BMW M3 E46 vs. M3 E92 and new M4 F82

2015 / 2016 Drive-My

Meet the Ancestors. We know the new M4 is good but what is it like in the company of its predecessors? We borrow an E46 and E92 M3 to find out.  With the new M4 finally here an all out battle was always on the cards. So how does the new M car fare against its well-established predecessors? Words: Simon Holmes. Photography: Dave Smith.

BMW M3 E46 vs. M3 E92 and new M4 F82

How can you improve perfection? The M4 has big shoes to fill after I’ve rekindled my love for the E92… 

As we navigate our convoy of cars through the congested, rush hour traffic it’s hard to ignore the amount of passing glances we seem to be attracting from fellow commuters. We’re on our way to Chobham testing ground in Surrey and leading the pack is the new M4, which appears to be attracting the majority of the attention. But having spent a few days with the new M car at this point we’ve learnt its steroid-induced, pumped-up road presence tends to do that, or rather demand that. Especially when it’s finished in this fetching shade of Sakhir orange, reserved solely for the M cars.

With their attention firmly captured, a fair few passers by have also cottoned onto to the spectacle we have inadvertently created in its footsteps, as following closely behind is a brilliant white E92 M3. Although its shape is now a well recognised one, the bulging bonnet, flared arches and quad-tailpipes still cut a mean, defined shape in the sea of dull, everyday cars on the rat run to work. Following behind is a gleaming Imola red E46 M3, and those commuters blessed with a sense of car-based observation have by this point clocked that three generations of iconic M car have somehow found themselves travelling in formation.

Only this was no lucky coincidence, this was a strategically planned operation – as it so often is when trying to get three cars that we don’t own together for a photoshoot. With the M4 on test for just a few days our window of opportunity was small but, as BMW Car tradition dictates, we simply had to get it together with its predecessors. The premise was simple: to see if the M4 is truly a worthy successor and carries on where the E92 left off, continuing the legacy of the M3 brand. Of course, BMW’s new naming policy means the M4 isn’t technically an M3 at all but we all know it’s the equivalent and that doesn’t stop us being able to trace the history line. With that in mind, we were initially tempted to round up all the generations together and source an BMW E30 and BMW E36 as well, but the more we thought about it the less apt it seemed. Yes, the pictures would have been more epic but the truth is the earlier models are simply no longer comparable to the newer machines.

BMW M3 E46 vs. M3 E92 and new M4 F82

But then virtually nothing is comparable to the M4 on paper. The twin-turbocharged S55 straight-six may ‘only’ have 11hp more than the S65 V8 in the model it replaced but there’s a monstrous 111lb ft more torque and the M4 is able to make better use of it. 62mph comes in a blistering 4.1 seconds when connected to the seven-speed DCT gearbox. Not only is that ludicrously quick but it’s also a massive achievement when you consider £140,000 supercars were managing those kinds of acceleration times just five years ago. For instance, back in 2009 an Aston Martin V12 DBS managed 4.3 seconds and a V10 Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder posted 4.2 seconds whilst a 911 Turbo and Ferrari 612 were only a hair’s breadth ahead at 4.0 seconds dead. The M4 will still bother current supercars, too, yet it costs £56,635, can seat four adults in comfort and can be used everyday to potter down to the shops without breaking a sweat. That’s a giant leap forward even for the M brand in our book, but matching hugely capable performance with sophisticated styling and large amounts of practicality is a combination the M3 brand in particular has always aimed for. The E46 M3 well and truly nailed that formula, arguably more so than any M3 before or since. Launched back in 2001 it’s strange to think of these as older cars now but the reality is the oldest examples are now 13 years old. At the time of their release all eyes were fixed on the replacement M3 after the demise of the E36 version and the new kid didn’t disappoint. At the heart of the package was the 343hp 3.2-litre straight-six that was actually a reworked version of the S50 fitted to the E36 M3 Evo. BMW had previously claimed there was no more to give from this powerplant but yet it still managed to extract an extra 45cc, 22hp and 11lb ft of torque when it really needed to. Now named the S54, the cast iron block and alloy head configuration remained but there were several new developments. The more advanced engine featured electronic butterfly control for the individual throttle bodies, redesigned rocker arms for reduced friction and reprofiled camshafts for an improved power band.

