On January 18th, Hot Wheels will launch another exclusive miniature for RLC (Red Line Club) members : a 2006 BMW M3. Do you know the history of the M3?
Introduced in 1986 by BMW, the M3 was launched as a high-performance version of the BMW 3 Series. Since then, M3 models have been produced for all generations of the M3 Series.
The M3 has a sport appeal with high performance, when compared to the regular 3 Series model. It comes with improvements to the engine, gearbox, brakes, suspension, improved aerodynamics, lighter materials and interior upgrades. All this provides the driver with better handling and better performance.
Since 1986, 6 generations of the M3 have been released:
E30 (1986 - 1991)
The first generation of the M3 was called E30 and it was released in coupé and convertible versions. One of BMW’s goals with the launch of the M3 was to be able to satisfy the rules of the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft (DTM), which was a touring racing series initially based in Germany.
In 2004, Sports Car International magazine placed the E30 M3 in sixth place in the ranking of the best sports cars of the 80s. In 2007, Automobile Magazine included the E30 M3 among the “5 best cars cars for drivers” of all times.
E36 (1992 - 1999)
The second generation of the M3, called E36, arrived in 1992 in the coupé version. In 1994 convertible and sedan versions were launched.
In 1996 BMW presented a prototype of the E36 M3 Compact. This version included several performance enhancements including a 3.2 liter S50 engine. This model was evaluated by the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport but was never produced.
E46 (2000 - 2006)
In 2000 the third generation of the M3 arrived, the E46. This generation was launched in coupé and convertible versions.
BMW built a prototype of a station wagon version (M3 Touring Station Wagon) to assess whether it would be possible to adapt the M3 model over the existing platform of the E46 station wagon. However, it never went into production.
E90/E92/E93 (2007 - 2013)
The fourth generation, called E9x, arrived in 2007 and was the first and only generation of the M3 to be released with a V8 engine. This generation was released in 3 versions:
- E90 – Sedan
- E92 – Coupé
- E93 – Convertible
This generation also marked the M3’s return to the DTM, securing the M3 the driver’s and manufacturer’s titles, and victory in 5 out of 10 races.
F80 (2014 - 2018)
The fifth generation, called F80, arrived in 2014. Produced only in the sedan version, it was built with a carbon fiber roof, hood and aluminum front panels. This was done to reduce weight.
Its production ended in 2018 due to changes required to meet new gas emission regulations.
G80 (2020 until today)
G80 is the sixth generation of the BMW M3 and the first to offer the option of all-wheel drive. With an innovative design, its front end is very different from other versions of the 3 Series.