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Image credits: © BMW.
2009 BMW M3 news, pictures, and information
Beneath the engine compartment lid lurks the V8 power unit displacing 4.0 litres and wîth all the features of a high-speed engine developed brand-new from the ground up for the BMW M3. Above the heads of the driver and passengers is either the three-piece hardtop opening and disappearing completely into the rear roof compartment at the touch of a button in just 22 seconds or of course the blue sky and the thrill of open air.
The new BMW M3 Convertible is a top-flight athlete able to offer truly outstanding performance not only as a sports car, but also wîth many other qualities, top performance, and highlights in motoring elegance, making every moment in the car an experience in driving pleasure and keeping the driver and passengers top fit at all times.
The BMW M3 Convertible draws its exceptional dynamic driving potential from its new eight-cylinder power unit developing 309 kW/420 hp from 3,999 cubic centimetres. Maximum torque of 400 Newton-metres or 295 lb-ft is just as impressive as maximum engine speed of 8,400 rpm.
This high engine speed concept so typical of BMW M engines comes straight from the latest Formula 1 power unit raced by the BMW Sauber F1 Team. Clearly, this outstanding principle of engine power ensures unique torque and muscle also in the BMW M3 Convertible in transmitting engine power through the variable M Differential Lock to the rear wheels.
Acceleration to 100 km/h comes in just 5.3 seconds and the car continues to surge ahead wîth increasing power and performance as the driver keeps his foot on the gas pedal, all the way to the car's top speed of 250 km/h or 155 mph, where the engine's electronic control unit sets a limit to the ongoing speed and performance of this open-air athlete.
Outstanding performance and thrilling dynamics of this kind create the first impression conveyed by the BMW M3 Convertible right from the start: This very special two-door performer not only comes wîth the same drive technology as the BMW M3 Coupé and the BMW M3 Saloon, but is also a brand-new development from the ground up, again boasting all the features so typical of a BMW M model.
The BMW M3 Convertible thus transfers motorsport technology to everyday motoring, meeting even the greatest demands made of such a high-performance car. In its character, therefore, it is first and foremost a BMW M3, while nevertheless betraying its unique identity side-by-side wîth the Coupé and Saloon.
BMW M GmbH has a long tradition in combining the thrill of a high-performance sports car wîth the unique pleasure of motoring in the open air, after the first BMW M3 Convertible was presented no less than 20 years ago.
And since the two following generations of the BMW M3 Coupé were also joined by a BMW M3 Convertible, this concept has a long and consistent story to look back on, although the fourth edition differs from its predecessors on one essential point: For the first time a retractable hardtop protects the driver and passengers in the BMW M3 Convertible from wind and weather.
Within the passenger compartment the three-piece roof ensures unrestricted all-year driving pleasure and excellent noise control. It offers truly impressive robustness and sturdiness in design and construction, highlights the sheer value of the car and, through the large windows, ensures optimum all-round visibility featuring a genuine coupé ambience within the interior.
As soon as the weather is right for motoring wîth the roof down, the three elements forming the hardtop move up electrohydraulically and fully automatically in a smooth and flowing process, swivelling to the rear and coming to a rest in a compact stack above one another in the rear roof compartment.
This extremely compact and space-saving accommodation of the roof elements enhances both the looks of the open-air BMW M3 and the driving experience so thrilling to the driver and passengers. The low-slung, elegantly stretched silhouette reflects the character typical of a BMW M3 Convertible not only in its looks, since the low waistline also ensures a unique and particularly intense experience of the sun shining down and the wind rushing by.
Also featured on the M3 Convertible: know-how from motorsport as the foundation, unique design as the principle.
Within the wide range of models from BMW M GmbH, the BMW M3 has always been the strongest and most powerful reflection of motorsport. Indeed, this already applied to the first edition of the BMW M3 launched in 1986 and joined two years later by the first BMW M3 Convertible. The same philosophy then continued wîth the two subsequent model generations and is now also expressed clearly on the new BMW M3. A direct comparison wîth the most thoroughbred sports cars in the classic sense of the word also places the BMW M3 firmly in pole position.
Compared wîth its predecessor, the new BMW M3 Convertible offers significant progress in terms of driving dynamics, which can indeed be clearly measured through the car's performance on the road. Convincing proof of this superiority is the power-to-weight ratio optimised once again over the previous model to just 4.3 kg per horsepower, an exceptionally good figure even for a high-performance convertible of this calibre.