Peak power now arrived at a storming 7900rpm, whilst peak torque came at 4900rpm, so the engine not only loved to rev but it needed to in order to get the best from it. Performance was suitably impressive and 62mph from rest came in 5.2 seconds, although many magazines at the time (including us) claimed this was an underestimation and timed the E46 faster than that. Top speed was limited to 155mph but, derestricted, 170mph was said to be possible. The wonderful six-cylinder came coupled to either a six-speed manual gearbox and a little later came the SMG II option, a revision of the sequential manual gearbox that had debuted in the later E36 models. There was no clutch pedal and it allowed either full automatic mode or shifting to be done manually through the steering wheel-mounted paddles or gear lever. There were several different modes to choose from to increase response and launch control was a standard feature, too.

Underneath the basic suspension layout was copied over from the E36 in that it featured MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link rear end but, again, it had been reworked for improvement to both ride and feel, particularly at speed. The anti-roll bars were thicker, the springs were stiffer and shorter whilst the dampers were given new anchor mountings at the rear and the subframe was mounted on steel ball joints. The front control arms were forged from aluminium and featured unique bushings with heavy-duty wheel bearings. Brakes were upgraded to large 325mm floating discs at the front and 328mm floating discs at the rear, both clamped upon by a single piston swing calliper.

The track was also increased so it gained a wider footprint on the road and this, in-turn, proved to do big favours for the styling. To house the extra width larger, swollen arches made a return to really differentiate the M3 from a regular coupé once again. Although the E30 had set this trend the E36 M3 shared the same ‘narrow’ body lines of its base-spec relations making it look and feel a little less special. The E46’s arches were also joined by a sculptured bonnet bulge, aggressive front bumper design, side vents in the wings, a subtle lip spoiler at the rear and quad-tailpipes. This not only completed a very pronounced look for the car it set the standard for virtually every M car ever since and a majority of the styling cues have been passed on as if family heirlooms. Although 18-inch wheels were standard, 19-inch wheels were a better looking and well-priced option, which were often selected even though the ride quality was slightly compromised.

BMW M3 E46 vs. M3 E92 and new M4 F82

Matching capable performance with sophisticated styling and large amounts of practicality is a combination the M3 has always aimed for 

The highly-refined, thoroughly handsome, wellengineered package gave BMW enthusiasts, and just about everyone else looking for a practical performance coupé, what they were looking for. It just so happened that its release was perfectly timed with marketing that capitalised on the free following money of the time before the recession hit. This made the E46 M3 extremely successful sellers and 54,750 examples were built worldwide. A further 29,633 convertibles were also built which helps explain why E46 M3s are so popular today on the secondhand market. As new models followed prices steadily dropped, making them the most accessible and capable M car available for the masses.

This fine example we have here has been brought along by reader Russell Gager. It’s an early six-speed manual car, in good condition, with low mileage and would have cost a fair whack thanks to the various option boxes that have been ticked when it was ordered. Today, it undeniably still looks an attractive, well-proportioned shape and the rarer colour works well, finished off nicely with the diamond-cut 19-inch wheels. Inside feels solid and well put together, perhaps more so than the other M cars here in some ways, but the switchgear and interior design hasn’t aged well and it feels a little dated rather than retro. However, flick the key and everything, including the interior becomes unimportant as the lively exhaust note fills the cabin; out on the road things get even better and you’re soon reminded the older M3 has lost none of its charm. The driving position the seats and steering wheel dictate feels wonderfully natural and the steering, pedals and gearshift are all solid in feel and perfectly weighted, offering substantial feedback. The ride is the softest here but it still feels flat and although the brakes are softer on initial bite than you might expect they are backed up with a good amount of power.

