On the finishing straight: The BMW M3 Coupe reaches the end of its
production run but its racing career continues at pace.
Munich. Fresh from a clean sweep of German Touring Car Masters (DTM)
titles in 2012, the BMW M3 has continued to power from one victory to
the next again this season. And the race-spec car is sure to be
involved in a good deal more exciting action before the season
concludes this autumn. The series-produced model, however, is already
on the finishing straight as BMW M GmbH announces the end of
production for the fourth generation of the BMW M3 Coupe. The
high-performance sports car which spawned the championship-winning DTM
racer is set to end its career on the road with more than 40,000
examples having left the factory. Indeed, the BMW M3 Coupe will be
drawing a line under an extraordinary run on the world's car markets.
The BMW M3 Convertible, likewise powered by a high-revving V8 engine,
will continue in production until September 2013.
The BMW M3 has epitomised the direct transfer of racing expertise to
the road since 1986. And the latest generation of the high-performance
sports car succeeded in adding another sprinkling of fascinating new
chapters to its model history from innovative technology yielding
even more intense driving pleasure to BMW's highly successful comeback
in the DTM. With its athletic design, an overall package pieced
together with hallmark M precision, and top-class performance
capability, the BMW M3 enjoyed immense popularity around the world.
Production of the BMW M3 Coupe launched in 2007 exceeded 40,000
units, and the BMW M3 Sedan added almost 10,000 units to the total.
Just under 16,000 units of the BMW M3 Convertible have been built to
The most important shared feature of the three body variants is their
powertrain and chassis technology, derived directly from motor sport.
The 4.0-litre V8 engine, developed exclusively for the BMW M3, has
cylinder banks positioned at a 90-degree angle to one another. It
develops maximum output of 309 kW/420 hp, generates peak torque of 400
Newton metres (295 lb-ft) and revs to a maximum 8,400 rpm. Like the
engine's high-revving character, numerous construction details, such
as the electronically controlled individual throttle butterflies, ion
current knock control and dynamically optimised oil supply, were taken
straight from motor racing. Alongside its instantaneous
responsiveness, the colossal power delivery of the naturally aspirated
engine maintained at a constant level into the upper reaches of the
rev range is its defining feature. The BMW M3's engine won the 3.0
to 4.0-litre class of the International Engine of the Year Award five
times in succession.
The transfer of technology from race track to road also shapes the
character of the car's other powertrain and chassis components. A
lightweight chassis developed specifically for the M3 complete with
a front axle secured to the body by an aluminium stiffening plate and
a five-link rear axle with hollow-tube anti-roll bar and forged
aluminium axle control arms teams up with a rack-and-pinion steering
system with M-specific Servotronic and the variable M differential
lock to provide precisely controlled transfer of power to the road in
any situation. The BMW M3 was fitted as standard with a
high-performance compound braking system and could also be specified
as an option with the three-mode Electronic Damper Control system.
Another impressively innovative option introduced for the
fourth-generation BMW M3 was M DCT Drivelogic. The first double-clutch
transmission for series-produced vehicles to be set up specifically to
suit the performance characteristics of a high-revving engine opens
the door to extraordinarily dynamic acceleration with no interruption
in the flow of power.
The fourth-generation BMW M3 was a trailblazer in its class when it
came to intelligent lightweight construction. Playing a prominent role
alongside the aluminium bonnet and plastic front side panels in
lowering the weight of the Coupe's body was its carbon roof. The use
of this high-tech material on the scale achieved with the BMW M3
represented another important step for the
BMW Group towards the industrial manufacture of carbon body
During the six years or so of BMW M3 production, the USA, Great
Britain and Germany grew into its most important sales markets. In
2010 the Coupe also became a work of art when US artist Jeff Koons
transformed the BMW M3 GT2 endurance racer into the 17th member of the
BMW Art Car series. Koons' creation was unveiled in early June 2010 at
the Centre Pompidou in Paris, before lining up in the Le Mans 24-hour
race two weeks later. The BMW M3 GT2 added another rash of victories
to the BMW M3's exceptional record of success, including five titles
in the American Le Mans series and victory in the Nürburgring 24-hour
The fourth-generation BMW M3 was produced at the BMW plant in
Regensburg alongside the BMW 3 Series Sedan, Coupe and Convertible.
Its V8 engine was supplied by the BMW engine factory in Munich, where
specific production processes on the special engine assembly line
ensured the high-performance unit would be marked by excellent quality
Among the highlights of the BMW M3's production run were the exclusive
small-series variants of the car introduced over its lifetime, which
brought its race-inspired characteristics even further to the fore.
The BMW M3 GTS, for example, was developed as a road-legal
clubsport-oriented model. The displacement of its V8 engine was
increased to 4.4 litres, enabling maximum output of 331 kW/450 hp.
Bespoke chassis components and aerodynamic measures, plus a two-seat
cockpit designed for racing use, prepared this exclusive
special-edition model for competitive race action on the track and
ensured it offered a super-intense M experience on the road. 135
examples of the BMW M3 GTS were delivered to customers.
The BMW M3 CRT (Carbon Racing Technology) joined the fray in 2011 in a
limited run of 67 units. Based on the BMW M3 Sedan and built at the
BMW M GmbH factory, the BMW M3 CRT boasted exclusively manufactured
lightweight components, a 331 kW/450 hp version of the V8 engine and
modified chassis technology all of which was a recipe for
exceptionally precise handling balance. An innovative
carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) manufacturing process was
employed in the construction of the BMW M3 CRT. Its bonnet was made
from two CFRP mouldings encasing an aramid honeycomb structure. This
construction gave the bonnet the strength of a conventional steel
equivalent, but at roughly a quarter of its weight. The bucket seats
of the BMW M3 CRT were made from two CFRP layers wrapped around a
recycled-paper honeycomb, and a carbon layer made using conventional
production technology was added to visible areas. A rear spoiler and
an air-channelling element integrated into the front apron (both made
from CFRP) rounded off the exclusive lightweight elements found on the
BMW M3 CRT.
BMW M GmbH celebrated the triple success of BMW's DTM comeback the
drivers', team and manufacturers' titles were all won with the BMW M3
with a limited-run special-edition model: 54 examples of the BMW M3
DTM Champion Edition would leave the factory, one for each DTM race
victory notched up by BMW between 1987 and 2012.