The BMW M3 is a sports model of the 3 series BMW. Since 1986, BMW offers based on the 3 Series to the BMW M3 model. It is a vehicle, which was developed by the BMW subsidiary BMW M GmbH and initially ( E30 & E36 M3) also produced. ( E46 & E90 M3) The later series arose / arise on the bands of the AG. The BMW M3 is a particularly powerful variant of the respective series model of the BMW 3 - series.

The BMW M3 (E30) was available at its launch in 1986 only as a two-door sedan. Later, the M3 (E30) was offered as a convertible. In the follow-up model (E36 ), the two-door version of the BMW 3 Series was first described as a coupe. In addition, the BMW M3 (E36 ) was also available as a four-door sedan and convertible.

The third series of the M3 based on the BMW E46 was produced only as a coupe and convertible.

Based on the 3 Series E90 - E93 an M3 sedan was the first time since the E36 series except coupe and convertible available again. The convertible now has for the first time on a three-piece folding steel roof instead of a fabric roof. Currently, the M3 Convertible ( E93 ) will be offered.



BMW E30 M3 Evolution II (front) and M3 Sport Evolution (rear)

The first BMW M3 series was introduced in 1986 as a homologation model for the German Touring Car Championship and was based on the E30 series. The powerplant, a derived from the engine block of the BMW M10 and cylinder head of the six-cylinder engine originally used in the BMW M1 BMW M88 four-cylinder four-valve engine with the designation S14 was used ( with 2302 cc 143-158 kW ( 195-220 hp) for the S14B23, later 2453 cc (175 kW/238 hp in the Sport Evolution 2) the S14B25 ).

The BMW M3 E30 was available in both two-door sedan as well as a convertible (from September 1989). The basic model of the BMW E30, BMW M3 E30 on the based was available as standard as a sedan with two doors. The " four doors " option was not available for the M3.

The body style with two doors was changed significantly for the model M3, to improve, among other things, the torsional stiffness, the drag coefficient and the driving dynamics further. The racing fitness was at the forefront, so restrictions on convenience and the cost of production could be made. The modifications were conspicuous fender flares to allow for a wider track. The front spoiler, the rear apron, side skirts, and changes in the body in the region of the rear window ( C-pillar) and the trunk lid improved aerodynamics. The rear window was set for aerodynamic reasons flatter and made ​​the tailgate from lightweight, fiberglass-reinforced plastic and enhanced for better air flow by about 40 mm. The changes at the rear lower buoyancy forces and a better directional stability were achieved. In addition, the front window has been glued - not enclosed as in the other models with a plate E30, and rubber beading. Thus, the M3 achieved a drag coefficient of 0.33. Among other things, mostly to identify the M3 version of the C-pillar, the subsequent alterations of normal 3.

Exclusively for a Italy 320is based on the M3 engine and the normal E30 body and chassis components have been developed and offered even there officially and only without a catalyst. For vehicles with engines that have more than 2 liters, was at the time and still is in Italy a high " luxury tax", which is why this feature for the Italian market appeared. This version is referred to unofficially as " Little M3 " or " Italo -M3 ". The engine power of the S14B20 of 141 kW/6900 min-1 and 210 Nm/4900 min -1, even 20 years later still considerable at a displacement of just under 2 liters. Therefore, as found reexports some way back to Germany, where they are now used mainly in motor sports and are still very successful.

Only at the follow-up model (E36 ), the two-door variant of the model was referred to as a coupe because it has an independent body with a few similarities to the four-door sedan.

Rear view of the M3 E30

One of only 786 convertibles produced for the BMW M3 E30

BMW M3 E30 DTM champion as a vehicle (1989 )


Special models

  • BMW M3 European Champion 143 kW ( 195 hp ); 148 piece (all hand signed by Roberto Ravaglia )
  • BMW M3 Cecotto 158 kW ( 215 hp ); 505 piece ( of which 25 units were built as model Ravaglia )
  • BMW M3 Evolution II: 2.3 - liter four- cylinder in-line engine (S14 ), 162 kW ( 220 hp ); ( limited to 500 pieces )
  • BMW M3 Sport Evolution: 2.5 - liter four- cylinder in-line engine (S14 ), 175 kW ( 238 hp ); (limited to 600 pieces produced from January to March 1990)

In addition, there was between November 1987 and December 1990, a built in only 62 copies version of Alpina labeled B6 3.5 S and the 3.43 liter large six-cylinder, which was significantly revised ( Alpina engine type B10 / 5, 3430 cc, 187 kW / 254 PS, 320 Nm).