The engine is actually a little harder to gauge at first. It feels eager thanks largely to the wonderfully sharp throttle response, but it does take a little climbing of the rev range until something truly notable happens. That’s perhaps a polite way of saying it lacks low down torque but although it may take the S54 a little while to come on song, when it does it’s exquisite. As the revs build it’s accompanied by a firm shove from behind as acceleration increases. It continues to accelerate and even when you think the revs are running out there’s still plenty more in reserve. By the time it reaches the upper echelons of the rev range it’s positively singing all the way to the limiter 8000rpm limiter. Grabbing another gear only allows the revs to drop what seems like a fraction, as the needle returns back to the start of its happy zone. It then repeats the process again and will continue to do so relentlessly. The accompanying exhaust note is a little raspy at first but it builds as the revs rise into what is perhaps best described as a single, vocalised, mechanical howl.

BMW M3 E46 - road drive

The trick to working the engine is to bring it in to the higher rev range and keep it there, and then combine that to work in unison with what the rest of the car is doing to make the very most of it. Luckily, this is intuitive as the E46 feels incredibly agile and light on its feet in the corners, particularly if you balance it with gentle throttle inputs to match the steering movements. With confidence it’s easy (and fun) to make the car dance delicately around a corner, just on the verge of an armful of oversteer. Get it right and everything works in a wonderful harmony that has the profound effect of making you believe you’re either a driving god or that the car is simply an incredibly special blend of balance and precision. Or sometimes both.

The E46 still has it then, and it’s easy to remind yourself why this car was renowned for being as good as it is. But as satisfying as it is and as lively as it feels, pushing the car at this level there’s no denying it takes a fair bit of input and commitment from the driver. Driving it fast is not exactly hard work but it’s not what you would call effortless either.

However, effortless happens to be a word that describes the E92 M3 very well in many ways. That’s highlighted furthermore when you park up the E46, jump straight into the E92 and repeat that same driving process. In fact, the later car is more than effortless; it’s actually incredibly deceiving in the way it builds speed so undramatically. Give the E92 some throttle down a challenging section of road and, at first, it feels like you’re really working the engine as the soundtrack deepens and the speedo climbs quickly as you go through the gears with bursts of acceleration between corners. Proud of yourself and your progress, you then take a look down at the rev counter and note that you are, in fact, changing gear at 4500rpm. And yet it feels like you’re covering ground at a terrific pace, and you are, it’s just the engine happens to have another 4000rpm or so left in reserve. So then you decide you’re going to make use of it and exiting the next corner you downshift as the road straightens, plant the throttle and keep going past the 4500rpm selfimposed rev limiter. As the tacho begins to climb into what feels like unknown territory the soundtrack becomes more manic and scenery begins to start flashing past like you’re entering warp speed. It still doesn’t feel savage, though; it feels quite calm but the speedo says otherwise. As the engine approaches the 7000rpm mark your mind is telling you to change gear and that there can’t be much more left in it. However the shift lights above the rev counter aren’t even registering yet. Ignoring your thought process you find yourself almost in awe as you keep your foot down until eventually the yellow shift lights illuminate, yet it still seems to take a lifetime before they finally become red as the needle rises above the 8000rpm mark and its time to shift gear at nigh on 8400rpm. It feels like it’s taken some time to get there but in reality it’s all happened in a matter of seconds. Then the whole process starts again and the car just laps it up and politely asks for more. Unlike the E46 there’s no lack of low down grunt and there’s no waiting for high revs to come along to get it to sing. And by god does it sing. The exhaust note is far from the raspy tone of the E46; instead it’s a wholesome, solid and darn right mean grumble that later transforms into an angry shriek as it approaches its 8400rpm summit. Installing this howling, high-revving hoot of an engine was a brainwave that BMW engineers must still be revelling in now, as within minutes (or even seconds) it’s impossible not to be entirely captivated by just how good it is. Its ability to flick between motorway cruiser and B-road bruiser is astounding and it somehow manages to make every single journey, no matter how small, feel truly special – something the other M cars here do not do, or at least not in the same way.

