The fourth generation BMW M3 was announced on the 2007 Geneva Auto Show (Switzerland, March 6–18th, 2007) with the BMW M3 concept. As was the case with the E46 M3 Concept and E60 M5 Concept, the M3 Concept hid almost nothing of the looks of the production version, that had its world premiere on the 2007 Frankfurt Auto Show IAA (Germany, September 13 to 23rd). It was originally set to be called M4 along with 3 Series coupes and convertibles that were to become the 4 Series, but due to the interest in retaining the M3 line, this change was scrapped.
Similar to the previous M3 generations that introduced a new engine, the fourth generation M3 did the same: the BMW S65 engine. The S65B40 is a naturally aspirated, high-revving 4-litre V8 that is based on the 5-litre S85B50 V10 that powered the E60/E61 M5 and the E63/E64 M6. It delivers 414 bhp (309 kW; 420 PS) at 8300 rpm, with peak torque of 295 lb·ft (400 N·m) at 3900 rpm, which represents a power increase of 22% over the E46 M3. The engine weighs 15 kg (33 lb) less than the outgoing six cylinder for a total weight of 202 kg (450 lb). A six-speed manual transmission is standard. As from April 2008, BMW offers a new Getrag double-clutch gearbox, called M-DKG (Doppel-Kupplungs-Getriebe) or M-DCT (Double Clutch Transmission) as an option, which reduces shift pauses to less than a tenth of a second and shortens the car’s 0-100 km/h (62 mph) sprint time by 0.2 seconds vs. manual. It features both automatic and manual modes similar to the SMG gearboxes in the E36 and E46, but with more speed and efficiency.
The E92 M3 coupe inherited a carbon-fiber roof similar to the one used on the E46 CSL. For 2009, the E9x M3 received the same revisions as non-M 3 series models. Those changes included revised front and rear bumpers, and LED tail lights. Recent testing by Car and Driver magazine has shown that the 2011 M3 equipped with an M-DCT transmission accelerated from 0–60 mph in 3.9 seconds and went on to record a 12.4 second quarter mile time. This is almost half a second quicker than 2008–2010 M3 models with the same engine and transmission.
The new M3 is again available as a 4-door sedan, based on the E90 3-Series sedan, but unlike the regular sedans, the M3 version shares the coupé’s wide and sculpted front end, including headlights. Sedans however, do not get the coupé’s carbon-fiber roof, and are 22 lb (10 kg) heavier, than identically-equipped coupés.
Although BMW M3 sedan front-end design matches the specific look and high-performance character of the Coupé; the side-sills and rear diffuser are tailored for the sedan. The M3 Sedan is powered by the same engine as the other two versions. In 2008, a four-door (E90), six-speed manual transmission M3 accelerated to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 4.3 seconds in aMotor Trend test, matching the performance of the M3 Coupé.
The E93 hardtop convertible version joined the M3 lineup shortly after the E92′s launch, and is based directly off of the M3 Coupé. The convertible uses a power retractable hardtop which adds 441 lb (200 kg) to the weight of the car, bringing the total to 4,145 lb (1,880 kg) with a negative impact on the convertible’s overall performance. The convertible features a special leather surface for the seats that reflect sunlight to reduce the tendency of seats to become uncomfortably hot with the top down.
A CSL lightweight version did not materialize and the M division has stated they did not plan to offer an e9x M3 CSL and had instead focused on producing M versions of the X5 and X6, in a significant departure from M’s historic practices.
E90, E92, and E93 performance
- 0–100 km/h 4.7 sec
- 0–60 mph 3.9 sec measured by Car and Driver magazine. (2011 E92 w/ M-DCT trans)
- 1/4 mile: 12.4 sec. @ 114 mph measured by Car and Driver magazine. (2011 E92 w/ M-DCT Trans)
- 0–100 km/h 5.1 sec. (Convertible w/ M-DCT Trans)
- 0–60 mph 4.9 sec (Convertible w/ M-DCT Trans)
- 1/4 mile: 13.1 @ 109 mph. (2009 E93 Convertible w/ M-DCT Trans)
- Top Speed: 155 mph. (electronically limited) Delimited: 178 mph (286 km/h)
- Skid Pad: 0.98 g
- Slalom: 114.9 km/h (71.4 mph)
- Fuel Consumption: 12.4 L/100 km
E92 M3 GTS
BMW announced the M3 GTS in November 2009. The car is powered by a 4.4-litre V8 based on the 4.0-litre engine found in the standard M3, which produces a maximum of 450 PS (331 kW; 444 hp). The car weighs 300 pounds less than the standard M3 due to various weight savings. A total of only 250 units will be produced. In Germany deliveries begin in May 2010 while other countries are scheduled for the summer. The BMW E92 M3 GTS will start at €115,000 per unit. All E92 M3 GTS models have now been sold.