Production figures


BMW M3, U.S. export model

The second BMW M3 series (Series E36) was introduced in 1992 by the Motorsport GmbH, based in the first production phase on the two-door coupe. She had a six-cylinder with 2990 cc displacement and four valves per cylinder. He had a power output of 210 kW and had already VANOS ( intake camshaft only ). The maximum torque was 320 Nm at 3600 min -1. The considerable increase in engine power of the new M3 demanded a revision of the chassis and the brake system.

At the front, a single-joint spring strut axle with reinforced spring seats and steering knuckles was installed. The rear axle was a central-arm rear axle which was first used in the Z1 used. The trailing arm, however, had to be adapted to the increased performance. Were also tuned considerably firmer dampers and stabilizers. The M3 was exactly 31 mm deeper than the "normal" 3 Series Coupé.

As of 1993, the M3 was also available as a four-door sedan. The BMW M3 E36 was so long time the only model from which it was this variant. Only with the introduction of the E90 - series BMW offered from 2008 again a four-door version of the M3. By the end of production 1999 12.435 vehicles of the E36 M3 sedan were discontinued.

In 1994, the new M3 convertible on the market. It had a standard electric hood and innovative safety technology. Said BMW ÜRSS rollover system had two built behind the headrests of the rear seat and not visible safety bar. Sensors monitored while the position of the vehicle, the limits have been reached so they broke the lock of the roll bar. This drove without pyrotechnics only by spring force. By the end of production in 1999 ran 12,114 convertibles from the tape.

From 1996, the 3.2 - liter six-cylinder with 236 kW and 350 Nm was offered or replaced the 3.0 - liter engine with 210 kW. This now had double vanos. Furthermore, the six-speed gearbox and the compound braking were introduced on the front axle with the M3 3.2.

In 1997, the SMG transmission for the M3 was offered. The M3 was thus the first mass-produced car with an automatic transmission, which was developed together with the Getrag. Also there was a facelift for the 1997 model year. The M3 got the round kidney and white glasses for indicator as standard.

BMW built until 1999, exactly 71 242 units of the M3 E36 ( coupe, convertible, sedan )


Data on driving performance refer to the coupe with manual transmission.

Special models

  • Special model in the spring of 1995 ( 12/1994-6/1995 ) M3 GT with 2,990 cc displacement and 217 kW. The vehicle was limited to 350 units ( built: 356) and was (up to a vehicle in silver) only in " British Racing Green" ( color code 312) shipped. Some engine details came already from the later 3.2 liter engine. Aluminum doors, rear spoiler. Interior in Mexico-grün/Alcantara.

The export model for the United States had a weaker engine ( S50USB30 and S52USB32 ) which is technically on the M50 six-cylinder engine of the " 325i " with Vanos / doors (variable camshaft timing ) on the intake camshaft, based. Both versions are equipped with a single throttle valve system ( as is common with engines for the BMW M models). Among other advantages, the performance of these engines was lower. The second variant of the U.S. M3 is also based on the M50 cast iron engine, as the M52 engine block was not suitable for an increase in size. It enlarged the displacement in the second variant to 3.2 liters. The first version of the U.S. M3 325is and was initially called " quantified M3 " only later.

The U.S. versions of the M3 had the following specifications:

  • 2990 cc ( Bore × Stroke: 86.0 × 85.8 mm), 177 kW ( 240 hp) / 6000 min-1, 305 Nm/4250 min -1, Vmax 220 km / h, limited and
  • 3152 cc ( Bore × Stroke: 86.4 × 89.6 mm), 177 kW ( 240 hp) / 6000 min-1, 320 Nm/3800 min -1, Vmax 225 km / h, limited.

