HE M3 WASN’T the first M-car, but it was arguably the one that put BMW’s Motorsport division on the map. As Group A racing regulations required at least 5000 road cars be built, it was the first dedicated M model to be made in significant numbers, and the first to have a real motorsport connection – BMW effectively made the ideal race car then decided how to make it road legal.
This engineering focus and subsequent racetrack success not only made the M3 a potent halo car – how many 318i, 325i and 330is models did BMW sell to those who couldn’t stretch to the real deal? – but also one of the most important performance cars in history. It instantly became the standard by which other rear-drive coupes were judged and has remained the benchmark for almost three decades.
If that crown has slipped a little in recent years it’s more a reflection on how far others have been forced T to lift their games rather than BMW dropping the ball.
After all, the first question asked when any premium performance coupe hits the market is still: “Is it better than a BMW M3?”
To celebrate 30 years of M3 we decided to try and gather together an example from each of the five generations. Thanks to the kind assistance of the BMW Car Club of Victoria, we not only managed to do so, but sourced a limited-edition version of each. Comprising our special quintet is Rob Garnsworthy’s E30 Evolution II, Ian Burke’s E36 M3R, Chris Shaw’s E92 Pure Edition and an F80 ’30 Jahre’ – the catalyst for this feature – courtesy of BMW Australia, which also supplied the E46 CSL from its heritage collection.
Besides the badge on the boot and the front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout, the five have little in common.
There are naturally aspirated engines of four, six and eight cylinders, as well as a twin-turbo six, while we have two manual gearboxes, an automated manual and two dual-clutches. So rather than comparing them to each other, we’re more interested in discovering if there’s a common link that binds these mechanically very different machines – an identifiable characteristic that is the essence of M3. Let’s begin.
1988 Where it all started, a homologation special that created one of the finest driver’s cars ever conceived.
1995 The need to battle Mazda and Porsche on Aussie racetracks led to the creation of the rarest M3 of all.
2004 A hero in standard form, BMW dusted off a famous badge for the E46 M3 to create a lightweight legend.
2012 Purists weren’t impressed with the V8 M3’s size and weight, but the driving experience answers all questions.
2017 The black sheep of the family, the F30 M3 constitutes a radical departure from the values of its forebears.
In the end BMW built more than 17,000 E30 M3s; white cam covers (right) with signature M tri-colour stripes signify upgraded Evo II engine; adjustable dampers were an E30 option (far right) but are no longer fitter to Rob’s car due to being unobtanium 01
IT WOULD be easy to dismiss the claim that BMW built the E30 M3 as a race car first and then worked backwards as glib marketing speak, but even a cursory glance at its racing CV lends it credibility. After all, the E30 M3 won the 1987 WTCC, 1987 and 1989 DTM, 1988 and 1991 BTCC, 1987 ATCC, 1987-90 French Supertouring titles and the Italian Superturismo series in 1987 and 1989-91. And despite not being conceived as a rally car, the E30 also won the 1987 Tour de Corse (the last rear-drive car to win a WRC rally).
As mentioned in the intro, Group A rules required BMW build 5000 road-going M3s to homologate the race car. The level of modification over a basic 3 Series was extensive. Almost every body panel was new, most notably the significantly pumped guards, which covered 15 x 7.0-inch wheels wearing 205/55 tyres.
Chassis changes included a quicker steering rack (19.6:1 to the standard car’s 20.5:1), three times more castor, stronger wheel bearings, wider tracks, revised shocks with shorter, stiffer springs, a thicker (19mm) rear anti-roll bar and the front anti-roll bar being linked to the struts. Electronically-adjustable dampers with three settings became an option in 1988.
Under the bonnet was a development of BMW’s M10 four-cylinder engine. Heavily oversquare with a 93.4mm bore and 84mm stroke, the 2302cc ‘S14’ produced 147kW/239Nm, though pollution controls dropped this to 143kW/230Nm. A revised engine, introduced in September 1989, altered outputs to 158kW/230Nm. All models came with a five-speed manual gearbox and limited-slip differential.
Group A rules also allowed manufacturers to homologate new parts via ‘Evolution’ models, provided at least 500 road-going versions were made available to the public. The first Evolution, introduced in February 1987, is not named as such, as it merely added a revised cylinder head and the 505 cars built are not individually numbered.
