In the recent history of BMW, two models rise above all as possible future legends: the BMW E39 M5 and the BMW E46 M3. These two seem to have the best mix of technology and old school adrenaline infusing characteristics, making them a crowd favorite. However, they also have downsides which become apparent when you take into consideration the incredible performance newer cars bring to the table.
A lot of people have been complaining about the old M cars lacking power or torque. If we were back in 2000, these complaints wouldn’t have existed, but since in 2016 everything is turbocharged, so we understand where they’re coming from. Fortunately, solutions exist and if 400 or 343 HP aren’t enough, you can easily get supercharger kits for your cars.
The guys from Vehicle Virgins recently took two such modified Bimmers out for a stroll to see which one is better. And while comparing the M5 to an M3 doesn’t really make sense due to many reasons, they still proceeded with the task. Therefore, they’re comparing a mid-size sedan with a V8 to a sport coupe with a straight-six engine. The only common thing between the two being the badges and the fact that they are supercharged.
What’s most interesting about these two is that their supercharging kits are quite different and the power levels quite similar, despite the obvious displacement difference between the S62 and S54 engines. The M5 with the ESS VT-560 supercharging kit should make about 550 HP at the crank with 620 Nm (457 lb-ft) of torque to go along with it. On the other hand, the VF570 kit for the E46 M3 should give you about 570 HP at the crank and some 515 Nm (380 lb-ft) of torque. The lower torque figure is, of course, due to the difference in displacement.
Even so, since the M3 is considerably lighter than its brother, it’s only natural that’s also faster, thanks to the additional power. But is power all that matters? Let’s see what Vehicle Virgins has to say about the two.