Image credits: © BMW.

2009 BMW M3

2009 BMW M3
The BMW M3 model family is being upgraded by yet another fascinating player: The new BMW M3 Convertible, the third body version of BMW's high-performance sports car following the Coupé and Saloon, offers new possibilities to experience uncompromising driving dynamics.

Beneath the engine compartment lid lurks the V8 power unit displacing 4.0 litres and with 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 with 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 with 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 with 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 with the Coupé and Saloon.

Retractable Hardtop

2009 BMW M3BMW M GmbH has a long tradition in combining the thrill of a high-performance sports car with 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 with 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 with the two subsequent model generations and is now also expressed clearly on the new BMW M3. A direct comparison with the most thoroughbred sports cars in the classic sense of the word also places the BMW M3 firmly in pole position.

Compared with 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, with 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 segment 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

2009 BMW M3
The Convertible naturally stands out at very first sight as a genuine BMW M3. Over and above the aluminium engine compartment lid with 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 with the double kidney grille characteristic of BMW and the low-slung headlight units with 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 with 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 with 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 with 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 with 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, with high-gloss Satin Chrome available as an option.


2009 BMW M3
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, with 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 with 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 with the roof down.


2009 BMW M3
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 with 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 segment 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

The engine block on the new eight-cylinder comes from BMW's light-alloy foundry in Landshut just north of Munich, which also builds the engine blocks for the Formula 1 cars raced by the BMW Sauber F1 Team. The crankcase is made of a special aluminium-silicon alloy making conventional cylinder liners superfluous, since an appropriate cylinder surface is provided by the hard silicon crystals, the iron-coated pistons running directly in this uncoated, honed bore.

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 with 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, with 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 with 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, with 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, steering 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 with 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 with 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.

6-Speed Transmission

Vital Stats and Specifications
Vital Stats
Engine : 4.0 L., 8-cylinder
Power: 420 hp
Torque: 295 ft-lbs

6-speed Manual
The new BMW M3 Convertible comes as standard with 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 with 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 with 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 steering 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 with 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.

Rear Axle

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 with 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 with 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, with 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 with 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 with 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 steering 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 with 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 story of an exception: the BMW M3 is 25.

The anticipation began in August 1985. That summer Germanys 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 kmh, sprint from a standing start to 100 kmh inside 6.7 seconds. However, the story was that the most dynamic BMW 3 Series drivers....
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The Champion in Touring Car Racing. 25 years ago the BMW M3 started its unique series of victories.

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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....
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