Many enthusiasts are still disappointed with current BMW M cars for lacking naturally-aspirated engines and, in some cases, the lack of a manual gearbox. In short, people complain about the digital, non-analogue feel of the new cars. In their view, they are no longer as engaging as they used to be. But what happens when you compare the new M3 against one of the most revered models the M division ever made, the E90 generation?
That’s what the guys from Throttle House managed to pull off and their take on the two is absolutely great if you want to see how things evolved and how the new, more tech-savy models are really as bad as they might seem. On the horsepower front, things didn’t change that much in the 13 years these cars have between them, to be fair. The old E90 M3 used to have 420 horsepower coming out of the 40 liter naturally aspirated V8 under the hood, while the new version has 480 horsepower at its disposal, from a 3.0 liter straight six.
However, it’s not in the horsepower where the difference will be obvious. It’s in the torque department. That’s because the old M3 had a very low amount of it, peaking at 400 Nm (295 lb-ft), way up high in the RPM range. The new S58 engine delivers peak 550 Nm (406 lb-ft) of torque at a tad under 2,000 RPM, and that makes a huge difference in how the cars feel on the road or on the track. Since we’re talking about the ‘base’ G80 M3 here, there’s no automatic gearbox or all-wheel drive system to complain about.
So, what did the dynamic duo say in the end about the two cars? In a nutshell, the G80 M3 kept the essence of the M3 badge alive and feels very much as a car with it should. As for the old car, it’s still a fun car to drive and even though 13 years passed over it, the feeling it gives you doesn’t show it.