This all-round optimisation of the car comes out clearly also in the driving experience, wîth the new V8 power unit offering its significantly greater muscle, thrust, torque, fast-revving driving qualities and spontaneity also on the new BMW M3 Convertible: The new BMW M3 Convertible not only accelerates a lot faster than its predecessor, but also leaves the handful of similarly powerful open-air models in its §egmènt far behind on the road through its outstanding agility in quick changes of direction, in tight bends or on handling tracks making particular demands of the car. Indeed, it is precisely these handling qualities that reflect the exceptional harmony of the concept so typical of every BMW M Car and also to be enjoyed on the new BMW M3 Convertible.
While the open-air BMW M3 is naturally based on the latest, fourth generation of the 'regular' BMW 3 Series Convertible, the new model differs from the standard version fundamentally in terms of both looks and technical features. To begin with, the technical foundation for the new BMW M3 Convertible is provided by the BMW M3 Coupé, unique design as well as drivetrain and suspension technology created for supreme performance coming right at the top in the brief given to the engineers at BMW M.
Apart from the load-bearing body structure, only the doors, the retractable hardtop, the luggage compartment lid, the windows and the rear lights come from the 'standard' open-air version of the BMW 3 Series. The range of brand-new body components, therefore, is virtually the same as in the BMW M3 Coupé.
Design and Driving Experience
The Convertible naturally stands out at very first sight as a genuine BMW M3. Over and above the aluminium engine compartment lid wîth its distinctive powerdome and the two openings for air intake, the car is also characterised by the functional design of the front and rear air dams, the specially designed gills in the front side panels also to be admired on the Coupé, the side-sills, as well as exterior mirrors and light-alloy rims in that unique design so typical of BMW M.
The front end is characterised by three large air intakes beneath the radiator grille supplying intake and cooling air to the engine. Sturdy, vertical bars border on the air intakes on either side and enhance the design language so characteristic of the car. Together wîth the double kidney grille characteristic of BMW and the low-slung headlight units wîth their bi-xenon main headlights featured as standard, these design highlights give the BMW M3 Convertible its highly dynamic look and appearance.
The overall structure of the car's front end is determined first and foremost by the supply of air to the high-performance power unit, large sections at the front opening up to provide the naturally aspirated engine wîth a smooth flow of air. It is only obvious, therefore, that for reasons of technical and sporting considerations alone this BMW M Car again does without the foglamps otherwise featured on the BMW 3 Series.
Like on the BMW M3 Coupé, the side-sills come wîth particularly wide and muscular contours and, through their two interacting surfaces, provide a distinctive flow of air giving the car a lighter and more sporting appearance by making the side panels look even lower and more dynamic. In their design, the side-sills correspond wîth the shape of the striking body line running from front to rear at the level of the door opener.
Seen from behind, the new BMW M3 Convertible again stands out through its superior and powerful proportions. The lines along the side-sills and the rear air dam dropping gently and smoothly to the rear accentuate the philosophy of rear-wheel drive and the powerful stance of the car on the road. The contours of the harmoniously chiselled diffuser beneath the bumper, in turn, take up the specific shape and design of the air intakes at the front.
The air flow duct and the twin tailpipes for the exhaust positioned far towards the middle of the car appear to draw together the rear end at its lower centrepoint, creating awe-inspiring optical tension interacting powerfully wîth the horizontal lines of the bumper.
Despite all their similarity in character and style, the Coupé and Convertible are nevertheless quite different, without the slightest risk of confusion. Clearly, the unique design of the BMW M3 Convertible comes primarily from its hardtop – and from the possibility to open the roof whenever the driver and passengers desire.
With the roof down, the BMW M3 Convertible, particularly through its low-slung silhouette, offers a unique symbiosis of athletic style and sporting elegance. At the same time the hardtop gives the car its own individual lines when closed, the BMW M3 Convertible highlighting its identity among other things through the far more accentuated transition from the roofline to the rear as opposed to the more gentle and smoother line on the Coupé. A further point is that both the side window frames and the shaft covers come as standard in matt silver-glistening aluminium, wîth high-gloss Satin Chrome available as an option.