E90 M3 CRT
The M3 CRT (Carbon Racing Technology) was announced in June 2011 as a 2012 model. It’s powered by the same engine as the GTS, but in opposite to the GTS coupe with roll cage and 4-point harnesses, the CRT is a saloon with navigation, high end soundsystem etc. as standard equipment. Despite these luxury extras, the car still weighs 100 pounds less than a regular M3 saloon. Compared to a saloon with the same luxury equipment, it weighs 155 pounds less. The production will be limited to 67 cars, all numbered with a plaque on the dashboard.
E92 M3 GT2
BMW Motorsport announced in February 2008 that Rahal Letterman Racing will campaign two factory-backed E92 M3s in the American Le Mans Series in 2009, following a two-year absence by the brand. This was the cover car for the simulation racing game Need for Speed: Shift. Schnitzer Motorsport entered 2 cars at the 1000 km of Spa and finished 4th after a move by the Ferrari in the final corner. For 2010, BMW Motorsport has been granted entry in the2010 24 Hours of Le Mans and in the 2010 24 Hours Nürburgring. BMW Motorsport/Schnitzer Motorsport went onto to take an overall win at the 24 Hours Nürburgring with the #25 M3 GT2 of Jörg Müller, Augusto Farfus, Pedro Lamy, and Uwe Alzen while the top competitors from Porsche and Audi dropped out one by one. In addition, one of the M3 GT2′s that competed at Le Mans (#79) has been chosen as the 17th BMW Art Car, which will be done by American artist, Jeff Koons. At the 24 Hours of Spa, BMW qualified 2nd and maintained 1st with the #79 car throughout the race until it succumbled to a suspension failure with just half an hour remaining, leaving the top spots to Porsche. The BMW M3s won the GT2 category in the ILMC 1000 km of Zhuhai. In 2011, the BMW achieved a 1,2 finish in the 12 Hours of Sebring.
E92 M3 GT4
On April 10, 2009, the week after the debut of the GT4, BMW’s Customer Racing program announced it had partnered with Schubert Motorsport (sponsored by Motorsport Arena Oschersleben) to run the BMW M3 GT4 in the 2009 24 Hours Nürburgring race, in the new class for GT4 cars, listed as SP10 there. The BMW M3 GT4 also raced in the Nürburgring VLN ADAC Westfalenfahrt in April 2009, taking the win in the SP10 class and finishing 30th overall. The 2009 24h race took place on the weekend of May 23 and 24, with Jörg Müller, Andy Priaulx and sport auto journalist Jochen Übler at the wheel. Despite qualifying as best SP10/GT4 car at 57th overall and being at least 10 seconds per lap faster, the team finished third in the class, behind two Aston Martin V8 Vantage N24. The overall rank was 47th.
BMW Motorsport announced on July 7, 2009 the launch of a line of BMW M3 race cars which meet the SRO/FIA’s GT4 spec and are oriented for sale to private teams and drivers. The BMW M3 GT4 price is 121,500 EUR withoutVAT. While BMW states that ‘the BMW M3 GT4 weighs just 1,430 kilograms’ and the ’420 bhp engine remained largely untouched’, the 2010 24 Hours Nürburgring ”Balance of Performance” requires that the power must not exceed 390 PS, while the minimum weight is set to 1400 kg.
The M3 GT4 is offered in Europe as a homologated production race car for sale to the general public. According to Larry Koch, then BMW NA M-brand manager, a feasibility study is currently being conducted to evaluate the possible sale of the M3 GT4 in North America. However, without a sanctioned GT4-class racing series in the USA, the sale of the M3 GT4 in the States is not likely.