The new BMW M3 Coupé offers unique power and performance combined with equally outstanding driving dynamics, almost unlimited muscle from the newly developed V8 power unit, and striking looks based on the athletic body of the BMW 3 Series Coupé already the winner of many prizes and awards.
Clearly, therefore, the supremacy offered by BMW M’s new high-performance sports car both on the track and in everyday traffic leaves nothing to be desired. But one space still remains in the first row for another top athlete: the BMW M3 Saloon.
So complementing the sporting and elegant Coupé, BMW M GmbH is now introducing the four-door version of the BMW M3 boasting the same drive technology and also developed as a new car from the ground up – another outstanding model featuring all the highlights typical of a BMW M Car but nevertheless conceived as a unique product personality.
The BMW M3 Saloon is a high-performance car which, in its design and functions, sets new standards while remaining first and foremost a BMW M3 in its character – a car developed and built with the mission to convey the most demanding motorsport technology to everyday traffic, offering unique Sheer Driving Pleasure in the process.
Thirteen years after the introduction of the first BMW M3 Saloon, the Coupé is now once again being joined by a four-door “brother” – a version particularly appealing to those fans of high-performance sports cars who attach great significance to everyday driving qualities and practical value.
Indeed, all models from BMW M GmbH are characterised by the close connection between vast experience in motorsport and unique driving pleasure on the road. Their superior driving dynamics is based on drivetrain and suspension technology developed with all the know-how of motorsport, offering qualities the driver and his passengers will enjoy on every trip. The fascination created in this way is provided throughout a wide range of vehicle segments and body versions, as is clearly proven, for example, by the success of the BMW M5 Saloon.
Now the BMW M3 Saloon likewise offers grand touring comfort for up to five occupants, with the rear doors facilitating access to the rear seats. So starting todaythe driver particularly committedto the well-being of his passengers likewise has every reason to choose the outstanding sportiness of a BMW M3.
The BMW M3 Saloon owes its supreme driving dynamics to the new eight-cylinder power unit which, through its high engine speed concept alone, offers all the DNA of the current BMW Sauber F1 power unit.
Applying this principle characteristic of BMW M engines, the V8, with its capacity of 3,999 cubic centimetres, develops maximum output of 309 kW/420 hp.
Maximum torque of 400 Newton-metres/295 lb-ft is equally impressive, as is the maximum engine speed of 8,400 rpm.
Perhaps the most outstanding and, indeed, unique forte of the new model is the tremendous thrust and power going to the rear wheels of the BMW M3 Saloon via the Variable M Differential Lock: The new BMW M3 Saloon offers not only breathtaking acceleration, but also huge, ongoing muscle in the process of developing truly outstanding performance. Acceleration to 100 km/h comes in just 4.9 seconds and continues with the same dynamism all the way to 250 km/h or 155 mph, where electronic engine control sets an artificial limit to the speed the car is able to achieve.
Also on the four-door model: know-how from motorsport forms the foundation, uniqueness is the principle. Within the model range of BMW M GmbH, the BMW M3 has always been the model most directly related to motorsport through its DNA alone. This, indeed, applied right from the start to the first edition of the BMW M3 launched in 1986, then continuing through the two subsequent model generations and now being expressed just as clearly in the 2007 version of the BMW M3.
So in any direct comparison of thoroughbred sports cars of the most classic style, the BMW M3 is always one of the top contenders for pole position.
While the latest generation of the four-door BMW M3 was based in its process of development on the BMW 3 Series Saloon, this new model differs fundamentally from the “regular” Saloon in terms of both looks and technical features. Apart from unique design and drivetrain/chassis technology configured for precise performance of the highest calibre, lightweight engineering came right at the top for the engineers at BMW M in creating their new car. Indeed, implementing the development concept of intelligent lightweight technology consistently right from the start, the specialists at BMW M have reduced the car’s power-to-weight ratio to just 3.8 kilos/horsepower.
Apart from the load-bearing structure of the car, only the doors, the roof, the luggage compartment lid, the windows and the rear lights come from the body of the “regular” BMW 3 Series Saloon. In other words, the number of body parts developed brand-new from the ground up is virtually as large as on the BMW M3 Coupé, which incidentally shares the striking and highly distinctive front section with the Saloon in its unique look.
