Every BMW M3 Generation

Every BMW M3 Generation Explained | E30, E36, E46, E92, F80, G80

Every BMW M3 Generation Explained | E30, E36, E46, E92, F80, G80

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  • Post last modified:May 1, 2023
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Every BMW M3 Generation

The M3 is one of BMW’s most iconic and best selling performance vehicles. As a matter of fact, it is one of the earliest M cars ever made dating back to the 80’s. Through out the years, the M3 has improved a lot in terms of power, comfort and overall driving experience. These cars are a dream for any BMW fanboys out there.

Over the years, BMW has managed to release 6 generations of these vehicles; E30, E36, E46, E92, F80 and finally the G80, with the latter being the recent addition to the bunch. The engines have gone through a lot of changes but they have always maintained that 6-cylinder magic that we all know and love except for the E30 which came with a 4-cylinder engine and the E92 M3. The E92 is the only M3 in history to ever come with a fire breathing V8 but was later discontinued in the later models.

E30 BMW M3

The front grills have also been redesigned over the years, with the G80 model featuring the most controversial one yet. Some people thought that BMW had lost the plot, but it has come to be accepted and loved by the masses. When compared to the latest 7-series, I think it is safe to say that the G80 is prettier looking.

It’s also worth noting that since the M3 was introduced, they had always come in a rear wheel drive setup until the latest redesign with the G80. The M3 G80 model is the first M3 variant to come with a rear wheel drive option as well as an X-drive model with the ability to send up to 100% of the power to the rear wheels via a 2WD option. Without further a do, let’s dive into ever BMW M3 ever made.

1.) E30 BMW M3

E30 BMW M3

The E30 is considered the OG of all the M3(s) ever made. This is the one that started it all. Unlike in the later models, the E30 only came in as a Two door coupe. Design wise, this is the embodiment of perfection. Somewhere along the way, BMW lost the plot looks wise.

This is not the type of car that will turn a lot of heads, but for those who know what it is, will definitely take a moment to appreciate its beauty. From the hard chisel body lines to the big rear spoiler, the E30 is definitely a must have classic, if you are a collector.

E30 BMW M3

Under the hood, it came with a 2.3l naturally aspirated, 4-cylinder engine. This power train managed to push out 200 Horsepower and 240 Newton-meters of torque. The power was distributed to the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission. As for weight, this was quite a light one especially when compared to the almost 2 tonne G80, coming in at 1275Kg. When new, it retailed at $23,000. All in all, this car is an absolute legend, a trail blazer if you will and it will forever remain as one of the best BMW cars ever made.

2.) E36 BMW M3 Evo

E36 BMW M3

The E36 later replaced the E30 and just from the looks alone, it looked like BMW was trying to play it safe. Don’t get me wrong, it still looked amazing and a bit toned down in some ways. The spoiler seemed a bit smaller, the hard chisel body lines were almost non-existent and the boxy shape which we had come to appreciate from the E30 was essentially gone. Just like the E30, the E36 also came in as a Two door coupe.

Design wise BMW was playing it safe, but when it came to the performance side, they went all in. For the first time in an M3, the E36 came with a new 3.2l naturally aspirated inline 6. This is the car that started all the inline 6 madness in BMW(s).

E36 BMW M3

This car produced a staggering 320 Horsepower and 350 Newton-meters of torque. Comparing the stats, the Horsepower was up 60% and the torque gained by 46% was quite impressive at the time.

The power was sent to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission. In terms of weight, it came in at 1460Kg. Price-wise, it retailed at $30,000 when new. This Evo E36 M3, is still one of the funnest BMW’s to drive. Definitely a classic.

3.) E46 BMW M3

E46 BMW M3

Th E46 M3 later replaced the E36, but with very minimal changes. Design-wise, I’d say, this is the first ‘modern’ looking BMW. Minimal body lines, tiny boot lip spoiler just to name a few. Something that we’ve come to expect from the latest BMW(s). Just like, the E30 and E36, this model also came in as a Two door coupe.

Performance-wise, there is really nothing to ride home about especially when compared to its predecessor. It came with the same 3.2l naturally aspirated inline 6 just like in the E36. The power figures were bumped a bit to give you a sense that you were actually getting a ‘newer’ version.