There’s much more of a sense of occasion here and once behind the wheel, within a mile it does something strange to your senses. The sound, the response, the torque and the power overcome you; its character is intoxicating. You can’t resist the urge to feather the throttle to hear those revs or plant the throttle to feel the power.

BMW M3 E92 - road test

It’s hard to think that at the time of the E92’s launch in 2007 that this same engine was sometimes met with doubt by reviewers and critics. To be fair, it was an unnerving time for BMW enthusiasts who were used to seeing a straight-six powering their favourite M cars, and yet here was BMW experimenting with giant V10 engines for the M5 and now a V8 engine for the M3. It didn’t take long for everyone to come around, though, and once it was tested against its competitors the true capabilities and character of the engine became more obvious and it quickly won everyone’s hearts.

The S65 V8 is actually closely related to its V10 big brother as essentially it’s the same engine with two of the cylinders lopped off. This gave a capacity of 3999cc and coupled to a complex quad-camshaft, 32-valve cylinder heads and an octet of throttle bodies power jumped to a massive 420hp, a leap of some 77hp over the E46. Generally, V8 engines have a reputation for being low revving torque monsters but the BMW unit was different. It made all that power high up, peaking at 8300rpm (just 100rpm before the redline), whilst the 295lb of accompanying torque arrived at 3900rpm. It was another screamer of an engine but with the extra torque to play with it allowed a lot more flexibility, something that was amplified on the road. 62mph came in just 4.8 seconds, officially dipping under the haloed 5.0- second barrier was a big deal for the M3 at the time as just like the M4 that followed, this was the kind of territory usually reserved for supercars up until then, not hot coupés.

The engine would provide another dimension for the M3 to move forwards and although the supersharp throttle response suited the manual six-speed gearbox beautifully, the M3 took another turn for the better with the release of the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox in 2008. Unlike the slightly hesitant SMG gearboxes before it, the extremely clever and much more refined M DCT gearbox enabled literally split second gearshifts time and time again, and it suited the V8’s character perfectly. The throttle blips on downshifts to match the revs were an added bonus thanks to that soundtrack, too. The gearshifts were in fact so much quicker that the car was faster at accelerating than a conventional manual ‘box and 62mph came in just 4.6 seconds.

The E92 backed up the performance with a handling package and looks to match. Underneath there was all-aluminium front and rear suspension featuring alloy spring struts with swivel bearings at the front. At the rear it was a virtually entirely new subframe design that worked with alloy dampers to save 2.5kg of weight. Reducing weight was an aim for BMW when it came to the M3 and thanks to items like lightweight suspension the whole car weighed just 1580kg. 18-inch wheels were, again, standard but 19-inch wheels were a widely selected and better-looking option and their harsher ride was often countered with Electronic Damper Control – a first for the M3. Brakes were 360mm floating discs at the front and 350mm rear discs, again clamped by single piston callipers.

The styling was far more modern, refined and clean cut. It was still aggressive but in a more sophisticated and grown-up manner. The arches were a less defined shape than the very rounded E46s but they were just as swollen and gave the car a much stronger rear shoulder line. The enhanced front arches and bonnet bulge to match made the whole thing look muscular, hunkered down and well proportioned. The more intricate details, such as the side vents, quad exhausts and wing mirrors, all added to the feel of a very special M car. The big talking point was the carbon roof, which followed on from the trend set by the E46 CSL and marked the start of a tradition that has continued to virtually every other M car since.

Inside were sports seats but aside from a high standard spec there was actually little else to distinguish it from lower models in the range. The interior design itself was of a much more modern standard with a proper display screen in the centre of the dashboard and a new-fangled iDrive system.

