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    • Car Magazine Does Greatest M3 Comparison and omits the E36?

      Car Magazine has an article on what is the best M3. They choose to compare the E92 M3 GTS, E46 M3 CSL, and E30 M3 Sport Evo as their examples of the best M3's. The article gives a nice overview and some basic information but no real insight. No lap times, no perspectives from various owners or race car drivers, nothing much really to justify what on paper should be an epic comparison. Without the E36 M3 included, it really isn't a true comparison. Omitting an entire generation is not just an oversight, it is a mistake of epic proportions which leaves the article meaningless without having every generation of M3 included.

      Car acknowledges the lack of the E36 in this excerpt here:

      No E36s? No. We could have included the E36 M3 Lightweight, but that was North American-only, and therefore featured the lower-power US engine – we’d sooner have a Euro engine. We could have dropped in the E36 M3 R, but these were Aussie-only and essentially built for a race series. Dismissed. Perhaps we could have chosen the left-hand drive E36 M3 GT. Mmm, not quite hardcore enough in this company, but a great car nonetheless. Ah, the perils of an M3 greatest hits – feel free to grumble in the comments section below!
      You could have included the E36 M3 lightweight but didn't? You readily admit this? Who cares if it was North American only or not, is it still an M3 or not? The CSL and GTS are European only but in the USA we readily acknowledge them as some of the greatest M3's ever built. An M3 is not only valid based on what continent it was imported to. That is what makes certain models special as well as leaving it up to enthusiasts to sort through these variables. Not having any example of an E36, European, American, Australian, Martian, whatever, weakens the article. For a magazine of this stature it is simply inexcusable and leads to an incomplete conclusion.

      All M3's are different so attempting to make a comparison such as the greatest M3 apples to apples is an exercise in futility to begin with. There is simply no excuse for skipping an entire generation as well as such an important chapter in M history. Shame on you Car Magazine, shame on you. Overall this is a mediocre article and not one any real M enthusiasts should take seriously due to the gaping hole.

      Read the entire article below:

      Quote Originally Posted by Car Magazine - Ben Barry
      BMW M3 GTS, CSL, Sport Evo – which is the greatest M3?

      The BMW M3 GTS is a car of superlatives. It is the fastest, most powerful, most track-focussed, most expensive M3 ever, a two-fingered salute to the critics who said the M Division had lost its way after SUV-gate.

      So what makes the new BMW M3 GTS so good?

      The spec tells you it’s a serious car: the 3999cc V8 grows to 4361cc thanks to a longer stroke; the seven-speed dual clutcher is now standard and is re-mapped to suit the revised powertrain; the interior is stripped; the rear suspension subframe solidly mounted to the body; the single-piston brakes replaced by six-pot front and four-pot rears. See those wheel studs? A stock M3 doesn’t have studs, it has bolts. Studs make it easier to whip wheels on and off, when, say, you’re smoking a couple of sets of rears per day at the track. It’s a little touch, but, just like an MPV’s proliferation of cubby holes, one that speaks volumes about its intended use: this is a serious car for serious drivers.

      Okay, but how does it compare with previous über-M3s, and how does it move the game on versus the most focussed new M3 that doesn’t wear the GTS badge – the Competition Pack?

      Now, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of arguments about this, but for me the GTS’s key in-house benchmarks from previous generations are the E30 Sport Evo and the E46 M3 CSL. No E36s? No. We could have included the E36 M3 Lightweight, but that was North American-only, and therefore featured the lower-power US engine – we’d sooner have a Euro engine. We could have dropped in the E36 M3 R, but these were Aussie-only and essentially built for a race series. Dismissed. Perhaps we could have chosen the left-hand drive E36 M3 GT. Mmm, not quite hardcore enough in this company, but a great car nonetheless. Ah, the perils of an M3 greatest hits – feel free to grumble in the comments section below!

      BMW M3 Sport Evo (E30)

      The E30 feels positively pedestrian compared with the new M3, but its responses still sparkle with clarity when you drive it hard on track. It steers beautifully, and you have to be either highly clumsy or wilfully wayward to make the old timer under- or oversteer. Great visibility, comfortable Recaros, lovely car. That dog-leg gearbox takes some getting used to, though, the steering ratio could be quicker, and the engine is horribly coarse compared with the stuff we’re used to these days. The step from regular E30 to Sport Evo doesn’t transform the M3 experience in the same way that the step up to CSL or GTS does – it’s really much the same, apart from the engine – but the Sport Evo definitely deserves its best-E30-ever tag, and the changes were genuinely needed – unlike anything else we’re dealing with here – to keep the M3 at the cutting edge of motorsport, hence the wilder adjustable wings and wider front arches.

