There are rare M models, and then there’s the M3 GTR. Born during the E46 era, the hero car from Need for Speed Most Wanted makes a rare appearance in a new official video from BMW Classic. It appears to be part of a special stash of M cars carefully preserved by the German company in an underground facility. If the walls could talk, they’d probably have such interesting things to say about those cars.

While new M3 prices have gotten out of hand in recent years, this elusive GTR is still the priciest. It cost €250,000 back in 2001. Adjusted for inflation, that’s over €400,000 in today’s money. For reference, the M3 CS launched last year in Germany cost “only” €146,000. The pinnacle of the E46 lineup was a homologation special of which just 10 cars were assembled.

The M3 GTR Strassenversion was offered exclusively in Titan Silver Metallic with just two seats. It’s the only BMW road car to use the P60B40, a naturally aspirated 4.0-liter V8 rated at 346 hp and 269 lb-ft (365 Nm). By hitting 295 km/h (183 mph), it was the fastest of all M3 E46s. The eight-cylinder mill sent power to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission and a variable LSD.

Some 23 years since its reveal, the road-going M3 GTR still looks extra special. It weighed just 1,350 kilograms (2,976 pounds) by making extensive use of carbon fiber. It was only slightly heavier than the M3 CSL with its smaller inline-six engine. Although slightly restricted, the car had a genuine race car engine. It also came with larger front and rear aprons, not to mention a large wing at the back.

Since the M3 GTR was all about performance, those 10 deep-pocketed buyers had to make some sacrifices. Not only were the rear seats deleted to save weight, but air conditioning was also removed. In addition, BMW took out the radio. Who needs music anyway when the glorious P60B40 provides the soundtrack?

Source: BMW Classic / Instagram