Creating the interior, the designers and other specialists at BMW M have successfully reached their objective to offer the occupants maximum driving pleasure in an ambience perfectly tailored to their requirements. This applies particularly to the driver's seat, wîth all elements required for active motoring being modified accordingly and, through their enhanced functions, reflecting the exceptional power and performance of the BMW M3 Convertible.
As soon as the retractable hardtop folds up into the rear compartment, the driver and front passenger enjoy a truly incomparable open-air atmosphere further promoted by the low-slung shoulder line, the seating position moved far to the back, and the short windscreen. The result of this concept, obviously, is an optimum experience of open-air motoring.
The frame round the windscreen keeps a generous distance from the heads of the front passengers, allowing the sun and, to a pleasant degree, the wind to flow smoothly into and around the interior.
A further highlight is that the occupants now enjoy an even more direct, undiluted experience of the V8 power unit wîth its unmistakable acoustics.
Despite the low and sporting seat position, the waistline of the car is also surprisingly low. And since this attractive body line flows almost parallel to the road all the way to the rear, the passengers on the two rear seats designed and finished as single seats also enjoy unlimited pleasure of driving in the open air. Lots of fresh wind as well as unrestricted visibility in all directions therefore characterise the unique experience of driving the new BMW M3 Convertible wîth the roof down.
After a great 15 years, the straight-six power unit featured in the two preceding generations of the BMW M3 and lauded several times over as the Engine of the Year has now found a worthy successor: For the first time all model variants of the new BMW M3 come wîth an eight-cylinder power unit.
The specifications of this all-new high-performance V8 clearly prove the competence of the engine specialists at BMW M GmbH derived directly from motorsport: Displacing 3,999 cc, the new V8 develops a supreme 309 kW/420 hp. Maximum torque of 400 Newton-metres or 295 lb-ft, in turn, comes at an engine speed of 3,900 rpm. And some 85 per cent of this maximum torque is readily available throughout the enormous engine speed range of 6,500 rpm.
The eight-cylinder nevertheless owes its most outstanding characteristics to the high-speed engine concept so typical of BMW M. Because revving all the way to 8,400 rpm, the engine boasts truly shattering thrust and flexibility.
The experience of power and muscle is therefore simply unique all the way. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels by a six-speed manual gearbox and the all-new final drive.
This combination of engine and transmission provides a feeling of acceleration quite comparable in its spontaneity and ongoing surge of power to the dynamic potential of the most supreme high-performance thoroughbred sports cars.
Apart from specific output of 105 hp per litre, average fuel consumption of 12,9 litres/100 kilometres (equal to 21 mpg imp) determined in the EÚ test cycle is a clear expression of the engineering art and outstanding skills of the engine development specialists at BMW M GmbH. Through this quality alone, the new BMW M3 Convertible ensures a standard of efficiency quite unique in the small §egmènt of open high-performance sports cars.
Weighing just 202 kg or 445 lb, the V8 power unit of the new BMW M3 is a genuine lightweight. Indeed, it is even 15 kg or 33 lb lighter than the engine in the former model – a six-cylinder.
Components Úsing Formula 1 Knowledge
|Engine : 4.0 L., 8-cylinder|
Power: 420 hp
Torque: 295 ft-lbs
With high engine speeds and combustion pressure putting extremely great loads on the crankcase, the crankcase is compact and extra-strong in bedplate design, ensuring very precise and smooth running conditions for the crankshaft.
The forged crankshaft itself is extremely strong in terms of bending and torsional stiffness, while at the same time it only weighs about 20 kg or 44 lb.
Valve Management by Double-VANOS
The V8 power unit within the engine compartment of the BMW M3 Convertible is equipped wîth variable double-VANOS camshaft control. Keeping valve adjustment times to a minimum, this technology reduces losses in the charge cycle and improves engine output, torque and response accordingly, wîth an appropriately positive influence on both fuel consumption and emissions.
A low-pressure version of double-VANOS has been developed especially for the new eight-cylinder to ensure ultra-short and fast adjustment timing even under normal engine oil pressure.
A separate throttle butterfly for each cylinder is the supreme technology not only on a racing engine when it comes to ensuring an immediate response at all times. Which is precisely why the new power unit features eight individual throttle butterflies, two adjuster motors each controlling four throttle butterflies on each row of cylinders. This guarantees a particularly smooth and sensitive response of the engine at low speeds combined wîth an immediate reaction as soon as the driver calls up more power on the gas pedal.
