It is with dewey-eyed sentimentality that the autoblogosphere is treating the final example of the BMW M3. After nearly a quarter century as the world’s benchmark for performance coupes, the last E92 has rolled off the line.
It will be odd getting used to calling it the “M4″. Nobody is a bigger advocate of automotive realpolitik than I am, and the notion that the M3 should remain a featherweight 4-cylinder homologation special is something that exists only in the minds of Auto Forum Product Planners. Nevertheless, it’s hard to ignore the constant progression of the M3 in terms of size and weight, even as its performance envelope received a commensurate bump along the way. That same journey also saw the M3 go from being a hardcore sports car into a commodity top-spec 3-Series for white-collar professionals and an 18th birthday gift for very fortunate adolescents. The good news is that there should be plenty popping up off-lease in a few years, provided they aren’t all wrapped around a tree.
An interesting side note: for about half the cost of the E92 M3, you can get a 128i, which still has a good-old naturally aspirated I6 making 230 horsepower and weighing roughly 3200 lbs – about the same as a North American spec E36 M3. Even with a few options added on, you could have a 128i daily driver and a nice E30 M3 track toy for the cost of an E92 M3. And in my opinion, both are much closer to what I’d want out of a BMW than a 3500 lb paddle-shifted V8 sedan.