BMW Super Bild: M3

Interesting | March 16th, 2013 by 3
Modded E30 M3 750x500

Acquiring an M3 says something about a car enthusiast. This person has a propensity for the finer things in life, sure that’s easy. This person enjoys driving; they must if they’re acquiring an M3. This same person may even have a touch of nostalgia depending on which model M3 they’re acquiring; definitely the case for E30 and E36 owners. But what it says most is this person is an enthusiast of the Roundel, regardless of model, because buying an M3 is truly the pinnacle of the 3 Series line up.

So now you’ve got that spanking new or previously new M3 in your drive, do you leave it alone and just enjoy it as the Munich gods intended? Or do you personalize it, allowing your style to shine through? Don’t answer that question just yet.

Modifying that M3 may say something entirely different about the very same person, and sometimes in a more positive way, sometimes not. But what is certain, when an M3 is tastefully modified, it’s a magnificent site to behold.

Modded E30 M3 655x436

Since this is Super Bild; a segment dedicated to really cool pictures of BMWs, this article wouldn’t be complete without really spectacular pictures of M3s, in this case modified M3s.

Our first M3 is the classic E30. In complete stock form it’s already one of the most sought after cars on the planet for fans of the Roundel. Modifying one could be considered treason among the rank and file of the BMW world. But when an E30 is tastefully done up it stirs emotions in the part of my brain normally reserved for hot women.

I agree that some of the latest images of Frankenstein modified M3s are a little disturbing, the majority of them are true to the DTM racing Ms of yester-year. Lots of wing, tucked in wheels sitting just below the fender arches, and lots of glorious carbon fiber. This Super Bild E30 M3 is done just to my liking. I probably would have gone with a more classic BBS wheel but all in all, this car screams at me to get in, buckle up and hold on. And judging by the intercooler tucked behind the front splitter, a lot of holding on may be in order.

Modded E36 M3 655x436

Next up is the E36 M3. Some consider the E36 to be the forgotten model because all the attention usually falls to the E30 or the E46. Having owned two E36 M3s, both of them modified and one Supercharged, I have to say it’s a highly underestimated car. The chassis is very forgiving, very receptive to tuned suspensions and more power. I still see a lot of them running around the North East United States. Sadly the S50B30US engine only managed 240HP compared to the EU version’s 321. But where the engine lacked, the chassis more than made up for, and aftermarket tuners like Steve Dinan helped along with horsepower needs by developing staged tuning packages from 274HP S2 to the fully supercharged 354HP S3 kit.

This Super Bild E36 happens to be the rare sedan version that was available from 1997 to 1998 here in the US. Sporting the exact BBS LMs I once adorned my E39 M5 with, I’d have to say this M3 is tastefully prepared to impress both on street as well as the track.

Modded E46 M3

And now the mighty E46 M3. Some say the best BMW ever built. Having owned one I’d have to say I concur. Neutral chassis, unflappable handling, 333 potent horsepower from a naturally aspirated inline 6 cylinder willing to rev to 7900RPM, the glorious sounds emanating from the S54 all culminated in one amazing car.

Sadly the US never received the ultimate version of the E46 M3 and one of the most sought after cars today, the M3CSL.

Since the CSL with its specially designed and unique carbon fiber components like the roof, bumpers and trunk lid were never available here, the tuning community responded with aftermarket pieces to fill the void. One can even order the vented hood from the GTR race edition that was never sold to the public although homologation racing rules dictated they should have… but that’s a different article for a different day.

With the cost of a second-hand E46 M3s down well below $20,000, the enthusiast crowd is snatching them up quickly and tuning them almost before they get them home. This E46 Super Bild in Laguna Seca blue wearing that M3 GTR hood, Hamman front fog light surrounds and carbon fiber splitter is every bit of emotion inducing as the original E30 M3. A far more capable car than a stock E30 M3, the E46 is currently the object of affection for most looking for high horsepower and a capable chassis without breaking the bank account.

Modded E92 M3

Lastly is the current generation M3, the E90/92/93. Most likely the last of the V8 M3s for the foreseeable future, the stock S65 normally aspirated V8 churns out an impressive 414HP at 8300 RPM.

Though the E92 is far larger than the outgoing E46 (4.5 inches longer, almost 2 inches wider), it’s only 289 lbs heavier. This is attributable to some of the weight saving lessons BMW learned in the CSL. Use of the carbon fiber reinforced plastic roof among other weight saving measures sees to it that the E92 is still a formidable weekend track weapon.

For those looking to spice it up a bit more, Tuners like Active Autowerke have Supercharger kits capable of producing 640HP and beyond.

With the price coming down and availability of previously owned E9X M3s in the market, these too are seeing a strong demand for those looking to customize to their tastes.

This Super Build E92 M3 is of the Frozen Black variety and looking sinister. A ride fit for Lord Vader himself, this M3 is ready to take on street and track as well as the country club scene, although some of the members may object to having Darth Vader in their club.

So sound off in the comments section; which M3 model would you have and would you keep it bone stock as the factory intended it or personalize it with some tasteful modifications?

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Have a great weekend everyone.