The BMW M3 has always been an iconic road car, that offers high performance and handling, all wrapped up in the subtle body shell of the BMW 3 series. With the launch of the very latest M3, known as the E90, BMW is hoping to further strengthen the reputation of this well known brand.
The original BMW M3, called the E30, was launched way back in 1986 and really set the standard by which all other sports saloons would be judged. This first model had a 2.3 litre 4 cylinder engine, however to keep pace with its other German rivals, in the shape of Audi and Mercedes Benz, engine capacity has steadily increased leading to the all new 4 litre V8 that is found in the E90.
For many years the BMW M3 could easily lay claim to the title of best sports saloon, however with the launch of the new Audi RS4 and Mercedes C63 AMG this claim is not so easily assured. Especially as Lexus has now joined the fray and surprised everyone with its all new, and very capable IS-F.
Initial the E90 M3 was first released as a two door coupe, which strictly speaking was called the E92, and came with the new V8 engine, a carbon fibre roof and the option of a six speed double clutch gear box that could beat the manual in the race to 60 by 0.2 seconds.
The coupe M3 was then soon followed by a four door saloon which, whilst lacking a carbon fibre roof, was shorter, wider and taller that the 2 door, and both models share the same front end design including spoiler, indicators and front car lights. This was later accompanied by a hardtop convertible, which was a move away from the fabric roofs seen on previous generation M3's.
In the performance stakes the new M3 certainly has the power to keep up with its rivals with the V8 engine cracking the magic 100bhp per litre figure and producing 414bhp in total, with an incredible rev range that red lines at 8,300rpm. No matter which body style you go for all versions are electronically limited to 155mph, however in the sprint 60 the coupe leads the way at 4.5 seconds, followed by the saloon at 4.7 seconds and the considerably heavier convertible at 5.3 seconds.
There is no doubt that this very latest M3 moves the sports saloon game on further, and it still has the pace, handling and driver feedback to see off the competition from Audi, Mercedes and Lexus, although their deficit on the E90 is certainly not as much as it used to be. However more tellingly, despite the increased power, grip and driver aids some of the pure driver enjoyment of the original M3 may have been lost, especially when Evo magazine ranked the original E30 M3 above all its contemporaries, including the new E90.
With this latest version of the E90 M3, BMW has really pushed the performance envelope for sports saloon car further than ever. Whilst not every car can have the performance of the new M3, you can make sure your car stands out from the crowd by upgrading your Car Bulbs By replacing your the standard halogen bulbs used in your vehicle's headlights with new xenon Headlight Bulbs your are sure to get some admiring looks.