BMW is one of those marques that understand the value of a “halo car”, and the one that particularly stands out among the others in its stable is the M3. This motoring legend traces its roots back to the 1986 M3 (E30). This “street-legal race car” came about because car-racing rules of the professional motorsport field necessitated manufacturers to base or homologate their race cars to a car model that was actually sold to consumers. In other words, “street-legal” versions were created so that their counterparts, which are built for actual racing, can qualify for participation in motorsport races.
The same explanation is behind the numerous “homologation specials” from various car manufacturers, which have collectively lifted the car industry out of mediocrity. These specially prepared cars are far more interesting to own and to drive than what they are derived from. Many examples have become treasured collector’s items and indeed risen in value. For the manufacturers, there is a knock-on “halo effect” that these special cars cast upon their lesser stable mates and BMW has used this to great effect.
A POWERFUL PAIR
For the 2014 model year, BMW decided that the coupe and sedan should have different names, which explains why the former became the M4 and the latter retained the M3 name. This may be a little confusing for long-time aficionados of the marque, who have always known this exceptional legend as the M3.
The new sixth-generation M3 and M4 Competition are the high-powered versions and use a revamped version of the iconic turbocharged in-line six that has been uprated from 450 hp previously to 510 hp. The twin-scroll, twin-turbo 3.0-litre engine is very impressive, not just for its sheer power but also the fact that it has managed to reduce turbo lag to the point where it is not noticeable during normal driving. It can now sprint to 100 km/h in an impressive 3.9 seconds with a regulated top speed of 250 km/h (limit raised to 290 km/h with Driver’s Package).