      BMW M3 GTS (E92)

      Next we’re bang up to date: the GTS. I slip in the Recaro bucket seat, and queue up in the Ascari circuit’s pitlane on a boiling hot day. Shame this car goes with the no air-con spec that comes as standard in GTS trim – I’m sweltering before I’ve driven a metre, and I’m not hardcore enough to make sweating profusely through a trackday worth the kilos saved. Elsewhere it’s all very civilised though – the seats are still comfortable, the rollcage is all behind you, what was the rear seating area is trimmed neatly, and the trim up front is pretty much as you’d find it in any other M3, bar the deletion of the stereo, the addition of carbon trim, a suedey steering wheel, and some simpler climate controls.

      Drive it hard and you notice how much angrier and louder the GTS is (it sounds great) than the standard M3, and you really notice the benefits brought about by that larger engine and weight loss, even though the spec says you’re lugging just 70kg less and pushing 30bhp more – this M3 feels both ultimately far faster than a regular M3, and far torquier low down too. The weight loss and stiffer suspension (just the one fixed-rate here – adaptive dampers aren’t available) helps the immediacy of direction changes, the steering feels sweeter and more direct and the front and rear ends stick far more convincingly, meaning you can get on the power earlier and not worry about the front washing wide or the rears spinning up as you do with the Competition Pack – thank the stickier rubber for that. Can’t say I noticed any difference with the DCT transmission, though – it just feels as instantaneous as ever. And while the brakes felt incredibly strong, we weren’t allowed to do enough laps to really test their endurance.

      When you drive a standard M3 on track – even the Competition Pack – it takes a short while to recalibrate your expectations, to realise that you have to be patient with the power, to manage the body roll, to cut through the layer of detachment that’s a by-product of the car’s all-round refinement. The GTS simply feels like you want an M3 to feel on track – sharp, lither, more responsive, harder, quicker.

      BMW M3 CSL (E46)

      But, you know what, an E46 CSL feels more immediate and more pointy than a new M3 too. It also has a great big angry soundtrack. The SMG transmission might be off the pace these days, but the CSL is still a very, very satisfying track toy – and you’ll get a surefire classic for around £25k.

      But what really bothers me is that the CSL feels more bespoke than the GTS, its modifications more thoroughly wrought. You can see it in the bodywork: the entirely different front bumper, bootlid and carbon roof – M3s didn’t all have carbon roofs back then, remember. Inside you see it with the completely reworked interior trim, feel it in the heavily revised suspension. It loses more weight than the GTS – around 100kg – and gains 17bhp. Both driving experiences are similarly transformed versus the cars they’re based on, but where the CSL was around 50% more expensive (and crucified for it at the time), the GTS will likely be more than 100% more expensive than a regular M3. Around £120k is a lot of dough, and the CSL – thanks to its rear seats – is far more useable as a daily driver.

      Which is the best BMW M3 ever?

      Much as I absolutely adored driving the GTS, I left the launch feeling that – engine aside – the car’s concept was less convincing than the CSL, that M’s approach had far more in common with a very serious trackday DIY project than a motorsport powerhouse. It feels like a quick riposte to the naysayers, rather than something that was part of the M3 product plan from the beginning. What would you do if you wanted a hardcore new M3 track toy? You’d buy an early car for £30k, strip it, add a cage, drop in some Recaros, fit six-pot brakes, stiffen the suspension, maybe tack on a rear spoiler. You’d struggle to spend £50k in total. Yet that, essentially, is what we’ve got here.

      The M3 GTS is a great car – that is absolutely beyond question – but it’s also one that struggles to justify its extremely high price tag.









      This article was originally published in forum thread: Car Magazine Does Greatest M3 Comparison and omits the E36? started by Sticky View original post
      Comments 3 Comments
      1. DarkPhantom's Avatar
        DarkPhantom -
        Wait, seriously? Why would you do a comparison of M3s and then go and omit the E36?? It definitely has its place amongst the class of M3s!

        Click here to enlarge
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DarkPhantom Click here to enlarge
        Wait, seriously? Why would you do a comparison of M3s and then go and omit the E36?? It definitely has its place amongst the class of M3s!

        Click here to enlarge
        It is a rather poor comparison. 1 short paragraph to describe the E30? Just a handful of sentences spent on the others?

        This is lazy journalism and the M3, any M3, deserves better.
      1. susan28's Avatar
        susan28 -
        Furthermore i rather like the low-end torque of the us-market M52 in my e36. Good for the slicing and dicing of US urbs, suburbs and exurbs. Like GG sez, just ram some air down its throat and all be irie.