Twelve months later came the Evolution II, with new pistons to lift the compression ratio from 10.5 to 11.0:1, a more efficient intake and revised ECU to liberate 162kW/245Nm. A lightened flywheel and shorter final drive improved response, while thinner glass and a lighter boot and bumpers shed 10kg.
Wheels and tyres became 16 x 7.5-inch and 225/45 respectively. Finally, aero tweaks included a deeper front airdam with brake ducts replacing the foglights and an additional lip spoiler at the rear. Each car is individually numbered out of 500, though according to production records 501 were built… Last but not least were 600 Sport Evolutions (see breakout).
Rob Garnsworthy’s Evolution II is number 264 and has been converted to right-hook, though he has a low-km, spotless original in the UK. The familiar driving position makes it easier to grapple with the dog-leg gearbox, as muscle memory keeps getting in the way on downchanges. The shift itself is long but it’s quite easy to heel-toe, though the driving position is a little long-armed as the steering wheel – heavily offset to the left – isn’t adjustable for reach.
The E30 M3 is not a fast car by modern standards, but the engine feels strong, pulling cleanly from low revs despite lacking torque on paper – a Toyota 86 could do with this engine. Sticky Dunlops make Rob’s car feel a little over-gripped, but the chassis balance is tremendous and the steering a highlight, quite slow in its gearing but not at all ponderous, and the way it weights up naturally under load without unduly increasing effort is delicious.
The E30 M3 is now old enough to feel very different to modern machinery, however it’s easy to see why these cars were so venerated.
THE Sport Evolution debuted a bored-out 2467cc version of the S14 with bigger valves, more aggressive cams and piston oil spray to produce 175kW/239Nm.
The chassis remained as per Evo II but the front guards were widened further and there were spoiler extensions front and rear. With 600 built, it’s the E30 M3 to have.
EXCLUDING concepts and one-off oddities, the rarest M3 of all came not from Munich but from Queensland, courtesy of Frank Gardner Racing. In a joint venture with BMW Motorsport, FGR built 15 E36 M3Rs to homologate the car for local endurance racing.
Porsche found enough customers to justify importing the 911 RS CS, while Mazda’s skunkworks was whipping up the RX-7 SP, so Gardner and his crew set to work developing the E36 into a potent racer.
The donor cars were standard M3 Coupes with every option deleted, and the modification process was tried and tested: increase power, reduce weight and strengthen anything that might fail.
The 2990cc S50 B30 straight six benefitted from new camshafts, a revised intake, optimised exhaust ports, a dual-pickup oil sump and a new ECU to produce 239kW at 7200rpm and 320Nm at 3500rpm. Further down the driveline there was a lightened flywheel and the option of two different clutches depending on whether the car was intended for race or road use.
Research indicates the car also used stronger 850Ci driveshafts and a shorter 3.23:1 final drive, however the maintenance bulletin from BMW Australia, which lists all M3R parts, makes no mention of these. We suspect the latter is likely but the former not.
The only colour was Alpine White, and 100kg was lost thanks to the deletion of the air-con, fog lights, alarm and rear seats. Larger front rotors (324mm vs 315mm) were clamped by four-piston calipers using race-spec pads, there were stiffer springs and shocks and the adjustable front and rear spoilers were from the M3 GT (see breakout). Standard wheels were 17 x 7.5-inch front and 17 x 8.5-inch rear, but apparently all cars were fitted with optional 17 x 8.0-inch fronts.
The M3R wore a $189,450 price tag, a whopping $64,800 more than the regular M3 Coupe. It wasn’t any faster either, stopping the clocks at 5.74sec (0-100km/ h) and 14.02sec (0-400m) versus the regular car’s 5.69sec and 13.96sec. In a comparo against its Mazda and Porsche rivals the verdict was that the BMW was neither fish nor fowl, compromised compared to the standard car yet not fast enough to compensate.
That doesn’t quell the excitement of settling in to Ian Burke’s immaculate M3R. The driving position is odd: the wheel is too large and not adjustable for reach and the pedals are heavily offset to the right.
There are still just five ratios, but the E30’s long throw has been replaced by a much tighter gate, and the standard racing clutch has thankfully been replaced by a more progressive item.
It’s amusing to think this car was the CSL or GTS of its day as it feels extremely civilised; about the only evidence of its motorsport connection is the squealing from the brake pads. The ride is pliant and the engine much less raucous than in later models.
Less raucous, but no less brilliant; it’s so smooth and incredibly responsive. Like the E30 the M3R feels to sit squarely on all four tyres and quickly inspires confidence, though the steering lacks feedback and the overly-large wheel dulls initial response.
