UK journalist Chris Harris takes a philosophical approach to talk about the M3 generation of cars and how they changed over time and why people just love to pound on them to get the best performance possible.
Here is an excerpt from his article:
“The E90/92 M3 wasn’t quite. It didn’t steer quite so well, the new V8 revved like a maniac but it had a tragic thirst and a weeny fuel tank which drove owners mad. And despite being very competent, it didn’t quite have the same feeling of all-round excellence, with the steering lacking some life. But even so, it was and still is a cracking car. Was some of the criticism leveled at it compared to the E46 deserved? I defended the E92 at the time, but I think on reflection it probably was justified.
Now we have the F80 M, and the purists are terribly unhappy. Unhappy with the lexicon of evil technologies: turbocharging, electric steering, dual-clutch gearboxes. Unhappy that it doesn’t handle on the race track and it’s not very good on the road and that the engine noise is rubbish – and I really don’t understand what they’re talking about. I think it’s a corker.
For starters it’s massively lighter than the car it replaces, and yet it has more power and torque. This means it will sprint from rest to 100mph in a little over 8sec. That places it in a completely different performance category to the previous V8.
Yes, the steering is lifeless but then so was the E92’s. And for that matter the E46’s. And the E36’s. In fact the only M3 to ever steer particularly pleasantly was the E30. And that ended production in 1992. On bumpy Portuguese roads I found the damping superb, so long as you were in the softest setting. Most of the time I couldn’t tell the thing was turbocharged because throttle response was immediate and the thing wanted to rev right to the limiter. The noise was pretty uninspiring, but I find it hard to severely criticise that in a modern M3, when the original, never-to-be-bettered E30 M3 sounds about as appealing as a lawn tractor.
Furthermore, as a 4-door, I think it’s the best-looking M3 ever. That’s subjective, but I have to allow myself some margin for baseless opinion!”