The E92 M3: Higher Performance at a Bargain

BMW M3 | March 2nd, 2008 by 9

So I have been inundated lately with all of the great stories and amazing shoot-outs including the E92 M3. It is the greatest performance bargain …

So I have been inundated lately with all of the great stories and amazing shoot-outs including the E92 M3. It is the greatest performance bargain of any M3, just like the E46 version was in the early 2000’s. While I have been reading all of the latest press about the M3 versus the 911 Turbo and GT3, the Nissan R35 GT-R and even the Audi R8, I can’t help but wonder why they are putting the M3 against such high competition? Any BMW nut will tell you that it’s the M3 CSL’s job to take on these cars.

While BMW hasn’t released a CSL yet, there will almost certainly be one considering how many cars are out there for it to do battle against these days –also there has already been an M3 CSL style vehicle seen being tested on the Nürburgring. The M3 is meant more for head to head against the C6 Corvette and the 911 Carrera S, even though it still holds its own heavy weight against the real heavy weights.

I took the time to see how the M3 matches up its two truest competitors. Low and behold I think BMW has finally done it. For years I had family and friends alike come to me laughing at how the E46 M3 just wasn’t quick enough and was too high of a price for a car slower than the Corvette and Porsche 911 of its day. Now I don’t hear those claims. Maybe that’s because BMW realized the other cars it went up against were gaining more performance for the dollar, like the Corvette and 911 were.

The E46 M3 had similar straight line and track performance as the 996 911 and slightly slower 0-60 and ¼ mile times to the C5 Corvette, but was still more stable around the track. I went onto BMW’s website and built a fully equipped M3 comparable to a similarly optioned out C6 Corvette built from Chevrolet’s website. The Corvette did come in at $65,820 compared to the Bimmer’s $69,195 higher price of entry but, then you build the Porsche 911 on their website and the base price is $83,800, so it’s already flown out of this fight.

The E92 M3: Higher Performance at a Bargain

The E92 M3: Higher Performance at a Bargain

Remember that with the M3 you do get seating for two back seat riders compared to the Vette, and it allows for a large trunk that doesn’t interfere with the cabin at all unlike the hatch of the C6. All that and the price seems a little more justifiable.

The E92 M3: Higher Performance at a Bargain

According to Road & Track the new M3 can hit 60 in a staggering 4.1s and fly by the quarter mile signs in only 12.5 seconds. Let us not forget that the M3 tips the scales at a whopping 3704lbs. That is way more than the Corvette’s 3217 pound curb weight and even more than the 911 S’s 3,131 lb body. The 2008 Corvette with 436hp runs through 60 at 4.1s thanks to Motor Trend and that is the same reading that Car and Driver got with the 911 Carrera S. It’s tough not to see this as one hell of an accomplishment for the guys over at Motorsport. But then again, for us BMW enthusiasts, we were just waiting for the right day to come.

So there we have it. A BMW that performs as well as its best rivals and still maintains a great attitude. One thing I did forget to mention is that Road and Track also got a good blend of fuel economy with 15mpg in the city and 23mpg on the highway. That’s pretty good for a sports car in the midst of a gas crisis. Just think you can get all of this performance in the M3 sedan for $825 less when fully loaded, and more room. You can’t get that with either the P-Car or the American Muscle.

Which one would you choose?

Article by Josh at RawAutos.com 

  • Andrew Shebanow

    The BMW M3 is a great car, but it is unfortunate that you felt you had to stack the deck against the corvette to make your case: why did you throw in a $5500 option that adds a spoiler, custom wheels, and custom graphics?

  • Josh

    Andrew,

    I did that because I made the Corvette fully loaded with equipment like the Z51 Package, nicer rims and such. All of the things I did to the Corvette I did to the M3 to make it fair. Can you build an M3 for cheaper? Of course, but don’t forget, you can also buy a based out Corvette for about $39-42K. So in order to keep it slightly fair I kept it fully loaded to fully loaded and show why the M3 cant still be the smarter buy even when more expensive.

  • CDR_UK

    The optioned M3 costs the ~same price as a GTR! I think the M3 is great, but it is far from being a performance bargain.

  • http://www.rawautos.com RawAutos

    CDR_UK,

    The biggest thing is, yes, it does cost as much as the GT-R, and with more luxury as well. But, the biggest question is, where can you find a GT-R for $70,000? They aren’t available in the U.S. yet, and when they get here there is already a promise that you won’t be able to buy one for under $80-90K and a lot of people are expected to pay almost $120K for them (same as a 911 Turbo). So that is why it is a bargain. It can hold its own against the GT-R, GT3, C6 Corvette, 911S and others while still being a good all-rounder on street and track. That is what makes BMW “The Ultimate Driving Machine”

  • CDR_UK

    RawAutos,

    Do you work for BMW? The M3 is far from being “The Ultimate Driving Machine”. The CSL when that comes out will surely be a lot closer to the mark.

    The fact that people are willing to pay over the list price for a GT-R does not reflect the cost of a car, and does automatically make a car that people will not pay over list price for (i.e. M3) a bargain. In some countries this regulated against. If people in the U.S. are prepared to bend over for a GT-R then so be it. IMHO that just indicates that the GT-R pricing in the U.S. is too low.

    The European GT-R pricing was announced yesterday, and though much more expensive than in the U.S., it will still be on par with the euro price of an optioned M3. What is luxurious about an M3 with respect to the GT-R anyway?

    The bottom line is that the M3 is a great car, for a typical BMW price – nothing bargain about it.

  • http://www.rawautos.com RawAutos

    CDR_UK,

    How is the M3 not what BMW says it is? I am confused by that statement. It may not be as fast as the GT-R, but surprisingly it holds its own. Yes it is a bit pricey when compared performance wise, but the new M3 has a right to cost as much as it does with the rich history it has had since the E30 M3.

    Haha, no I do not work for BMW. As much as I would like to at times, I do like writing about them as an enthusiast much better.

    You compare the GT-R and the BMW just as heavily as the media. It is not made to compete against the M3, not at all. The CSL will compete better. The M3 is a different kind of car. The M3 has more luxury built into its skin, while the GT-R still has odd Nissan bits.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the GT-R (I wrote a great article about it on RawAutos.com), I just think the media is comparing it too much against everything. It doesn’t have a manual either, which really bothers me.

    I wrote this article to compare the C6 Corvette and the 997 911 Carrera 2S against the M3, which has been its main competition for years. I wanted to show that finally the M3 has the pricing to match the Corvette, the performance to match both and the luxury (4-seats) that neither the Porsche or the Corvette have.

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  • mike D

    i’m a big fan of both the M3 e92 and the c6 vette. I own a M3 e92 manual. however pulling a 4.1 0-60 in a new m3 is next to impossible. Corvettes equipped with the z51 package will beat an m3 most of the time. I would say a consistant 4.7 is more realistic for the beemer. I did’n’t by my m3 for 0-60 times I bought for it’s style, comfort and performance. I believe it is the best car out there that blends all 3 qualities.

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