We've seen the concept, now BMW has unveiled the production version of the all-new BMW M3.
The new BMW M3 will go on sale here in the final quarter of 2007
BMW has pulled off the wraps of the production M3 about a month after the unveiling of the concept model at the Geneva Motor Show. At the same time BMW South Africa has announced that the M3 will arrive here in the fourth quarter of 2007.
The muscular-looking performance coupe is a virtual copy of the concept as they share the same styling and design details.
Although the latest generation of the BMW M3 was based in its development on the new 3 Series coupe, the new high-performance model differs from the "regular" coupé in terms of both looks and technical features.
Apart from the car's unique design as well as its drivetrain and suspension technology conceived from the start for supreme performance, lightweight technology came right at the top in the brief given to the engineers at BMW M.
And just how consistently this development target has been translated into reality in terms of intelligent lightweight engineering is borne out by the car's power-to-weight ratio of only 3.8 kg per horsepower.
One of the reasons for this low weight is that the new BMW M3 is the first production car in its segment to boast a roof made of carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFP).
Apart from the load-bearing structure of the car, only the two doors, the bootlid, the windows, the headlights and rear lights have been carried over from the 3 Series coupe. All other body components, by contrast, were specially developed for the new BMW M3.
Other special design features include a deep front spoiler, a distinctive power dome in the hood, chrome air vents behind the front wheel arches, new exterior mirror housings, widened fenders, four chromed tailpipes and striking 18-inch wheels
Under the bonnet is a new 4.0-liter V8 engine derived from the 5.0-liter V10 unit used in the M5. The engine thrusts kicks out 309 kW at 8 300 r/min and 400 Nm at 3 900 r/min.
At launch the M3 will only be available with a reworked version of the outgoing model's six-speed manual transmission. An all-new double-clutch gearbox could make its appearance in the M3 later this year.
BMW claims a 0-100 km/h sprint time of just 4.8 seconds and naturally top speed is limited to 250 km/h.