A smooth and consistent supply of lubricant to the eight-cylinder is ensured by the volume flow-controlled pendulum-slide cell pump delivering exactly the amount of oil required by the engine at any given point in time. Wet sump lubrication optimised for driving dynamics keeps the flow of lubricant consistent and sufficient even in extreme braking manoeuvres, wîth the system boasting
two oil sumps – a small one upfront of the front axle subframe and a larger sump further back. A separate duocentric reflow pump, finally, serves to extract the oil from the front sump and pump it to the rear.
New Engine Management and Brake Energy Regeneration
A further enhancement is electronic management of the V8 power unit for optimum coordination of all engine functions. At the same time the electronic control unit supports the various functions of the clutch, transmission, §teering and brakes all tailored to the specific demands and standards of a BMW M Car. And last but not least, engine management provides a wide range of on-board diagnostic functions, just as it masterminds and controls various ancillary units.
Access to the various engine control maps is also masterminded wîth the same precision. No less than three different maps are available for engine management, two being activated via a button on the centre console and a further map being controlled via the optional MDrive system. In each case the control maps are influenced by the position of the throttle butterflies in the intake manifold and by other parameters significantly changing engine response.
Ion flow technology serving to recognise the risk of the engine knocking as well as misfiring and miscombustion is a further highlight in engine management. Contrary to conventional technology, this new, revolutionary method detects such risks directly where they may occur, that is within the engine combustion chamber. To do this, the spark plug on each cylinder is carefully monitored and controlled for any indication of knocking. Correct ignition is also controlled in the same process and any mis-firing is effectively detected.
The spark plug thus serves as an actuator for the ignition and as a sensor carefully monitoring the combustion process, thus distinguishing between mis-combustion and misfiring.
This dual function of the spark plug also facilitates diagnostic processes in maintenance and service.
Intelligent energy management wîth Brake Energy Regeneration enhances the efficiency of the V8 power unit in the new BMW M3 Convertible to an even higher standard. The particular point in this case is that electric power for the on-board network is generated specifically while in overrun and when applying the brakes.
This serves to charge the car's battery without directly using the energy contained in the fuel. (concept carz) As long as the engine is pulling the car, therefore, the alternator generally remains disengaged. Apart from particularly efficient generation of electric power, this also offers the advantage of even more driving power when accelerating.
The new BMW M3 Convertible comes as standard wîth a manual six-speed gearbox featuring gear ratios perfectly tailored to the high-speed concept of the eight-cylinder engine. With short gear lever travel like in motorsport and crisp, precise movement of the shift lever, the driver is able at all times to transmit the superior power and thrust of the V8 to the rear wheels wîth the ideal gear ratio.
Integrated, temperature-controlled oil cooling keeps the temperature of the transmission fluid within the right range even under extreme conditions –for example on the race track. The two-plate clutch optimised for mass inertia, in turn, is carefully matched to the superior power and muscular torque of the eight-cylinder. And the six-speed manual gearbox wîth all the features so typical of BMW M is likewise able at all times to optimise the superior potential of the new BMW M3 Convertible when accelerating and going for superior performance.
Chassia and Suspension
Like the BMW M3 Coupé and the BMW M3 Saloon, the new BMW M3 Convertible also features rear-wheel drive. This principle of splitting up §teering and drive forces on the front and rear axle ensures ideal conditions for dynamic driving qualities, very good directional stability, and safe handling. From the start, therefore, the new BMW M3 Convertible offers the ideal configuration for a particularly agile high-performance sports car.
The new BMW M3 Convertible boasts a chassis and suspension tailor-made for the particular requirements and features of an open car. The 'foundation', of course, is provided by the chassis and suspension carried over from the BMW M3 Coupé appropriately modified for the specific weight distribution and the different roof on the Convertible. Like on convertibles in general, additional features have been integrated in the new BMW M3 Convertible to optimise its torsional stiffness. Compared wîth former generations of the BMW M3 Convertible, torsional stiffness particularly important to safety and driving dynamics has been significantly increased to an even higher standard, also taking the increase in engine output into account.
Benefitting from the demanding chassis and suspension, as well as the overall construction of the car, the new BMW M3 Convertible offers dynamic driving qualities quite comparable to the excellent driving features already ensured by the BMW M3 Coupé and Saloon.