In a more general sense, the E36 took the M3 into the mainstream. There was a sedan for those who missed four doors and a convertible for those who missed the point entirely. In 1995 BMW introduced the updated E36 M3, which brought with it a 3201cc engine with 236kW/350Nm, revised chassis (with quicker steering!), the option of an SMG gearbox and MOTOR’s 1997 Performance Car of the Year title.
THE E36 GT homologated the M3 for the FIA GT and American IMSA race series with similar chassis upgrades to the M3R but a less powerful 220kW/323Nm engine.
Four-hundred were produced (350 LHD, 50 RHD) all painted, somewhat peculiarly, in British Racing Green.
Despite its four-cylinder beginnings, the straight-six is the engine most often associated with the M3, and the E36 M3R’s is a peach; ride deemed firm at the time but feels more than suitable for road use these days; M3R project overseen by then- BMW Motorsport boss Paul Rosche
IF YOU’RE going to call your child Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali or Donald Bradman, you bestow upon them a certain expectation of sporting prowess. So it is with the E46 M3 CSL, which revived a famous moniker that adorned one of BMW’s most iconic touring cars.
The E9 CSL earned the nickname ‘The Batmobile’ for its wild wings, so BMW courted controversy in applying the badge to the relatively unadorned E46.
Coupe Sport Leicht was deemed appropriate as Leicht stands for ‘light’, and the E46 CSL weighed 110kg less than a regular M3. Carbon fibre comprises the roof, front airdam, splitter and bumper support, door trims, centre console and engine airbox, while the boot is composite and boot floor and rear bulkhead plastic. Finally, all luxuries are deleted, there’s an aluminium bonnet, thinner rear glass and lightweight wheels. Further lightening came via the owners’ wallets, the 23 CSLs that landed locally (from a total of 1383) wearing a $68K premium at $210,000.
The car’s mechanical specification received similar attention. Outputs increased by 13kW/5Nm thanks to angrier cams and the gaping cold-air intake, while the steering ratio was quickened from 15.4 to 14.5:1, the suspension stiffened with larger anti-roll bars at both ends, front brakes enlarged, aluminium rear control arms solidly mounted and new ‘M Track’ mode stability control program installed, activated by the sole button on the Alcantara-shod steering wheel.
The CSL’s trump card, however, was its rubber, semi-slick Michelin Pilot Sport Cups, tyres so extreme owners needed to sign a disclaimer saying they understood the rubber wouldn’t work if it was cold or wet. On the plus side, if you produced a CAMS licence BMW would up the speed limiter to 280km/h.
These tyres were a key contributor to the E46 CSL’s jaw-dropping circuit pace; at Eastern Creek, BMW claimed the CSL was seven seconds faster than a regular M3. Around the same track in the hands of MOTOR’s Dean Evans, the CSL bested the 911 GT3 by almost two seconds, and Cam McConville outpaced the Lamborghini Gallardo around Winton by half-asecond at PCOTY 2004, though the Italian reversed the order when it came to the final placings.
By far the most contentious feature of the CSL was the take-it-or-leave-it SMG gearbox and it dates the car badly today. Perversely, it’s okay around town or on a five-tenths cruise, but at full noise the shifts are brutally, wince-inducingly harsh. As ever, you can smooth the shifts by lifting the throttle, but if you’re going to do that, why not have a manual?
It’s a shame as the rest of the car is nigh-on brilliant.
The engine builds and builds to an epic crescendo, accompanied by one of the horniest engine notes ever. Apologies for the sexual imagery, but if the sound of an E46 CSL coming towards you at full noise doesn’t arouse, check your pulse, you might be dead.
This CSL – BMW’s own, and the very car that secured that PCOTY second place – no longer wears its tricky tyres, which if anything improves it. Without the Cups’ limpet-like grip, there’s oversteer on demand in slower corners, and if there’s an easier car to slide than an E46 M3, I’ve not yet driven it. The steering is a bit mute, but the CSL is a superb driver’s car, unbelievably pure with the pace to keep modern hot hatches honest.
If you can find an E46 CS, which scored the CSL’s brakes, steering, wheels and ESP, while keeping the option of a manual gearbox, buy it before prices go berserk. You won’t regret it.
IN THE real world, the ultimate E46 is probably a manual CS, which used key CSL bits in a less compromised package, but it’s hard to go past the M3 GTR.
