The BMW E46 M3 is regarded as one of the best drivers cars of all time, and they can now be had for under $25,000.
One of BMW fans’ favorite, the E46 chassis, made its debut in 2001. It was powered by the 3.2 liter S54 M-tuned engine. At the time of the car’s introduction, this engine had the highest specific output naturally aspirated of any engine ever made by BMW (except in the McLaren F1), producing 343 horsepower (256 kW) and 365 N·m (269 lb-ft). No sedan variant was offered for the E46 generation.
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).
The design of the E92 M3 Coupe continues to look fresh even seven years after its introduction. The proportions and sportiness are still very much alive, and the current M3 will age well.
The fourth-generation BMW M3 was a trailblazer in its class when it came to intelligent lightweight construction. Playing a prominent role alongside the aluminum bonnet and plastic front side panels in lowering the weight of the Coupe’s body was its carbon roof. The use of this high-tech material on the scale achieved with the BMW M3 represented another important step for BMW towards the industrial manufacture of carbon body components.
Production of the BMW M3 Coupe – launched in 2007 – exceeded 40,000 units, and the BMW M3 Sedan added almost 10,000 units to the total. Just under 16,000 units of the BMW M3 Convertible have been built to date.
The outgoing E92 M3 is powered by the famous 4.0-liter 414-hp V8 and runs to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds (4.6 with rollout) and 13.0 at 109.9 mph. The BMW M3’s engine won the 3.0 to 4.0-litre class of the International Engine of the Year Award five times in succession.
The 2015 BMW M4 is powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six which makes 425 hp and 406 lb-ft. That’s barely up from the last-gen M3′s peak 414 hp, but up significantly in the torque department.
So how do they all compare to each other? Let’s find out.