By on July 11, 2013



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.

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39 Comments on “The Last Of The M3Ohicans...”

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Meh, it’s a name change. And I would assume that there will still be M3s in the future, just not the 2-door variety.

  • avatar

    “After nearly a quarter decade..”

    That’s only 2.5 years. That would be impressive for a newt or a campaign promise but maybe you meant something different?

  • avatar

    There are used E92 coupes out there IN THE USA with no nav, manual seats, carbon fiber roofs, “Speed Cloth” interiors and true 6-speed manual transmissions. I was just looking at one for sale yesterday on Bimmerforums. Although they are more accurately GTs now in size and weight, they are arguably the pinnacle of BMW and I still aspire to own one despite having owned multiple E30s (including a 24V swap car with an E46 M3 6MT), E36 and E46 chassis over the years.

  • avatar

    A 128i with some performance parts sounds like more of a M3 than the M3 was.

    Granted, with its size and V8 engine, the M3 had kind of become an older generation M5…

  • avatar

    As already stated, it’s just a name change, who cares? It’s not like they don’t make a healthy variety of sport coupes anymore.

    Unlike us Panther lovers, whose car was mercifully cancelled and not replaced, BMW coupe enthusiasts have nothing to cry about.

    • 0 avatar

      Unless you really loved a small displacement high revving naturally aspirated V8.

      Hmmmm… perhaps some conquest sales for Ford with its upcoming 2015 Mustang as they will have at least in the US the closest thing to the E92 M3. While probably rare as hen’s teeth, I know some former BMW owners who really liked the Boss 302, their only real gripe being that the Mustang’s interior wasn’t quite what they were used to.

  • avatar

    Forgot to address Derek’s comments about the 128i, which I think are also dead on. I created this picture when the 1-Series was due to debut but all that had been seen was the tii concept:

  • avatar

    Meh, it evolved, changed, became something else. No mourning from me, especially because like you pointed out, it’s still pretty much out there. It’s just been bumped down a notch. Maybe that’s why the 1 Series, specially the coupe, the hatch is ugly, holds some appeal to me.

    FWIW, I like that color though if I have to be honest, I’s probably never buy it in that color!

  • avatar

    Other things called M4:

    – a macro processing language
    – a military carbine
    – a Soviet strategic bomber
    – a British motorway
    – a French submarine-launched ballistic missile
    – a variant of the Enigma machine
    – the primary tank used by the Americans in World War II
    – an artillery tractor used by the US Army from 1943
    – a globular cluster in the constellation Scorpius
    – a 1941 semi-automatic transmission made by Chrysler
    – a route in New York City operating on Madison and Fifth Avenues
    – a type of subway car used on the Market–Frankford Line in Philadelphia
    – a subway line under construction in İstanbul, Turkey

    That said, there are plenty of things also called M3. I’ve just never heard of most of them.

  • avatar

    So…the difference is what… Dare I squeeze four at your cherry M4?

    As others have said, its a name change. And its clear BMW doesn’t think much of its own brand cachet.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    These bloated beasts should be branded with fatter designations, but it does remind me of Spinal Tap’s amp. It’s one faster!

  • avatar

    Splitting the old 3-series into 3 sedan and 4 coupe does not necessarily eliminate the possibility of an M3 sedan in future. After all, they always made the M5.

    • 0 avatar

      The difference is, the M5 was at least a sedan from the start. The M3 was a coupe, and it took until the ’90’s to be a sedan which then skipped a generation again.

      I honestly like the M3 sedan as it offers a little more useability, but I can see where the purists are coming from. Now the M3 will be exclusively a sedan, thanks to the new badging system.

      • 0 avatar

        The original “real” E30 M3 was a 2-door sedan in 1987.

        All BMW 3-series were 2-door sedans up until 1984, when the 4-door versions were introduced with exactly the same roofline as the 2-door.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    M3/M4 regardless of what you call it, the car has become a muscle-bound, steroid-enhanced version of what it was formerly. For my money, the apogee of the M3 was the E46 version, powered by the wild and wooly S54 3.2 liter 6 engine. 342 HP from 3.2 liters without forced induction!

    • 0 avatar

      DC Bruce – – –

      The E46 also provided that 340 HP in a ligher car (3415 lbs). The previous (E92) M3 was heavier (3704 lbs).

      But I think what also may be happening is this: the performance difference now between a 335i (in various versions, such as “M package” and 335is coupe*) and a current M3 is smaller that the performance difference between a standard 3-series and an E46 in, say, 2001. In addition all cars have moved up the performance ladder, so in relative terms, the percentage performance increase from getting an “M” is going down.

      Beyond that, the absolute performance of any of these cars is approaching a limit for most non-enthusiast drivers, such that 0-60 in 5-6 seconds and cornering at 0.9 g’s is adequate, regardless of the car that gets those numbers. So, why buy the more expensive M?



  • avatar

    “It is with dewey-eyed sentimentality that the autoblogosphere is treating the final example of the BMW M3.”

    Yep, dewey-eyed sentimentality. Nothing more. It is just a name change and we will all move on.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Well, from what I read, they’ll be downsizing to a twin-turbo straight-six in the F30-based M3/M4…so you’re a bit closer to where you want to be. That will, of course, make the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG with its giant V8 all the more desirable among the other set.

    On an unrelated note, I didn’t know that the M3 traveled down the same assembly line as the 1-Series. Huh.

  • avatar

    The only reason I don’t miss my E46 M3 convertible is that I replaced it with a 2001 M Roadster. 315 NA horses pulling 3050 pounds is plenty fast for me.

    • 0 avatar

      If only those had a six speed. Given I wasn’t big on the big bright interior colors, if they were more simple beige or black inside then I really loved the look inside the M3 Roadster and its hatchback brethren. The Z4 couldn’t touch it for dashboard aesthetics, and the current Z4, while being one of the better looking cars inside and out from BMW just doesn’t have the same edge of the Z3 and old Z4.

      I wish BMW’s M-Division would breath on the current Z4 instead of the Z4 35is stuff. It’s not the same… that goes for the 1-Series as well.

  • avatar

    BMW is following in the footsteps of Acura. And like Acura, they have not been a brand I’ve aspired to own for a while now.

  • avatar

    Magua frowns on Chris Bangle’s shenanigans.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    As a former M3 owner myself, I have to admit that the latest generation is a great car. But I won’t be sad to see it go, simply because of the car that is replacing it. Turbos are wonderful things and a turbocharged M3 has always been a dream until now. This new car is going to be an absolute beast, no doubt about it. And BTW, the M3 will still exist….but it will be 4-door only.

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