Filled with all kinds of electronic and technological advancements, the BMW M235i is already considered by many the most entertaining model BMW has ever produced – after the BMW E46 M3. Today, we have a chance to compare the two, all thanks to German magazine Auto Build. Unfortunately, the video embedded here is in German, but we will try to relay some of the main conclusions that arrived after the comparison was carried out.
The BMW M235i is powered by a 3.0-liter BMW M Performance TwinPower Turbo inline 6-cylinder, 24-valve engine that develops 320hp. The engine combines a twin-scroll turbocharger with variable valve control (Double-VANOS and Valvetronic) and high-precision direct injection to deliver breathtaking and impressive performance. It arrives with an 8-speed Sport Automatic transmission; includes steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters which allows the car to sprint from 0-60mph (0-100km/h) in 4.6 seconds.
On the other hand, the BMW E46 M3 is powered by a 3.2 liter S54 M-tuned engine delivering 343 horsepower. The E46 M3 was offered with a standard 6-speed Getrag transmission, but optionally came with a SMG drivelogic transmission (also known as the SMG II). This is the standard 6-speed Getrag transmission with an electrohydraulically actuated clutch (no clutch pedal). Shifts are made via the SMG gear knob or the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. The engine had a redline of 8,000 rpm.
As with most M engines, the S54 had six independent throttle bodies and electronically operated throttles (drive-by-wire throttle with no cable). It sprinted from 0-60mph (0-100km/h) in 4.8 seconds.
As seen from the above, both cars posses equally impressive performance figures and power output. How well does it translate to the street and track? Auto Bild reports that the M235i is a significant four seconds quicker than the M3 around the track! It is also worth noting that, according to one of them, the BMW E46 is still a rawer and more entertaining vehicle on the track overall.
For a quick intro to old versus new, for naturally aspirated versus twin-turbo and for a comparison of two cars a couple of generations a part, grab a quick look at the video we’ve added below.