This action was necessary to comply with the applicable emission regulations in the United States.

As a counterpart to M3 GT was offered in the U.S., the limited special edition M3 LTW (Lightweight ). This model had the same spoiler as the M3 GT, but with significantly reduced interior for the purpose of weight reduction. This car was only available in the color white.


M3 series E46 Coupé ( U.S. version )

The 2000 built until 2007 M3 ( E46 series ) has a high-revving 3.2 -liter inline six-cylinder engine developing 252 kW ( 343 hp) at 7900/min. Externally, it differs from other models in the 3 - series, among others by the bulge on the aluminum bonnet, the so-called " power dome " that has no technical function. Other differences to the normal 3 series are wider wheel arches, aerodynamically optimized exterior mirrors, forged alloy wheels in 18 - or 19 - inches, a dual-branch exhaust system with four tailpipes, a beefy looking front apron and the ventilation of the electronics serving outlets ( " gills" ) in the wings.

The vehicle width has grown by around 40 mm compared to the standard model, due to the front-axle track of 1,508 millimeters now, at the rear 1,525 millimeters. Also, a widening of the wheel arches by 20 millimeters had to be made to the standard 18- inch and - Customs also offers a 19 square wheels - from the spring of 2001 for an additional charge. The front apron with the spoiler corners and indicated the large air intakes for water, oil and brake cooling is one of the standard specification of the M3 as the narrow strip spoiler - called " Gurney " - on the edge of the trunk lid. She is primarily responsible for the significantly reduced lifting forces at the rear axle.

The engine is built to the high engine speed concept and works revving up to the limit of 8000 rpm, but offers it a broad torque band, and developed already at 2000 U / min 80 percent of its maximum torque. The chassis was an evolution of previous chassis of the M3 E36. Next it came to the variable M differential lock for use which allows a locking value between 0-100 %, and a floating compound brakes on the front and rear axle.

At the beginning of the year 2005, at an additional cost of 5,300 € a " Competition Package " can be ordered with new vehicles. This included 19 -inch wheels in CSL design, which were equipped with Sport Cup tires, the brake system from the M3 CSL, an optimized chassis, a more direct steering ( 14.5:1 instead of translation 15,4:1 ) and the " M track mode ", which on the steering wheel allows more slip and yaw rate to the rear wheels via button.

The vehicle was as a coupé and convertible, in each case only Vorfacelift - body version, although later also features the facelifts were incorporated ( such as the LED taillights ). From a high-performance variant of the E46 Alpina is offered with the B3 and B3S also, but which is designed for better driving comfort.

From a technical perspective, approval of the M3 is interesting because both vehicles exist that are coded on the BMW AG (0005 to 2), as well as the BMW M GmbH.


  • Engine code: S54B32
  • Displacement: 3246 cm ³
  • Bore x Stroke: 87 mm x 91 mm
  • Cylinders / valves: 6/24
  • Rated power / Rated speed: 252 kW ( 343 hp) / 7900 min-1
  • Max Torque / Speed: 365 Nm/4900 min-1
  • Top speed: 250 km / h ( electronically limited) 280 km / h ( Optional)
  • Acceleration 0-100 km / h: 5.2 seconds, 5.4 seconds ( SMGll ) 5.5 seconds ( convertible), 4.9 seconds ( CSL, manufacturer)
  • Elasticity 80-120 km / h in 4th gear: 5.3 s, 5.9 seconds ( convertible)
  • 1,000 m standing start: 24.2 seconds, 24.8 seconds ( convertible)
  • Curb weight: 1535-1570 kg, 1655-1730 kg ( Convertible )
  • Permissible total weight: 2000 kg, 2100 kg ( Convertible )
  • Locking differential.


From the series of the BMW M3 E46, there was also a limited edition model called M3 CSL, with the abbreviation CSL, like with the BMW 3.0 CSL, for " Coupe Sport Lightweight " is. This model has a lighter body and a more powerful engine with 265 kW (360 hp). The basic data of the engine, such as engine capacity, etc., are the same as in the "Series M3 ". The vehicle was exclusively delivered with the sequential 6 -speed transmission called " SMG II with Drive Logic". The reduction in weight was achieved through the elimination of comfort components and the use of advanced materials.

