The BMW E92 M3 is Completely Sold Out, With New M3/M4 Still a Year Away
2013 BMW M3 Coupe, from bmwusa.com
The current M3 is the only 3 Series still using BMW’s E90/1/2/3 platform, and one of three using the old “E” architecture, along with the 1 Series and X5 (all models across BMW’s range are residing on new “F” underpinnings). It is the only M3 to ever be fitted with a V8, a naturally aspirated unit that, at 414hp, makes a respectable 103.5hp/L. It is also completely sold out, according to M Division Head Friedrich Nitschke, and the wait continues for the next iteration of BMW’s legendary small sports car, which isn’t even expected to be revealed for another year or so.
That 4.0L V8 is not expected to return in the next M3; BMW’s M Division has been downsizing the displacement of its engines while also adding forced induction. This concept was introduced in the F10 M5. That midsize sedan uses a variation of the twin-turbo V8 from the X5/X6 M SUVs instead of a more powerful version of the old M5’s V10. The result is a 60hp gain over the 10-cylinder, while sipping 30% less fuel. That downsizing is also expected to trickle down to the next M3, as it is speculated to be powered by a twin- or triple-turbocharged inline 6. In contrast to the SUVs, sedans and coupes will retain rear-wheel drive, at least for this generation, says Nitschke in an interview with Car and Driver. The new M3 and M4 will likely be offered with electric steering, but presumably it will not come standard.
As we previously reported, the next generation compact M car will be split between a M3 sedan and M4 coupe, as BMW’s new naming convention dictates. The modified name, naturally, still has enthusiasts up in arms. The M3 started life in the E30 generation of the mid-80s as a homologation special for DTM and Group A requirements; it competed in Group A with the Mercedes 190E 2.3-16 and Lancia Delta Integrale, among others. It was sold as a coupe only, although a convertible version showed up a few years later in a limited production capacity. The next M3 was available as a four-door, but the sedan option disappeared by the time the E46 rolled around. The addition of a hot family car was repeated with the E92.
With the forthcoming car, BMW has taken the most famous badge in the M lineage and affixed it to the sedan only, with the coupe receiving an M4 moniker. The move is controversial because it is based solely on BMW’s insistence on naming sedans with an odd number (3, 5, 7) and keeping the coupes at an even number (4, 6). It seems the only reason for the rebranding has to do with marketing, so I can sympathize with hardcore M3 fans. It’s like if Ford decided they had enough with calling a RWD pony car a Mustang and called it a Clydsedale instead, and then stamped the Mustang name onto the next-generation Taurus.
The yearlong wait for the next M3/4 seems unnecessarily long, but is consistent with BMW’s track record of making its customers wait a couple of years before an M-tuned version is available on newly-released cars. Looking at the last few M3s, I have no doubt that BMW will make a fantastic car that is worthy of the name. I do wonder, though, whether exasperation with the 4 designation will really turn longtime Bimmerphiles off. Consumers are fiercely protective of nameplates, and the M3 certainly fought to earn its reputation.