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BMW M3 Ultimate Portfolio 1986-2006
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BMW M3 Ultimate Portfolio 1986-2006

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BMW M3 Ultimate Portfolio 1986-2006

Buyer's Guide, Road & Comparison Tests

One of the most iconic cars out of Germany is undoubtedly the BMW M3. Based as it is on the prosaic 3 Series family sedan, it has taken the term sports sedan to spectacular heights over the past two decades. In fact, it has redefined it. As with many developments from BMW, racing played a big part in the evolution of the M3. Remember the M1 with its sonorous 24 valve 3.5 litre DOHC six cylinder engine? Well, in creating the first M3 those clever engineers at M GmbH removed two cylinders from the six to make a 2.3-litre DOHC four that produced 200bhp, gave it a top speed of 140mph and ran from 0-60mph in 6.8 seconds; add in flared wheel arches and take some of the luxury items out and voila! they had a race winner straight out of the blocks. There were several iterations of the M3 including two EVO versions, and a convertible. By 1990 there was the Sports Evolution version that had a 2.5-litre DOHC four-cylinder engine that raised the bar even further. Think in terms of 238bhp at 7000rpm(!), a near 155 top speed and 0-60mph in 6.0 seconds. That was quick by any standards, let alone for a compact family sedan. BMW shocked the world with the release of the E36 M3 in 1993. Using the stylish coupe body M GmbH designed and produced a new DOHC 24-valve in-line six-cylinder engine with 3.0-litres capacity. It has gone down in motoring history as one of the most magnificent engines of all time and deservedly so. It pumped out a stunning 286bhp at 7000rpm! Maximum speed was now an electronically limited 155mph (a few early cars had no restriction and a top speed of 162mph) and the classic 0-60mph sprint took just 5.4 seconds. Not only was the new M3 quick but the international media went ballistic in its praise for the German hotrod. Everybody who was anybody simply had to be seen in one. Development continued with a convertible being available from 1993 and a four-door sedan the following year. A GT was built for Le Mans homologation in 1995 with 295bhp and an EVO edition came the same year with a larger 3.2-litre engine and VANOS camshaft timing, power now being 321bhp at 7400rpm. At the end, in 1998, BMW built just 50 of the M3 GT2 that had larger spoilers and polished alloy wheels. In 2000, BMW released the much anticipated E46 M3 that, while only fractionally faster in acceleration (0-60mph in 5.0 seconds), boasted a thoroughly revised engine that was a mere 45cc larger in capacity but now produced 343bhp at an amazing 7900rpm. It was a much more refined car to drive. In some of the darker colours available it looked drop-dead gorgeous. A convertible came in 2001, the much talked about M3 CSL with it carbon fibre roof in 2003 and the M3 CS in 2005. In the opinion of the world's media the E46 BMW M3 was a simply brilliant package that had absolutely no peers unless you considered the true exoticars. It was a genuine sales success all over the world. This portfolio covers the life & times of the most iconic of German cars, the BMW M3.

Includes: road, comparison & long term tests & new model intros. Models covered: M3, E30 2.3 & 2.5, E36 3.0 & 3.2 & E46 3.2 in sedan, convertible, coupe & racing format.

Softbound, 200 pages, including 60 in full colour.

Price: £19.95 £14.95

Product Code: BM3UP
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