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.
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.
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 3704 lbs. That is way more than the Corvette’s 3217 pound curb weight and even more than the 911 S’ 3,131 lbs 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