On the rear axle the V-bars already featured on the Coupé and Saloon to provide the necessary reinforcement have been extended all the way to the side-sills. This configuration enhances chassis stiffness around the rear axle and provides appropriate axle kinematics for a car wîth supreme engine power and sporting performance all round. In addition, the engineers at BMW M GmbH have modified the flow of air beneath the car at the rear to the change in design and construction, thus ensuring optimum cooling on the final drive.
In its overall construction, the five-arm rear axle is designed consistently for minimum weight. The anti-roll bar, for example, is a hollow tube in the interest of significant weight reduction. So despite the slightly larger diameter of the tube than on the Coupé, the anti-roll bar on the BMW M3 Convertible offers an ideal combination of superior efficiency and low weight. Together wîth the axle arms made of forged aluminium and the aluminium dampers, the reduction in weight ensured in this way adds up to approximately 2.5 kg.
The front axle assembly is the same as on the Coupé and Saloon, wîth nearly all components on the double-arm front axle made of aluminium. A high standard of lateral stiffness at the front reflecting the superior power of the engine is ensured among other things by extra-stiff spring struts, swivel mounts and axle supports specific to BMW M, and an additional light-alloy reinforcement panel beneath the engine. And like the anti-roll bar at the rear, the anti-roll bar on the front axle is also a tubular structure serving to optimise its functions and minimise its weight.
Wheel and Brakes
The new BMW M3 Convertible comes wîth the same extra-large compound brakes as on the Coupé and Saloon. The inner-vented, cross-drilled grey-cast iron brake discs measuring 360 millimetres/14.2´´ in diameter at the front and 350 millimetres/13.8´´ at the rear are connected to the aluminium disc support by stainless-steel pins cast into position.
With this configuration significantly reducing the thermal loads acting on the brake discs, brake performance and service life are enhanced accordingly. A further advantage of this high-performance brake system is the additional reduction of weight where it really counts, that is on the car's unsprung masses.
An ongoing, continuous wear indicator permanently monitors the condition of the brake pads, a display in the cockpit informing the driver of their remaining service life. This not only enhances safety on the road, but also avoids unnecessary service and maintenance.
The underpressure required for the brake servo is generated by an electrical pump independently of engine speed.
The new BMW M3 Convertible comes as standard on forged light-alloy wheels in BMW M design. Rim dimensions are 8.5 x 18 inches at the front on 245/40 low- profile tyres and 9.5 x 18 inches at the rear on 265/40 tyres.
On the new BMW M3 Convertible the iDrive control system may be enhanced as an option by an additional MDrive function. Úsing MDrive, the driver is able to access the engine and Servotronic control maps, the various modes of DSC, and, as a further option, the various EDC set-ups available. This gives the driver the possibility to pre-select his personal set-up for all dynamic driving systems open to configuration, thus enjoying 'his' perfect set-up in accordance wîth his personal preferences.
The car configuration defined individually in this way is then saved and may be retrieved immediately simply by pressing the MDrive button on the multifunction §teering wheel, regardless of the system setting previously chosen by way of the function buttons. This enables the driver to enjoy the versatile character of his car in every respect and wîth all its facets, changing to his personal set-up at the simple touch of a button.
MDrive also serves as an exclusive feature to activate the Sports Plus engine control map, the M Dynamic Mode within the DSC range, and the Sports Servotronic control map.Source - BMW
The story of an exception: the BMW M3 is 25.The anticipation began in August 1985. That summer Germany's automobile magazines built up their readers' expectations for the fastest 3 Series BMW of all times. The key data revealed a sports car that would punch way above its class: 200 hp, top speed in excess of 230 km/h, sprint from a standing start to 100 km/h inside 6.7 seconds. However, the story was that 'the most dynamic BMW 3 Series drivers' would have to wait until mid-1986. The pundits were right on that count. But one prediction missed the mark by a mile: anyone who 'wants to be in the A Team needs to be turbocharged under the bonnet'. Not true.
The BMW M3 became the most successful touring car in motor-sport history. The M3 project was launched just a few months earlier. Production of the M1 mid-engine sports car had already been discontinued for some time and BMW CEO Eberhard Kuenheim commissioned a design for a successor, almost as an aside, according to legend. After one of his regular visits to Motorsport GmbH in Munich's Preußenstraße he said, almost as he was leaving: 'Mr. Rosche, we need a sporty engine for the 3 Series.' His aspiration was in good hands. Motorsport GmbH wîth its managing director of technical development Paul Rosche had demonstrated its expertise wîth the legendary 5 Series saloons driven by M engines as well as developing the Formula 1 turbo engine that powered Brazilian Nelson Piquet to win the World Championship in the Brabham BMW in 1983.
