Ever since its introduction in 1986, the BMW M3 has been a sought-after model in the automaker's range. The nameplate has evolved over the years, with each generation featuring different specifications and improvements. But how far has BMW gone with its compact sports car?
Carwow aims to answer that through a drag race. Pitting each generation of the BMW M3 in a straight-line race, the YouTube channel wants to see if the improvements in figures translated well onto the tarmac. We've seen this matchup before but without the latest G80. But first, let's go through the numbers to see how each car compares in black and white.
Gallery: 2024 BMW M3 CS
Starting with the first M3, the E30, which was powered by a naturally aspirated 2.3-liter S14 four-cylinder engine that made 197 horsepower and 177 pound-feet (240 Newton-meters) of torque. These numbers were sent to the rear wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox in this contest. The E30 weighed 2,811 pounds (1,275 kilograms).
The E36 M3, on the other hand, featured a bigger, 3.2-liter S50 straight-six engine with 316 hp and 236 lb-ft (350 Nm) of torque, also sent via a five-speed manual gearbox, while weighing 3,219 lbs (1,460 kg). The E46 M3 continued with the same straight-six mill but had a six-speed manual gearbox and more power at 338 hp and 269 lb-ft (365 Nm) of torque. It weighed 3,296 lbs (1,495 kg).
The E92 M3 introduced a V8 engine, specifically the naturally aspirated 4.0-liter S65 V8, with 414 hp and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. It weighed even heavier at 3,483 lbs (1,580 kg). The F80 M3 had a twin-turbo 3.0-liter S55 straight-six engine with 444 hp and 406 lb-ft (550 Nm) of torque in the Competition version, sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. It weighed the same as the E92 M3.
The latest G80 BMW M3 has a 3.0-liter straight-six engine with two turbos, producing 503 hp and 479 lb-ft (650 Nm) of torque in the Competition guise. Power is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed torque converter automatic gearbox. It's the heaviest car among the group, weighing 3,814 lbs (1,730 kg).
Given these numbers, which do you think was the fastest in a quarter-mile contest? The video atop this page should settle the score.