At the moment, during this frankly absurd time for used sports car values, the E92 M3 has become more popular than ever before. We’re seeing E92 M3s sell for eye-watering money on auction sites like Bring-A-Trailer and Cars and Bids. For good reason, too — it looks fantastic (best looking M3 in my opinion), has pure hydraulic steering, and it comes with the only naturally-aspirated V8 ever fitted to an M3. However, there’s actually a car just like it but potentially even better that doesn’t seem to get as much love — the E90 BMW M3 Sedan.
I don’t have official sales figures between the E92 M3 Coupe an E90 M3 Sedan (I could only find sales figures for the entire E9X series M3 as a whole) but the E92 is clearly the more popular car, judging by auction sales, internet posts, and social media. It seems as if the four-door version of the car has been forgotten a bit, which is a shame because it might actually be the better version.
In a nutshell, the E90 BMW M3 Sedan is exactly the same as the E92 M3 Coupe, except for its two extra doors. It has the same engine; a brilliant 4.0 liter naturally-aspirated V8 that makes 414 horsepower and revs past 8,000 rpm; the same transmission options; either a six-speed manual or seven-speed DCT; and the same chassis/suspension setup. Which means it’s every bit as fun and exciting to drive as the coupe, just with the added practicality of four doors and a rear bench seat.
Now let’s imagine an E90 M3 Sedan as your daily driver. You’d have a family sedan, with all the luxuries and tech of a relatively modern BMW, that can fit two child seats in the back and fit all of their stuff in the trunk. And yet, it would also have an atmospheric V8 that revs past 8,000 rpm, makes a noise like a dynamite-powered chainsaw, and can holds drifts around corners well enough to make Chris Harris grin. Honestly, what more could you want from a daily driver?
Sure, it has its issues. Its rod bearings will grenade your engine if they aren’t replaced and upgraded in time and it can have some electronic gremlins that become annoying over the years. However, it’s the sort of car that you buy, have the rod bearings upgraded, and deal with whatever issues arise with a smile on your face because it’s just so damn good to drive.
Both M3 Sedans since have been great cars and fantastic daily drivers. The F80 that immediately followed the E90 was more comfortable and had better tech but its S55 3.0 liter turbocharged engine, while more powerful, never compared to the E90’s V8, in terms of enjoyment. And while the new G80 M3 is probably the better driver’s car, with sharper steering, more capable chassis, and far more speed, it’s heinous looking, its steering is completely numb, and it’s just a bit too big and high-tech.
The E90 BMW M3 hits that sweet spot; it’s old enough to have BMW’s classic steering, it uses a beautiful free-breathing engine, and it looks like a proper BMW should, while still being modern enough to live with on a regular basis. These cars are getting a bit older now and becoming collector’s items but they shouldn’t. The E90 M3 might be one of the very best daily driver sports cars BMW’s ever built and needs to be talked about every bit as much as its two-door sibling.