The new 3 Series engine had something in common wîth this: the crankcase. It originated from volume production and actually formed the basis for the two-litre engine wîth four cylinders. Four cylinders meant less weight and high torque, an ideal platform for a sports engine in the projected displacement class. Naturally enough, the series four-cylinder engine was much too tame for a sports engine. A comprehensive power boost was called for in order to turn the plucky daily workhorse into an athletic and sporty power unit. The BMW design engineers increased the displacement to 2.3 litres and applied a formulation that had already achieved significant successes over a period of many years: four-valve engineering. There was also another reason for the decision to opt for a four-cylinder engine and not adopt the six-cylinder engine introduced in the BMW 3 Series. The longer crankshaft in the big engine started to vibrate much earlier than the shorter four-cylinder shaft. The design engineers therefore designed the crankshaft drive of the BMW M3 wîth sufficient torsional stability to achieve 10,000 revolutions a minute and more. By comparison wîth the four-cylinder engine installed in the series vehicles, this represented an increase of more than 60 percent. The rated speed for the road version of the BMW M3 was still significantly below the critical range at 6,750/min and therefore offered sufficient scope for further developments.
Paul Rosche recalls: 'We started work immediately. One advantage was that the big six-cylinder engine originally had the same cylinder gap as the four-cylinder engine. We therefore cut two combustion chambers off the four-cylinder head of the M88 and bolted a panel over the hole on the rear side.' This meant that the new four-cylinder engine had a second forebear. The six-cylinder engine that had initially created a sensation in the M1 and had meanwhile transformed the M635CSi into one of the fastest coupés in the world. Paul Rosche: 'Whether you believe it or not – we had created an outstanding four-cylinder engine for the 3 Series within the space of two weeks. Únder the development name S14, this engine was to generate headlines in sport and in volume production over the years to come. One Sunday, I drove to von Kuenheim's flat and gave him the car for a test drive. When he came back he said: ‘Good, I like it.' And that's how the M3 came into being.'Source - BMW
The Champion in Touring Car Racing. 25 years ago the BMW M3 started its unique series of victories.In August 1985, a rumour surfaced in motor magazine Auto-Deutschland which emanated from a new sports car. An A Group Car from BMW that was a thoroughbred racing car according to the rules but was also to be produced in a version licensed to drive on open roads for everyday use. Speculation about this dream car that could take to normal roads and was intended for the 'Most dynamic among BMW 3 Series drivers' was right on target. But the pundits missed the mark about the motor-sport car by a mile on one prediction: They were convinced that anyone who 'wants to be a key player in the A Team needs to be turbocharged under the bonnet'. Not true. The BMW M3 had a naturally aspirated engine. And it became the most successful touring car in the history of BMW.
The M3 project was launched just a few months earlier. Production of the M1 mid-engine sports car had already been discontinued for some time and BMW CEO Eberhard Kuenheim commissioned a design for a successor, almost as an aside, according to legend. After one of his regular visits to Motorsport GmbH in Munich's Preußenstraße he said, almost as he was leaving: 'Mr. Rosche, we need a sporty engine for the 3 Series.' His aspiration was in good hands. Motorsport GmbH wîth its managing director of technical development Paul Rosche had demonstrated its expertise wîth the legendary 5 Series saloons driven by M engines as well as developing the Formula 1 turbo engine that powered Brazilian Nelson Piquet to win the World Championship in the Brabham BMW in 1983.
Power source: a four-cylinder engine wîth 2.3 litres displacement and four-valve engineering.
