Comparisons between different generations of the same car don’t happen too often. As a matter of fact, you’ll most likely see such endeavors only when a new car is launched and the manufacturer wants to showcase exactly how the new model is better than the old one. But even then, such occasions are rare as most car makers don’t want any of their products to look bad. That’s why we have journalists out there doing such comparisons for us. This time we’re looking at the BMW M3 and how it changed over time.

The guys from Carwow took four of the five generations we have right now of the M3 and put them to the test. On the track they usually have at their disposal for drag racing they pit the BMW E30 M3 against the E46 M3 in CSL guise, the E92 M3 GTS and a BMW F80 M3 CS. As you can see, all the cars are special editions, considered the best of their respective generations, excluding the E30 M3, which is a Roberto Ravaglia edition. That means it’s not necessarily faster but it was launched to celebrate the Italian driver. You’ll also notice that the E36 M3 is missing for some reason.

On the drag strip, the results are rather obvious. The newest M car takes all the wins thanks to its superior power and torque coming in from the turbos attached to the engine. The pecking order is rather clear but some might’ve expected the E92 M3 GTS to be a little closer to the F80 in terms of acceleration, since the two have only 10 HP between them. Then again, torque is a major factor in such races and, even though the E92 is lighter, in the end, the power of the S55 engine can’t be overlooked.

All of these cars have their own special feel and even though the E30 might’ve been the slowest here, it’s the most expensive. At the same time, the E46 CSL is a collector’s item these days and it’s not that far from the E30 in terms of pricing. As a matter of fact, considering the financial potential these cars have, the faster the car, the lower the price which is kind of a paradox but understandable looking at the market today.