But although it may have seemed cutting-edge back in 2007, things have moved forward quickly. Sitting inside the car now and the cabin no longer feels quite as fresh-faced as it once did and some of the switchgear together with the quality of the instruments and display screen does look a little dated. It feels a world apart from older models still but as the E46 feels like it was designed in the 1990s, the E92 feels like it was designed in the 2000s – which means it’s showing signs of age compared to newer cars. The seats also feel a little less sporty and figure-hugging than I remember but they still grip you well enough and the steering wheel provides a good, solid feel in your grasp. The driving position is well-suited, if a little high, but once you start putting the car through its paces out on the road you realise the driving position and feel of the car from the seat is actually more focused than you might have realised. It all falls into line nicely, the weighted steering delivers firm and welcomed feedback and the car acknowledges small increments of steering and throttle input beautifully. It doesn’t seem phased at being either manhandled or mollycoddled and unlike the E46 it’s not so crucial to harmonise the package to get it to work to its best. In other words it’s a much easier car to drive fast, push hard and feel comfortable doing so and it leaves you with a grin on your face and a warm feeling inside every time. That massively accomplished engine does steal the show for me but that doesn’t take anything away from the feel of the chassis that makes the most of the V8 without ever making you feel vulnerable… unless you really want it to. Turn the traction control off, have your wits about you and it becomes a lot more manic, requiring fast reacting oversteer counter measures to control but it still maintains a certain level of composure, feeling balanced and actually relatively easy to govern.

BMW M4 F82 - road test

It’s a real step forward from the E46 in that sense and it’s clear to see how much more evolved the E92 is. Once you’re into a stride it’s also so much faster and better at covering ground that it’s hard to believe that even the M4 could keep up with it. Off the line the E92 feels fast, but it seems happier (and even faster) once it’s on the move. At a steady 50mph, in the right gear it spins the speedo needle round so quickly you can’t help but be impressed. On paper it posts a 4.9-second 50-75mph time but it feels quicker than that and from 70mph to 90mph it pulls just a strongly as it did at half the speed. The M DCT is a joy to use and even the most die-hard manual gearbox fans have to accept it’s an exquisite gearbox that very much adds to the driving experience rather than detracts from it. Working the paddle-shifts becomes a real joy and it’s so well-suited to the screaming S65 V8 that the whole package seems nothing short of perfect.

So how can you improve perfection? The M4 has very big shoes to fill after I’ve rekindled my love for the E92, so now seems a prime time to park up and take the M4 for a drive. However, the first thing I notice from swapping cars is not the engine, nor the gearbox, controls or chassis. Before I’ve even engaged the ignition something has caught my attention: the driving position. I’d never noticed it before but the extremely low seating position of the M4 makes you feel like you’ve been sitting on top of the E92 the whole time rather than in it. Going from one to the other actually makes the seat feel unnaturally low in the M4 but you soon realise it’s the other way round; the E92 seat is too high.

A quick survey of the rest of the interior reveals it’s also a class act, leagues ahead of its predecessor. The seats look and feel special, the illuminated M badge is a neat touch and the carbon trim adds to the air of sporty exclusivity. The dials, screen, steering wheel and switchgear are all of a much higher finish and overall it’s a very nice place to be that pushes the M4 into the next level of luxurious comfort and class. But we know what really takes the M4 up a notch is the performance and if you think an E92 M3 feels fast then the M4 is nothing short of utterly ballistic in comparison, which seems almost unfathomable. Initially, it’s feasible to think that the older car can hold its own in the performance stakes but the outright torque of the M4 overcomes all and everything. Even from stationary the M4’s acceleration is violent and unlike the E92 it feels every bit as fast as the figures suggest. As mentioned, with 431hp under the bonnet there may be very little power difference between them but the M4 makes it from 5500-7300rpm and the 406lb ft of torque arrives at just 1850-5500rpm. It makes such good use of that power that in a side-by-side drag race it’s easy to demonstrate just how superior it is. Off the line the M4 takes the initial advantage but as soon as the E92 comes on song the pair squat down together through the rest of the first gear.