Just three are believed to exist, powered by a 280kW/390Nm 4.0- litre V8, to homologate the car for the American Le Mans Series, where it was ultimately banned.
03E46 M3 was a two-door proposition only, though M Division did investigate a wagon – one prototype exists; CSL styling subtle, though the carbon roof is a giveaway to those in the know; just 542 of these stripped-out machines were built in right-hand drive
Pure Edition exclusive to Australia, and it’s a recipe that continues to this day with the M5 and M2, but the E92 introduced the first signs of techno overload, with adaptive dampers, a Sport mode and 11 different shift settings for the dual-clutch gearbox
IT WAS in the mid-2000s that a case could be made for each M car going ‘up’ a series. For example, compare the stats of the E92 M3 with the E39 M5.
The M3 has a 1600kg body measuring 4615mm long, 1804mm wide and 1418mm tall powered by a 309kW/400Nm 4.0-litre V8. The M5 is similar in size (4784/1800/1437mm) though a porky 1795kg, and powered by a 294kW/500Nm 5.0-litre V8. Wheel and tyre sizes were similar, as were the brakes – even the diff ratio was identical.
This worked well for BMW, creating room for the 1M, however purists were muttering words of discontent, with questions focusing on how a car could wear an M3 badge when it had double the number of cylinders and weighed 360kg more than the original. Drive an E92 M3, however, and these questions will quickly be replaced by a much simpler one – who cares?
It begins with a press of the starter button. As fine as the nasal scream of the E46’s six-pot is, there’s something about the guttural growl of a V8 that stirs the emotions, especially when enhanced by an aftermarket exhaust system like on Chris Shaw’s E92.
The 3999cc S65 engine is magnificent, feeling as fast as its predecessors without exceeding 5000rpm, at which point it’s barely getting into its stride.
Its hunger for revs eggs you on towards the 8250rpm redline, which is a problem when you’re driving someone else’s pride and joy, particularly as Chris’s M3 sounds like a V8 Supercar. Of all the cars here it’s the most difficult to exercise restraint in. A six-speed manual was standard, however this example is fitted with the seven-speed dual-clutch. Early examples could be alarmingly erratic, but Chris’s 2012-build shifts swiftly and smoothly, exposing the E46’s SMG ’box as the technological dead-end that it was.
In terms of chassis behaviour the E92 engineers were clearly studying the E46 playbook. There’s more power and grip, and on cold tyres it’s extremely keen to oversteer – a characteristic of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber – but the communication levels are such that the car feels friendly and enthusiastic rather than nervous and wayward. In fact, it strikes arguably the perfect balance between grip and grunt.
The only question mark regards the steering. It’s extremely accurate, almost go-kart sharp off-centre, but though it retains hydraulic assistance it feels slightly artificial and unnatural in its weighting – a small blot on an otherwise spotless copybook.
Revisiting this car has made me want one badly.
The first E92 M3 I drove was a manual Pure Edition II – identical to Chris’s bar the gearbox – and I couldn’t get enough of it. To stimulate sales, BMW Australia deleted a load of equipment, most of it superfluous, and cut almost $15,000 from the price. Unsurprisingly, the initial 100 cars in 2010 (50 sedans; 50 coupes) sold so quickly the trick was repeated with another 50 Coupes in 2012, now with snazzy colours. The best part was to come a year later, however, when BMW slashed the price of the M3 Coupe to $125,000, which must rate as one of the greatest bargains of all time.
And with the super-rare GTS and CRT models (see breakout) reserved for overseas buyers and the Competition Package now consisting of merely some wheels and minor suspension tweaks, that was as good as it got for E92 M3 special editions. I guess, like me, they just couldn’t think of any way to improve it.
FOR this author, the E90 CRT is the ultimate M3, bar none. Just 67 were built and only five in RHD; carbon seats, bonnet and spoilers dropped 70kg, though plenty of equipment put about 25kg back. Most importantly, though, it used the 331kW/440Nm 4.4-litre V8 from the hardcore GTS, with titanium exhausts. Yum.
05Despite adding turbos and beefing up the mechanicals, the F80 M3 weighs an impressive 40kg less than an equivalent E92; redline still a heady 7500rpm, but there’s much less need to chase it; DCT is now arguably the preferred M3 gearbox
ONE of these things is not like the other. The F80 M3 is a radically different car to its predecessors, and not just because it’s the only one present with four doors. Oddly enough for a car that started life as a coupe, if you want an M3 in 2017 you have to buy a sedan, otherwise you’ll have an M4. However, even putting aside badge quirks, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest the F80 is the black sheep of the M3 family.