The Saloon is also recognisable as a BMW M3 at very first sight, characterised not only by the engine compartment lid with its striking powerdome and the two openings to the side, but also by the newly designed, function-oriented look of the front and rear air dams, the so-called “gills” in the front side panels also tailored to the Saloon, the side-sills, the rear-view mirrors, and the light-alloy rims in typical BMW M design.
The exterior is both athletic and aesthetic in its appearance, again highlighting the sporting qualities of the car. And last but not least, the wide range of body colours gives each and every customer unique freedom of choice, with the new M3 Saloon available not only in four paintwork options exclusive to BMW M, but also many others colours and different shades.
The interior also serves to offer the occupants maximum driving pleasure in a beautiful ambience tailored to their specific taste and preferences. This applies above all to the driver, benefiting from all the instruments and controls laid out directly for an active style of motoring and enjoying the supreme performance of the new BMW M3 Saloon.
The cockpit of the new M3 Saloon is characterised by the double dial instruments typical of BMW M with their white illumination and red indicator needles, the M leather steering wheel and the newly designed centre console. The door cutout trim strips proudly bearing the BMW M3 logo both front and rear, the support for the driver’s left foot, the special colour scheme inside the doors, as well as trim bars exclusive to BMW M made of high-quality materials such as leather in carbon structure or aluminium, all underline the unique character of the new BMW M3 Saloon.
Like in the Coupé, the driver and front passenger enjoy all the amenities of sports seats adjustable to a wide range of different settings and offering superior side support. The rear seat bench, in turn, able to accommodate up to three passengers, comes in the same surface contours as the rear seats in the BMW 3 Series Saloon, but with the seam pattern and special leather characteristic of BMW M Cars.
After 15 years the straight-six power unit in the two preceding model generations of the BMW M3 lauded several times as the Engine of the Year, has now given way to an even more superior successor, the two model variants of the new BMW M3 featuring an eight-cylinder for the first time.
Through its specifications alone, this brand-new high-performance power unit offers clear proof of the outstanding skills of the engine specialists at BMW M GmbH gained also in motorsport. Displacing 3,999 cc, the new V8 develops maximum output of 309 kW/420 hp and peak torque of 400 Newton-metres/295 lb-ft at an engine speed of 3,900 rpm. Perhaps an even more impressive point is that some 85 per cent of this maximum torque is available consistently all the way throughout the huge speed range of 6,500 rpm.
The most striking highlight of the eight-cylinder is certainly the high-speed engine concept again so typical of BMW M: With the engine revving up all the way to 8,400 rpm, it obviously offers immense power and torque at all speeds. This power is fed to the rear wheels by a six-speed manual gearbox as well as brand-new final drive, a combination offering a standard of acceleration quite comparable in its spontaneity and endurance to the dynamic potential of a fully-fledged racing car.
Apart from specific output of 105 hp per litre, average fuel consumption determined in the EU test cycle of just 12.4 litres/100 km, equal to 22.8 mpg imp, clearly expresses the supreme engineering skills of the engine development specialists at BMW M GmbH. Indeed, this kind of economy confirms the remarkable efficiency of the new BMW M3 Saloon in the world of high-performance sports cars, particularly when also considering the space available in the car.
The V8 power unit featured in the new BMW M3 is a genuine lightweight weighing only 202 kg or 445 lb. In fact, it is even some 15 kg or 33 lb lighter than the six-cylinder in the former model.
The engine block of the new eight-cylinder comes from BMW’s light-alloy foundry in Landshut, which also makes the engine block for the BMW Sauber F1 racing cars. The crankcase is made of a special aluminium-silicon alloy, eliminating the need for conventional cylinder liners. Instead, the appropriate cylinder surface is provided by releasing and exposing the hard silicon crystals, the iron-coated pistons running directly in the honed cylinder bores without any additional surface coating.
High engine speeds and high combustion pressure obviously cause extreme loads acting on the crankcase, which is therefore particularly compact and torsionally rigid in its bedplate design, ensuring very precise and smooth balance of the crankshaft. A further point is that the forged crankshaft is very stiff and highly resistant to both flexural and torsional forces, but nevertheless weighs only about 20 kg or 44 lb.