Split second gear changes from both going into second fool you into thinking there’s not much in it but by the end of second gear the M4 is firmly edging ahead and by the time you’re hitting 60mph it’s well in the lead. Flicking into third gear and it’s like the M4 has just downed a can of spinach as it pulls further ahead and, from there, it just keeps going as the E92 can all but cough on the M4’s exhaust fumes. Repeating the same 50- 75mph mid-range test brings a time of just 3.5 seconds, a full 1.4 seconds quicker than the E92 and it feels it, too.

There may have been some displeasure among BMW enthusiasts yearning for more V8 goodness when the new M car poster boy was announced with a 2979cc, 24-valve, six-cylinder twin-turbo engine, but the fact is it makes a lot of sense. BMW itself explained that the way in which it devises a performance model such as the M4 has always been to set the goals first and then work out how to achieve them via any means necessary. Even BMW set its sights high when it outlined the need for a car as quick and as capable as this, but with efficiency still a factor the use of forced induction was inevitable. It’s hard to fault though as the amount of on-tap performance the S55 engine is able to deliver is never short of startling. And as for engine note, yes, it’s a very different sound to the S65 V8 but it’s still loud, raw and menacing. There’s a deep, bassy tone to it and the extra pops and bangs it emits on overrun can’t help but bring a smile to anyone’s face, no matter how V8-obsessed you are.

The engine may be what is essentially a reworked straight-six found in other models but BMW has done a great job with it and mated to the same brilliant seven-speed M DCT gearbox creates an unrivalled combination. The gearbox probably doesn’t suit the character of the straight-six quite as well as the S65 but it’s still very enjoyable and very fast. A manual gearbox is also available but with DCT massively outselling the manual version we predict it will be rare.

To go with the very commendable engine and gearbox is a package that tries to contain, control and direct that power. The front suspension is a traditional design double-joint setup but it features unique playfree ball joints and elastomeric bearings for a more precise feel. At the rear is a typical five-link setup and, as with the front, most of it has been produced in aluminium to save weight. In fact, the M4 weighs less than an E92, at just 1497kg, which helps to explain why it’s so fast and so agile. This car is also fitted with optional £6250-worth of carbon ceramic upgrades and the bite, feel and stopping power they provide are incredible and finely matched to the outrageous performance. However, this combined stop and go package does steal the show away from the chassis’ capabilities and it’s easy to just treat it as a point and squirt king. It’s very good at that but although it may be even more effortless to drive fast than an E92 it’s all too easy to rest on your laurels like that. With the traction control on the car doesn’t even try and step out on you, which means you can use the majority of that performance the majority of the time without even trying. You can also rely on those massive brakes to slow you down for just about any corner, no matter how fast you’re barrelling towards it. Those two factors combined mean you can cover ground at a quicker rate than the other cars here by a country mile, quite literally. The M4 devours sections of road like its actually feeding from Tarmac and even shortshifting it feels brutally fast and that’s without truly working the car.

The trouble is it’s hard to get into a rhythm with the car like this and the brutal bursts of acceleration and harsh braking disrupt the flow of the car. It’s just a bit too synthetic and easy at times, and the lighter electric steering makes it harder to gauge what’s going on.

Switching the traction control mode to MDM, the halfway house, certainly livens things up though. The car suddenly feels more switched on, more manic even. It scrabbles for grip, the tyres screech for a fraction of a second as it changes into second gear and exiting corners allows just enough tail-happy play to remain in control but illuminate your face with a huge grin. It feels like you’re balancing much closer to the edge and in essence you are but the computers are always there to make sure you don’t go awry. In this guise the M4 feels utterly unbeatable in terms of ability or fun factor and the hardest part becomes conquering the art of self-control. It’s all too easy to push the M4 into corners faster than you might have intended but it always carries itself round. With the traction control turned completely off you really need your wits about you as it’s very easy to instigate vast amounts of oversteer and it certainly demands your utmost more respect and concentration at this level.