The M3 CSL for example, has several vehicle components made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic ( interior auto-dimming mirror, door panels, center console, roof), but does not have fog lights anymore since this a modified intake air ducting were replaced. Further weight savings were made ​​in the area of the boot ( trunk lid made ​​of light materials, boot floor from solid cardboard). To increase the longitudinal, but mainly the lateral dynamics, in addition, a roof made ​​of carbon fiber composites, and a lighter rear window was installed to lower the center of gravity.

The standard features of the CSL mainly comprises electronic extras, the existence of which hardly costs weight. So were ABS, ESP ( to BMW DSC ), a Tyre Defect Indicator (TDI ) and the central locking and immobilizer installed or programmed at the factory. The appearance of the CSL is different to the normal M3 by the flow-optimized front apron with a distinctive hole for ventilation, the air box, the equipped with a rump trunk lid and the carbon roof, as well as some changes to the BMW logos and special M alloy wheels "sport" in 19 inches. For the M3 CSL were factory only two paint colors to choose from, a " Sapphire Black " called black and a "silver gray " called silver - anthracite. In the interior, there were major changes. So instead of regular seats bucket seats were installed; the back seat gave way to a stripped-down version with a Amaretta - fabric combination. The door inserts were replaced with carbon inserts, the center console was replaced by a lighter and smaller, and the steering wheel was replaced by a covered with Alcantara.

As an optional extra the automatic air conditioning and a radio could be ordered at no extra charge, available remained an alarm system, Park Distance Control (PDC ), a rain sensor and Xenon light. Other extras it was not for the M3 CSL either for marketing reasons or for reasons of space. By detecting a racing license, the potential buyer can cancel the factory could limit the maximum speed.

The M3 CSL comes as standard with a marked " M " button on the steering wheel (which is why a multi-function steering wheel could no longer offered ), which activates the so-called M- Track Mode, which changes the characteristic of the power steering as well as the parameter settings of the DSC ( ESP) shifts and so an even sportier driving style allowed ( small amount of drift are possible without the DSC intervenes ). The in ( available also in the normal M3) sequential circuit existing Launch Control has been revised for the CSL and now switches at maximum speed in the next gear. Thus, it is in the M3 CSL possible to accelerate at full throttle and a train on the rocker switch from a standstill to its top speed. To be extremely burdened Use of this extras which components and engine and therefore used very sparingly, even beginners can in 4.8 the factory- specified acceleration from 0-100 km / h s and 0-200 km / h in 16.7 s reach.

The suspension with magnetic pulse reshaped rear wishbones was partially tuned on the Nürburgring- Nordschleife. This reached the CSL in independent tests excellent for performance class time of 7:50 min. Discussed were delivered from the factory sport tires of the type of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup, although they achieve in tests on circuits good lap times, but offer poorer performance in everyday use and in wet conditions due to rubber compound and low negative profile share. On request, but the car could be ordered with standard tires. Four generations of M3 built just 1,383 units - From the M3 CSL, according to the Special Issue Mobile Tradition live were special.


Since the BMW M3 was inferior to the six-cylinder in the American Le Mans Series ( ALMS) in 2000 against the Porsche 911 GT3, 2001, two M3 GTR have been upgraded with a four-liter V8 engine. Although this corresponded to the wording of the rules, but not the spirit of the production-based GT racing, and led to protests from the competition, as BMW had no series -M3 with a V8 on offer. Due regulations but had to be shown to a street version. BMW handed after this, the number of these " production version " is assumed to be 1. For 2002, the ALMS rules were adjusted, the V8 race cars were no longer permitted in the ALMS, and modified only after the end of the season for later use at the Nürburgring.

Technically, this car was very closely modeled on the racing version. A 330 kW 258 kW choked on V8 with dry sump lubrication made ​​under the hood provided with additional cooling slits his service. Next on board were a six-speed manual transmission and a twin-disc clutch, as used in the racing vehicle. The body was also inspired by the racing car. Therefore, at the roof, rear wing and front and rear spoiler made from carbon fiber reinforced plastic. Through these measures, and the total absence comfortablefurnishings the two-seater reached a curb weight of 1,350 kg. The price was estimated at 250,000 euros. The BMW M3 GTR was also often used in racing games like Need for Speed ​​or Gran Turismo and thus gained additional notoriety.