It’s the only one to use a turbocharged engine, once considered anathema to the M brand, and the only one to have an undersquare bore/stroke ratio, which usually favours torque over screaming revs. It was a controversial move, however tightening emissions regulations meant that forced induction was the only way to achieve the desired level of performance. That said, M Division may have over-delivered.
On paper, the F80 M3’s outputs of 317kW/550Nm (331kW in this Competition-based 30 Jahre) aren’t that far ahead of the V8 E92, however the massive increase in mid-range torque thanks to the twin turbos puts its acceleration on another planet. While the S55 3.0-litre six is still happy to spin to 7500rpm, there is no longer any need to chase the redline to make swift progress – 5500rpm is often more than enough.
Whether intentional or not, the F80 also introduced a new chassis philosophy, the confidence-inspiring transparency of previous models replaced by more grip and much sharper responses but a tendency to be snappy and a little aloof at the limit. Combine this behaviour with the massive increase in torque and the latest M3 marks itself out as the fiery, temperamental child in an otherwise friendly, fun-loving family.
It’s undoubtedly a high achiever – the pace it can muster on road or track is jaw-dropping – but communication isn’t necessarily a strong point and you have to be on top of your game to get the best from it. The steering has three modes, none of which feel completely right, and the damping can struggle to keep the wheels in contact with the road over bumps.
With heat in the tyres understeer is virtually nonexistent, which makes keeping the tail in check the priority – not always easy when it doesn’t always do what you’re expecting. It’s a real challenge and massively exhilarating when you get it right, but it can be hard work. And in the wet? Get ready for sweaty palms, an elevated heart rate and fourth-gear wheelspin. In terms of bloodline, the M2 is arguably closer to the M3s of old in both concept and ethos.
On the flip side, its personality does get under your skin. The Competition upgrades have tamed some of the standard car’s wilder excesses and the F80’s bodybuilder-like bulges and creases make its predecessors look weedy and undernourished, particularly the E92. Those used to the spine-tingling soundtracks of the previous generations’ naturallyaspirated engines may find the S55’s muted growl underwhelming, but it does improve markedly with a little exhaust enhancement, and the vicious acceleration does provide some compensation.
Just 500 M3 ‘30 Jahre’ models will be offered worldwide, however the good news is if you like the look of it it’s mechanically identical to the M3 Competition. The hardcore M4 GTS proves M hasn’t forgotten how to push the boundaries (nor charge enormous pricetags!) while the forthcoming M4 CS (see p20) could prove to be the best of the bunch.
OKAY, it’s not technically an M3, but the M4 GTS is as hot as the latest generation gets – for now. A trick water-injection system lifts outputs to 368kW/600Nm, there’s adjustable suspension, carbon brakes (and wheels!) and a rollcage.
It cost double a regular M4, but all 700 were snapped up instantly.
AT THE outset we aimed to discover if there was a common thread linking five very mechanically different cars that all shared the same badge. The answer is yes…sort of. For the first four generations of M3, though power almost doubled, grip levels increased exponentially and bodies grew in size and weight, a common design brief is clearly identifiable.
All possess a naturally-aspirated engine that’s responsive, yet needs to be extended to give its best, powering a chassis that has excellent inherent balance and remains friendly and exploitable up to and even beyond its limits. Regardless of your level of familiarity, any competent driver will feel comfortable driving an E30-E92 M3 quickly.
Then there’s the F80. It’s an excellent car, with a level of performance that would give a Touring Car-spec E30 M3 pause for thought, yet capable of carrying five adults and luggage with relative comfort and efficiency. However, whether or not it’s an excellent M3 is open to interpretation.
On-paper it fulfils the M3’s mission statement admirably, offering huge pace in a useable everyday package, however its behaviour when extracting its undoubted potential is at odds with that of its calmer, more communicative predecessors.
What’s next for the M3 is unclear, with the new G20- based model not likely to appear until 2019 or possibly 2020. Performance will of course improve, with the current 3.0-litre straight-six rumoured to be scoring water injection (a la GTS) and electric compressors, however it’s the delivery of that performance that is of more concern to us.
If M Division can somehow meld the incredible ability of the current M3 with the friendliness of previous models, then there’s no reason it won’t continue to be the benchmark for years to come.
