|Trim||BMW Motorsport-logoed cloth|
Based on the critically acclaimed E36 platform, BMW’s second generation M3 was unveiled in 1992 and featured a straight six under the bonnet for the first time. Initially based on the stylish coupe model of the new 3-series, with its slippery new shape and fresh corporate face, the M3 employed some seriously sophisticated hardware, marking the first use of BMW’s new double VANOS system to adjust both inlet and exhaust camshafts. The sublime 3-litre engine boasted 24 valve technology, twin overhead camshafts along with the variable valve timing system, controlled by the latest Bosch Motronic fuel injection. Power was significantly boosted over the old four-cylinder model, rising to 286 horses at 7000 rpm, with a 0-100 time of six seconds on the way to a limited top speed of 250 km/h. Already lauded as one of the finest handling chassis on the market, in M3 guise the E36 became a world beater, capable of out performing many exotics. Exterior changes were limited to revised lower bodywork, with side skirts and front air dam, along with unique 15-inch alloys. Initially launched as a coupe only, the M3 range was expanded in 1994 to include both four-door sedan and convertible models. BMW further improved the M3 in 1995 by increasing the engine’s capacity to 3.2-litres and raising the compression ratio to 11.3:1, which significantly upped the power output to 321 bhp at 7400 rpm. A six-speed gearbox was introduced, with the option of a sequential DSG transmission. Other changes included a new Cornering Brake Control system and 17-inch wheels, with fatter 225/45 ZR17 (front) and 245/40 ZR17 (rear) tyres. Regarded as one of the best sports cars of the 1990s, BMW’s E36 M3 is destined to become a classic.