  • Displacement: 3997.3 cc
  • Bore × Stroke: 94.0 × 72.0 mm
  • Rated power / Rated speed: 258 kW ( 351 hp) / 7250 min-1
  • Max Torque / Speed: 365 Nm/5000 min-1
  • Maximum speed: 295 km / h


BMW M3 E92

The M3 is the next generation in three body styles in sedan (Series E90), coupé ( E92 ) and convertible ( E93 ) available. Some visual details of its predecessor, such as the elevation on the bonnet, wider wheel arches, the four exhaust tailpipes and the air intakes on the wings, were taken. The exterior mirrors are similar to those of the M3 E36 series. In September 2008, the M3 Sedan received the same time as the other E90/91 a facelift.

During the development, BMW tried to optimize the weight. For the series of the coupe roof made ​​of carbon fiber reinforced plastic was developed, the bumper beam made ​​of continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic made ​​(so-called organic sheets from PA6/Glas ) and installed an aluminum bonnet. The curb weight is 1655 kg (Coupe ) and thus nearly 100 kg above the predecessor. All three versions use the S65 engine. Since May 2008 there is the BMW M3 with the model developed by Getrag dual clutch transmission ( marketing name: "M -DKG "). This has seven gears is operated via shift paddles on the steering wheel and provides an automatic mode.

Comparable vehicles are the German manufacturer Audi RS4 and RS5, the Mercedes -Benz CLK 63 AMG and C63 AMG.


The engine of the M3 has a displacement of 3999 cc with eight cylinders in V-shape. It corresponds largely to the constructive 5-liter V10 of the M5 ( cylinder angle 90 ° and the essential dimensions) and replaces the S54 inline six- cylinder engine of its predecessor. In contrast to the new V10 engine, however, uses a low-pressure double -VANOS. The engine develops 309 kW (420 hp) at 8300 min-1 and a torque of 400 Nm at 3900 min -1. The motor does not reach the high specific torque of the S54 engine from the E46, because the V8 is designed as a short-stroke, to reduce the excessive when S54 piston speeds at maximum speed.


BMW M3 E92

BMW M3 E92

BMW M3 E93

V8 engine in the E92 M3

Interior RHD


In November 2009, M GmbH presented the BMW M3 GTS direct successor to the M3 CSL (E46). The lightweight M3 weighs just 1530 kilograms ( DIN, corresponding to 1605 kg according to EU standard ) - which corresponds to a weight saving of 50 kilograms compared to a series -M3. The engine capacity was increased by a larger cylinder stroke to 4.4 liters, the power increased to 331 kW.

In place of the rear seats can be found in the GTS behind the B-pillar a bolted roll cage, which can be expanded into a full roll cage. The body provides mounting points for the installation of racing USEFULLY four-or six -point seat belts Schroth. In addition, behind the front seats is also an attachment for a fire extinguisher mounted.

The BMW M3 GTS will be built at the BMW Motorsport factory according to individual customer order and initially admitted by individual approval for road traffic in Germany. The first models will be delivered in May 2010.


  • Winner of " The sportiest cars of 2008" the magazine " sport auto " in the category sedans to 90,000 euros (M3 sedan )
  • Winner of " The sportiest cars of 2009" magazine " sport auto " in the category sedans to 80,000 euros (M3 sedan )
  • Winner of " The sportiest cars of 2010" the magazine " sport auto " in the category sedans to 80,000 euros (M3 sedan )



BMW is the BMW M3 as the basic vehicle for his commitment to motor racing.

The M3 series E30 is the most successful touring car in the world. He recorded more than 1,500 individual wins, 60 national championships in road and mountain racing and rallying, to seven mountain - European Championships, five Mitropa Rally Cup and eight wins in the 24 -hour race at the Nürburgring and at Spa. Even the Premiere 1987 became a triumphal Roberto Ravaglia was touring car champion. He was the first in history. Winfried Vogt secured the 1987 European Championship and Eric van de Poele was German champion.

