The BMW E46 M3 GTR came to life in February 2001 and was the first M3 in the history of the company to feature a V8 engine. The only reason that the GTR was made was to go along with the Le Mans rules stating that any vehicle raced must be produced in certain numbers for a certain length of time before the racing car starts its season. Since the Le Mans M3 GTR was a V8, the road car had to be, as well.
To fulfill this rule, BMW put 10 road going GTRs on sale after the 2001 season, for €250,000 each.
The road car used a slightly detuned version of the P60 rated at 380 horsepower at 7,000 rpm – complete with dry-sump lubrication and sharply canted radiator with hood venting. Power was transmitted through a racing style twin-disc clutch to a 6-speed manual gearbox and variable locking M differential.
The M3 GTR featured an extensively stiffened chassis and a very sporty suspension setup derived from the race version. The M3 GTR was dramatically lowered compared to the stock M3, additional bracing was fitted between the firewall and strut towers as well as between the rear shock towers. The extended and re-designed front and rear fascias and the rear wing optimized the aerodynamics of the M3 GTR by reducing lift.
The M3 GTR road car benefited from extensive weight reduction measures. The roof, rear spoiler, hood vents front and rear fascias were all constructed of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) – just as on the race version. The interior of the GTR was also reworked with an eye on lightweight. Recaro leather covered racing seats were added, the rear seat was removed and special M3 GTR sill plates finished off the interior changes.
When it comes to cars there are many fan favorites spread across the 20 years of Need For Speed racing game history, the E46 M3 GTR is considered to this date one of the best cars to ever race in the popular video game.