46) arrived in 2000. It made good use of a 3.2-liter M-tuned engine that delivered a total of
333 horsepower and 262 pound-feet for the American market, and 343 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque in Europe. This allowed the third-gen M3 to hit 60 mph in 5 seconds and sprint through the 1/4-mile in just 13.5 seconds.
The fourth-gen M3 arrived in 2008 (2007 in Europe) with a 4-liter V-8 engine that delivered a total of 414 horsepower at 8,300 rpm and a peak torque of 295 pound-feet at 3,900 rpm. This engine resulted in a 4.3-second sprint to 60 mph and a 12.7-second run through the 1/4-mile at 112 mph. It also was quite the handler with a 0.95g skid pad run and a 725 mph run through a slalom course.
Fresh from a clean sweep of German Touring Car Masters (DTM) titles in 2012, the BMW M3 has continued to power from one victory to the next again this season. And the race-spec car is sure to be involved in a good deal more exciting action before the season concludes this autumn. The series-produced model, however, is already on the finishing straight as BMW M GmbH announces the end of production for the fourth generation of the BMW M3 Coupe. The high-performance sports car which spawned the championship-winning DTM racer is set to end its career on the road with more than 40,000 examples having left the factory. Indeed, the BMW M3 Coupe will be drawing a line under an extraordinary run on the world’s car markets. The BMW M3 Convertible, likewise powered by a high-revving V8 engine, will continue in production until September 2013.
The BMW M3 has epitomised the direct transfer of racing expertise to the road since 1986. And the latest generation of the high-performance sports car succeeded in adding another sprinkling of fascinating new chapters to its model history – from innovative technology yielding even more intense driving pleasure to BMW’s highly successful comeback in the DTM. With its athletic design, an overall package pieced together with hallmark M precision, and top-class performance capability, the BMW M3 enjoyed immense popularity around the world. Production of the BMW M3 Coupe – launched in 2007 – exceeded 40,000 units, and the BMW M3 Sedan added almost 10,000 units to the total. Just under 16,000 units of the BMW M3 Convertible have been built to date.
The most important shared feature of the three body variants is their powertrain and chassis technology, derived directly from motor sport. The 4.0-litre V8 engine, developed exclusively for the BMW M3, has cylinder banks positioned at a 90-degree angle to one another. It develops maximum output of 309 kW/420 hp, generates peak torque of 400 Newton metres (295 lb-ft) and revs to a maximum 8,400 rpm. Like the engine’s high-revving character, numerous construction details, such as the electronically controlled individual throttle butterflies, ion current knock control and dynamically optimised oil supply, were taken straight from motor racing. Alongside its instantaneous responsiveness, the colossal power delivery of the naturally aspirated engine – maintained at a constant level into the upper reaches of the rev range – is its defining feature. The BMW M3’s engine won the 3.0 to 4.0-litre class of the International Engine of the Year Award five times in succession.
The transfer of technology from race track to road also shapes the character of the car’s other powertrain and chassis components. A lightweight chassis developed specifically for the M3 – complete with a front axle secured to the body by an aluminium stiffening plate and a five-link rear axle with hollow-tube anti-roll bar and forged aluminium axle control arms – teams up with a rack-and-pinion steering system with M-specific Servotronic and the variable M differential lock to provide precisely controlled transfer of power to the road in any situation. The BMW M3 was fitted as standard with a high-performance compound braking system and could also be specified as an option with the three-mode Electronic Damper Control system. Another impressively innovative option introduced for the fourth-generation BMW M3 was M DCT Drivelogic. The first double-clutch transmission for series-produced vehicles to be set up specifically to suit the performance characteristics of a high-revving engine opens the door to extraordinarily dynamic acceleration with no interruption in the flow of power.
The fourth-generation BMW M3 was a trailblazer in its class when it came to intelligent lightweight construction. Playing a prominent role alongside the aluminium bonnet and plastic front side panels in lowering the weight of the Coupe’s body was its carbon roof. The use of this high-tech material on the scale achieved with the BMW M3 represented another important step for the
BMW Group towards the industrial manufacture of carbon body components.
During the six years or so of BMW M3 production, the USA, Great Britain and Germany grew into its most important sales markets. In 2010 the Coupe also became a work of art when US artist Jeff Koons transformed the BMW M3 GT2 endurance racer into the 17th member of the BMW Art Car series. Koons’ creation was unveiled in early June 2010 at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, before lining up in the Le Mans 24-hour race two weeks later. The BMW M3 GT2 added another rash of victories to the BMW M3’s exceptional record of success, including five titles in the American Le Mans series and victory in the Nürburgring 24-hour race.
The fourth-generation BMW M3 was produced at the BMW plant in Regensburg alongside the BMW 3 Series Sedan, Coupe and Convertible. Its V8 engine was supplied by the BMW engine factory in Munich, where specific production processes on the special engine assembly line ensured the high-performance unit would be marked by excellent quality and reliability.
Among the highlights of the BMW M3’s production run were the exclusive small-series variants of the car introduced over its lifetime, which brought its race-inspired characteristics even further to the fore. The BMW M3 GTS, for example, was developed as a road-legal clubsport-oriented model. The displacement of its V8 engine was increased to 4.4 litres, enabling maximum output of 331 kW/450 hp. Bespoke chassis components and aerodynamic measures, plus a two-seat cockpit designed for racing use, prepared this exclusive special-edition model for competitive race action on the track and ensured it offered a super-intense M experience on the road. 135 examples of the BMW M3 GTS were delivered to customers.
The BMW M3 CRT (Carbon Racing Technology) joined the fray in 2011 in a limited run of 67 units. Based on the BMW M3 Sedan and built at the BMW M GmbH factory, the BMW M3 CRT boasted exclusively manufactured lightweight components, a 331 kW/450 hp version of the V8 engine and modified chassis technology – all of which was a recipe for exceptionally precise handling balance. An innovative carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) manufacturing process was employed in the construction of the BMW M3 CRT. Its bonnet was made from two CFRP mouldings encasing an aramid honeycomb structure. This construction gave the bonnet the strength of a conventional steel equivalent, but at roughly a quarter of its weight. The bucket seats of the BMW M3 CRT were made from two CFRP layers wrapped around a recycled-paper honeycomb, and a carbon layer made using conventional production technology was added to visible areas. A rear spoiler and an air-channelling element integrated into the front apron (both made from CFRP) rounded off the exclusive lightweight elements found on the BMW M3 CRT.