The M3 GTR (E46) was originally built for the American Le Mans Series, and was initially fitted in the 2000 season with a 3.2 -liter six- cylinder. The factory-supported race team Prototype Technology Group finished 7 of 12 championship races on the podium and won the race at Laguna Seca with Hans- Joachim Stuck and Boris Said in the GT category. At the end of the season the team finished in third place behind two supported by Porsche teams. Schnitzer Motorsport 2001 was revised M3 GTR sent with four-liter V8 engine in the series to compete against the Porsche 996 GT3 RSR. For the Petit Le Mans, the season finale, but the situation escalated. Schnitzer Motorsport had won the last five races in a row, and the factory drivers Jörg Müller and JJ Lehto were on course for the title. However, BMW had so far failed to present the GT regulations required by the road version of the M3 with a V8 engine. This would according to the guidelines of the FIA ​​and the ACO must happen at the beginning of the year. So main competitor Porsche wanted to see the street car with the four-liter engine. Behind the Schnitzer box but was only an M3 with a V8 engine and German approval. By the end of ten pieces were submitted. 25 pcs BMW would already during the 2001 season must build to meet the rules. The leaders of the American Le Mans Series decided in favor of BMW, the driver and team title of the GT class secured. For 2002, the rules of the ACO was modified. All car brands now had to have at least 1000 units of Straßenpendants. However, all were small series vehicles, like the M3 GTR, continue to participate in the championship, but should reduce the air restrictors of 1100 kg heavy vehicles from 30.4 to 29 mm in return. Also, the weight should be increased. BMW then ended his involvement with Carver in the series. As of 2003, the M3 GTR was used for 24- hour race at Spa- Francorchamps and especially for three 24-hour race at the Nürburgring where, after the gear damage by cooling with dry ice on the formation lap in 2003 in the two subsequent years each have a double victory were won. These two winning cars are now no longer in use. A car is in Munich at the BMW Museum, the second can be visited Schnitzer Motorsport at the Museum of the intervention team.

For the season 2006 M3 were converted for use in the American Le Mans Series again after the series organizer IMSA announced a redesigned vehicle category GT2S. In addition to the BMW race team Prototype Technology Group originally wanted to go into the series and Lexus, but the Japanese manufacturer, the project was never implemented. In addition, with a profit of GT2 was connected by a vehicle subcategory GT2S no invitation to the 24 - hour race at Le Mans. The racing appearances went, however, with little success, only Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand finished two of the ten championship races on the podium in the GT2 category.

In early 2008 the M3 ALMS was presented. The Coupe is based on the E92 with 1150 kg 430 kg lighter than the standard car and due to the Spoilerkits also much wider. For this weight loss extremely lightweight was necessary, so that many parts have been replaced by carbon parts. The V8 engine now delivers 357 kW ( 485 hp ) instead of the standard 309 kW. The electronics as well as the aerodynamics were optimized using the Formula 1 experience from BMW. The first application was the new M3 ALMS 2009 12 Hours of Sebring. Until then, Jörg Müller, Augusto Farfus and Andy Priaulx completed a rigorous testing program to promote the development. For use in the 2009 ALMS season of ALMS M3 came with the U.S. team Rahal Letterman Racing. 2010 M3 Schnitzer Motorsport in the VLN series with the 24 -hour race at the Nürburgring and the LMS series with the 24 - hour race at Le Mans and the 24 - hour race at Spa -Francorchamps was used. At the Nürburgring this class victory was the 19th overall victory, to be cheered in spa. In Spa was led until the last hour to even the overall ranking before they lost valuable time after a suspension failure.

Since the 2012 season, BMW is again participating in the DTM. The vehicles used in this series are similar in appearance to the Coupe version, but with the standard model have nothing else in common. It is driven in accordance with the regulations by a 4.0 - liter V8 engine developing 480 hp. A total of six racing cars are used by the teams Racing Bart Mampaey, Reinhold Motorsport and Schnitzer Motorsport.