But even though it can be thrown around with ease there’s no denying that the M4 does still feel big at times. Parked up alongside the E92 it looks it as well and it well and truly dwarfs the E46. But it doesn’t feel particularly heavy, helped by everything from the brake and throttle pedal feel to the steering feedback; it all feels super-light in comparison to the car’s size, so it helps it feel more agile than it really is.

All three cars here drive very differently but they all have their own character. The E46 still feels a lot of fun to drive and it’s challenging to really push and master. It still feels wonderfully poised and focused and its credentials as an M car are well rooted and that still shows all these years later. It moved the M3 brand on successfully and delivered a refined package that may have lost a little of its sharpness in this company but still puts a smile on your face.

Similarly, the E92’s character and ability are still intoxicating even seven years on. This may well have been one of BMW’s finest hours as driving the older M3 even now feels rewarding and the engine is just electric, ready to feed and thrive off your every input. Even the torque-happy M4 can’t match the special kind of feeling it gives. It’s a hard act to follow but in the end it’s an older car with older technology and it’s there that the M4 positively shines. The new kid on the block is just way too capable to ever disregard as an M car that misses the point and its abilities cannot be overshadowed, ignored or put down.

So is the M4 a worthy successor? Does it pick up the baton and push the game forward from where the E92 left it? In terms of ability then, yes, definitely so. There’s no doubting the M4 is by far the most capable car here and even in the presence of proven veterans like the E46 and E92 it just completely trounces them. We knew it would do that already but it’s eye-opening to see just how far ahead it is. That in itself is enough to confirm the M4 has, without doubt, moved things on and its crisp, forgiving chassis, muscular looks and unique touches both inside and out surely mark it down as an M car for the history books.

But if there’s one thing learnt from looking back at the older cars here it’s that there’s more to an M car than that. The E92 in particular possesses a really special quality that makes it still stand out. The question is, does the M4 manage this? I can’t help thinking that it’s a little too early to gauge that just yet as it’s easy to get sidetracked by the more obvious aforementioned qualities it has. And whilst that certainly helps its cause the E46 and E92 earned their reputations over time and neither were praised in the same way they are now. The M4’s raucous character still remains to be fully explored and developed as it matures but I’m confident that it will in time prove itself. One thing is for sure and that’s the new M car most definitely moves things on to the next level.


E46 M3 Coupé

E92 M3 Coupé DCT F82 M4
ENGINE:  24-valve, straight-six S54 V8, 32-valve, quad-cam, naturally aspirated S65 Twin-turbo, 24-valve, straight-six S55B30
CAPACITY:  3246cc 3999cc


MAX POWER:(DIN) 343hp @ 7900rpm 420hp @ 8300rpm 431hp @ 5500-7300rpm
MAX TORQUE: (DIN) 269lb ft @ 4900rpm 295lb ft @ 3900rpm 406lb ft @ 1850-5500rpm
WEIGHT (DIN): 1570kg 1580kg 1497kg
0-62MPH: 5.2 seconds 4.6 seconds 4.1 seconds
STANDING KM: 23.3 seconds 23.8 seconds 23.3 seconds
50-75MPH: 5.3 seconds 4.9 seconds 3.5 seconds
TOP SPEED: 155mph 155mph 155mph
ECONOMY: 30.0mpg 22.8mpg 34.0mpg
EMISSIONS: CO2: 287g/km CO2: 290g/km CO2: 194g/km
TRANSMISSION: Six-speed manual Seven-speed M DCT Seven-speed M DCT
STEERING:     Electromechanical rack and pinion
PRICE WHEN NEW: £39,730 (2002) £53,275 (2009) £56,653

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