BODY 4-door, 5-seat sedan 2-door, 4-seat coupe 2-door, 2-seat coupe 2-door, 2-seat coupe 2-door, 4-seat coupe DRIVE rear-wheel rear-wheel rear-wheel rear-wheel rear-wheel ENGINE 2979cc inline-6, DOHC, 24v, twin-turbo 3999cc V8, DOHC, 32v 3246cc inline-6, DOHC, 24v 2990cc inline-6, DOHC, 24v 2302cc inline-4, DOHC, 16v BORE/STROKE 84.0 x 89.6mm 92.0 x 75.2mm 91.0 x 87.0mm 86.0 x 85.8mm 93.4 x 84.0mm COMPRESSION 10.2:1 12.0:1 11.5:1 10.8:1 11.0:1 POWER 331kW @ 7000rpm 309kW @ 8300rpm 265kW @ 7900rpm 239kW @ 7200rpm 162kW @ 6750rpm TORQUE 550Nm @ 1850-5500rpm 400Nm @ 3900rpm 370Nm @ 4900rpm 320Nm @ 3500rpm 245Nm @ 4750rpm POWER/WEIGHT 216kW/tonne 193kW/tonne 176kW/tonne 176kW/tonne 132kW/tonne TRANSMISSION 7-speed dual-clutch 7-speed dual-clutch 6-speed sequential 5-speed manual 5-speed manual WEIGHT 1535kg 1600kg 1385kg 1360kg 1230kg SUSPENSION (F) struts, A-arms, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar struts, A-arms, anti-roll bar struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar SUSPENSION (R) multi-links, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar multi-links, coil springs, anti-roll bar multi-links, coil springs, anti-roll bar multi-links, coil springs, anti-roll bar multi-links, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar L/W/H 4671/1877/1431mm 4615/1804/1418mm 4492/1780/1369mm 4433/1710/1360mm 4345/1680/1370mm WHEELBASE 2812mm 2761mm 2729mm 2700mm 2565mm TRACKS 1579/1604mm (f/r) 1540/1539mm (f/r) 1518/1525mm (f/r) 1430/1444mm (f/r) 1410/1425mm (f/r) STEERING electrically-assisted rack-andpinion hydraulically-assisted rack-and-pinion hydraulically-assisted rack-and-pinion hydraulically-assisted rack-and-pinion hydraulically-assisted rack-and-pinion BRAKES (F) 380mm ventilated/drilled discs, 4-piston calipers 360mm ventilated/drilled discs, single-piston calipers 345mm ventilated/drilled discs, single-piston calipers 324mm ventilated discs, 4-piston calipers 380mm ventilated/drilled discs, 4-piston calipers BRAKES (R) 370mm ventilated/drilled discs, 2-piston calipers 350mm ventilated/drilled discs, single-piston calipers 328mm ventilated/drilled discs, single-piston calipers 313mm ventilated discs, single-piston calipers 370mm ventilated/drilled discs, 2-piston calipers WHEELS 20.0 x 9.0-inch, 20.0 x 10.0-inch (f/r) 19.0 x 8.5-inch, 19.0 x 9.5-inch (f/r) 19.0 x 8.5-inch, 19.0 x 9.5-inch (f/r) 17.0 x 8.0-inch (f); 17.0 x 8.5-inch (r) 16.0 x 7.5-inch (f/r) TYRE SIZES 265/30 ZR20 (f); 285/30 ZR20(r) 245/35 ZR19 (f); 265/35 ZR19 (r) 235/35 ZR19 (f); 265/30 ZR19 (r) 225/45 R17 (f); 245/40 R17 (r) 225/45 R16 (f/r) TYRE Michelin Pilot Super Sport Michelin Pilot Super Sport Michelin Pilot Super Sport Bridgestone Potenza RE11 Dunlop Direzza DII PRICE (NEW) $154,900 $145,000 (manual; 2012) $210,000 (2004) $189,450 (1995) N/A PROS Incredible performance; looks; value of standard car Amazing engine; brilliant chassis; last atmo M3 Screaming engine; foolproof dynamics; rarity Super sweet six; chassis balance; motorsport cred Great steering; gutsy engine; race heritage CONS Tricky at the limit; very diff erent in character Looks a little plain; slightly artifi cial steering feel Crappy gearbox; compromised Steering lacks feedback; odd driving position Not fast these days; prices going berserk STAR RATING 11112 11111 11112 11113 11112