The new 3 Series engine had something in common wîth this: the crankcase. It originated from volume production and actually formed the basis for the two-litre engine wîth four cylinders. Four cylinders meant less weight and high torque, an ideal platform for a sports engine in the projected displacement class. Naturally enough, the series four-cylinder engine was much too tame for a sports engine. A comprehensive power boost was called for in order to turn the plucky daily workhorse into an athletic and sporty power unit. The BMW design engineers increased the displacement to 2.3 litres and applied a formulation that had already achieved significant successes over a period of many years: four-valve engineering. There was also another reason for the decision to opt for a four-cylinder engine and not adopt the six-cylinder engine introduced in the BMW 3 Series. The longer crankshaft in the big engine started to vibrate much earlier than the shorter four-cylinder shaft. The design engineers therefore designed the crankshaft drive of the BMW M3 wîth sufficient torsional stability to achieve 10,000 revolutions a minute and more. By comparison wîth the four-cylinder engine installed in the series vehicles, this represented an increase of more than 60 percent.
Paul Rosche recalls: 'We started work immediately. One advantage was that the big six-cylinder engine originally had the same cylinder gap as the four-cylinder engine. We therefore cut two combustion chambers off the four-cylinder head of the M88 and bolted a panel over the hole on the rear side.' This meant that the new four-cylinder engine had a second forebear. The six-cylinder engine that had initially created a sensation in the M1 and had meanwhile transformed the M635CSi into one of the fastest coupés in the world. Paul Rosche: 'Whether you believe it or not – we had created an outstanding four-cylinder engine for the 3 Series within the space of two weeks. Únder the development name S14, this engine was to generate headlines in sport and in volume production over the years to come. One Sunday, I drove to von Kuenheim's flat and gave him the car for a test drive. When he came back he said: 'Good, I like it.' And that's how the M3 came into being.'
Contrary to the situation wîth the mid-engine sports car, the BMW M3 was not going to be crafted by hand in small batches. This car was to be produced as a mass-production automobile on an assembly line. It was destined to compete in near-production touring car motor sport, or more precisely as a Group A racing car, defined as a 'production car', of which at least 5,000 units have to be built within the space of twelve consecutive months in accordance wîth Annex J of the international automobile sport regulations.
300 hp for competitive racing.
However, many of them immediately disappeared again into garages and workshops to be given a new outfit. After all, the M3 had been designed as a racing car, and this was the time to prove that it really could 'race'. A World Touring Car Championship was held for the first time in 1987. And that was exactly what the M3 had been built for. But not quite in the guise in which it was seen on the streets. Instead of 200 hp, the 2.3 litre engine delivered up to 300 hp at 8,200 rpm in the racing version. This put it on a par wîth the BMW M635CSi. BMW didn't line up on the starting grid wîth its own team but supported a number of famous racing outfits like Schnitzer, Linder, Zackspeed and Bigazzi. Drivers like Markus Oestreich, Christian Danner, Roberto Ravaglia and Wilfried Vogt took the wheel, and Annette Meeuvissen and Mercedes Stermitz were the first women drivers.
The first race for the 1987 World Touring Car Championship started in Monza on 22 March 1987 – and ended wîth a sensation. All the M3 cars were excluded from the placings. The vehicles were checked under chaotic conditions and disqualified because of sheet-metal thicknesses that were allegedly contrary to the regulations. BMW appealed but the sports tribunal decided that the appeal had been lodged too late. There was no longer any talk of infringements of the rules. All the brouhaha naturally didn't have any effect on the result of the championship. At the end of the season, Roberto Ravaglia was standing on the podium as the first World Touring Car Champion. But that was only the pinnacle of the success list. Wilfried Vogt took the title of European Champion. Altfried Heger came in second – both driving a BMW M3. In 1987, the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) also went to the new BMW M3, wîth Eric van de Poele behind the wheel. Moreover, the most sporty 3 Series car was also winning competitions off the race track. An M3 crossed the finishing line in first place in the Corsica Rally and secured a victory for BMW after a gap of 14 years in a race for the World Rally Championship.
24 Hour Race: M3 one-two victory on the Nürburgring.
In 1988, the BMW M3 continued the success story and took the national titles in France, England and Spain. In the following year came another victory in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM), this time wîth Roberto Ravaglia in the driver's seat, alongside wins at the national championships in Belgium, Holland, France, Italy, Finland, Spain, Sweden and Yugoslavia. Meanwhile, the displacement had been increased to 320 hp and the BMW M3 drove the competition into the ground. Belgian driver Marc Duez battled his way through the Monte Carlo Rally wîth an M3 and took eighth place as best driver in a car without a four-wheel drive. The sensational one-two victory in the 24-hour classic on the Nürburgring crowned this series of successes in 1989 wîth the driver combinations Pirro/Ravaglia/Giroix and Heger/Grohs/Manthey.
