• Three-Way BMW M Race Will Leave you Longing for the Past

The BMW M3 E46 and the BMW M3 E36 take on the new BMW M2 Competition

The BMW M3 E46 is considered one of the greatest driving machines of all time, and its predecessor, the BMW M3 E36, wasn’t that far behind. The two M3s from yesteryear are largely responsible for turning BMW’s M division into a household name. That legacy lives to this day now that the all-new M3 G80 has arrived.

But this isn’t about the M3 G80 or its roots to both the E36 and E46. This is about the two M3 legends taking on a different M car: the equally all-new BMW M2 Competition.

You might think that this is a lopsided race since it features two BMW M3s that are at least two decades old — at least that’s the case for the M3 E36 — and a BMW M2 Competition that’s barely two years old.

In addition to its 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six engine that produces 405 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, the M2 Competition also comes with all the new technologies, safety features, and driving aids that neither of the two M3s have at their disposal. It’s a wipeout waiting to happen, right?

Three-Way BMW M Race Will Leave you Longing for the Past
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Well, to be fair, Carwow didn’t just bring two old M3s to compete against the M2 Competition.

Both cars have been modified, at least to a certain extent.

The BMW M3 E36 comes with ECU and exhaust upgrades that bring the output from its 3.0-liter naturally aspirated inline-six engine to 300 horsepower. Meanwhile, the 2005 M3 E46 that host Matt Watson is driving comes with its own set of upgrades that puts the output from its inline-six unit close to 350 horsepower. It also has a kitty air freshener, which is of no use in the race but is nonetheless important to point out.

Three-Way BMW M Race Will Leave you Longing for the Past
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A betting man would still favor the M2 Competition, but is the coupe’s status as a favorite in this race enough to beat the two legendary M3s? It takes a bit for the three cars to actually race, but it did happen — three times, in fact — and the results were, let’s just say, not what we expected.

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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