E46 BMW M3

It pushed out 346 Horsepower (320 Horsepower in the E36) and 365 Newton-meters of torque (350 Newton-meters in the E36) Like the previous generations, it sent power to the rear wheels via a 6- speed manual gearbox.

It weighed in at 1495Kg which was barely heavier when compared to it’s 1460Kg counterpart, the E36.When new, it retailed at $40,000. If subtle was a car then it had to be the E46 BMW M3.

4.) E92 BMW M3

E92 BMW M3

The E92 BMW M3 later replaced the E46, and right off the gate, this is one of the best M3 cars of all time. For the first time ever BMW went all out from the design aspect down right to the performance. It seemed like they hired a new crew for the job.

The looks were impeccable and from miles away you could tell that this was a BMW. This car came with the signature BMW round halo headlights that dominated in the mid 2010(s). The bulging hood scoop gave the impression that it covered an engine worth its salt. From the rear end, we still had the boot lip spoiler and quad exhausts which sounded amazing. This was before all the nose regulations on cars begun, so you can imagine the sonorous sound that it produced.

E92 V8 Engine

At the heart of it all, it came with a fire breathing 4.0 liter naturally aspirated V8. It produced 420 Horsepower and 400 Newton-meters of torque. Big figures for a big engine. Just like in the previous models, it sent power to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual gearbox. It’s also worth noting that it came in as a Two door coupe. It weighed in at 1580Kg which was well justified for the amount of power you were getting. It retailed at $54,000 when new. All things considered this is where, the M3 peaked.

5.) F80 BMW M3

F80 BMW M3

The F80 came much later, and one thing that was evident from the moment you set your eyes on the car, is its beauty. This is hands down the best looking M3 ever made. For the first time in an M3, this car came in a four door version only. If you wanted the Two door styling with the M3 performance, you had to get an M4 which was essentially introduced around the same time as this F80 version.

The engine was reduced to the good old inline 6 but don’t get it twisted, the performance was still top notch. The F80 came with a 3.0 liter Twin Turbo Charged inline 6. It pushed out 450 Horsepower for the competition variant and 550 Newton-meters of torque.

F80 BMW M3

It sent power to the rear wheels via an 8-speed dual clutch transmission although you could still get it with a manual gearbox. It weighed in at 1595Kg which was barely an increment for all the options you were getting. It retailed at around $60,000 when new.

6.) G80 BMW M3

G80 BMW M3

The G80 is the latest addition to the M3 lineup. This is by far one of the most controversial BMW’s of all time, at least design-wise. There is no ignoring the humongous rabbit teeth grill. It sparked a lot of negative talk when it was first unveiled but it has come to grow on people. You just have to see it in person to appreciate it beauty.

Performance-wise, it comes with a 3.0 liter Twin Turbo charged Inline 6. Although on paper it seems like the same engine in the F80, this was a totally new engine code named the S58 which was based off on the B58. The engine in the F80 was code named the S55 which was based off the N55 engine.

The engine in this car pushes out 510 Horsepower and 650 Newton-meters of torque. For the first time ever in an M3, you can now get it in either a rear wheel drive architecture or an AWD X-drive architecture. In terms of weight, this is quite a heavy one coming in at 1730Kg for the rear wheel drive version with the X-Drive model coming in a few kilos shy of 2 tonnes.

G80 BMW M3

It is also worth noting that the 8-speed gearbox in this vehicle in a torque converter and not a DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) unlike in the F80 model. As for the manual model, it has a 6-speed configuration. As for pricing, it starts at $75,000 which rises pretty quickly when you add all the fancy options.

Final Thoughts.

Every BMW M3 Generation

The M3 is definitely one of the most recognizable BMW(s) on the road. But like I stated earlier, these cars won’t be turning a lot of heads especially for those who don’t know what it is. None the less, long live the M3 and let’s enjoy them before BMW starts going electric with their M Cars. If you have any inquiry or suggestion, be sure to leave a comment below. Cheers!!

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Nelly Njeri

    As a BMW enthusiast, I appreciate the level of detail in this article, which provides a comprehensive overview of the M3 generations.

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