Playing wîth displacement: the right engine for each race.
The M3 had a commanding presence on the international touring car racing scene for five years. It became the most successful touring car of all times by winning the two champion's titles in the European Touring Car Championship and twice in the German Touring Car Championship. There were also numerous further victories and championship wins at international level. Depending on the competition rules, the four-valve engine had to be adapted to national regulations. For example, the capacity for England was limited to 2 litres while for Germany and France it was raised to 2.5 litres wîth effect from 1990. This enabled the four-cylinder to deliver up to 355 hp. In the version wîth the biggest capacity, the engineers of BMW M GmbH went up against the limits of what was feasible. In order to make full use of the 2.5 litre limit, they not only increased the stroke of the 2.3 litre unit from 84 to 87 millimetres, but also increased the cylinder bore from 94 millimetres to 95.5 millimetres. This reduced the width between the cylinders to just 4.5 millimetres. But success proved the development engineers right. The engines withstood the stresses and strains of touring-car racing even at maximum output without any problem.
1992: the first BMW M3 wîth a six-cylinder engine.
The year 1992 saw the birth of a completely new M3, this time wîth an advanced six-cylinder engine. Once again, Motorsport GmbH developed a version for competition in record time. In April 1993, the new M3 was due to line up at the start of the first race for the German Touring Car Championship (DTM). But due to discrepancies in the new regulations, BMW changed its strategy and instead set up a BMW M3 GTR in the striking design of a starting flag and entered the Warsteiner ADAC GT Cup organised by the German Automobile Association. The six-cylinder now generated 325 hp, the car weighed 1300 kilos in accordance wîth the regulations. A strong BMW team lined up at the start wîth Johnny Cecotto and Kris Nissen, and Cecotto ended up taking the championship at the end of the season. However, this was the end of the motor-sport chapter for this M3 GTR for the time being. Changes in the regulations meant that the potent 3 Series had no realistic changes of victory any more.
The BMW M3 GTR: the most powerful M3 ever.
BMW only returned to motor sport as a works team wîth a BMW M3 seven years later. In 2001, the first starting flag came down for the new BMW M3 GTR powered by a 450 hp V8 engine. The most powerful M3 ever set benchmarks in the GT class of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) wîth its four-litre engine and raced in a quartet: Team BMW Motorsport entered two cars under the management of Charly Lamm and two other cars were raced by the American BMW Team PTG run by Tom Milner, who hailed originally from Germany. The coupé took seven victories in ten races, six of them were from pole positions. BMW works driver Jörg Müller won the driver's championship in the GT Class, BMW Motorsport won the team placings, and BMW became constructors' champion in the company's most important export market.
But the advanced BMW M3 GTR also caused a sensation in Europe. Two each of these eight-cylinder racing cars lined up at the start of the 24 Hour Race at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium and on the Nürburgring in 2004 and 2005.The result: In both years, BWM took a one-two victory on the Nürburgring, and class victory went to BMW in Spa in 2004.
In 2009, the next generation of the M3 started in the American Le Mans Series. The V8 engine was beefed up to 485 hp and entered the Twelve Hour Race at Sebring for the first time. The successes meant that the M3 was also raced in Europe in the following year. It lined up at the start of the 24 Hour Race on the Nürburgring, in Le Mans and in Spa-Francorchamps. The result: outright victory on the Nürburgring – for the 19th time – and class victory in Spa.
And the next winner will soon be on the starting line in 2012. BMW will be back at the German Touring Car Masters (DTM) wîth three teams and the new BMW M3 DTM.Source - BMW
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|2009 BMW models|
|BMW 1 Series|
|BMW 3 Series|
|BMW 5 Series|
|BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo|
|BMW 6 Series|
|BMW Sauber F1.09|
|BMW Z4||2009 BMW Concepts|
|BMW Concept 5 Series Gran Turismo|
|BMW X1 Concept|
|Similarly Sized Vehicles from 2009|
|Alfa Romeo 159|
|Alfa Romeo Brera Italia Independent|
|Alfa Romeo Brera S|
|Aston Martin LeMans LMP1|
|Audi AS5 Cabrio|
|Other models by BMW|
|Vehicle Recall Information|
|2008 M3||2008 ACS3 Sport M3||2010 M3||2010 GTRS3 M3 Widebody|