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Top 10 BMW M3 Features

From original E30s through modern E92s, a list of our favorite ultimate driving machines

Toni Avery
Aug 5, 2013

Photography by: european car staff

M Series cars undoubtedly drive gearheads to the BMW brand. Each generation has blended performance with luxury while also being extremely receptive to the vast array of aftermarket modifications available. Introduced in 1986 as a race variant of the entry level 3 Series, the E30 BMW M3 began a lineage of race track and enthusiast success that carried to the current curtain call of today's naturally aspirated E92 coupe.

While the next-generation twin-turbo 2014 4 Series rings in a new era of what's to come, there is no denying the past. To celebrate what Motor Trend once called the,"The World's Greatest All Around Car" when describing the 2009 M3, we formulated a list of shining modified examples old to new of this iconic performer.

Below is a collection of rare, race-built and simply clean M3s previously featured and popular on our website. Some are modified from front lip to exhaust tip, while others pride themselves on simplicity. Feel free to let us know if we've missed any in the comment section.

03 2011 BMW m3 platte forme carbon side skirt extensions Photo 1/40   |   2011 BMW M3

2011 BMW M3: Rare Breed

Article excerpt: "With less than 1000 miles on the clock, HG Motorsports installed an ESS VT2-600 supercharger kit that would later dyno at 555hp at the wheels. This would be helped by the full Akrapovic Evolution exhaust system with X-pipes, 100-cell sports cats and rear mufflers."

Why we love it: "Owner Felix Lyubovny owned six different BMWs before this E92. He is a guy who gets it; somebody who enjoys fine European cars and the value of well-chosen modifications."

Full article: 2011 BMW M3: Rare Breed

Epcp 1302 05 o+2004 BMW m3+passenger side rear view Photo 2/40   |   EPCP-130200-M3M-052-056-

2004 BMW M3: V10 Coupe

Article excerpt: "At around 400hp/ton, the power-to-weight ratio puts you in the same ballpark as the Ferrari 458 or Gallardo Superleggera. And while it doesn't feel quite as rapid as those supercars, we'd suggest it's not far off."

"The net result is an E46 fizzing with aggression that erupts like a volcano every time you push the throttle. The noise fills every inch of road tunnels with sonic shockwaves that bounce back through the windows (which you'll have instinctively opened before entering the tunnel)."

Why we love it: "With the advantages of lightweight optimization and the addition of a V10 engine, it's no wonder why we love this M3 Coupe."

Full article: 2004 BMW M3: V10 Coupe

Epcp 1211 09+1988 bmw m3+driving Photo 3/40   |   Top 10 BMW M3 Features

1988 BMW M3: Shell Shocked

Article excerpt: "Addressing the exterior, Ricardo wanted to ensure people knew his E30 was different and shouldn't be underestimated. The front and rear bumpers were shaved, enriched with an Evo 2 front lip and Evo 3 splitter, while the Evo 3 rear spoiler got a carbon fiber Gurney flap."

Why we love it: "Sourcing an E30 shell, Ricardo took what was a blank slate, dropped in an E36 S50 engine and followed through with his vision of the perfect M3. There is no arguing with dedication."

Full article: 1988 BMW M3: Shell Shocked

Epcp 1207 07+g power bmw m3 gts+front view Photo 4/40   |   Top 10 BMW M3 Features
It's right on par with the 60 to 125mph times of a Ferrari 599 GTB or a Porsche 997 Turbo GT2.

G-Power's BMW M3 GTS

Article excerpt: "It arrives at 125mph in less than 8sec later starts to tell the power story. From 60mph the standard E92 M3 will only reach 109mph in that time, whereas this GTS is pulling away at 1.3 car lengths per second and climbing."

"It's right on par with the 60 to 125mph times of a Ferrari 599 GTB or a Porsche 997 Turbo GT2, both of which can trap the quarter at well over 130 mph. Is that better?"

Why we love it: "630bhp and shattering every speed limit in less than 8sec is reason enough to love this G-Power creation."

