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BMW reveals rarest M3 yet

2011-06-24 06:54

CUSTOM CARBON: Debuting BMW’s new carbon-reinforced plastic technology this CRT is the most exclusive M3 you can buy. Image gallery

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer BMW
Model M3 CRT
Engine 4-litre V8
Power 331kW @ 8 300rpm
Torque 440Nm @ 3 750rpm
Transmission Seven-speed DCT
Zero To Hundred 4.4 sec
Top Speed 290km/h
Weight 1 580kg
BMW’s released images and details of what could be the last incarnation of its V8 M3.

Affixed by the acronym CRT (composite racing technology), this latest M3 derivative is not quite a hardcore lightweight revival mimicking the legendary E46 M3 CSL but rather a showcase for BMW’s newfangled skill in fabricating composite components.

Although the M3 CRT looks no different in proportion to its M3 brethren the car’s bootlid spoiler, splitter, bonnet and front bumper are crafted from carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) and finished in a contrasting blend of composite weave with red piping.

These new CFRP components are not simple aftermarket supplier sourced parts, either. They have an intricate honeycomb finish and special resin-hardening process to show off BMW's future composite material technology, crucial to the brand's plans for future lightweight electric vehicles.

Not only do the M3 CRT's styling add-ons look fantastic, especially the rear spoiler, but they're a quarter lighter than similarly dimensioned steel parts and have the same strength and torsional rigidity.

Beyond the newfangled composite bits, this new M3 has a custom-crafted titanium exhaust system, too. All tallied, the CRT sedan is notably lighter than a standard M3 at a kerb weight of only 1580kg (in seven-speed DCT trim); a reduction of 70kg.


Thanks to the CRT’s collection of weight-saving parts, BMW’s managed to retain nice-to-have features such as satnav, climate control and infotainment functionality; previous ultra-lightt M3 models – such as the CSL – were terrifying cars to drive during summer in traffic, where soaring cabin temperatures could not be countered by aircon.

The M3’s non-turbo V8 has grown in capacity by 400cc to 4.4 litres to generate another 22kW, boosting the CRT’s output peak to 331kW. This increase in power, in partnership with the CRT’s lower rolling mass, nets neat performance gains.

The benchmark 0-100km/h sprint registers 4.4 sec, an improvement of half a second, the customary 250km/h speed limiter is binned in favour a more liberal 290km/h. Shoring-up the M3 CRT’s dynamics to cope with its increased straight-line performance potential, residing behind those black 19" alloy rims, are larger diameter brake discs and individually adjustable dampers.


Featuring a host of red colour accents (notably inside, where the door kick-plates are red and a surfeit of surfaces trimmed in colour-matching alcantara), the M3 CRT will only be available with BMW’s seven-speed dual-cultch transmission.

It’s bound to be quite a collector’s item, though, as BMW will only be assembling 67 (hence the two-digit serial plaque mounted on the cabin’s composite fascia trim insert), making it one of the most exclusive products the M-division has ever been commissioned to build.

In fact the M3 CRT, once all units have been signed-off and delivered to customers, will be an even rarer sighting than that most powerful M3 of all, the GTS.

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