Full article: G-Power's BMW M3 GTS

Epcp_1106_02_z+1988_bmw_m3+front_view Photo 5/40   |   epcp_1106_02_z+1988_bmw_m3+front_view.jpg

1988 BMW M3: Seeing Red

Article excerpt: "It'll be pretty obvious from the pictures that this car has been modified, and it gets driven hard, but it has also lived a quite pampered life. 23 years of dicing up the road, and the odometer reads only a few ticks above 30,000 miles."

Why we love it: "Modified one owner cars in pristine condition are hard enough to come by. But finding a daily driver with this degree of owner-driven dedication is even more rare."

Full article: 1988 BMW M3: Seeing Red

Epcp_0908_07_z+2009_bmw_m3+front_view Photo 6/40   |   Top 10 BMW M3 Features

2009 BMW M3: Pressure Play

Article excerpt: " Before VF starts bolting on parts, the engine bay is digitally mapped with a Romer coordinate measuring device. Parts are then prototyped with CAD and stereo-lithography and test fitted before final pieces are fabricated. The process saves time and can eliminate cutting into the existing metal."

"The end result is a neatly packaged forced induction system that increases horsepower from 414 to 610hp at 5 psi on 91-octane fuel."

Why we love it: "Nik Saran of VF Engineering is a shining example of a tuner that tests products at the ragged limit in order to assure quality. The modifications featured on this M3 are testament to that."

Full article: 2009 BMW M3: Pressure Play

Epcp_1004_01_o+1989_bmw_m3+front Photo 7/40   |   1989 bmw m3

1989 BMW M3: The Frankenstein Cliché

Article excerpt: "The creature was more of a golem-painstakingly sculpted into existence from inanimate material out of love and a longing for what could have been. And that difference is exactly what makes Leith Wain's E30 M3 a fitting heir to the Frankenstein name."

Why we love it: "This is no junkyard hack job but one man's detailed fabrication of what a V10 E30 M3 could've looked like had such an idea come out of the factory."

Full article: 1989 BMW M3: The Frankenstein Cliché

Epcp_1102_01_o+bmw_m3+side_by_side Photo 8/40   |   bmw m3

2009 BMW M3 E90 & E92: Double Dealing

Article excerpt: "Both cars handled beautifully on the fast, sweeping back roads outside of Phoenix. With its lower-profile tires, the white sedan turned in a hair quicker, while the coupe felt more composed on bumpy, uneven pavement."

"On its own, the coupe is devastatingly fast and pulls with demonic force all the way to redline. But compared to the sedan, its throttle response is a hair slower, taking just that little bit longer to wind up and start heading towards the redline."

Why we love it: "From the outside these M3s could not look anymore different but both share a love for high-horsepower antics."

Full article: 2009 BMW M3 E90 & E92: Double Dealing

01 1988 BMW m3 evo 2 front bumper Photo 9/40   |   Top 10 BMW M3 Features

1988 BMW M3: The Best of Both Worlds

Article Excerpt: "There are faster cars out there, but few have the visceral appeal of a proper S54- swapped E30 M3 since the chassis is about 700lb lighter than the E46. It's alive in a way you never thought possible."

Why we love it: "From graduating with an Auto Tech degree to working at a BMW shop, this owner is a true brand enthusiast."

Full article: 1988 BMW M3: The Best of Both Worlds

0607_ec_05zoom+BMW_M3+Rear_Side_Burnout Photo 10/40   |   Top 10 BMW M3 Features
I drive both a big-turbo BMW M3 and Toyota Supra. But I have just one thing to say about ICS' yellow turbo M3: It scares me stupid.

World Eater 1000hp BMW M3 Turbo

Article excerpt: "I drive both a big-turbo BMW M3 and Toyota Supra. But I have just one thing to say about ICS' yellow turbo M3: It scares me stupid."

Why we love it: "1025whp and 860lb-ft. Need we say more?"

Full article: World Eater 1000hp BMW M3 Turbo

By Toni Avery
401 Articles



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